July 31

Around July my writing tends to become a bit gluggy, my process a tad unfocused. The clear and definite goals from January have broken down, targets have been missed, desires is waning, enthusiasm is flagging. And lo! it is that time of year, and it has come to pass.

The effect was intensified earlier this week when I sat to look at my novel and discovered I can’t find the last eighteen thousand words. Yup, somehow I’ve lost half of what was written. I’ve lost the pirate base scene (well, most of it); all of the scene with the bowser, the spy, and the missile attack; the approach to, arrival at, and descent to Mars is lost; everything that happens on Mars is gone. Curses.

Normally I keep several back-ups, indeed after a writing hiatus (which my novel had been on), I tend to start a new file and go from there in the new section, importing the previously written as a single chunk that can be referred to as needed. I have the previous folders for such but am unable to locate the last one.

Very, very, frustrating.

So I gave myself the rest of the month off.

The options were: 1) Scream; 2) Delete everything (and throw the computer out the window);  3) Hate write the scenes again; 4) Forget the whole thing and start something new.

I chose 1 & 5.

5) Goof off for a few days, then restart on August 1.

After all, I know the bones of the scenes that were lost, and it gives me a good focus for August. I’m even going back to writing a little every day and using a separate page for each day’s writing. If I break on through with this I may even get the damned draft finished. And that was a primary goal for this year.

So here’s to July, and the six months preceding, and here’s to August and the four months to follow. May they be productive, successful, and fun.

Another thing that starts in August is my road to cycling 100-miles. According to Strava, I haven’t registered a ride since December – and that was only about 4-miles. Now, I love cycling. There’s something about the movement that really works for me. And I’ve done 100-mile+ rides before. One was a loop from Crieff, Lochearnhead, Loch Tay, Perth, Crieff. The other was Crieff, Perth, Inverness. Of course, both of those were nearly a decade ago, and I didn’t have ME. But I’m not planning on jumping on my bike and trying to hammer out the miles next week. There’s a training plan I intend to follow and the aim is next years Ride London mass event which takes you round the majority of the route used in the 2012 Olympic road race. The ballot for entries opens August 6th. If I don’t get in on the open ballot then I will need to apply to one of the linked charities for a space. I hope to get in on the open ballot as I’d like to raise money for EDS-UK. Ehlers-Danlos is the condition my wife has.

Other than that, it’s a lovely sunny day. I’m going to get some washing on the line, measure the space that we intend to build cupboards in, and reformat my daughters old iPad to sell on eBay.

July 18

It’s two weeks since I de-twittered. What a strange couple of weeks. I’ve read several articles about social media’s addictiveness, how it molds its users, changing their identity.

Of course, everyone believes it doesn’t happen to them. Same way no-one believes advertising is effective in their case. This, of course, is not true. If advertising was ineffective companies would not pour millions into promoting, or having specialist companies promote, their products. The truth is we are all affected by the things we interact with, whether we realise it, accept it, it or not. And our personality, as well as our level of interaction, determines to what extent we are affected.

For me, social media is not a healthy thing to be around or to become addicted to. Having removed it I feel the urges to respond to news or snippets in the way my brain has become used to, that snippy, hopefully witty, or insightful epithet or rejoinder. What I’ve realised is how limiting that is to the overall thought process. Having flashed a response and communicated it to the world the matter was sidelined, no further thought or consideration. Now I find myself taking longer to think about a story, about its ramifications and potential impact. So that’s all good.

On the writing front I’m part way through revision of a 1k word story written for the Codex Flash – Saviour of the Universe 2018 competition. No details, as we write under pseudonyms during the competition period. However, From a base story of just under one thousand words, I’m up to about 1700. I need to finish it asap – the next round starts on Friday.

Also, I’m still mid-story with my return to the cycle of US state stories. Tennessee is the target of the tale and I have the full story arc sketched out. It should have been written by now, but holidays and the competition above have got in the way. Still, it’s good to have things bubbling away.

My ME is playing havoc with my sleep patterns at the moment. A few hours here, some overnight, a couple in the afternoon. I’m not sure if it’s been amplified by the muggy evenings, but it’s frustrating.

With regard to the weather, how great is this heat? So delicious!

July 4

I got rid of Facebook a while ago, twitter as well. I remained away from Facebook but drifted back to twitter. I’m leaving again.

It’s a terrific tool and some people work it really well. For me, it’s mainly a distraction, a time-stealer that I allow to freely access my horde of daily minutes – to my detriment. Thus, I’m departing it again.

I will not, however, be leaving Codex. This site continues to be invaluable for helping me persist with my writing. There are frequent writing challenges, numerous writers at all levels of expertise and knowledge. It is a wonderful community and, if you meet the criteria to join, I recommend coming aboard.

As we’re past the halfway point of the year I took look at my statistics for the year. I’ve made 72 submissions of 32 different stories and poems to 56 different markets. I’ve had 3 acceptances.

One of the things I hope to do with my reclaimed time is more reading. I have a welter of books to start, or finish. I’m starting tonight.