Thursday 2nd February 2017

Today has been a day of IT challenges.
The day job has been a little busy today and I needed to try and get a load done before I headed into town this afternoon.  Technically, this should have been an easy job.  That is unless the world of corporate IT decides not to play ball.  First I couldn’t access the network on either of the VPNs I use and was in the process of setting up a third connection when it came back online.  Then, the network share I needed to do the work had disappeared and it took a call to support to discover that it had been moved to another location.
By the time I actually got to do the work I was pretty much ready to throw the laptop through a window… or get some practise with my nice new mace!  Luckily the actual work itself proved to be a lot easier than I’d expected or I would have probably given myself an aneurism.
This afternoon, I got to have a good talk about my health plans for 2017.  Because I’m teaching swordfighting rather than traininf I’m not getting as much physical exercise as I was a couple of weeks ago.  Yet, whilst my weight is going down at a very sensible level (i.e. a 1lb or so a week rather than, as has happened in the past, losing 6lb in a day), my body fat has dropped 2% since Xmas.  I’ve also changed my gym workout.  Up until last week I’ve been trying to train burst speed, which means that I’ve been doing 8 minutes on the cross trainer, bursting for 30 seconds at the 3 min, 5 min and 7.5 min mark.  However, a muscle injury forced me to slow it down and I found that I had more energy for the rest of my workout.
So the plan (at least for the next couple of weeks) is to keep the diet pretty constant, try and fit in another gym session during the week where I do some pure cardio, and see if the progression continues.  I feel like I’m putting on a spurtof muscle, which is good, because following the hospital visit last week, I need to do that to fill out a few areas of loose skin from my dramatic weight loss.  I’ve already seen benefits of putting muscle on around my thighs and biceps (goodbye bingo wings).
Given that the doctors have now diagnosed at least one new condition, I feel like the odd things that my body does (like boom and bust on weight for no good reason) are close to being explained and things should begin to get easier.  After spending years trying to convince people that my issues with weight were not just a case of eating less calories (which was proved when it was discovered that I’d spent a couple of years so vastly undereating that I’d basically eaten my own triceps) it now looks like the mix of doctors, consultants, nutrition and exercise are all working together.
I still don’t have lower stomach abs yet though… so there’s still work to do  (and believe me as vain as it might sound, having spent most of your adult life trying to control your weight, abs are the ultimate goal).
This evening I had more technical issues.  I recently upgraded to Office 2016 from 2010.  I tend to use Word for articles and blog posts, but I also use Excel for managing my writing spreadsheet where I log what I wrote, for how long, and work out the words per hour.  What can I say, I also have stats on my weight and body fat stretching back nearly 4 years.  I’m a data nerd.
But for some reason this new Excel is super slow, to the point that adding 5 cells of new data is painful.   Worst of all, it crashed my PC.  Thank God for Scrivener’s autosave feature!  I did some internet searching and changed a few settings but I don’t think it’s really made a huge difference.  Gah!  Technology.
Equally frustrating has been the scene in this novel.  In the original half-draft I have a character perform some mutilation on two characters.  Without going into too much detail, this draft has changed it to a single character, which means the scene doesn’t work and I either have to change it or go back and put another red shirt in.
My quandry is really about trying to figure out what this scene is trying to do.  The mutilation is there to establish the threat of this character.  I think that element is important.  But I wonder if I’ve gone too far.  On one hand the mutilation is interesting , different and has purpose but on the other hand I wonder if it’s trying to shock a little too much.
This is one of those important little details I need to get right now.  Unlike issues I’ve had with the gang that can wait until the next draft, this scene sets the character up going forward.
And so I stop writing and spend a lot of time thinking about this character and what I’m trying to do.  Is adding an element of horror the right thing for this book, or would it be better suited to a later book?  If I remove the horror, does it lessen this character and the novel?  Or are there other ways to do it that work better?
I’m sure this is going to be rolling over in my mind for the next 24 hours.  Perhaps I’ll get an early(ish) night for a change and see if I get any clarity in the morning.
If you want to follow more of my journey, then be sure to check me on my social channels.  Likewise, if you’d like me to expand on any point mentioned above, please say so in the comments.
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