April 30th, 2021 – 947

April comes to a close with a final wordcount of 38,200 words of main story content, 3,500 of journals, however much I rambled onto here and a few odds and ends meaning this was a great success of a month. January finished on 38,800, but with the addition of an extra day in that month, April is by far my best of the year, and my best in the last twelve months at that for a different reason. If you look at my daily totals – which you can’t as I don’t have anywhere I publish them, but I guess I could do that – you’d see when I sprint to the finish, I often bank 4,000+ words in a single day, which throws off the month by making it look more productive as a whole than it perhaps was. This month, I didn’t sprint to the finish on TWO, the last day being just 1,400 words, less in fact than I wrote today. Take out each month’s best day in fact, and only one month beats it: February 2020.

February of 2020 was the last time I was truly ‘ok’. Work and home were kept away from one another on pain of cruel and unusual torture, I was sleeping and eating well, banking 6,000+ steps a day without effort and socialising regularly. And then the world ended. It was a bit like four years of progress in all walks of my life were erased overnight, and I’ve barely advanced back one year of that since in the last few months. And yes, 1K held, was the one thing that did to be honest, but I became less healthy about how I banked higher monthly totals. Even the idea of a sprint to the finish went from a ‘nice to have’ to a taken for granted boost. This month, I learned why a little each day is better than a frantic dash for a better overall score. I learned to stop thinking about those higher totals and just, enjoy hitting target.

So while April might not be my highest total for 1K in a month, this was without question its greatest month. It was enough, and it was good.

April 29th, 2021 – 946

So for the 4th day in a row, I broke 1,350 words. You might expect this to be a wonderous occasion, and I guess it is in a way. I haven’t made this kind of pace in ages, and to be frank it’s only 300 words or so off of NaNoWriMo pace. That’s great, right? Well, kind of. I do not mind extra productivity – lord knows I feel mine took a major hit in the last 13 months – but there’s a term that I have for this kind of scenario that sums up why I am reticent about it. That term, is ‘1K+’. Longtime imaginary readers will know what I mean by that without any explanation, but for those of you I’ve made up who don’t know, allow me to explain.

So the year is 2019. You can go see loved ones without fear of giving them the plague, Dogecoin trades for about 1/5th of a cent, and a certain naive young writer gets cocky. He’s on the verge of the unthinkable: a thousand words a day for a whole year. I know right? Insane. Unthinkable. I mean yes plenty of people do it and a lot of them write more but, if you knew this guy, this is uncredible. No not incredible, this beggars belief. And yet, in his heart, there is this faint dark desire, the word that inspires the most suffering in this modern age, even if people don’t realise it.


He gets an idea. As he’s not writing main story content every single day, and would like to increase his pace, the only logical solution is to move the goalposts. He’s already done this in fact, on day 120 putting his diary entry post-target so it’s never used to hit target – though never explicitly ruling this out as to future proof himself – and then on day 133 starting a blog that would in time amass a mindblowing 18 likes. This blog he also decided didn’t count towards his thousand words, and so, he thought ‘hey, what’s moving the goalposts on target after all that? Why not 2K for a week?’

This was a mistake.

Oh he did it, he even wrote 3K days. And then, his body stopped working for two weeks and he ended up bedridden. This is because he probably should go to the doctor some time and get an actual medical check up done but he’s only asked for that three days before today-today’s post so good luck doing that in 2019. The moral of the story was that 1K was enough for a reason. It seems arbitary, but when you delve into 1,000 words you realise it’s just enough effort to matter, but not so much it burns you out. And so, less than a month after the crash, he started writing main story content every day for target instead, and wouldn’t you know it that actually worked.

Happy ending. But, here I am, chaining if not 1K+ numbers then at least stretched ones. It’s more akin to the journal leap I suppose, but I am hoping I don’t get stuck in a rut where I feel I have to hit 1,350. I don’t. 1K is Enough. There’s something satisfying about hitting 4 digits that the extra 350 words adds no value to. Also 1.35K does not roll off the tongue. So yeah, this is an achievement, but one that gives me pause for thought. At least the story is going well. Also I swear every character in my universe is LGBTQ+ and, I do not have a problem with that, but it does amuse me.

