Thursday, September 04, 2008

Training Tonight

Tonight was 25 minutes jogging followed by 25 minutes biking. I'm starting to up the jogging by .1 miles per session to kick it up a little. I'm only jogging at 4.2 right now, and I think I can get that up to a proper running speed of 6 (::gulp::) in the... um... foreseeable future?

I've also realized I can't follow the original training schedule as written, which is apparently OK so long as I get the time in (hence the biking and jogging in one day). I was supposed to do biking yesterday and jogging today, but doing my Mon/Weds hour and a half training session at work and then *another* session after work is still a little much for me to think about.

As it is, I'm currently working out 6 days a week, one of which is weight training only (my Monday training session at work). I've been working really hard to get up to a 5-6 day a week workout schedule, so this makes me pretty happy. I'll be a little more joyful if I'm still at it in 6 weeks. It's the consistency that's key.

So far, my "mix it up with different cardio exercises and a set schedule" thing has worked really well. I'm at nearly three weeks, and I can notice a huge difference in strength, form, and endurance, particularly when it comes to the swimming. That's definately the event that I'll show the most improvement on.

And yes, for those curious, I have started training for a Triathlon Sprint. Whether or not I will actually run one (the events they do have are quite a hike from Dayton), has yet to be seen. However, in 12 weeks I should have the *ability* to run one if I can find one.

If nothing else, there should be a duathlon at Kettering Rec. Center near my house sometime in January/February, which is a running/swimming event.

One of the big problems I've always had with working out is that it seemed to have no end purpose, no end goal. I need structure and something I'm building toward. Seeing some of the folks at work, who run marathons and half marathons, and, of course, reading this blog made me wonder what I could physically do if I actually applied myself.

I've been working my whole life to be a writer, and yeah, it's fucking tough and it's still tough every day to keep at it, but it means I do have the drive to accomplish things. I've just never applied that drive to anything physical, because I always felt I just didn't have the body/stamina/inherent whateverness for it. Mainly, I just didn't have the drive to try it. I'd rather stay home and write.

Now, after that whole almost dying thing, I've become a lot more interested in what I can do with my life. And I know my time is not infinite. Better now than... possibly never. You just don't know what's going to happen around the next bend.

It's a part of the big projects I've been working on the last year and change. Being better at relationships, getting control of my finances, finding real strength and security in my life. These are really fucking tough things for me, and training for a triathlon is no less tough.

But these are attainable things. Yeah, it's hard fucking work. Just like writing, you have to do it every day, and you have to plow through the hard stuff, and people will make fun of you and some days you'll hate yourself, but if I can write books, why can't I do this? If I can travel around the world, why can't I run a Triathlon?

If I can keep on breathing, despite having a condition that will kill me within about 12-36 hours of ceasing my medication (being a zombie is my secret superpower!), really, I should be able to do anything.

Also, while I'm at it, I'm going to have a level 70 in WoW.

And learn Arabic.

But anyway, first: novel writing and event training.


Murder Your Darlings, or: Move it or Lose It

I hate cutting out cool characters who it turns out you just don't need for the book. One of my walk on characters from GW got a fairly lengthy scene in BD in a chapter that, well, doesn't really need her so much anymore (she doesn't show up later in the book, so doing a lengthy intro only to have her disappear seems silly). It's such as shame, really, because then all this has to go:

"Sometimes Nyx invited Husayn to drive up with them. Nyx had met Husayn at the magicians’ gym in Mushtallah back when Nyx was training as a boxer and bel dame, sometime after Nyx had been recalled from the front and reconstituted. Husayn was a stocky old fighter with a mashed-in pulp of a nose. Her left eye drooped a little, and was going a tad misty. She’d lost her peripheral vision in that eye at thirty, and now, at fifty, she didn’t see much out of it at all....

Nyx and Husayn sat out on the hilltop the morning after Nyx sent Mercia home with a bellyful of buni-flavored rum. The blazing orange disk of the primary star had just swallowed the blue sun, and Eshe was lying prostrate on a prayer rug on the other side of the bakkie, his fingertips stretched toward the base of an old thorn tree that clawed at the sky with barren, charred branches."

Eh, it wasn't doing much anyway.

The Burka and the Bikini


Things Could Always Be Worse

Fun with Revisions

I seemed to have some confusion about whether or not Nyx's kid clerk was a Ras Tiegan refugee, a half breed orphan, or a full blooded Nasheenian from the coast whose mother was a career breeder.

