It’s odd that this is the last post written today, but totally appropriate considering circumstances. I am all over the shop: not enough sleep, too many other things to sort, but most significantly stuck deep into novel editing. This is very much new territory.

It is fucking GLORIOUS.


There is significant progress, and I’m really embarrassed at how awful parts of my manuscript are. Not touched (in some places) for over a decade, it is abundantly obvious how much better I’ve become at writing. Yes, I can say that without irony too: learning how to create compelling narratives does not come overnight, people. It really does take effort and hard graft, and I’m stuck into both.

Once I’ve sorted out PT and a massage session to try and solve the stiff back issue, I’ll be right back at it.

Look At Me

I read this last night, just before going to bed, and had a genuine WTF moment, because I honestly don’t remember saying that highlighted text, let alone having the foresight to write it down. However, I clearly did, and to have someone I respect in turn cite it as #wisdom?


I honestly am not here to try and lecture or preach. Apparently, this is one of my faults as both mum and wife. Others online have also mentioned before this is how I can sound, and so there’s been a concerted effort in the last six weeks to try and make points without looking as if I’ve got a soapbox. This small victory (for that is what it is) is a sign that I might be on the right, positive path. The fact I don’t remember which post it came from might have bothered me in the past, but as I’m now clearing so much content on any given week, there is less concern.


Due to RL Circumstances, I had to take two rest days last week but still managed my 110 miles. I also got three Gym visits in, which will be the norm going forward (I hope.) I know it will take several weeks to recover from this last seven days, but at least my routine is solid enough now to support the occasional bump in the road. Right now, it’s time to finish my tea, go walk to the Gym for an hour of PT, and then get the last of the week’s scheduled content placed, after which I have a full plan of action to last until Sunday.

If I can keep this going I’ll be beyond grateful, and happily exhausted.

I’ll be There for You


Yesterday, my Husband sent me a text message, cheerfully informing me that he’d registered a WordPress domain. I will admit, there was a measure of surprise over this. I’ve been suggesting that, for about three years now, he might like to write about his passion for cycling: he creates a very good blog on company time, is my #1 Proof Reader of Awesome, and is the purveyor of good stories (although he does tend to ramble, but it is endearing.)

Then, things got serious.

The first batch of output last night was initially liked and then summarily rejected. A discussion was had over the brief, what this particular logo should really be like, and what it was my husband wanted to achieve from the exercise, and suddenly I was back at my first job, designing stuff for people. I’ve now sent him a selection of ‘new ‘ content, and am awaiting word on whether I’ll have to try again again. Between you and me, I think I like this one the most:


(If you want to go see what’s going on, the blog is here.)

Normally, doing work for family would be a fraught, uncomfortable affair. This time around that is not the case: I’m even considering offering my writing services to Mr. Alt to talk about cycling from a ‘this is fucking scary’ PoV. Mostly, it is me pushing him to share some of the amazing stories he has gathered (especially when he went to Italy last month) and the frankly amazing work he’s done to restore a bunch of metal frames with wheels.

If you have a passion, I think it is your duty to share it with as many people as possible.

Sit Down


This is new.

I am, this morning, in what is a robust amount of pain. However, there is no alarm or concern within that, because I know full well how my muscles now react when being conditioned. This is why the poking and prodding of physios and masseurs no longer hold fear for me. I am able to distinguish what is bad pain and what is good, and you can absolutely have good pain, people. Today is all about posture, and the fact my lower back is being asked to do things that, in 50 plus years, were never considered normal up until now.

It is, however, also a body’s request to rest, and I will be doing so for the day: not too long at the screen, lots of regular breaks, and much stretching of my lower back to ensure that the strength that’s being built is not ruined by poor posture. This is the biggest revelation of all: my body now will not let me slouch. Once upon a time, I could sit badly and not realise the damage being done, now all of the muscles in my core not only work properly but engage as a unit, there’s no way I can do so without being told as much. That’s a bad pain, and if I’m doing stuff properly, it doesn’t happen.


Knowing this, and now grasping I want a full day’s rest a week, it is time to up my step count to compensate. I’d like to keep 84k steps a week as my benchmark: that would be 12k a day but as I’m effectively skipping Sundays now it needs to increase to 14k daily. That is easily done however by extending walk to and from the Gym, and better organising myself so that exercise gets done early in the day and not later. Therefore I have planned next week with a bit more care and won’t allow pixels to distract today, simply focussing on getting done everything I need to be to make this happen.

There also has to be a bit of thought given to Christmas, because if everything is going to be made that has to be, I’ll need to get started sooner rather than later…

Even in the Quietest Moments


I can now Tweet up to 280 characters. I don’t intend to do that with the majority of my output, and here’s why.

Watching the annoyance and frustration last night as the feature rolled out in parts of my social sphere and not others, it was almost funny to think that this change was, for so many, being considered as some badge of honour. The sole reason this change has been instigated is to help advertisers use space to sell more shit and make Twitter more money. This isn’t some great championing for more speech and understanding we’re talking about. For someone like me, it is a curse as well as a blessing. The biggest upshot is, undoubtedly, that people will just stop reading.


