October 10th, 2020 – 745

Today saw me bank another 1,100 words of TWR. I got some great editing done for TSS fixing two major chapters. I finished my deep clean of the flat, got my food shop done under budget, my eyes tested and all my goals for the holiday with that complete.

So why do I feel empty tonight?

I don’t know. I wish I did.

October 9th, 2020 – 744

The flat is nice and spotless now. I took about 6 hours for a top to bottle m reorganise and clean, and feel for the first time in weeks like I’m back in control of my little world again. Moreover, I wrote in the morning so that I could take my time and get it right, and still get an early night.

With a little bit of luck I should fall asleep before midnight today, hopefully re-establishing this as the norm going forwards. Is the occasional late night a bad thing? Not really, but including last night where I just missed out on it, 37/44 days being late nights does not make for a happy head. Doesn’t make for bountiful prose either, so may that continue to trend upwards.

All that to come, and a plan for some new book covers too. But for now, time to not pass out, but actually sleep for once.

October 8th, 2020 – 743

Wordcounts are trickling back up again, which is good, but I still hope I’ll be back to my old 1,100 a day average soon. I tend to round down the wordcounts I track to incentivise grabbing an extra 20 words here and there to hit a round number and not have to round down. As it is, I’ve banked an extra 750 words on my tracker over a thousand a day, so my average is 1,093 for this month. The dream would be a +1,200 average, because that’s 38,000~ words a month, or if you factor in sprinting to the finish, the cusp of a novel every two months. That’s also so doable right now, if I can manage my basic needs.

Which brings me to sleep. I worked it out now I have my bullet journal all up to date and the relevant data filtered, and I’ve had a grand total of 7 times in the last 43 days that I’ve gotten to bed before 11pm. Yes I know, massive square, but to be blunt earlier to bed, earlier to wake, earlier to write. And when I write early, I’m more likely to squeeze a bit more in later. I have other goals in life sure, but every part of my life has to be focused on getting more writing done, getting better at it and telling better stories. If you were building a gaming rig and had an unlimited budget, you wouldn’t cheap out on a decent fan would you? I need that cooldown, and it’s free.

It’s funny that I’m working to fix sleep as my priority this year of 1K. I was so sure I’d spend months trying to figure out editing, and then ended up fixing that by accident when I wasn’t thinking about it. Life has felt a lot like a video game of late, where you have hurdles and bosses to overcome like the lockdown and the Wanderer, but you level up and gain new skills without explicitly training for them. I just gained levels in Editor without planning on it. Kinda makes me want to play around with some form of gamification again, but right now, I think I’d be better served if I just went to bed…

October 7th, 2020 – 742

TWR hit 50,000 words today, always a nice milestone to it. Also of note in an amusing way, is it means were this NaNoWriMo I’d only have needed another 15 days. Ha. Ok so yeah September was not my greatest month, but you know, I have had far worse, and any month prior to November of last year was a ton worse. Heck October of last year I was in horrible pain right about now and wasn’t a functioning human being. This time I was smart enough to take holiday as soon as I could, especially given the last real extended leave I’ve taken was in 2019. That was dumb, I need to not be that dumb again.

So I have a provisional deadline for TWR of mid November, which should on paper be much longer than I need. Given even last month I got an extra 3,000 words and I’m doing better this month already, I should have a finished first draft a month today, November 7th. Normally I would put my deadline at October 31st for stretch and challenge, but October 2020 is all about recovery, and rushing a novel is not a great way to recover from burnout. It’s also kind of pointless to, as I decided today that I am not going to move to uploading 3 chapters a week after all.

I did the maths, and while it would give me a more lenient publishing schedule for 90% of the remaining series including TSS, that 10% is a kicker. 9 books fine, one book rushed, but the rushed book is The Way Out, which might be the most important book of the whole series; there’s a reason it’s getting a paper first draft when I’ve otherwise moved away from that, and it’s because I need to get it right. If I did 3 chapters a week, I’d have less than a month between finishing it and beginning to upload it. That is far too tight for my liking, so Imma pass on that.

