OK, possibly a stupid thing, but… I signed up to this year’s NaNo. For a book I’ve already got 20k on. The challenge is going to be writing 50k of new stuff that isn’t complete drivel, so wish me luck.

I’m officially pantsing (writing by the seat of the pants, or as we proper people call them, trousers), so I have a feeling there will be some overlap. It’s quite lucky that this year the first day is at the weekend, so I can drown my misery at Scotland being knocked out of the world cup well before the final in the words which will undoubtedly flow.

The goal, besides 50k of usable content, is to be done with it by 28th, which is my other half’s birthday and also when his family (and twin brother) are descending on us, so I know already I won’t get any writing done that weekend.

This makes it a wee bit harder, since I now have to fit in 1852 words per day rather than 1667. As long as I get a nice long burst in each weekend, and don’t actually attempt to have a social life of any kind, I might just manage it. If I can randomly knock out 5k in one sitting, as I did about three weeks ago, this should be a piece of cake. Right?

I’ll post my word count every day, and measure it against my target progress. I have a feeling it’ll be disappointing on a Thursday and fine again by Monday. For the first 27 days of November. And the last three if I manage to do any writing then ;p



Exhausting my stock of posts didn’t take long – I was away this weekend without my laptop, which is when I usually catch up. The last week has been in turns boring, incredibly stressful, and scary. It was lovely seeing my family, despite the trek up to Barrow (the M6 is evil). It was also lovely coming home and sleeping in my own bed.

I have also been thinking again about freelancing – a topic that always comes into my head when I’ve seen or spoken to my sister, who is self-employed. I’ve managed a fair bit of writing over the last few weeks, though not enough to actually complete anything. I’ve also let my coding slip, losing my streak on Codecademy. The plan remains in place, but I’ve been set back by this. Scheduling my day never seems to work, and I’ve had another idea-rush the last several days. Too much time to think ­čÖé

So what can I do? Get caught up on television and hope I stumble on the answer? Use my few remaining days off to power through things? Or do what I keep balking at and leave the house with my laptop, staking out a cafe or something. That would probably work for the writing, but not the coding. What I need, ideally, is someone to give my goals to, who will chase me regularly. Fat chance of that.

Work is going to be as expected – which is to say, not too fun. Last Thursday my boss told me to go out for lunch, leaving unspoken the clear ‘or else’. I was then treated on Tuesday to half an hour on improving my personality. Nothing is quite so likely to send me into a mood as being told to change myself. Toes are now firmly dug in.

This post has been thoroughly random and nowhere near my usual coherence; I apologise. Next time will be better.

Jobhunting and other things

Getting new ideas is, as usual, not an issue for me. They hit me in the middle of the night, on the drive to work, or with a snippet of overheard conversation.

Writing, now that’s a challenge. There’s the time required, the equipment required, and the motivation required to do it. All three coinciding is an occurrence of the frequency of Halley’s┬áComet. In order to combat this, I have tried keeping a notebook around at all times, but it’s not especially helpful. Tackling motivation is easy – all I have to do is remind myself of what I could achieve if I could only give up the day job. That has become highly motivational in recent weeks.┬áThe single most difficult thing is time – I drive to and from work, so I can’t do it then. I cook dinner and go swimming in my lunch break, so I can’t do it then. At weekends I need a rest from the hassle of my job, so I rarely find the time to do it then. What can I do?

Schedule it. I don’t mean put it in the calendar – I mean agree on a place and a regular time and go outside of my house and write at my destination. I’m thinking of becoming a pub-goer for this reason.

Not that I have the money. As I frequently whine, I don’t earn enough of it to put enough away to save. This has the nasty side-effect of keeping me in a job that isn’t going anywhere, as well as stagnating my skills.

The┬ádilemma is easily solved; get a progressive, better-paid job. But here’s the catch: I haven’t got the qualifications or experience to gain the relevant experience in the fields I’m actually good at.

I applied for a graduate job at the weekend, neglecting to mention that I┬ádidn’t have a degree. I’m hoping for actual feedback, and not just ‘you were insufficiently qualified’. It will inform future forays into trying to get the kind of job I actually want, ├á la Bridget Jones. Then again, I could just be deluding myself that I’m more intelligent than my qualifications show. As a rule, within one meeting most people have decided that I’m smart.

The Plan Comes Together

My colleague has given his notice at work, after only two weeks of jobhunting. I’m happy for him, but also sad that I’m not in the same kind of demand. Luckily, several things have gone my way this week, though one or two things haven’t.

I have signed up for a gym, with pool, and have visited it twice. I have written several thousand words on a story without having intended to do so, and I have finally thrown off the bug that has gripped me for two weeks. On the other hand, I’ve been stuck with getting swimming lessons for my little horror.

