Not a diet update

Because I am not back on the diet yet. I did weigh myself as usual and I have gained 1.3kg (2.8 pounds). Some of it will be fluid but some of it is bound to be fat.

I’m not on the diet because I have failed at step one of any good eating plan. The shopping. If you don’t have enough of the right food in the house then you end up eating the wrong food or the right foods in the wrong combinations.

I can’t fix the shopping problem because we are too broke this week. It will be at least a week and a half before I can stock up on the right foods.

My visit to the nurse this week also ended in failure. I don’t have the compression garments I need for my lipoedema because the manufacturer didn’t make them. There is clearly some whole big thing going on there but I can’t work out what it is and I find it hilarious that mine was the only order that didn’t get made.

I ordered some compression leggings from a company that makes gym wear and I’m wearing them right now. They’re comfortable enough and I can do my weight training in them. They even look ok, though obviously not on me. Now I just have to work out how to stop feeling guilty for spending money on them.

Advertisements

New year, same old me

But improving every day in tiny increments.

I don’t believe in new year resolutions. Picking some arbitrary, external marker as the starting point for a new beginning is just setting yourself up to fail. But it does seem like a good time to take stock of my ongoing attempts to be less crappy and more not crappy.

In April of last year I decided to start blogging 3 times a week and for the most part I’ve succeeded. There seem to be more people reading the blog but I can’t tell if that’s down to the regular posts or to the content of the posts themselves.

Since September I’ve been trying to manage my lipoedema. I’ve been seeking treatment via compression but although I the nurse ordered compression garments they haven’t arrived. When this blog post goes live I shall be on my way to an appointment with the nurse to find out what’s up with that. I’ve been following a diet to reduce the amount of non lipoedema fat. I’ve been trying to exercise because exercise is, on the whole, a good thing. I’ve lost 12.8 kg so far (just over 28 pounds or 2 stone).

I decided to get back into weight training and to that end I’ve been assembling the right equipment. I got a squat rack for Christmas from my mother-in-law and used the money from my father-in-law’s gift to buy a bench, a 5 ft barbell and two dumbells. Putting the squat stand and the bench together took much longer than I had hoped. It was exhausting and that doesn’t bode well for my exercise plans. However it’s all sorted now and I have started training. So far I’m just using the empty bar and working on my form. Squatting with a heavy bar and poor form is a great way to injure yourself.

In early December I decided to try trimming my undercut at home. My other half very quickly decided that using his beard trimmer to do that was unacceptable and bought me a hair clipper for Christmas. That seems to be working. It means that I don’t have to phone the hairdresser unless I want the top trimmed so it’s easier to look neat. In the long run we might even save money.

I read somewhere, I don’t remember where, that some writers swear by a daily practice of handwriting three pages of whatever you feel like first thing in the morning. The morning bit is potentially a problem but I’ve started trying to keep to a better daily schedule. Since I started the daily journaling practice I’ve written 10 out of 11 days. It’s too early to tell if it’s doing any good. So far it has mainly resulted in me begin forced to confront how bad my handwriting and spelling have got over the last few years.

I am continuing to try to get better organised in every respect but it’s so very hard. My ADHD seems to make sticking to a schedule far more difficult than it should be but also really important. It’s very hard to pick a solid marker of success or track improvement. So it’s a constant fight that never brings any reward but the moment you give up everything will probably go to hell.

So that’s where things are at the moment. I’m trying to be better in a lot of ways. Some of them seem to be working. Some of them might work but I don’t know yet. Some of the things that I’m doing are just so that I can feel like I’m doing something. But hey, you’ve got to do something with your time.

Review – Hell Holes: What Lurks Below

As part of my never ending search for stuff to blog about and new ways to insult Dan Brown I have decided to start posting more book reviews. The first one of the year is right here.

I have a fondness for stories in which it is revealed that the world is not as it seems. This is one of those. If you also like those kinds of stories then you will probably like this one.

There’s a touch of Matthew Reilly about it but with a Dan Brown style hero/narrator and a Michael Crichton level of research. People who know me might think that the mention of Dan Brown is a thinly veiled insult but it really isn’t. Dan Brown is very good at some of the things he does and Donald G Firesmith manages to emulate those while avoiding the inept pop culture references, laughable research and lazy sentence structure that make me want to smack Dan Brown upside the head.