Even so, I am starting to feel frustrated that I’m about to finish my seventh novel, but my public profile only accounts for three plus the opening chapters of a fourth. I want to look more impressive to the world; yes that’s vain, but there’s purpose to the vanity in this instance: my USP might one day be the rate I can turn out novels. If this is how fast I’m able to right now, whilst I still have a full time job and live paycheck to paycheck, I can only see myself getting faster without the distractions. True, others would take their place, but it’s not as if my speed comes from a yearning to escape; it’s just that I work fast.

…And there is a way to show that off, but it has a huge catch. I need to write more short stories. Actually right now I need to write short stories, given I’ve done almost none in the last few months. Here’s one I did the other day I quite liked. But that is an unpolished draft. I need to start writing little bits here and there like this which are just as ready for prime time as my novels. That is how you build a following, and how you attract publishers’ attentions. So I guess if you click on that link down the line and see a much cleaner story that you remember first reading on another site, you’ll know I pulled my finger out. Sure seems stuck right now.

October 6th, 2020 – 741

I’ve not had a long day. In part, that’s because I only got up four hours ago, less than that even. Somehow it’s still managed to rain three separate times during that brief span, but I am at least not planning on going out. I was originally going to, but that can wait until tomorrow: want to buy some condensed milk and double cream, because I’m a massive chub. Well, more to make Café Bomnon and because I have leftover crumble in the fridge, but that doesn’t make me much less of a chub. I’m all too conscious that I’ve gone well over my calorie limit for several days in a row now, and need to get that under control before I start gaining weight again.

TWR is now on the cusp of 50K, and I am a little tempted to write the 818 words to get it there, though in truth I think it’s better not to take those opportunities. Sailing over target without realising is never a bad thing. Pushing for ‘just a little more’ to get to perhaps 1,250 for a day is fine. 818 extra words just sets me up to fail tomorrow if I force it, or if not to fail then to have a rough time going forwards as I borrow from tomorrow for today. As it is, I’m happy with how the pacing is at the moment, but do feel I have some clean up to do in Fun & Games when I get to editing this one.

That segues nicely into my next topic: I am considering trialling Scrivener again. I haven’t used it since Spectrum 2.0 back in 2014, and while I still like the concept, the lack of cloud saving in real time is a real issue for me. That is why I’m not considering it for any of my stories, but rather a novella-length piece that’s been sitting in the background this whole time: My Oreacle. This is the ‘missing’ book of The Service to Ore, a history of sorts that covers the whole story and all the interlocking events, more as a continuity checker for me when I’m editing than anything else. At present, My Oreacle sits between three places: two physical journals, and a Trello board. Jury is still out on how useful a tool it would acually be.

Have to get my sleep under control, so that I have at least a chance of making tomorrow’s entry here in the morning and not the afternoon, or god-forbid on the edge of midnight. I’ve got, including today, 6 days of holiday left to get my head on straight, and get me through to Christmas. Right now, that’s not an optimistic thought.

October 5th, 2020 – 740

It’s taking a while to shed this year’s stress, that’s for sure. I’ve kept myself to myself for much of today, and I’m still burned out on the minimal contact I’ve had with the outside world. I’ve managed to avoid take-out as a comfort blanket, but I don’t see myself keeping that up. Still think by the time I’m back at work on the 12th I’ll be recharged, but in the meantime it’s not a pleasant process putting it all back together. I’ve been fragile, and that’s already led to at least one faux par.

