April 20th, 2021 – 937

Two early nights defying bad nights’ sleep, only to not be able to sleep the following night. I can do earlier tagert on less sleep, but I can’t chain earlier targets on next to no sleep. There comes a point where I am not functional anymore outside of the hours I put in at work, and by 5pm I was running on fumes. My willpower sapped, I ended up getting in pizza I didn’t really want, buying cards I don’t really need, and failing to find the energy for target I need so badly. So it’s gonna be a late one, and tomorrow I’ll be working on even less sleep. What can you do. The answer is pretty much ‘carry on and try not to get ill’.

MAL is going, ok, but I feel like I really needed those full nights of sleep I meticulously cultivated for myself only to lie awake staring at the ceiling for three hours. Starting a new book needs decent batteries, and mine are leaking acid into my brain, which is less than ideal. It doesn’t help that as I ended up making the transition at the same time I transitioned back to work, I haven’t given a lot of thought to immersing myself into the story. I need to change that real soon if this isn’t gonna turn into a dud. I have plenty of time, but that time’s a wasting.

April 19th, 2021 – 936

Target is getting more and more under control, which is a good sign. I wish I could say the same for my sleep, which yesterday took over two hours to manifest and was not a full night by the end of it. Less than ideal, but inevitable when you consider I always get back to work anxiety I guess. It doesn’t seem anything caught fire, but there’s still an appreciable queue for me to work through. Still, I know that now, and I would always rather have tasks to do than not have tasks to do. That is after all, the definition of ‘a job’.

So I started writing The Malcolm Effect (MAL), and it’s so weird after working on one book every day for six months to be on a brand new project. Ok sure it’s conencted, but even so the shift from looking at a close to hundred-thousand word Google Doc to a blank one was a bit freaky. I don’t ‘fear the blank page’ or anything but it’s still bizarre to jump like that. I’m glad I do jump like that all the same though, as life working on a story is so much nicer than life not working on one, so I think I’ll always chain novels. I mean heck, the more I write, the better I should in theory get, so long as I reflect and get feedback as I do.

Writing a new book also means writing from new perspectives, and that’s a tough one to get into the swing of. I feel a lot of my characters in early drafts talk and act in ways that are too similar, not enough eyepatches and peglegs – with one notable exception on the latter. I’m someone who far prefers to leave stuff like that for the rewrite, but I am trying to be better about not leaving flaming garbage piles for future me to fix as often as I do. As fun as they are, I leave enough of those for myself everywhere else in my life, so I should be making a teensy bit more of an effort. That reminds me I really need to tidy the flat.

On a brighter note, I did manage to get my desk close to perfect. The cacti were a nice touch but a bit too in the way and stabby, so I’ve evicted them to hang out with the Aloe Vera that I totally know how to keep alive. I cannot stress enough how much difference having desk space makes to my mental wellbeing, and how much easier I find it to think with empty open and nice to look at spaces. Just makes me all the more hyped for the new desk. There is, however, an uncomfortable elephant in the room I need to address, one that cost as much as the desk and isn’t an elephant at all it;s the rowing machine.

I think, when I get the flat tidy, I am going to leave it out on the floor and only put it away when I’m hosting – which won’t be for a while. I have two reasons for this: I need to get back into rowing even if my ankle is fractured, and if it’s down and in use, I’m less likely to acrew mess in that space of the floor, which is the messiest part of the flat right now. But that’s a tomorrow thing I think. I just need to sleep right now…

April 18th, 2021 – 935

Well, it took all my time off to do it, but I feel calm and back in control. Flat is still messy but I will get on top of that after work if my mood holds out. And, it took 85 days, which is 10 above my average but does account for going 10K over the wordcount estimate, but earlier tonight, I finished typing up TWO. It’s a bit of a mess, and I do not think I am finished with the handwritten version yet, but it’s time at last to put it in a drawer and walk away for a little bit to let it ferment. I enjoyed writing this one, in spite of the heavy subject matter, and how my motivation for writing in general proved strained at times. This is the kind of book 1K makes possible for me, because being forced to work on it every day also forced me in real time to figure out the problems as I went. Sure it still has plenty, but the re-rewrite will be a lot smoother.

