Tuesday 21st March 2017

I felt a little better today, and I think I’ve pinpointed the cause.
Over the last few months, I’ve added caffeine back into my diet.  This has usually come in the form of diet cokes or diet energy drinks.  Considering I used to drink at least a 2 litre bottle of diet coke in a day, a small bottle or can every day or so didn’t seem too much of an issue.  But it seems that the artificial sweeteners do in fact trigger my stomach.  I’ve done a few experiments over the last few days and found that when I eliminate them, I feel a lot better.
Whilst I suspect that this cold I’ve been suffering with over the last week has played its part, there’s no doubt that certain foods seem to cause me issues.
On the plus side, they are not foods I regularly eat or drink.  I might need to find an alternative source of caffeine.  Coffee was suggested to me but I always find it too bitter, so I’m open to suggestions.
I checked the forecast before going into town this afternoon and it showed as cloudy but no rain.  I was therefore a little surprised when I stepped outside and found it to be raining.  No matter, I thought, I don’t mind light rain.  However, it got much heavier then started to light hail  (Fun Fact: It’s known as graupel).  I also noted I gone out in the wrong shoes and so I turned around, went home and got the car in to town (by which time the rain had stopped).
I played a bit of Star Wars The Old Republic.  A large part of this was to try and relax the stomach after going into town.
I went to the gym this evening and was pleased that despite not thinking I’d have the energy for it, I had a decent session.  No records broken, but it wasn’t like last week where I felt so weak I had to drop the weights.  I matched my squats and bench press records fairly comfortably.
I did a bit of shopping before heading home and I think I might be a shoplifter!  They had no avocados but I picked myself up a couple of bottles of drink.  Yet despite scanning both and putting them on the bagging area where they measure weight, I only got charged for one.  I feel a little guilty, but at the same time I’m still pissed at them for the lack of avocados.
A couple of days ago I was talking to some Swordfighting people on Facebook about our various personal bests when it came to lifting weights.  One friend said there was already a group called the Badass Brigade.  I jokingly replied it couldn’t be that badass if I wasn’t part of it.   Today I got invited into it.  So I’m now officially badass!
I find it quite amusing that a year ago I wouldn’t be considered one of the fittest in the swordfighting / HEMA community.  But the last year, despite everything else going on, has seen a massive personal transformation to the extent that people make more positive comment about my 3 stone drop in the last year, than the 10 stone drop a few years back.
I think 12 year old me would think 44 year old me to be the coolest thing ever:  fights with swords, lifts weights, chases tornadoes and publishes books.  Even though there’s definitely been health challenges over the last 12 months I’m really proud of myself for what I’ve accomplished.  Just goes to show what you can do when you knuckle down and work.
And I ain’t finished yet.  I’ve gained a bit of weight since Xmas but mostly this is due to being ill.  I’m on top of it and just need to push myself that little bit more.  My body fat has stayed around the same but I do want to drop it further.
And talking about Storm chasing, my 2017 trip further shaped up tonight as we decided on the car we’re hiring for our trip.  A lot of the organisation is being done out in Canada and out of guilt of not really being able to do much back here, I make sure that any monies needed towards deposits, etc. get paid promptly.
A friend also posted a great video of the Dodge City chase from last year.  I even make a little cameo (I am in shot with the tornado in the background).  I’ve posted a link to the video in Twitter and there should be a post going live on my Facebook this evening,
The season seems like it’s about to start.  The various models are starting to show the conditions ripening for severe weather and whilst they do seem to be lessening as they draw close, I take it as a sign that the season is about to get underway.  I can’t wait to get out there and start chasing.  I’m so excited about this year.
Did a little work on the novel and the trainwreck chapter tonight.  I managed to get the chapter finished.  Let’s be clear… I hate it.  It has no structure, it’s too dialogue heavy, I don’t think it drives any of the characters forward, and even when it tries, it’s forced.  As far as chapters go, it’s a monumental piece of crap.
Yet I’m happy it’s done.
If the agenting process has taught me anything over the last 18 months it’s to love rewriting.  Whilst it can sometimes feel like trying to change the engine on a plane at 60,000 ft, it’s shown me that anything can be fixed.  In the past a bad chapter would throw me for weeks.  It might even tempt me to go back and start revising the whole novel again.
In truth, this can be fixed.  Having something bad, will give me some clarity to know what I do want.  With a bit of distance I’ll be able to come back to this and see what the chapter is really about.  In that I mean, where the focus of it is.  Yes, all the same things need to happen, but revision will allow me tighten it up, and let a single thread or theme really drive the narrative.
The trick with chapters like this is to love that they suck.  A sucky chapter is miles better than no chapter.  I’ve heard many people say it but it’s taken years for me to reach that conclusion myself.  I think that’s because before I started learning how to rewrite, I couldn’t see anything of worth in a crappy chapter.  Now, even if it is completely wrong, I now know not what to do.
In truth, it’s amazing how much can be saved.  It might not be easy work to change a shitty chapter to a sparkling one, but that doesn’t always mean throwing everything out and starting again.
With the chapter finished, I did some prep work on the next one.    I am wondering if this last chapter sucked because I rushed the prep a bit.  I’ve got some long journeys to make tomorrow and so I might put a bit of thought into the new chapter on the drive with a view to making it sparkle.  After all, I thought about the chase scene for ages before writing it (and I think I planned it a bit better) and look how well that turned out.
So the focus for tomorrow is to work on the plan a little more and see if a bit more prep work leads to a better first draft.
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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