The gym first – I’ve never been a member before, and I was frankly amazed at the wealth of things on offer. It’s quite a substantial monthly amount, but as long as I go every day as I’ve mentally vowed to do, it’s easily worth the money. The couple of swims I’ve taken were an excellent starter – I felt absolutely amazing afterwards, and I could feel my heart rate increasing from the first.

I’ve signed up for a class on Monday, my first taste of Spin. If it doesn’t kill me, I’ll probably feel wretched afterwards, but everything I’ve been told says that I will eventually notice an improvement. In addition to this, I’m hoping to get more familiar with some of the actual gym equipment, like the cycling machines.

The writing is undoubtedly my favourite thing about this week. I was typing up something I’d handwritten, moving from one story into another, and the writing just kept coming. I ended up doing more than 5000 words in one evening – a massive achievement for me.

Throwing off the bug had an immediate effect at work, and my energy has mostly come back as well. Now if only I can sort out the problem with my contacts, I’ll be golden!

Coding is going apace, though at times it’s more of a crawl. I really need some kind of mid-level tutorial, rather than the beginner ones which seem to be the only thing available. I am already very well-versed in what variables, arrays and for loops are, thank you very much. What I really want at the moment is to divine the PHP I need to save a file from my litte JS word counter.

Then there’s the incredibly and unexpectedly difficult task of sourcing swimming lessons for the five-year-old. No-one seems to have any spaces except where they want to charge about ┬ú10 per lesson – utterly ridiculous. I’m still waiting to hear back from some people, but it’s not looking good. I have a sneaky feeling I’ll either be signing him up for something outside of Derby or waiting ’til after Christmas – both of which are dim prospects. In the meantime, I’ll just keep taking him to the pool at my gym, and hope he doesn’t get too bored.

Though he did suddenly do the breaststroke, so maybe he’ll learn what he needs the old fashioned way – by watching his parents.

Blood Sugar (and other complaints)

I’m having a lot of trouble lately regulating my blood sugar – I get hot dizzy spells every couple of hours, which reminds me I need some more. How do I sort this out? I can’t very well sit there munching on sweets all day. Despite Ryan’s blanket hatred for any kind of starch when trying to lose weight, I’m pretty sure keeping complex carbs in my diet is the best choice. However, having leftovers for lunch, as I’m doing to save money (I have nowhere near as much as I should thanks to a couple of lean months), is not conducive to this. Nor is trying to cut back on portion sizes, as it tends not to be the meat or veg which gets axed.

Whether I figure this out or not, I do┬áneed to get looked at again, as I’ve noticed more pain than expected whenever I bump into something, which happens a lot – I am the clumsiest person I know, by a long way, and always have been. It used to be about a second of pain and gone – I would quite literally forget all about it and then wonder where the bruise/scratch/cut had come from several days later. Nowadays, I’m debilitated for several seconds, and then it takes ages to fade away. There does seem to be an upside though – I feel a lot more pain, but there are a lot fewer bruises/scratches/cuts. Helpful when I ding my leg every time I climb onto my bed as there isn’t room to walk around. Less helpful when I accidentally brush against the door frame and can’t continue because it feels like it’s getting cut off.

Then there’s my hearing. I’m not sure whether I need to get it checked by a specialist or if the doctor can do it, but either way when I have to ask my five-year-old to look directly at me when speaking it’s time to give in. I’ve already abandoned earphones in hopes of an improvement, but I actually feel deafer than I did before.

Another complaint is that contact lenses seem to have lost the fight with my eyeballs – I’ve been wearing them for eleven years now and only twelve months ago did I become unable to wear them for the whole thirty days. My eyes get drier faster, and the picture the optician took was pretty scary at my last check. They keep calling me back at six-month intervals, and it used to annoy me, but now I’m seriously considering going for glasses full-time.

Add to this with the advent of colder weather a general flight of blood from my extremities and the accompanying nerve tingling, along with the ever-more frequent shaking of my fingers. Not happy.

Finally, there’s my continued loss of cognitive function. I used to be able to pick things up quickly and remember details with ease, and some of the drop in that can be attributed to no longer being a teenager, but the rest can’t. I find it incredibly difficult to revise concepts I used to know well – such as earlier this week when I tried to do some differentiation and couldn’t follow at all. It’s increasingly difficult to remember what my other half has said to me, which is at best irritating and at worst hurtful. I can’t just chalk everything up to blonde moments, not when I’m headachey and dizzy from the flu-like thing that brought me down last week.

I’m beginning to get a bit scared.