This was a great start to the new week, given I treat Sunday as my kick off day rather than Saturday. I managed to write 1,500 words of TWR, which is the highest daily total in 22 days, and the highest for one single project in 29. Before those two, you have to go back to my sprint to the finish on The Wanderer – August 23rd, 6,250 words – for a day that breaks past 1,400. That seems like a big leap up, but remember, I sprint to the finish, so huge days like that are pretty common. The point is, I’m also hitting 1.5K at a time my head is starting to go back on straight, and I have a solid editing habit embedded.
I think the most important thing I can do for myself for the remainder of this project – still with a soft deadline of November 15th – is maintain. I’m still not firing on all cylinders, and now is not the time to push; that time is coming soon however. If I can keep a level head, turn out maybe a couple more 1,500 days between now and say the 11th of November, and then sprint to the finish, I will be in a great position going into writing The Way Out. And on that note, in the spirit of not pushing right now, I plan on doing the hand written version before I start typing, not in tandem. I am in no rush, and will still have a long time to edit TWO before it goes live.
All in all, I’m feeling quite positive at this moment in time. Monday will be busy at work because I kept having to flip between tasks, so my big ones are still incomplete and there’s a deluge of smaller ones to contend with, but at this point I’m kind of used to the vomitorium that is my in-tray. That itself isn’t good, but again, now’s not the time to push, I need to maintain and then make incremental change as and when it is feasible. When looked at from that perspective, I’m not doing half bad. Here’s hoping nothing major explodes in the wider world beyond my front door and work desk to mess with the plan this time. And yes, I am well aware it could any day now.
So yeah, today was, interesting. It’s not often you wake up to a news story that fundamentally changes a key plot point in one of your novels. I won’t go into the details too much as I’ve linked the Imgur post I did on it below for context, but suffice to say, Betelgeuse is 530 light-years away, not 642.
The funny thing is, the rewrite I did, which included a tweak to future-proof the story if not the numbers against further changes, I think comes out as a significant improvement on what I’d already written. More, the burst of energy I found to get this rewrite done at such short notice not only made for an earlier target, but a 1,300 word day and a deep feeling of fulfilment once it was done. I took to my white board, listed the problems the new discovery created, and in about 5 minutes I had a solution.
Moral of the story is twofold: if you base a story on science, it doesn’t hurt to keep an eye out for new developments in the field; buy a white board. Trust me on that last one, nothing liberates your mind like having a huge drywipe blank canvass and being able to sketch out any problem on it. And, to make it a nice trio, if not quite a moral, this reminded me just how much a jolt to your system – or star-system – can tap into willpower and enthusiasm reserves. Honestly, this was the best thing that’s happened to me in months.
This working week was, weird. My head got into a darker and darker place as it went along, and that does not bode well right now. I’m quite sure in fact that the weekend is going to either see me sleep through most of it, or will only get more dark still. And of course, late targets mean I’m seeing more literal dark outside. I don’t have SAD but reduced exposure to daylight is not a good idea all the same.
TWR getting to 60K is a good step forwards. What I have noticed though is my latest “addition*” to 1K might be having a negative effect. I now try and edit one chapter a day of a precious project before I start target, and well, that’s having mixed results. I’m getting it done, but it’s also acting like a barrier between me and writing. Not sure what to make of that. One to think over this weekend.
I didn’t give much thought to the 250 mark, so the 750 mark isn’t that much different in that regard. I write a lot of my stories with a version of the Hero’s Journey in mind, using various fiction-theory totems as my guide, such as The Hero With a Thousand Faces, and of course Save the Cat. In the latter, a 110 page manuscript is broken down into elements that occur on certain pages, which I’ve found a useful concept to work into novels as have many others. Granted a thousand days worth of 110 pages wouldn’t have All Is Lost on day 750 – ominously that would lie just ahead – but it’s more or less now.
Ok so that’s over dramatic. I’m still going, and I’m still writing a lot, even if I am struggling to reclaim the 1,100 a day average. My head however is not quite so rosy, is in fact in yet another spiral that this time I can’t point to upheaval, grief or self-inflicted torment to explain. I am as I have many times in my life experiencing a mental health lull, and these are at their worst like this one, times which make writing a lot harder. That’s not unique of course; they make everything harder to do. It took so much willpower to make it through the working day that I went out-of-body for the last six or so hours.
These are the hardest days to hit target, and in a fitting boogeyman’s return, TWR hitting 60,000 is starting to leave me in a bit of a limbo what I am supposed to have happen next with the story. Self esteem dropping equals a lot of second guessing, and this on top of the fact that it’s hard to keep every thread straight in my mind as I do work on it, which is in an ironic twist what my protagonist is experiencing in character. I’ll get past this, but it is a little infuriating that I couldn’t just fix this with my week and a bit off work. Or, maybe it was naïve to think that would fix anything.