Is it weird it’s not work I feel I’m recharging from, but even now The Wanderer? I finished that book well over a month ago, and it’s still tearing at my brain as if I put it down yesterday. I’ve never had that experience writing a story before now. So, that’s going to make my next statement a bit baffling: I’ve decided it will go on WattPad after all. I know, that sounds crazy, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot as I write TWR and there’s no escaping one salient fact: The Wanderer is important to the canon. I can summarise it for people in a “skip this book” chapter, but I’d only damage the other books if I didn’t upload. So, that’ll be an interesting Wattys entry…

Maybe then it’ll stop haunting me…

October 4th, 2020 – 739

I’m a strange one when it comes to pleasant if busy days. Objectively speaking, I had a lovely day, and I got to see my family in a safe way, had some nice food, and all in all a relaxed chill time. I watched JoJo Rabbit and really liked it, and I wrote a really good scene for TWR that fills a gap in the plot I had struggled for ideas to fill. And I even edited a thousand words out of TSS for good measure, getting Chapter 1 ready for prime time tomorrow. And yet, for all that, I feel burned out. I think it’s proof if needed that this week ahead has to be one of doing as little as possible.

Editing a little every day has morphed into editing a chapter of something each day, and to be honest I am ok with that. It works as a warm up for 1K, and I would be happy for that to become the minimum in time. I’m reticent to set minimums just yet or ever though, as I do have to preserve my bedrock ‘1K is Enough’ principle. It sounds anal to do so, but the above paragraph goes to show how little it takes to overwhelm me, and I do need to ensure I don’t overload my creative capacity. It’s a muscle, I’m strengthen it over time, and that’s a gradual and careful process.

Also, this is unrelated to all matters of writing, but I found out I might be able to get new lenses for my glasses today, so I am kinda hype for that. I was sad about the idea of having to get new frames when I like my current ones, but fingers crossed I should be able to. I just hope I don’t get met with upselling jargon I can’t surmount.

October 3rd, 2020 – 738

(Sorry I passed out before finishing this, so enjoy this half-post that was meant to go up yesterday xD)

I managed to write early! Ok 2pm is not early early but it’s a start! I’ve spent the day running around so right now I’m about ready to pass out. Good news is

(…the good news was I managed to get a bunch of votes on my WattPad trio. Derp.)

October 2nd, 2020 – 737

It is kind of inevitable when I take some time off that my routine starts to slide a bit. That is the Faustian bargain I make for taking some recharge time away from the work desk, but I can live with a few later nights. 4am, is pushing that. I actually wrote a lot sooner than that yesterday, but I stayed up working on a cover for TSS so that it had something vaguely passable to go live with, and chatted with friends, and played Among Us – which I can now classify myself as an addict to.

So yeah that was a mistake. I slept until 12pm, and even then I didn’t get a full 8 hours. I gave into buying in take out when I told myself I wasn’t going to do that, and as of right now I still have not written. So yeah, great. But what can you do? It’s a holiday, and if I didn’t mess around now when would I? So I’ll write soon, probably stay up late again, and then stat trying to ease the eggs back into the cups over the weekend in time to get cracking on Monday.

I am a mess.

October 1st, 2020 – 736

I could feel myself almost getting ill yesterday. I went to bed with a splitting headache and could feel those tell-tale tendrils that tell you ‘headache’ isn’t the word you’re looking for. Thankfully, 13 hours of sleep later and a little bit out of sorts, I awoke without the migraine that I dreaded might be coming for me. I spent the day doing absolutely nothing, which does mean I’m cramming target at the last minute but hey, it’s not like I have to be up early for quite a while now. I’m going to make the most of that, if also trying to ensure my sleep doesn’t go totally out of the window.

Another thing I’m having to cram is the launch for The Spectrum Sings tomorrow. The story itself is getting the final crossing of the i’s and dotting of the t’s alongside 1K, with me focusing on a chapter each day before I do target. There’s just one crucial detail I’m missing: a cover. With everything so full on since, my memory doesn’t go back far enough to remember when it wasn’t, I haven’t made or commissioned a cover. My cover designer for Unreachable is still working on VOL’s cover, and I designed that and WHT’s; can you tell? Suffice to say that I do not have the greatest graphic design skills.

Of course I could do a fresh commission for a cover, but then you’re getting into the thorny treading on people’s toes territory, and the designer of Unreachable’s was quite insistent. So I’m a little stuck while I wait for that to become unstuck. It’s a barrier I’ll have to overcome somehow.