April 28th, 2021 – 945

For the first twelve years of my writing ‘career’, I had one surefire tool that I used when I needed to focus on writing a lot. I’d plug in my earbuds as far as they’d go and all but gurantee a loss of hearing in less than double my years by blasting intense music as loud as it would go. I have no idea why I was so reckless, though I must admit that self preservation wasn’t a concern I had in my late teens and early 20s. I am a little less dumb now, still doing that but rationing out the tinitus-inducing sessions. But what’s curious is what happened when I intvested in my over-ear bluetooth headphones, and to be more specific, what kept happening when I forgot to hit play.

So the pair I own are cheap. I dropped £50 on them so not cheap-cheap, but for audio quality and build strength they are very much lacking. That’s ok, I’m a cheap person and even then I still agonised over buying them, but for the last close to three years they’ve served me well, and aside from a little wear and tear they show no signs of stopping. Of far more interest however, is the feature that I actually bought them for: noise cancelling. Ok so they’re cheap so it’s not blackout, but it’s a significant improvement. I felt I needed that for working in a busy office, and saw a close to immediate improvement from them. But then, I started forgetting every now and then to hit play on my song or audiobook, and discovered the blindingly obvious: dulling all noise really helps concerntration when you’re sensory-sensative.

And then over the last month or so, I made a more staggering discovery: I write far faster if I have the noise cancelling on, but nothing playing. I can write with any noise in the background: other people, music, heck I sometimes listen to an audiobook while I’m writing. But dulled ambiance with the low hum of the budget headphones blocking low level noises, that it turns out trumps all. I think while I can write with distractions, I work best when I get rid of all of them. And you know what’s most embarrasing about this discovery? I already made it over two years ago.My little 1K mantra poem literally has the line:

“Remove distractions one by one”

So yes, this post is me calling myself dumb for not noticing this sooner. But hey, if any of my imaginary readers would benefit from inproved concerntration, turns out cheap noise reducing/cancelling headphones do improve things. I’m sure someone could benefit from hearing that. You know, if they can hear it, if they’re wearing, you know what that joke is so half baked and I’ve worded that so bad imma abandon that one before I begin. Also on the subject of imaginary readers, it’s a little, weird, how unimaginary you’re all starting to become. But if you’re reading this, hi. Also why?

April 27th, 2021 – 944

Well today marked a turning point of sorts in my recovery. Yes writing late, though I actually finished up pre-11pm. Yes I still had super bad fatigue, and also felt ill a lot of the day – no not that. But something happened today that hasn’t happened in, a long time, pre-Covid really. For the first time, I got to the end of target, and I had to hold myself back from going on and on. I hit 1,350 in the end, but, I feel like I could have turned out 3,000 words without too much effort. That would mean a late night and it’s not worth it – I’m in no rush. Even so, that drive to write more than I need to, not just to bump up numbers or sprint to the finish, but because I was having fun, it’s, been a while.

To be clear, I enjoy writing. I didn’t used to enjoy it before 1K, because I had this mindset that it was a Foustian bargain: I could turn out a bunch of words, but I knew in my heart they weren’t great, and that I wouldn’t be able to write again for weeks or even months as another depression cycle began. The writing didn’t cause those cycles, disorder did, and that’s part of why the depression came back with such force when the world ended. I may be resilient, but I do not like change. Never have. That I’m finding enjoyment hints that, on some level, I’m finding order again. I have suspected it for a while, and you can see that in the last three weeks of posts but, I think today was even more proof.

There is of course a catch. I am tired, very tired. We all are right? It’s a slog right now even as the world unends around us. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel but, funny thing about hope, seeing it just out of reach can be worse than not seeing any at all. That holds true even as it grows ever closer, as rates drop, as treatments at least seem to work. The fog of the future is dense, and hope won’t be within reach until it lies in the rearview mirror. So while I’m less interlectually drained after my week off, earlier this month, emotionally I’m still on fumes, and that could see the whole new world order fall apart for me. I’m working hard to make that not happen but, it’s not like that has its own energy reserves. Energy spent keeping routines afloat untul they become automatic again is not spent on writing sooner, or on leisure.

But I want to stay positive. All that above, that’s me trying to be a realist, but in my heart I want this to be over and I think there’s a chance it might be sooner than I thought. I’m even rowing again, and my foot isn’t hurting too bad, which reduces the likelihood of a fracture. Bit by bit I’m fixing my head. I just need to stay the course, and keep my eye on the light at the end of the tunnel.