Other than that, today I chilled. I played some Phasmophobia, which is such an unlikely game for me to like still but I’m loving it. I watched a friend stream Monster Train, which again was super chill. I had a couple of margaritas, and found out that agave syrup adds, nothing to the drink so that was a bit of a waste, but hey maybe it’ll be nicer in other concoctions. And I also bought a bunch of Reserved List Magic cards for, god knows what reason. They’re not good cards but I didn’t realise they were still affordable and I wanted to snag them to avoid a price gouge later. So yeah, all in all a good day, and exactly what I want out of a last day of holiday. Am I dreading work? Kinda, if only because I always worry about stuff I oversee catching fire if I’m away. On the whole though, dare I say it, I feel, ok. Now if you’ll excuse me, imma go sleep. I really hope my sleep routine is fixed now…

April 17th, 2021 – 934

Today went a little better. Book still isn’t done but I did say it wouldn’t be. No sprint to the finish kind of makes sense too, as this book has been a hard one to write without being unpleasent like WAN, which made me sprint to have it be over and done with. It’ll be done tomorrow though because there’s less than a thousand words to go, and I am more than ok with a chill end to this project. Moreover, I think the last few days, with one chapter as exception, have seen a much better quality of prose. Yes nailing the wording in a first draft, even when it’s a type up isn’t important, but hey it’s nice when I feel I’m back on some kind of form.

Stress levels are doing ok, diet is ok, exercise is, well bad but no surprises there. The real problem is my ruined sleep schedule that will have to fall back in line with my 9 to 5 in a couple days. So what do I do? Well tomorrow I have plans, but I think I need to say to myself I can’t do those plans until target is in the bag. If I can stick to that then it may by social pressure force an early target, and at this point I’ll accept a forced one. It’s not ideal but it’ll do. I’m still optimistic that I’m on an upward trajectory, but the proof will be in how I respond to Monday. I just hope I’ve fixed my major burnout.

April 16th, 2021 – 933

Well, today is day 800 of this blog, so that’s kinda neat. It was also a good day, one where I finally finished upgrading the cube for the foreseeable future, which is always a nice place to be in. I spend, so much time on that project compared to how much I actually get to use it, but it’s like cultivating a garden. Granted most gardens aren’t made of expensive cardboard but hey, if it works it works. Today was a good day, and yet, writing late yet again. Why? Because my sleep schedule is in tatters again, because I prioritiesed social oppotunities over sleep routine. I have to stress I do not regret that, but I’m sure as heck feeling it. Doesn’t help that I techically start working again tomorrow.

All I can do is wrap up my writing tasks and go to bed. I’m doing that now, and then tomorrow I guess I’ll, I have no idea. I do not feel rested right now and that’s really bad, because I took this time off to rest. It’s still a vast improvement on the last attempts at holiday I tried, but I need to get my act together. And of course, TWO is still not done. I don’t think I’ll finish it tomorrow either, which is ok, but a little dispiriting that I looked as if I’d bring the book in for a landing before the 13th and then just found a bunch of missing content. But sometimes it be that way.

April 15th, 2021 – 932

Guess what still isn’t done. I mean what can you do, I’m prioritising mental health over a 3,000 word additional sprint. Needs must and all, but I do feel I need to set a revised deadline: imma say the 20th, as that’s so I have a couple days leeway. I don’t think there’s another phantom chapter hiding, but then I missed two of them so I mean, not all that confident.

Only other thing of note today was I took my new ID card and restocked my liquor cabinet. I made a celebratory Margarita and man, it was soooo good.

April 14th, 2021 – 931

Believe it or not, and I don’t think this is all that surprising, I still have not finished TWO. I think I have done well to get it done on the pace I have what with the house move right before I started typing it and the general exhaustion I’ve had for god knows how long now. But again, as with yesterday, who gives a doodle? I tell you what I do give a doodle about, and that’s my UpWork earnings, as I am hoping that soon my ID will finally be validated and I’ll be able to put those funds into, I dunno I guess low risk stocks? Not Crypto I can tell you that much but I should put them somewhere where they’ll grow a bit in the meantime. I don’t know I’m not a money.

Still tired. Still out of sync. But still just as optimistic as yesterday. I do feel like I’m clambering back to the surface world again, the sting in my eyes of actual daylight breaking through the formerly solid topsoil. I’ve been buried for a long time and I will need a long, long, long time to get used to being ok again, but if there’s any more lockdowns and such coming, I think this time, unless I somehow snap my foot off rather than just possibly-fracturing it, I should be ok. Trying to be optimistic here.

