In which I crawl blinking into the light and try to do a shoulder stand

So as discussed in last week’s blog I have just undertaken a little writing hermitage in order try to break through the great Novel Two Impasse of 2014. I didn’t quite manage the 25,000 words I was aiming for but think I ended up on around about 22,500, and more importantly I got to the bit where you get to type The End. I didn’t actually type The End. I never do, personally, and weirdly the discussion of whether you should is something that can get writers quite astonishingly hot under the collar. Some are adamant that you should mark the end of your manuscript with the words The End. Others are definite that the definite article is unnecessary and one should simply type ‘End’. Others still declare that you should never mark the end of a manuscript in either way – if it’s not clear that the story is finished, they opine, then your ending isn’t good enough. I hold to a fourth school of thought – one that says, ‘Oh ffs, you know you could have sent the bloody thing off about eight times in the time you’ve spent debating whether to type The End.’

Anyway, I digress. The point was that I got to the end of the final chapter. Unfortunately, the end of the final chapter isn’t anywhere near being the end of the book, partly because first drafts are always horrible (at least for me), but mainly because I’m about 20-25,000 words short of a full length novel. Now if this was going to be another digital only release, that wouldn’t necessarily be a huge problem. Ebooks can almost be any length you like, but a print book has to be economical to print, and realistically that means it needs to be somewhere around 100,000 words. Less than about 80,000 makes for a very slim volume, and more than about 140,000 leads publishers to worry about the commercial viability of such a tome (at least in women’s fiction -some genres, like sci-fi, tend to run a bit longer.) Now some of those words will come from adding depth to the first half of the story. There’s lots I didn’t know about the characters when I wrote the earlier chapters, that I’ve learnt as I went on, and that all needs layering into the early sections, but even then I think I’m going to be a bit short, so that means I need to feed another subplot into the novel. I have a very clear idea of what that plot will be, and now it’s just a question of writing the thing. So all in all, after last week’s bonkers level of word production, I need to do pretty much the same again this week. Happy days.

The other main work-in-progress chez Alison is the ongoing project to decrease the general Alison-girth. I won’t lie. Recent attempts at weight loss have mainly fallen down as a result of the combined problems of a) a deeply sedentary job, b) IBS leading to a tendency to mainly eat beige foods (bread, pasta etc), and c) cake being really really nice. However, last Friday I weighed myself and discovered that a line in the mental sand had been crossed. I was 95.3kg. (Yes – I weigh myself in modern money. I find it oddly less emotive than stones and pounds.) Anyway 95kg is A Lot. It’s nearly 15 stone, which is also A Lot. It basically means that a person my height needs to lose 5 stone which, again, is A Lot.  Those of us who are not naturally skinny minnys often have personal mental cut off points for what is Too Fat. The transition from a size 18 to a size 20 is a common one. Something about being ‘out of the teens’ in dress size terms can be a tad depressing. Well I just hit mine. 95kg was a shock. So 1300 calories a day – there’s an app for counting it and everything. Zumba or Bokwa four times a week. Yoga once or twice a week. And the exercise regime is for life not just for diet time. Because coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes are Bad Things are one should not inflict them on oneself.

Which brings me to the shoulder stand. I went to yoga for the first time in six months on Friday, and my friendly local yoga instructor has starting incorporating a shoulder stand section in her class. This is a new development. Not a problem I thought. I can do a shoulder stand. Shoulder stands are easy. Only it turns out, they’re not if you’re nearly 15 stone and really out of shape. I incurred the humiliation of the of the yoga lady offering me a big cushion to put under my bum. Now I know that yoga isn’t supposed to be competitive and all that, but the only other person who needed a cushion under their bum was about 80. Not great. So since Friday I’ve practised my shoulder stand at home every day, and now, with a bit of a comedy rocking motion to get started I can just about do it. First main achievement of Operation Reduce Girth and Improve Health achieved.

So that’s me for this week. Basically – more words, less girth. So what’s anyone else been up to?

Author: Alison May

Writer. Creative writing teacher. Freelance trainer in the voluntary sector. Anything to avoid getting a real job... Aiming to have one of the most eclectic blogs around, because being interested in just one thing suggests a serious breakdown in curiousity.

4 thoughts on “In which I crawl blinking into the light and try to do a shoulder stand”

  1. I wish there was a ‘really-like’ button for posts like these. Interesting, informative and good humoured. I’ve just started the journey to get lighter too and my next experiment is to be yoga, which I haven’t done for lots of years. Thanks for the smiles 🙂


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