Well, I have survived the first week of the National Novel Writing Month. I guess I should celebrate, as I’ve stuck to the plan and wrote several thousand words a day. To put that in perspective, I have almost written as much in the last seven days as I did through the entire month of June. Wow.
It doesn’t start like this, but maybe it should.
In many ways this is gone exactly as I have predicted it. The first day was tough, as I had not written fiction in several years. It took a long time and many false starts before I started finding my groove. A week later and I’m pretty much in the swing of it, though still not writing as naturally as I have in the past. I also accurately predicted that I would have less time during the week to write, simply because I work more. Write what you can during the week, make up the difference on the weekends, that’s the way things will work.
None of that is a surprise. Everything else, though, most definitely is. Continue reading →
No point in sugar coating this. September was my worst month of the year, by far. First I hurt my elbow, then I hurt my ankle, and then I really hurt my ankle. If something could go wrong, it did go wrong, at least physically. This negatively affected my mood, naturally, and other areas of my life suffered as a result. Not a happy place, but now September is over and October doesn’t have to do much to make it a more positive month.
Here were my goals for this month. Let’s see how badly I failed them:
get chess tactics rating over 2000 again
start new Smirnov course, put in 24+ hours of study again
A few months ago I made the decision to publish something every day for this blog. Not just write, publish. When I first started this blog I told myself I’d write something every day, and I largely did. I’d write a sentence here or a paragraph there; I’d write and rewrite my ‘About Me’ section, often adding or subtracting tiny little details that didn’t matter; I wrote several rough drafts that to this day sit unedited and unloved in my hard drive somewhere. I did a lot of writing, it just didn’t lead anywhere. Continue reading →
I’m not going to lie, July was a fantastic month for me. The weather was perfect for three weeks, and so was I. I made progress in everything I sought to do. I was walking on air the entire month, and even a sudden heatwave didn’t dampen my spirits.
I’m doing a format change for my monthly updates. Rather than make smaller posts for each individual element (chess update, flexibility update, etc), I will combine all of them into one single, bigger post. It should lead to less clutter, and it will be easier to search for. Also, we can see how my various skills and abilities advance more or less in tandem with each other, at a glance.
Today I would like to congratulate myself. I have gone an entire month blogging. Every day I have sat down and pounded out a new post. Some have been good, maybe even great. Others … well, I can say I wrote that day. And that’s fine; that’s what it is all about. I have promised to write every day, and I have done that. And it mostly feels great. Fantastic, even.
Technically I’m typing all my work. I haven’t used my handwriting in weeks.
I believe firmly in the old adage, ‘If something is worth doing, it is worth doing well.’ Writing is something I take seriously, almost too seriously. I am a victim of perfectionism. You can always write something better. You can reword a sentence, pick a stronger word, play with the rhythm, add clarity, use rhetorical devices, the list just goes on and on. In the past, whenever I would write something, I would ask myself, is this the best I can do? The answer was always no. I could always improve, and I spent so much time editing and revising and rewriting that I never actually finished.
By using this blog, by committing to writing every day, I have started to overcome this tendency. Continue reading →
I’m not going to lie: in many ways May has been a demanding month. I’ve had to cut way back on a number of plans and activity, but I haven’t missed a flexibility sessions yet. Here are my results; as always, the newest image is on the left.
I’ve got good news and bad news. Let’s start with the good news. Out of 37 total games across the last two months, I have won 31, drawing 5. My rating at chess.com is currently 1797, three little points away from my old best, and I am winning my two remaining games. That means I will soon past 1800 and setting personal bests with each extra rating point.
As for the bad news? I lost my first game in embarrassing fashion, and, well, look at this graph. You might want to cover your eyes first. Continue reading →
Despite my best intentions, so far my blogging career has not gotten off to the best start, and I have only myself to blame.
When I first started, I thought paying for a website and hosting services would motivate me to keep this blog up-to-date. Otherwise I’ve simply thrown that money down the toilet. My mistake, however, was having no way to keep myself accountable. I wrote at the end of every month, doing my progress reports, and whenever I felt like it … which was rarely. That’s a pretty poor recipe for success.
It’s all burnt, because it followed a poor recipe. Get it?
April was an interesting month. I stopped training for chess and started playing chess. There’s a difference. While I experienced ups and downs, April was largely positive. As of the time of writing, I haven’t lost a game. I have completed ten games at chess.com, going 10-0-1, and eleven games at net-chess.com, going a perfect 11-0. My rating at chess.com is currently 1704, very close to my old standard of 1800. Another month and I just might get that. Net-chess unfortunately either doesn’t use the standard elo rating system or has an incredibly inflated one, as my rating is over 2600.
All in all, that’s 21 games without a loss, so I’ll take that. But first, let’s look at my Tactics Stats.