But you know what else is cool? I alluded to it above, but for the first time in almost two years, I have a valid photo ID. So I think Imma go buy a bottle of Kraken tomorrow and have an enforced day of chill, maybe just YouTube and tinkering with Magic decks and the cube. Then again, drinking and impulse card purchases tend to go hand in hand. Then then again, I am about to drop over a hundred on a sodding Tolarian Academy when it’s banned in literally everything, and I’m doing that sober. I just might need a drink afterwards…

April 13th, 2021 – 930

Let’s get one thing out of the way: TWO isn’t done. It needs a few thousand more words. And you know what, I’m glad. I’m glad I learned enough about myself and what I care about, that I didn’t risk burnout trying to rush it to that arbitary deadline. It’s totally fine, and once it’s done it won’t matter what day I finished it. And, by being nice to myself, by resting, focusing on letting my birthday be good, I managed not only to have one of the best birthdays of my life – no I’m not kidding about that – but an actual normal birthday. For real, thanks to being in my mum’s bubble, and seeing dad and my grandparents within the rules and safely, I managed to have a birthday that minus the masks was like any other.

Today is one of those days that makes me so thankful I bullet journal. I captured every beat of it in the journal for the day, and I can relive it whenever I want. I can do that just as I have for last years, and this time, this time I got to record a normal day. Sorry I know I keep saying normal but, I can’t help it, it was, and I got to feel like things were ok. I know that there’s every chance things might be about to not be ok again, the unpredictability of the South Africa strain and all, but I feel like in this snapshot moment, my little slice of this world is finally peaceful. I am also, very, very tired after it, so I am gonna finish my 1K tasks now and then sleep for a good, long, time.

But you wanna know what was the icing on the top of today? It’s that I know, whatever happens from here on out, I am recovering this time. Call it hubris, and who knows maybe I’m wrong, but I think I might finally have reversed the trend, properly reversed it. Hard days will still come to pass, and life is full of them. But I think this year, this month, heck even just as I took in this day, I felt something inside me change. I don’t know if I understand what that change is just yet, but there’s a new me.

Oh one more thing, Palm Springs is now in my top 5 films of all time. Go watch it.

April 12th, 2021 – 929

One year ago today, Tim Brooke-Taylor died. That was, reading back over all my public and private notes on my wellbeing over time, the wellness data to hand and from messages I sent, the point I stopped coping in 2020. I think it’s no exaggeration to say I’m only now managing to get all my pieces back together. Of course, there were a lot of reasons my psyche fell apart, but I never took the time to grieve properly. It sounds odd, given I never knew him personally, only the version of him in his work and legacy, but it’s hard to explain who I am without Clue, because so much of who I am comes out of that show. My love of the absurd came from there, and it was my comfort blanket during the more messed up times in my past. So, I’m glad that today, I didn’t dwell on it. I felt sad, of course I did, but I managed to move past it, and make today a good day.

I did not however finish TWO. And, I don’t know if I’ll finish TWO tomorrow. I think it’s unlikely I will before midnight, and even after it’s 50/50 as I ended up discovering a chapter’s worth of the finale conflict and resolution I didn’t factor in. So TWO is at 91.4K and there’s still just under 4K to go. I just hope it doesn’t happen again. That deadline however, the 13th, was only ever an arbitary marker. It’s not like I have an audience, even if people have started pointing out my Imaginary Readers are starting to become a tad less imaginary. Jokes on you I will never turn on the comments, so imaginary you shall remain, mwahahaha. Ok I really need to sleep.

My birthday tomorrow is gonna be a fun, relaxed and sociable day. And you know what? I can live with not finishing TWO on it. It’ll have a lot going for it either way.

April 11th, 2021 – 928

I’ve just been so distracted these last few days. I think my brain has just been in open rebellion at all the pressure I put it under. Sucky but inevitable I guess. I managed not to get ill, unless you count the strange red marks I got all over the back of my hand again. No idea what causes those but my leading theory based on when they’ve appeared is it’s stress based. Doesn’t help that I’ve been making a point of taking up socialising offers whenever they pop up. No regrets on that, it’s been a big mental health boon.

TWO is gonna be 92K. As you might guess I didn’t sprint yesterday, though I did end up on a total of 1,470. 4K to go in two days. However tomorrow will have a bit less distraction tomorrow so who knows, maybe I’ll sprint then. 89K by the end of today, assuming I now don’t add more. Less chance of that than yesterday. But hey, if I overshoot it’s not like the deadline matters. It would be nice to finish before or on my birthday though.