I’m Sam, and I live to write. I spent most of the last 10 years trying to balance writing with a large amount of crap in my personal life, until towards the end of 2018 I threw everything out and started afresh with just my writing. I built the new me around one goal: I have to write at least 1,000 words a day. I called this goal 1K, and it changed my life.
My greatest flaws as a writer is I still use too many adjectives, adverbs, connectives as openers, accidental passive voice and I don't force my work down people's throats enough on pain of extreme and unusual torture. My greatest strength is I know my greatest flaws and I'm working on them.
OK, we are starting to stabilize. Blogging a little later than I’d like but I hit target just before 5pm, so it all kinda works out. That’s the good side. The bad side is I can still feel I am not exactly ‘OK’, more, well, ‘starting to stabilize’. How far away is ‘OK’? No idea. This is the first step though, and honestly having 90% of my routine back is a heck of a start. I’m about to go for a walk to bank 8,000 steps, then wind down for the evening, so all in all, it could be a lot worse. Not raining today at least.
HOR is taking shape, but I am unsure how intense the next scene is going to be. Part of me wants an action-filled set piece and another part worries that I default to that way too often. Maybe my books will just be like that and it will be fine, but I kinda want more nuance than boom bang chase run explosion. One to think on. Which is actually why walks are so great.
So that idea I vague-posted about yesterday, it’s kinda legit. So here’s what I was talking about:
For those curious among the imaginary people out there, the sheet comes from here, and the software I am using to populate it is here. So the way it works is pretty clean: It’s just a habit tracker. The only innovation really, is that different habits earn points. You can only score them once a day, but say, writing before 5pm, earns me 3XP. And yes I did that today, and am writing this at 5pm so today went pretty darn well. You sum them at the end, and that gives you your new stats. I might look into a way to convert that XP into levels in a way that scales nicely if this takes off, but your overall level is at the top. Earn 150XP, get a reward. My reward? I have, no idea.
It’s such a simple thing but, I can kinda feel it working. It’s a bit of a dashboard of my wellness across the week too, where my BuJo and journal both give me a more granular picture on top. Note, I have not included any work activities on this, because I think, for now, I want this to be a non work thing. Could I adapt this into work CPD? Absolutely, and maybe one day I’ll be including this in a fun little extras part of work. Maybe I could start a work wellness blog. Hm. Maybe people would actually read it. But I don’t want people to read my stuff, that’s why I like that you’re all so gosh darn imaginary.
Will this stick? I have no idea, but it’s fun at the moment. I think I’ll just keep doing it for as long as the novelty lasts, and then see if it’s got legs beyond that. For now, I am grateful that it has encouraged me to write early today. WOO! 1XP for Wisdom get!
I have my latest copy of Writers’ Magazine open next to me, and I gotta start wondering, should I be trying to enter a few of these contests? I mean, I am still learning, but have I got my skill high enough that I may stand a chance? I am not sure, and there is no real way to know I guess than to get unbiast feedback, which may involve just entering and seeing what happens. If I treat these contests as writing prompts, then I could at least for the <5,000 word ones turn out some decent material for them, and build a portfolio. That’d be in addition to my 1K of story content though so gotta be careful about pushing myself.
I’ve also been having a fresh look at habit trackers, and I may have some neat stuff to post on that soon. Not much to say for now, but drwing experience from my love of EXP grinding and some neat concepts others have already developed probably tells you enough to guess. If you were real. Which you’re not because you’re a figment of my imagination but hey, whose to say every part of my mind knows what’s going on? Sure feels the opposite sometimes, a lot of late…
Today was a day where I just switched off from the world and didn’t care. And I needed that, pretty badly. Today was also the day I secured some extra tutoring sessions on character development, which I feel is gonna be huge for me in developing my stories and making the cast as memorable as they deserve to be. I just need to then make sure I incorporate those changes in my next round of edits, and I am looking square at TUS. It’s so long overdue to make book 1 into the story it deserves to be.
Ok today was rough. I just, I need to rest. That one stomach ache on Tuesday threw off a whole week of routine. That’s really not sustainable, and it’s kinda pathetic. I need to be holding up better to minor setbacks than this, if I’m gonna have any hope of figuring out normal life again.
HOR is going strong at least. Act 1 is done, and I’m editing TSS right now, which has made for a nice change. Just gonna jump between novels for a while to keep things fresh.