April 26th, 2021 – 943

Today didn’t go so well. I got a full night’s sleep, exercised, ate well and was productive at work. But I’ve been running on fumes all day. All my energies are taxed away by some unseen force and I cannot deal with that. I even had a minor moment of open frustration at how messed up it all is. There is nothing else I can be doing and I’m still too tired to function. The novel keeps marching on, but I don’t know for sure how much longer I can if I’m not going to get any energy for sleeping or eating. I can’t keep working on IOUs.

April 25th, 2021 – 942

Boom, evening target. I tidied the flat, I got my food shop done. I even ran into my close friend Andy and his dog Bubbles – who if you’re from the future and have read TWO you might recognise from his cameo. Today went so freaking well it was almost as if the world wasn’t burning in the firery depths of hell for five minutes. Or even heck for the whole day it’s felt nuanced and productive, and I still feel full of energy and purpose. I’m gonna do a few more tasks, then chill playing some Phasmo with a friend for the evening.

I’m a little surprised how easy I’m finding writing MAL. The novel is rolling from my fingertips as if I knew how this one was meant to go all the long, or dare I say, because I’ve found a genre blend I really like. It’s a little because MAL follows right on from TWO I think, but not as much as I first suspected. Today’s chapter took a bit of time for me to get started on but it flowed about as well as TFS did, last year. And that’s where an interesting thought occurs to me: do I just, find it easier to write in the spring?

That wasn’t true for 2019 – I actually had a 10,000+ word false start to that novel if memory serves, and it will be documented on the blog if you wanna check that to be sure. I can’t be bothered to because I don’t want to remember how dismal that felt at the time right now, not when I’m on a high. But that was also at a time when I didn’t do main story every day, which hampered me a lot more than I realised until I made the switch and got a few months of that under my belt. But maybe, just maybe, this is an indicator I don’t feel so good in the darker months. Shock. Horror. Can;t think of why that would be…

I need more lamps.

April 24th, 2021 – 941

So it’s a bit later than I would like to be blogging, but today went more or less to plan. I played a lot of video games, did some tidying, resting, and overall had a pleasent day that made me feel contented. I bought Dyson Sphere Program and that game is super fun so far; I’m looking forward to when I can start getting into the deep depths of that one. And on Phasmophobia I’m only getting better at ghosthunting. On top of all that, I wrote 1,270 words of MAL, which means I’ve not had a day so far below 1,150. I will, I can gurantee that if for no other reason than this pace is a little too intensive to maintain, but it means I’ve hit the ground running.

The story itself works pretty well, and I’m confident about this first draft in a way I was not expecting as I went into the project. I’m also all too aware that I haven’t even begun the broader story yet, including multiple perspectives from the various party’s campaigns. It’s going to be an interesting task to not put my own biases into this one, but I’m confident I can pull that off. After all WHT went well and that was about a Conservative president. Alec Douglas Home was a Conservative PM and I still use the name for a decent character. I’m capable of looking past my own, opinions on the ideology, and this is a story about the limits of ideology in part.

Well, I’m gonna go crash in bed now, but it’s a nice crash. I feel content. I feel, in control. I hope this lasts.

April 22nd, 2021 – 939

Well this is a significant improvement. I’m writing this in a little breathing space I got at work. and it’s 14:29. That’s a significantly earlier target than I’ve been hitting lately, and I managed to fit it seamlessly between Markbook tasks at work. Moreover, I have done all my other writing tasks for the day too. This is one of my best mental health peaks in months, rivalling my birthday. I feel in control, just like I thought I was, and in a way, it took yesterday’s scare to kick me back into gear. Here’s what happened.

Yesterday was a bit of a robotic day. I did work tasks, email clearing and just, functioned enough. It wasn’t comfortable and I was feeling super burned out. I wrote late, but by some miracle dropped off right away when I went to sleep, meaning I woke from a proper eight hour sleep at last. It was as if a switch were flipped in my brain, and I joyfully jumped into work tasks from there. And then, I just did target on the side, like I’m supposed to. It wasn’t a big deal, and I managed to make good use of the bits and pieces of free time I had to bank 1,650 words to boot. A hyper productive day.

And wanna know the best part? I’m jazzed to get back to work today. I feel motivated. This is the proof I needed to reject late-night social requests, because accepting them sent me to a bad place. Early sleeping has to be the way to go. And for now, I can dive back into work with cheer. This is a good day. This is almost a normal day. When I get back to the office at last, this is going to be a lot of days. I can’t wait.