Trying to keep moving forward

It’s been a busy and tiring couple of weeks for me. I started a new job a week ago, a part time job in a shop which involves hours of being on my feet. Going from an office job, where the most exercise I did within the work day was the walk from the car park to the office, this has been a challenge for me. But my first week is over and I’ve recovered from it, and now it’s time to get the rest of my activities back on track.

I made a start yesterday with a trip to the gym with my brother, a few rows on the blanket I’m crocheting for my Mum, and a couple of chapters read of The Liar’s Key by Mark Lawrence – all things that went on hold while I got to grips with the new job and the exhaustion it left me with.

But today is Monday, and on top of the entertainment and leisure activities of the weekend, it’s time to add the work back in now. My writing has taken a back seat for a while. I got stuck with a story, restarted it twice, then abandoned it. I haven’t blogged in a while either, nor started work on my next Mythic Scribes article. The FutureLearn courses I signed up for that started in June are now finished or well on their way, and for most of them I’ve not even looked at them. So I’ve got some catching up to do.

Today I’ll start with the Mythic Scribes article. Research for those has a certain degree of structure, making it easier when I’m not feeling particularly inspired. They tend to give me new knowledge that is inspiring too – things I can jot down in my notebook for a future story idea.

This afternoon I’ll have a go at writing to a prompt. That will get the writing juices flowing and break the writing fast, maybe help out later when I try to tackle that story I got stuck on again.

I’ll see if I have time, also, to do some research. Lately I’ve been delving into pre-Columbian Andean history – the Incas, Tiwanaku, Chimu and so on. It’s fascinating, and resulted in a lot of notes in my notebook. Fun fact: while preparing for the interview for the job I started last week, which is in a health food shop, I researched quinoa and discovered it’s a pseudo-grain native to the Andes, used by the Inca and considered sacred by them – and banned by the Spanish conquistadors as a result. Of course, the ban didn’t stop the Andean people from growing and eating it, and so it survives to this day and is a nutrious food staple (though rather expensive in the UK – what with all the travel costs of bringing it over from Peru). So a bit of serendipity there with my research.

This afternoon’s research will entail continuing to read through a book that came well-recommended, The Incas and Their Ancestors by Michael E Moseley, which I found for a couple of quid on Amazon (ex library copy; last loan in 2010). I’ve made a few notes from that already.

Through the rest of this week, I’ve blocked out some time on my Outlook calendar to pursue various activities – FutureLearn first thing, more time for the Mythic Scribes article.

I’ve also set aside some two hour blocks for prompted writing – that is, finding a prompt and attempting to complete the first draft of a story inspired by that prompt within the two hour block of time. I’ve spaced these out at different times each day, so I can get an initial impression of what time of day I might find most productive. Of course, one week’s sample size won’t be conclusive, but it will help me decide how to proceed with determining where to go next.

As for the prompts – they have proven helpful in the past. Short pieces, low pressure, not too much plot or too many characters to keep straight in my head like for a novel. The last prompt I did ended up stretching well beyond the short session it began in – though that’s the story I’m stuck on.

Well, we’ll see how it goes. Time to get started on the Mythic Scribes piece.

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