You might want to have book 2 handy because the cliffhanger ending is likely to have you hurling you e-reader across the room and cursing the author’s name. But, you know, in the good way.

Oh look, a handy link.

//ws-eu.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=GB&source=ss&ref=as_ss_li_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=kingoftheblin-21&marketplace=amazon&region=GB&placement=B012IUE14U&asins=B012IUE14U&linkId=c10bf81dced434eb5bdd2793ba20087e&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true

Diet Update Xmas Special

Since dropping the diet for the festive season I’ve lost 0.5kg (roughly a pound). But that’s oversimplifying things a bit.

I’ve weighed myself 3 times since the last update. At the first one I’d put on 3kg (just over 6 and a half pounds, nearly half a stone). I nearly panicked and went back on the diet but we’d already bought the Christmas food. And the next day my period started. I concluded that the weight gain was mostly down to fluid.

The next time I got on the scales I’d lost the 3kg and was back to exactly the same weight. So presumably it was fluid.

The third time I’d lost the previously mentioned 0.5kg. That’s probably also fluid. It’s unlikely to be fat and I hope it’s not muscle because I have been about as active as I was before Christmas.

Today I’m back to actively tracking food and I intend to ease back into restricting first the carbohydrates and then the calories. I also intend to actually start weight training. I should have started already but putting together the squat stand and the bench is looking like a two person job and my beloved is currently laid low by a cold.

A question for my followers

I’ve noticed that people actually read this blog. Some of you, judging by comments on Twitter and Facebook and from the likes on the posts, read it regularly. Why?

The question is not triggered by false modesty and I’m not exactly fishing for compliments. This is my round-about way of getting you lot to do my job for me. I want to do a review of this blog in 2017 and that means finding the best posts. Since I am a terrible judge of my own writing and you people seem to like at least some of it I’m delegating the job of picking the best.

Are you here because of Spoonie posts, or Zeppelin forecasts, or because I am occasionally funny about writing and politics? If there was a post you particularly liked, or stuck in your mind, or found useful then please let me know what it was. If you’ve got any requests for 2018 then you can tell me those too.

Maybe I’m not a writer?

Today I got a report from a beta reader about the opening of the novel that I’ve been querying and it’s making me wonder if I really am deluded about being a writer.

There’s a grammar problem right at the beginning that’s bad enough to drive off an agent and I can’t see it even now that it’s been pointed out. Also it’s apparently unclear who kills who. Which is a huge problem. If I can’t make that sort of thing obvious then what hope do I have for the more complicated and nuanced stuff.

I don’t know how to fix any of this. I don’t know how to build the skills necessary to fix it. I don’t even know if I should fix it.

I have so few spoons on any given day. Maybe I should stop wasting them on something that I have so little aptitude for. My house is a mess. My body is a wreck. Maybe I should be concentrating on those instead. But what’s the point of a tidier house and a slightly less fucked body if I’m not making or doing anything?

Maybe I’m overreacting. Maybe I’ll look at the comments tomorrow and I’ll know how to fix it. Maybe the beta reader is wrong about some of it.

Maybe. But it seems much more likely that I just suck at writing. I suck at most things so it shouldn’t be a surprise that I suck at this too.

Getting back on the horse.

Yesterday I posted about my latest rejection from an agent. It never gets any less painful but I did manage to query the next agent on the list before the day was out.

I don’t know how many more times I can manage to query. There is a finite number of agents in the world and eventually I will run out. I’m also running out of fucks to give and it’s starting show in my query letters. Is there any point in sending a query if the letter is only going to piss off the person reading it.

The latest submission included the following paragraph:

You’d probably like working with me. I’m funny, hard working and resilient. Also my life is just so horrifically awful that it will make you feel great about your own life in comparison. I know this isn’t the sort of thing I should put in a covering letter but this way I can blame your inevitable form rejection on my terrible letter and not on the novel. Which is great.

That’s not going to help but I I no longer believe that there’s any point in trying to get an agent. I’m just doing it because that’s the path I’m on. I’m querying the next agent on the list because I don’t know what else to do.

I’m trying to change course. It feels like trying to turn a supertanker against a strong current and a high wind. I’ve been working on another novel so that I can start querying that but I’m starting to feel like that’s pointless too. I’m trying to get up the enthusiasm for the move to self publishing. Once I’ve found the enthusiasm I’ll have to find the money.