All 0s, 1s and 2s, like some messed up binary code. Speaking of messed up code, but, not really, my head is a mess today oh what a surprise it’s Thursday. Ok, yes, this was Tuesday’s fault but still, today was a slog to get through, and I am just thankful it is half term soon, and that I am hopefully going to be getting back into doing some volunteering again soon, which will be nice. Looking to get involved again with the local Woodcraft group I used to go to growing up. It’s giving me a nice next step to focus on as I continue to rebuild. Life is still wacky, but it’s getting back to normal-normal. I hope.
I did have a great day working on HOR. I wrote 1,650 words, and they flowed with ease. These characters I still feel need more oomph to them, but they’re starting to diverge into interesting personalities. I still need to get better at giving each a pegleg and an eyepatch to stand out, but I need to do that for A LOT of them. So, I’ve been eyeing my private-wiki idea. I might need to look into what I could host through WordPress. Man I wish I hosted this page myself, because plugin functionality through wordpress.com, is, well not cheap…
Well, today wasn’t a good day. For some reason I mystyped that as ‘a good dead’, so my mood is evidently not much better, but hey, what can you do. I ended up poorly last night, and while I was well enough to work, it was a grim day for my enjoyment of work, not least as I needed to work from home. I know the odds that I need to are minimal, and yes I tested negative when the pain subsided yesterday, but I just don’t like risking other people’s wellbeing. As it was, a second negative convinced me I was ok to go to therapy tonight and, that was intense. Good, because I feel it’s working but, man I am drained.
It’s almost 1pm, but today was in fact an AM target, if only by about 7 minutes. As much as I have made working from home work for me a lot better, and thus nudged target earlier because I actually take the breaks to do it now, it’s much easier to do. I am just so much happier in the office, for any number of reasons. Working through my work queue, in an office with people starting to filter back into a lot more, it honestly feels today like a pre-covid day. Aren’t those so nice? It’s hard to express what a comfort that feeling is.
HOR is looking pretty good, especially as I did today’s edit on all the current chapters, adding some polish if not adding too much extra sensory detail just yet. I may start doing that from tomorrow as a bit of a change from WHT for the short term, to see if that revitalizes my interest in the project again. That I think is the flexibility I need, given I make myself do a thousand words of main story each day. Letting myself jump around like this on editing is a lot easier.
So the good news is I am flying through the rest of the edits to WHT at the moment, which is great as the sooner I get it in front of the beta reader again the better. The bad news, is I am finding I get much lazier about edits the further in I get. Like, yes I am not in the greatest mental space of my life at the moment, and that has to be taken into account, but I am quite sure that I am in general lazier about fixing up the third act of my stories than the first 3/4 of the books. And yes, the second act is twice as long so as weird as that looks it is technically correct. How do I fix this laziness? I think when I’m done, I need to move onto editing something else, not even my own projects maybe, and then return with fresh eyes at about the 30th chapter, and work from there. That’s about where the wheels keep coming off, and I know I can do better.
Other than that, today went well. I have started doing all my work from home at the Million desk, which is a bit of a policy change given I once planned to never let work into this room, let alone right here, but to be honest it’s just nicer to work here. I mean look at it:
I was up until 5am yesterday, so naturally on 5 hours sleep I found writing early a piece of cake. Why I find writing easier on less sleep I have no idea. I am sure that it’s being aware how wretched little sleep feels, but there has to be a nicer way to do it. On the plus side, today was a lovely day. I had a day out in town with mum, picked up some new shoes as my trainers were, in need of replacement. I was happy to try and make them last a little longer, but I will concede a hole in the bottom is, problematic. And then we went looking for a place to have food which, was a bit of a nightmare, but we ended up at The Rainbow, in Old Town, and yes no one reads this blog but if you are a touch less imaginary than my other readers and are in the local area, support this buisness. They are lovely, the food is great and the outside seating is wonderful. Don’t worry I put that in my actual Google Review too, so it won’t get lost here.
HOR is at present, progressing well-ish. I have a feeling the last couple of chapters are either gonna need to be condensed into one, or more likely expanded into 3 with a lot more worldbuilding. I might just need my beta reader to take a peak at some point, but that will need me to tidy it up first so, still feel like focusing on WHT is the better short term call. Just 10~ chapters depending on what I cut/add to go through now, and then one last sweep to make sure I’ve added enough sensory detail and evocation to justify a second review. Things are, going well. It’s, weird to have life start to get back in order again. Nice though. I just hope I sleep.