The major winner for me will be poetry and short stories: I can now create longer works to post… but as some people mute the stuff I posted in 140 characters, to begin with, length will simply make those posts less appealing and not more. That means I’ll need to work harder on visuals and clever use of space in posts, that it isn’t about filling every character and ‘optimising’ the output. Undoubtedly the format can be finagled, but to do so requires a willing audience, and watching the annoyance last night as people simply posted 280 characters of ANYTHING to see if they had the new limit…


Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should has become the phrase that really matters. 280 characters in a Twitter fight are just as useless as 140 if you’re unable to make the point without resorting to abuse and anger. Proving a point succinctly and well, without ambiguity is still something many people could do with learning. Word economy is useful: more significant still is an understanding of when a word dump is appropriate. That’s something I’m still learning after 51 years.

The moral of yesterday’s rollout is that sometimes, being first is all that matters to many. That stuff about the other person’s social media feed always being more interesting is all in the eye of the beholder, you know. I’m not special, you’re not lacking, it’s just tech, and what will matter more long-term are the people who use the system to their advantage by embracing the positives and eliminating the negatives. No, I’m not going to be clever with the format until I am TOTALLY confident it can be pulled off successfully.

Time to watch other people and learn.

It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World

NaNoWriMo 2017

I’m going to talk today, both here and on the writing site, about my NaNoWriMo choice. The latter gets a more clinical attack on subject matter and motivation but here I feel compelled to discuss an issue that continues to irk, and has made me stop and think about what it is I write and how. My main protagonists in this story are a white man and an Egyptian woman. There’s a really good reason for this: I feel really comfortable writing them.

On many days, I believe I’m a true mixture of both.

There is absolutely no doubt I am completely happy being biologically female, especially now the curse that used to afflict me monthly has gone. I’m at ease with the body I am rebuilding and feel no desire to alter the fundamental construct. However, it would be disingenuous to say I believe I think and act in the way I see a large number of women do. Makeup holds no allure. I do not desire to dress or act in an overtly feminine manner anymore, and the same is true of tending towards masculinity as an alternative. In terms of appearance, androgyny is increasingly appealing. However, my sexual appetite and desires remain unchanged.


There is a part of me that wishes we didn’t need to make specific social groups the enemy, but feminists need white men to hate them and people of colour and ethnicity deserve the right to hate everybody who is white because they’re in charge. I get all this, I really do, the complex social and ethnic strata that now damns and defines every action taken as a writer. Yes, I could make my male protagonist Afro Carribean but I don’t feel comfortable appropriating because no, I sure as fuck don’t have permission. 

My Egyptian woman comes from a time period I know a lot about and (again) feel I can write with a measure of conviction. The key here is confidence, not political correctness or social mirroring. I am very much a product of my age, but the characters that are chosen as my cast need to have believability in the story told. In that regard, supporting characters mirror the ethnicity of the World but are not at its core. There’s a reason for this, as will become clear in the narrative, but for now, I’m happy with why my fictional people are the way they are.


A lot of this is down to simple biology, as this is a story with science at the core. There has been a crucial change however to the sexuality of a number of characters, based on acceptance of what I am becoming as a human being. In many ways, this story has the potential to become hugely autobiographical, if I allow that to happen. However, what matters most is the sanctity of plot and action. I’m not here to make a political statement, simply reflect what I am when writing.

Mostly, last night I stayed up late and stared at my work in progress and found myself thinking ‘somebody will hate this because I made a white man the hero.’ Then came the more significant revelation: whatever happens, someone will be upset. If I spend my life worrying about the reaction of others and don’t simply do what matters most to me, then there will be no progress at all. This is about narrative on my terms, and as a result… we stay with the plan, and I stop stressing.

Whatever I produce will be the best of what I am.

Everybody Dance


My legs still hurt from Friday’s PT.

I’m on a fairly strict food and exercise regime right now. The plan is to see if the removal of certain items from my diet will have any long-term effect on helping me finally shift the most stubborn of fat. It is slowly beginning to work. Also, I need to work hard or eat less. Right now that means more miles and more reps so I can still enjoy what goes into my body. It’s taken five months but there’s also a list of foods to avoid, which sadly means that a couple of favourite snacks are now unsuitable for consumption.

It’s a small price to pay to be healthier than I’ve ever been.


Mr Alt’s Italian Job is on: I got a phone call from him during the School Run. He was on the Milan Ring Road and it sounded better than when he’s on the M25. Technology’s scary like that sometimes; if you free yourself from the restraint of thinking that says ‘no, can’t do that’ then anything really is possible. I look forward to pictures from his journey too, because my husband is really very good with a camera. It is another one of the reasons why we mesh as a couple so well.

ALSO starting the week with a poem that encapsulates what I am in two verses is brilliant, extremely liberating and frankly the way I want to start every week from now on. On the To Do list is the long form work I’m creating for the grown-up, fancy shmancy Poetry contest. It won’t be nearly as fun as this, but they all count in the end.

Just gotta keep writing them werds.