Anyone need a kidney?

Rejection yet again

And so we close out the year with another email from an agent who isn’t passionate enough about my novel to represent it. More than a year of querying and I haven’t even got a detailed rejection yet.

I know that there are famous writers who got rejected a lot before they got their first agent/publisher.  I also know that there are a lot of deluded people sending terrible novels to every agent and publisher on the planet and wondering why no-one is backing a dump truck full of money up to their house to publish it. It’s getting harder to believe that I’m in group one and not group two.

From here I think there are three options. Keep querying this novel in the hope that further down the list there might be an agent who’d be interested. Give up on this novel for now, finish something else and query that. Give up on traditional publishing and self publish it.

There are problems with each of these options. I’ve already queried most, maybe all, of the agents who’d actually be interested in such a weird novel. It’s the first in a series and most of my other novels are in the same story universe. If I can’t interest people in the first one they’re unlikely to care about the rest. I really don’t want to self publish and once I’ve self published the first in a series I’m unlikely to find representation for the rest unless the first one is a huge success. I don’t have the resources to ensure that success.

Am I nuts? Could it be that I’m just not very good at writing? Are my novels bad? Have I been deceiving myself? How do you know if your novel is bad?

Art and work and money

I am very bad at turning work into money. It’s a terrible flaw for anyone but it’s particularly bad for someone who has as much trouble getting any work done as I do. I’d say it was a problem with turning art into money but it really does apply to all the work I’ve ever done. It’s just that it’s even harder with art.

It feels impossible but I know that it’s not. There are people who make money from art. A few of them make a lot, some of them make a living and there’s a lot of people who make something.

I’ve been writing novels for more than a decade and writing has been my main focus for two years and I have made precisely fuck all. I don’t even feel any closer to making money. At least it’s not costing me very much. I spent about six years making jewellery and while I did sell some of it I’m pretty sure that I never actually turned a profit. I probably made a loss. I spent more than 10 years painting and I never sold anything to anyone I wasn’t related to.

I have to admit that I was never much of a painter. I tried hard but I wasn’t very good. I was much better at making jewellery but my physical limitations didn’t help and I was too poor to afford the best quality materials.

I am good at writing. There are no financial or physical limitations keeping me from success. But somehow I still can’t seem to make any money. I’m not saying there’s no money to be made. I’m saying that I don’t have an entrepreneurial bone in my body.

I’ve said in the past that I didn’t want to self publish and I’ll reiterate that it’s not because I think there’s something wrong with self publishing. It’s because I don’t want to spend time that I could be writing on all the other stuff that goes with self publishing. I want to be a writer I don’t want to run a business. Traditional publishing is an effective way to subcontract all the work involved with turning a manuscript into a book without having to pay people up front. Self publishing means either doing it all yourself, or paying people, or guilting people into doing it for ‘exposure’ but fuck that noise.

I’ve looked into a Patreon to support this blog and thought about setting up a Kickstarter so I can publish my first novel but I don’t think I have enough followers to make either work. And I am shitty at self promotion.

So here’s to another year of writing for free in the hope that I’ll learn the alchemy of popularity that turns art into gold.

Diet Update 15

This will probably be the last diet update of 2017. This week I lost 0.8kg which is just over a pound and a half. That’s pretty good given that for the last two days I’ve shifted from weight loss eating to weight maintenance eating. I plan to stay in maintenance mode till the new year.

The maintenance version of my eating plan has more calories and less focus on restricting carbohydrates but is still lower carb than I would normally eat and I’m still tracking all food. I will also be consuming alcohol which is something I’ve barely done since September. Booze is high in calories and drunk people make poor food choices which is why I’ve been avoiding it. I’m not going to go overboard though. We’ve already bought in all the drink we’ll have between now and the new year.

My total weight loss for the year now stands at 12.3 kg (27 pounds or just a pound short of 2 stone). That’s pretty good. I mean you can’t really see it except for in my face and hands. I had hoped that by now I’d be slightly slimmer round the middle since my waist is one of the places that there shouldn’t be Lipoedema fat but so far no luck.

I intend to start my exercise plan between Christmas and the New Year. Wish me luck.