Short one today because this is a day just for me. But as I reflect on a year of change, I have to say imaginary or not, I couldn’t have done it without you.
In six days time, this blog turns one year old. It’s strange that I never clicked with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Imgur or Reddit anywhere near as much as WordPress. In another way, it’s really not. I’m not fussed about connecting with readers here, which is liberating. That might sound a bit odd for someone who wants to make a career of connecting with readers, but it’s nice to have this space. Here I can let people peer into my mind, and I don’t care much if they do or not. It’s a nice feeling, one I can’t recommend enough.
So I wrote another thousand words of WHT today, and they did not come easy. I still struggle writing in my home office a lot more than I do chipping target off bit by bit during my warm-up at work. A lot of that is the urgency. I work through my lunch break at work so that I have time to write, but it doesn’t give me a ton of time to work with. I can spend half an hour cumulative between 1K, this blog and my journal. I boost that to 40 minutes or even 45 by arriving early. At home, I don’t have that restriction. As Mark Rosewater says, “Restriction breeds creativity”. Not what he meant by that, but you get the idea.
I have a three day weekend, and work has been busy. I rushed target several days this week to make more time for it, which means I owe myself a bit of a break; at least 40 minutes worth over the course of the week. I intend to rest up a lot more than that this weekend though. Today I will play Stardew Valley for several hours then go hang out with a friend. Tomorrow it’ll be Crusader Kings II and food shopping but otherwise the same deal. And Monday, you guessed it, back to Stardew. I need a recharge, and I am so glad I had Monday booked months ago.
So, why did I have it booked months ago? What’s so special about the 3rd of February? Well, people who know me well enough will know that it’s not the 3rd at all. I’m ensuring I have a day either side of the day itself. Though there are too many reasons to list why this day stuck out time and time again in my life, I treat the second of February as a sort of personal holiday. It’s a day that for me symbolises personal growth, and both some of my happiest, and most awkward memories. It is in short, a day I let myself reflect on the good and the bad, and saviour how both got me to where I am now. It’s a happy day. It’s a day I piggybacked on the goodwill of last year to launch this very blog some 5 days later.
So I’m doing ok right now. And now, I’m going to bring my Bullet Journal up to date and go relax. I’ve earned it.
Today I am doing something wild and crazy. Ok not really, but for me it is a little. I am going to go out after work. I know right, shock, horror. How dare I attempt a social life? It shocked me too, but there it is. I haven’t been to the shop since the 3rd of January, so four weeks to the day. Part of that was money. Most of it was wanting to protect my sleep routine. I’ve been such a ball of stress this week though I need the pick up. And as much as I could wall myself off and play Stardew Valley, this is healthier.
WHT hit 35,000 words today, It’s actually 35,003 words, though as that’s an approximation I can’t know for sure. Funny side note, this is why I write 1,056 words on a typical day in Google Docs. Letting my private journal count ensures I write at least 1,300 each day, but it’s added security. Only writing it after target means I’m no longer tempted to write 700 words of content. So that means I got an extra 4,000 words this month. When we count TFS and WAN – the latter I’m tempted not to – I hit 37,000 this month. That is within scratching distance of my next milestone.
As far as I am concerned, 40,000 word months are fast enough that I am outdoing the average writer. Yes it’s not a contest but if I am going to make any money doing this a large catalogue is my friend. Plus I like writing novels, why wouldn’t I want to write the equivilant of 6 a year? While I still have a full time job that is my cap. If I ever got paid to write – I know right, how scandalous – I could get that to 12. That would work out as 6 first drafts, 6 rewrites a year. That is the goal, but we are a ways off that yet. Still, good to have stretch goals.
On that note, I am going to chip at WAN more often. Yes I loathe the story with a passion, and that is why I will chip at it. The more I write ahead of its scheduled time, the less I have to work on it in one go. I’ll thank myself for that in time. It’s funny in a way to work on a story at all that is going to have the description “Don’t read this book, all the important extended universe stuff is below.” But I can’t airbrush the Wanderer out of the story any more than I can Heather, Lewes or even William Howard Taft. When I paint at home, I don’t buy in new paints; I work with what I have.
Oh and happy Brexitmas. Because that’s a thing. Make of that what you will.
