When I decided to plunge naively into attempted professional authordom, I had originally intended to write a weekly blog to report my progress.
However, it is only now, at the end of week three that I’ve found the time and the energy for the second edition. It’s been an unexpectedly challenging fortnight and last week was such a disappointing one that I was, quite frankly, ashamed to dwell on my lack of productivity.
In my defence, after a reasonable first week of preparation, procrastination, and a small amount of progress, week two was dominated by long covid, which came at me hard.
At some point I intend to write more specifically about my ongoing post-acute covid-19 syndrome, but I’m trying very hard at present not to be defined by it. It’s fair to say that I lost at least two full days in a haze of fatigue and migraines. Although triggers are hard to define, I wonder if the consistent activity of the days prior might have been a factor. Learn to ‘manage your energy envelope’ the chronic fatigue guides say, which is fine until you realise you left your envelope in your pocket and now it’s been through the wash and is not the size or shape you expected.
In any case, my mission to function as a professional novelist (or indeed any line of work in the future) has to be rooted in a good work ethic irrespective of health issues. I had set myself reasonable, regular goals to account for this, with a minimum of two hours each weekday morning set aside to write. This was intended to give me a bit of structure without ‘kicking the arse out of it’. Of course, if I’m feeling okay after the two hours and I’ve got some flow, then I’ll crack on.
This worked well for the first few days, but I think perhaps alongside other domestic duties even that paltry amount became impossible to achieve by the second Wednesday, during which I mostly slept. The same occurred on the Friday. The other days were also not great but some ground was covered.
By the weekend, this left me quite despondent, wondering if I was doomed to failure. But I’m glad to say this week I rallied.
I made sure I went to bed early, stayed well hydrated, and threw caution to the wind with my caffeine intake (I’d previously kicked my habit some months before, partly motivated by the suggestion that it can have a negative impact on histamine processing which is key to autoimmune responses and possibly long covid). The migraines still came frequently but were manageable, and the fatigue was less pronounced.
So I went and finished Act One!
Over the course of this week, I wrote practically all of chapter six, a 7,400 word monster of a chapter (AKA: a full Wagar) which I’m mostly quite pleased with (I’m also concerned about narrative bloat, my growing propensity for run-on sentences, and an overuse of parenthetical asides like this one, but never mind that for now).
It was a much needed win and a big milestone – effectively one third of the planned first draft is now complete and it feels quite tight: I’ve established characters, hit the necessary worldbuilding marks, driven the plot forward and brought it all together to what I hope is a suspenseful what-happens-next crescendo. I’ll probably reread it and decide that it’s actually shite, but for now I feel like I’m onto something.
And that wasn’t even the best thing concerning the book that happened this week. I can’t disclose too much, suffice to say that some incredibly important support and a cherished endorsement of what I hope to achieve has really cemented my resolve to see this to fruition.
Now for a (hopefully) restful weekend and another good week to follow.
Thanks for reading.
[Image courtesy of The Telegraph]