All of these conflicting historical details appeared within the same 12-page spread.

Next Project

I've been contemplating what project to take up after I finish Babylon, mainly because it's never too early to start doing book research and working out plot points.

Basically, I can work on the 5-book fantasy saga about genocide, polyamorous matriarchy, and the end of the world, or I can write the standalone book about genocide and gender roles (or, what I think of as my "far-future Rwanda with four suns" book, or more elegantly, my "burning cane fields" book).

The upshot to the fantasy series is that book 1 and several chapters of book 2 are already finished. The downside is, it's a trunk novel, and to my eye, it reads like a trunk novel. I don't want this to be my Banewrecker. So I'm thinking I would do a ground up rewrite (but then, I've rewritten this book so many effing times that I honestly have no idea if it's good or not and requires a ground up rewrite. A ground up rewrite just seems like the least lazy thing to do).

It's also five books, which, if the bel dame books do well, means regular pay checks. And all five books have outlines. Which makes for a much easier writing process. Also - it's a more marketable little package than anything else I've written (I think. I have no idea when it comes to marketing anymore).

The downside is: it's old, and I feel like some of my 19 year old self who wrote the original version back in the day is still seeping through the cracks on occasion. Also, though 5 books mean steady paychecks, it also means... 5 books in that world. Roughly 5 years of my life all dedicated to writing those books. Not that that should bother me, since I've been working on that world on and on since I was 12. So, that may not be a drawback, just a fact to think about.

No doubt they would be easier to write.

I'm also thinking that the burning cane fields book may not have reached fruition yet anyway. I love the concept and the world, but the worldbuilding isn't done, and more importantly, the character building isn't done. I have an idea of who these people are, but I don't have their names yet, and they aren't real people until I have their names. That's just sort of how my process works. Until I have solid characters, I can't get very far.

The upside is, it's just one book. The down side is, it's a very big and complicated book with a complex world and a lot of stuff going on.

Maybe I can just work on both. So during the 5 years I'm punching out Dragon's War books, I'll be slowly twindling around with The Burning Fields. That gives me five years to write shitty drafts of it!

And then I'll deliver the last book of the Dragon's War series and have tBF ready to go.

I would like to be a lot more prolific than I am. Lots of people have families and day jobs and are producing two books a year, or a book and a ton of shorts (OK, not a *lot* of people, but some people). I hate the short form, so I'd prefer to do like, say, a book and a half a year.

I have the ability to do it. It's a matter of scheduling my time properly, and fitting in all the other stuff I want in my life (professional life, social life, fitness, traveling, etc.).

Hey, I can be ambitious.

At the same time, I want to make sure I'm writing good books, which is why Black Desert isn't due until May but I have a draft in August. I need all that time for rewrites and revisions and revisits.

I don't want to write books that suck.

And now I need to figure out what other books I need to write that don't suck.

30,000 Steps to Peru

So, as many of you know, we have a health and wellness program here at the day job. It includes two hour and a half long training sessions a week, diet and nutrition advice (should you choose to solicit it), quarterly fitness assessments, and monthly fitness challenges.

It's all voluntary, of course, and one's participation does *not* affect one's health insurance premiums, so I'm all about that (we pay $5 per pay period for our health insurance, have a $100 deductible, and then it's all expenses paid 100% after that - seriously).

Anyway, this month those of us who wanted to participate got free pedometers and we're all tracking our steps in a big spreadsheet. Pedometers are incredibly easy to hack (as one work colleague said, "I'm just going to hook mine up to a vibrator."), but it's a neat little toy to pass the time with while trekking up and downstairs to the main floor to get some diet Coke (granted, having one more piece of hardware hooked up to me, small as it is, is kind of annoying. I'm glad it's only for a month).

It's considered a "team" challenge, so individual results aren't supposed to matter (as a group, we need to have 5 million steps at the end of the month, and then, like, we all get a free water bottle or something), but it's interesting seeing what everybody else logs in.

According to the chart:

Less than 5,000 steps a day = Inactive
5,000 - 7,499 = Slightly active
7,500-9,999 = Moderately active
10,000-12,499 = Active
12,499 or more = Very Active

Really, I don't think this chart goes high enough. Because, you know, I don't have a car and I work out regualarly, so logging in 10-18,000 steps a day really isn't all that difficult for me (tonight's scheduled workout will be just under 10k by itself).

On the other hand, one of our personal trainers is training for a half marathon and is averaging over 30,000 steps a day.

So at least there's a high bar.