This morning I wrote one of the toughest scenes in WHT. There are a few reasons it was a difficult scene to articulate. One was conveying mood with sincerety whilst not being melodramatic. Another was the topic itself. This was a scene that shines a spotlight on the racial insensativies of the early 1900s. That is something as a white well off modern day writer I can never grasp. I can never know the pain of those who fell under the tyranny of Jim Crow. It’s also something I have to talk about. The America of the early 1900s is a story of a country equidistant from two civil wars, both fought over race. It would be wrong not to discuss.
I have no doubt I’ll rewrite the scene in question a few times before it ever sees any kind of print, even WattPad. But I’ve done my best, and can only do that. My workday has been a busy stream since 9am, and I’ve got a queue of some 70 emails since yesterday afternoon. They’ll have to wait as none are prioriry compared to what I am already working on. If I catch the wind I should clear most if not all of it by 4pm though. Having a breather to write this inbetween is prety darn invaluable. For now though it’s back to it. Wish me luck.
I’m renaming ‘The Long Goodbye’. This was always a bit of a strange placeholder title – lifted in part from another book with the same title. There were reasons for that, but as I became more serious about pushing my work out there, this title rubbed. I’ve been trying to think of a title that still encapsulates the story. And then today as I was consoling my closest friend, I found the title. It needed to speak to the dark undertones of the story, the desperation of its two protagonists. It needed to resonate.
‘The Way Out’ does this on several levels, and is the story’s new title. TWO for short, which is interesting as it was once book three. There is an eerie simple ring to it that reflects a story of escape, and the impossibility of it. So there we go, and another title stolen from, well myself. Time to update some documents on this site.
I have not written yet. I usually do so in the morning, then get to work and focus on that. Today work invaded home life, and the stress of it ruptured my routine. It’s lunch now, so I’m going to plough through target and get the ship righted. I’ve been letting myself get a bit buried by my old nemesis stress, and I need to halt that advamce before I begin to slip. I do though feel confident I will. 1K is so much stronger now than it was a year ago. I don’t wish to tempt fate, but by now 1K is capable of pulling me out of just about anything.
Late blog today, but that’s because it’s been an unusual one at this end. I like most days to blog before getting into bigger tasks at work because it makes for a good warm up activity. I was a bit more out of my usual order today though, so by the time I was at my desk, I chose to dive right into my bigger have-to-dos. As such, this is one of the furthest times I’ve blogged since writing – which I did several hours ago by now – for a while.
It’s funny that this blog isn’t the warm up for writing itself a lot of the time now, given that was half the point of it. Don’t worry my little imaginary readers, I’m not going to stop my pointless little blog. I like the routine of this and it’s useful to hold myself to account. At some point I will write that article about “Accountability – Action – Reflection”. The model is the same, but I’m now doing it more like “Action – Reflection – Accountability”. It’s a shame there’s no good synonym for reflection that begins with a G. Then again, I don’t want to get sued by an oven manufacturer.
I am going to get back to work in a minute. But before I do, I need to take a moment. I’ve been going flat out between writing, working, talking with the engineer, running to work and working some more. As shattered as I am, I’m ok. Just need to take things a little slower for a few minutes.
So yesterday I posted chapter 26 of VOL to WattPad, but with a difference. That weekend was a slog to get through, which to be honest most weekends are. Because I am sick of late uploads, I put up the chapter without doing a final edit. That was not a great idea, even if it got the job done on time. It did however help me figure out how to fix my publishing schedule.
I blame Christmas for preventing this fix sooner. Also New Years. Both occured on the same day, and that obfuscated the problem quite a lot. Each made me jump through faffy hoops to get content out on time – or as close as feasable in the end. As a result, the meme of ‘I can never upload on time despite the book being 95% done’ came about. I assumed it was a problem with my willpower and such, and not the day.
No it’s entirely the day. If you treat those holidays as ‘honarary weekends’, then an obvious pattern emerges. I can do the edits at my work desk next to no problem. On a weekend though, I am not in the right headspace to do that. Sure this means if I edited it all in advance I’d solve the problem, but I’m starting to think even that isn’t a good idea. I do edit in a more granualar way when I do it chapter by chapter and spread out. So how do I fix this weekend willpower?
I don’t. I edit on Fridays instead. And if I do that I may as well upload on Fridays too. If I do that, and shift my other upload to Tuesdays, then I end up with both upload days on weekdays. I always feel more motivated in the office, amd on my breaks I need to take advantage of that more. But for now it’s Monday, so I’m going to get back to work and have a think on this. Chances I will, but I have time to reconsider if needs be. Not as if anyone is reading it yet anyway, this is all for my benefit.