Sunday 25th June 2017

I got out the house today.
Throughout the whole weekend of sitting at my computer and editing, I’ve been focused on rewarding myself with a good sparring session today.  Not only would that give me chance to socialise with people but it would also give me essential practise ahead of the Astolat tournament.
And given that (Surprise! Surprise!) sitting on my arse all day means that I put a few pounds on this weekend, the high intensity of sparring hopefully means I’ll have lost it by the time it comes to my weigh-in tomorrow.
This weekend’s sparring was in Reading which is the shortest drive for any of the weekend sparring venues.  It still takes me the best part of an hour and it didn’t help that I was running a bit late.  But I was one of the first to turn up and I didn’t let the time go to waste.
I felt I fought well today.  Whilst most fights were just a bit of fun or trying to help less experienced fighters, there were a couple where I really wanted to test my mettle.  In rapier & dagger I fought really well against a fighter I rate and who’s been doing good in competition.  Everyone has been drinking this weekend so it’s possible that he wasn’t at his best, so I’m sure this is giving me false confidence leading up to Astolat.
I also fought well with Sword & Buckler.  I still think I leave myself open a bit but I think 6 months of teaching has really helped me firm up my technique a bit.  At least I wasn’t stepping and cutting in two different tempos this week.
Of course, there’s about 4 weeks until Astolat and a lot could happen between now and then.  And then there’s always the obvious bad day.  I want not to think about it, just enjoy the tournament instead of putting expectations on myself.  But the truth is, after missing so many tournaments at the beginning of the year due to finances (due to storm chasing) or just not getting my arse in gear, I really want to do well at Astolat.
I keep telling myself that if I’m serious about it then I need to start getting really, really serious about the diet.  I’m being what most people would call strict, but with my metabolism I need to be super-strict if I have any hope of dropping the stone I feel I need to before the competition.
I think part of the trick is to ensure I break a sweat every day.  I notice that on days when I’m a bit static then I retain or gain weight whereas the ones where I up my heart-rate, even briefly, see me lose weight.
My problem is that because I know I can, I lose the drive to do.  My friend Nick always says that I go and be the best at something then get bored and move onto something else.  And I think there’s something very similar at play here.  I lose weight, know I can do it, and so then don’t feel the need to do that final stage.
I guess I need something more than tournament for motivation.
I came back to edits.  There were some complicated bits tonight so I found myself actually reading rather than just dropping into the edited sentences.  And when I did that, I started to retain more.  I’ve told myself to delete and then put stuff back in if I find bits missing or lacking when I come to do a read through.
I’ve made it to the ball scene where I’ve already done some changes which has made it even harder to edit but I seemed to be pretty good at making decisions on the more tricky pieces tonight.  As a result, I worked much later than I planned to.  I had some day job stuff to do so if I do oversleep tomorrow as a result it’s not really a problem.  They can see I was online until 2am
I’m now 300 pages through the manuscript and in the middle of the ball.  I’ve come across a few bits where the explanation was in a bit I took out as part of the setup a chapter before, but a lot of this is due to the fact that I’m now moving so many pieces around, a bit of the continuity on minor points is being lost.
The big bone of contention seems to be the friendship between Edward Cauldfield and the Prince.  My agent would like it explained but I’m intentionally keeping it vague.  This is one of the major points where we differ.  I think I’ve been pretty good at taking her advice so far, so I don’t feel too bad about sticking to my guns on this one.  I’m keeping it as it is, not out of an unwillingness to change, but because I think it makes the book weaker.
As she said to me, this is my book.  However, because it’s asking the question I’ve made the point of making it a bit more vague instead of giving clarity.
This is another thing where the final read-through will show me whether I’ve done the right thing or not.
And so I finish the weekend, feeling somewhat annoyed at my progress.  I’ve done a huge amount this weekend.  I think I may have even doubled the amount I’ve edited so far.  But I’m still not even half way through and the hardest parts are ahead.  I almost wish I had another day in my weekend.  That way I could actually have some fun and still try and make further progress.
I’ve got a busy few weekends coming in July so it’s unlikely that I’ll see another weekend as good as this one.  It has me wishing I could take some more holiday.  I reckon 2 weeks off just to edit might kill me but at least it would get it done!
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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