In many ways, February was an odd month. Looking back I think my diagnosis at the end of January really affected me. It’s not that anything really changed. If anything my health has got better rather than worse over the last few years. But I still can’t eat beef without piling on a couple of pounds over the next 48 hours, my stomach often feels like I swallowed glass, my body sweats unevenly and once every 8 months I just feel completely fatigued.
Over the past 4 years I’ve got used to these quirks. I’ve worked round them and in many cases taken personal measures to improve my situation.
But now it has a name and can be anywhere on a scale from superficial to life-threatening, I’ve found it bothering more. Where on the scale am I? They think I’m at the superficial end, but what if test results suggest I’m not (and there’s evidence from my symptoms that I might be higher than just superficial. On the flip-side I’ve had those symptoms for years and my health has not deteriorated).
Not knowing kinda threw me for a loop in February. I’m pleased how I channelled that worry. I probably drank more than usual (but then I’m not a great drinker at the best of times so drinking more isn’t a lot) but I didn’t go completely off the rails. I tried to let my hair down a little and relax. It probably kept me sane this past month.
As a result, I have to be honest and think my focus wasn’t as good as it could have been. I suffered a bout of fatigue as well. I had this about 8 months ago and I don’t know if it’s just caused by stress or if it’s illness related. Interestingly, I don’t get this when it’s writing stress related (which is very gratifying given how I would like to see my future). I got a lot done in February, but not as much as I thought I was capable of. I’ve been kind to myself whilst also being a bit frustrated. Understandable given the circumstances. I still wrote 35,000 words I keep reminding myself.
As a result I’ve yet to finish this draft which is fine as Caitlin had a lot of work on and got delayed with my editorial comments. So it’s sort of worked out.
February really was the big push of my social media. I’d only written 9 issues of The Climb back then. I’m not sure it’s found its feet even yet, but I am more convinced than I was back then that this is the right thing to do. And whereas I think people were a little suspicious of it at the start, I think they are warming to the idea. The real benefit won’t be seen for a couple of years, and whilst that’s a daunting thought, I feel like I’m laying the foundations for something major down the line.
Keeping positive while remaining realistic about how I’ve been feeling has been a challenge this past month. I’m not sure I always managed the level of positivity I wanted, but it’s been a tough month so I’ll be easy on myself.
Last month I said I’d like to grow my snapchat… well… let’s just say it’s proved tough. It’s not where the fantasy readership currently is and I understand that. I have a few ideas to grow it but I always knew this would take a long time. Instagram on the other hand is seeing slow but steady success. I’m very happy how that’s going. I’ve tried to make sure that Twitter and Facebook aren’t just blog post notifications and I’ve also set up a tumblr but I’m just planning to dabble with that one for a few months.
I said I needed to get my other writing project synopsises and sample chapters sent to beta readers. I have sent some of my synopsises to beta readers and had feedback which I still need to go over. I still need to send the rest as well as the sample chapters.
In non-writing news, I had a swordfighting tournament in February and ended fourth. I’m really pleased with this. I do feel that even into the second month of changing my fighting style I’m seeing massive results. This is far sooner than I anticipated and I hope this continues. I really need to book for an international competition but everyone seems to be going to one when I’m going to America.
Storm Chase 2017 is also a go and I’ll be flying into Canada. I’m super-excited about this as I’ll feel qualified to call myself a ‘proper’ storm chaser after this. Not that being a ‘proper’ storm chaser is any different to being a ‘proper’ writer… but still… I feel like I’m graduating this year.
In March I need to make sure that all the things I’m doing don’t push work on the novel to the background. Getting that draft done needs to be a priority.
I’d like to progress more with getting the other writing projects sent to Caitlin, even if it’s just getting the sample chapters done of the synopsises I’ve sent to betas. This always seems a smaller job than it really is.
I’d also like to progress the short story project I want to do [NOTE: This has now been started as Climb the Sky] and think I can do this without impacting on writing time.
I think the main takeaway from this past month is that life tried to throw a spanner in the works and all it did was slow me down. Last year this would have fully derailed me, and whilst I would have liked for it to have had no impact on my output whatsoever, I still managed significant progress.
Jump aboard my daily progress from 1st March with The Climb #39
The Year of the Offensive: January