So a low note for 750. When I hit 750 words for target, I tend to feel a smaller version of that ‘sprint to the finish’ second wind that I get near the end of a novel as a whole. Of course day 1,000 won’t be the end of anything, but I do hope that when I reach that milestone, I can celebrate it with a little more cheer and optimism than I feel right now. It is amusing to realise that day is less than a year away. Just one more reason to pray for a swift end to this year.
This has been a tough week. I’m going to go to bed soon but I’m stressed out, and it’s because I’m still fatigued. That’s a bad sign given I took a whole week plus of holiday. I need to get my head on straight, and I also need to start writing earlier. I’ll sort this out but man, this year has been rough.
TWR is almost at 60K, which is pretty sweet, but it’s been a slow book to write. I hope that TWO is a little more speedy. It’s ok to take time, but I have a need to get out as many stories as I can. Though I gotta say, that’s a great problem to have.
Ok I am getting much worse. I am working from home for the next couple of days because, to quote myself: ‘I am unpleasant to be around right now.’ I’m not relishing working from home, but I refuse to put anyone else through my sour mood, especially as there is literally no trigger. My brain has just declared ‘no you are in a bad mood, deal with it’. Who knows maybe a day will be enough for me to mull. I’ve got more than enough to keep me busy at least, lots of T Level rollout work.
I’ll do better tomorrow. As for tonight, I’m gonna wrap up my writing and just try and draw a line under today. If I have one safety net, this part of TWR is supposed to be a little less coherent. Fortunate coincidence…
Had a bad day again. I did stick to my guns on emails I received over my annual leave and though I likely will still get to them as a courtesy gesture, I focused on actual and significant tasks instead. Those tasks however were, not great. Not hard, but long and intensive, and I drained my batteries to empty by 5pm without having written. I’ve plonked out 1,000 words of acceptable prose, but only after an evening of being curled in a ball. It’s just the readjustment to routine again, I know this, but man do I hate first days back.
The funny part is, it’s not a dislike of the job, just the in-flux routine. I find time off stressful for the exact same if inverse reason, and it’s why in an ideal world I would spend my days off in the at home office for a good portion of the day, just to maintain a sense of order. I slept in way too much for that to be viable in my week off, even if it was pretty much me catching up on a year of lost sleep. I’m sure I’ll feel a little better tomorrow, but in the meantime I just hope I can sleep again tonight. Managed my first pre-11pm drop off in quite a while yesterday, and I’d quite like to chain those if at all possible.
On a side note, I’ve been thinking about the next novel, The Way Out, which I believe I have mentioned in the past is the third in the core trilogy (TUS, TSS, TWO, and yes I recognise the quirk with the third book’s initials), and that it has had a journal waiting for me to write it in for the last 7 years. What I haven’t mentioned before, mostly because I only thought of this yesterday, is that I could in theory write the book by hand and type it at the same time, perhaps even doing 500 in paper, 500 on screen if I want to maintain 1K as my baseline. That, or I could alternate, handwrite one day, type the next. This is going to be the last book potentially I handwrite for a while, so it could be a useful excuse to experiment.
Doing better today. I had a bit of a rough time earlier, and I have ended up overeating yet again, but I think that’s because when I shop in a low mood I tend to pick up the absolute worst temptation food. If there’s one upside, I have eaten most of that up front, but still that’s at least 2,000 calories I shouldn’t have given myself access to. Thankfully I am back at work tomorrow which means a lot of walking, and hopefully a lot more deficits for a bit to even things out. Right now maintaining is more important than losing though, so I have to make sure to, you know, eat.
I wrote a short story, which fair warning has bad language right from the first sentence, but it was nice to do one of these. It’s been a while since I did one in my normal style, as oppose to more of a poetic fluffy piece like my “One More Day” story I wrote a while back. Come to think of it I can’t remember if I linked that here, and should put that on WattPad anyway. Couldn’t hurt. I did just shy of 1,800 words of that, then 1,250 of TWR, so this was on paper a 3,000 word day. Not too shabby for a weekend I must say. And I think having a really tidy flat helps there too, making it easier to keep my spirits up.
I am finding that when I gravitate towards music right now, it’s all mood sapping or overly emotional instrumentals that drain in their own way. I mean don’t get me wrong I love that kind of music, but I need to start working in more happy and less aggressive/sad/intense music. It’s not quite as simple as saying my mood affects my music tastes or vice versa, but I know that it’s a mix somewhere between the two, and that I have to fight my mood to force in some more positive vibes. I’ll try that at work tomorrow, between listening to IT. Come to think of it, that’s not exactly ‘happy go lucky’ itself…
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.
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.