Keto, Holidays and First Drafts

Keto

Okay, tomorrow for sure I’m back on hard line keto. No more chips, no more biscuits, no more potatoes with dinner. I’m going to eat what I ate from September 2020 to February 2021, when I lost ten kilos. I will lose the kilo’s I’ve regained and even more. It’s going to be great.

I’m going to get my keto mojo back and by August, when we have a month long holiday, I’ll be a size sixteen, oh please let it happen.

The keto diet has really changed the way I think about food. Nothing tastes so good that I have to have it in my day. For instance I used to love pasta and make at least twice a week, but now I just don’t care about it. I really don’t care about it. This is still weird to me, that eating the keto way has switched off that need to eat all the yummy food and plenty of it.

I’m making a grocery shopping list and as always when I’m on keto, I’m impressed by how little I need to buy. Canned tuna, cheese, mayo and lettuce for lunch every day. Chicken, lamb, pork or steak and one or two veggies from the freezer for dinner. That’s how we do keto. Every now and then I do a Caesar Salad for lunch because bacon and cheese are so good. Some nights we do a cheese platter with a few olives and pickles, cabanossi and salami. Variety is overrated in my mind and on my plate.

When I eat like this, I go from zero to ketosis very quickly. The keto flu slams me for a day or so and then I’m peeing on a stick and learning that I’m back in ketosis. In a way, I think that this is why I fell off the keto wagon this time. I was completely confident that I could go back to it as soon as I was really ready again. I can munch on a whole lot of carbs knowing I am able to go back to my preferred life of fulltime keto as soon as I’m ready.

Having said that, I will still be nervous until I get that first tuna salad into me after fasting until two pm tomorrow. I love intermittent fasting, especially on keto, I only need to prepare two meals a day and I already know what they will be. So very easy.

Holidays

We love winter, so we take a month off every winter to enjoy it. This will be our third one together. This year we might stay home for at least part of it and get some renovations done. It would be great to get the painting done in our bedroom, the living room, kitchen and dining room at least.

Thanks to the pandemic, we’re limited as to where we can go, but we love a good road trip, no matter where we end up. There’s a zoo down the south coast of NSW I’d like to visit again. If we head that way there are other things to do as well, like Treetops Adventure in the Illawarra district, and the blowhole at Kiama. If we go further south we can visit Eden, which is a gorgeous coastal town.

The best thing about going away will be enjoying time alone. We live with my son and Rob’s daughter, who we love very much of course, but we love our holidays on our own as well. It is handy sharing the house when we go away because they take care of the house while we travel.

First Draft

I want to have completed the first draft of my book by August, so I can leave the story alone over the holidays. That means I will need to write about fifty thousand words in sixty-one days. Big job. Can I do it?

In the past I used to write two thousand words a day every day, year round. You get a lot done this way. I pumped out first drafts of six books this way. Those six books were my apprenticeship in fiction writing. This way of writing gave me a lot of confidence in the whole facing up to the work every day and just get it done method of writing. At that time, I bought myself some cute toys to have around me. They were fun to look at and even play with, especially if I felt a bit stalled in my writing.

Writing by powering through feels like I’m recording a memory, rather than making up a story. It just pours out onto the ‘page’ and I either love it, I work with it or I ditch it later. My muse is happy, whatever I decide to do with the words.

Time to go put a load of washing on, make myself a cup of coffee, and start writing that story.

Keto, Writing and House Plants

Keto

Why are carbs so delicious? I’m back on keto, kind of. I’m experimenting with how many carbs I can eat a day and still remain in ketosis and lose weight. The keto gurus say to eat less than twenty carbs a day. I’m going to try doing fifty carbs a day and increase my exercising. Well, actually do some exercise.

I want to lose the next ten kilo’s and I’m struggling with that because I’m struggling with staying on strict keto, which is what helped me lose the first ten kilo’s. Staying off gluten has been a good start because gluten makes me so sick and bloated and causes me to crave carbs like a crazy woman.

Writing

Being off keto and on gluten has messed with my health so badly that I haven’t been writing. It’s a vicious cycle; eating what hurts me physically and mentally, not losing weight, can’t write, I feel sad and guilty and stupid, so I eat more food and put some of the kilo’s I lost back on. It sucks. Yes, I’m feeling sorry for myself, but I’m not throwing a full-blown pity-party just yet.

On a positive note, I’ve been doing some writing related stuff like journaling and note-taking about my book, characters and story.

I need to take myself to a coffee shop and write for an hour one day this week. Writing in a coffee shop is something I really enjoy, as long as I don’t do it too often. Strangers in a coffee shop can give me ideas for my book, the way they look, the way they speak to each other and the way they behave.

House Plants

I’ve jumped on the house plant trend. We needed a new whipper snipper so we headed for Bunnings, grabbed a trolley and found the whipper snipper. Then I hit the house plant section. I bought five plants in ceramic planters; three for the bathroom, one for the loungeroom and one for my desk. They look so good and straight away I knew I would need to go back for more. But I’m also going to try propagating more plants using the ones I bought.

My great grandfather grew carnations to sell at the big markets in Sydney, and I’ve always felt connected to that. In the past I’ve had a veggie garden in every place I’ve lived. The last time I tried to grow veggies here, though, we had a very hot spell, five days over 42 degrees Celsius, and it killed every plant and I had a lot of veggies almost ready to pick that died horribly. I haven’t grown veggies since that.

It would be fun to own a greenhouse and also to grow plants in the ground all year round, which is possible where I live if I use green mesh netting to cover some of the plants during the hottest weeks in summer.

On Instagram, everyone seems to have a green thumb. I think I need to read up on what to grow easily at my place. Of course, first I’ll need to hack back the wilderness that is my backyard. That sounds like a whole lot of useful exercise!

New Desk, New Computer

I finally did it; I went shopping for a new computer and actually bought one. I did all the research, as you do, and ended up choosing a desktop instead of a laptop. I have my iPad, which I use a lot, and so it seemed better to buy a nice big screen, well big for me, with a nice white keyboard.

The stand hardly takes up any room on my – also new – desk, and the keyboard sits nicely under the monitor when not in use.

One thing I’ve had to get used to again after a long time without one is the mouse. My new desk is white and the mouse needs to sit on something with some colour on it, to work. I am keeping a notebook open beside me, with a pen, and the mouse works nicely on the page I’m not making notes on.

The corner in our room where I’ve set up my new little writing space is a bit dark, but I’ve found that the glow of the big screen sheds enough light to make it easy for my eyes to see everything I need to.

I’m writing my novel The Naked Ladies Writing Group over on my writer blog www.RachelGraceWrites.com (you can click on that to take a look if you like) and now I have a new computer I’ll be pounding the keys with even more enthusiasm. I can’t wait to write the next chapter. This week I might put a taster chapter up here in my personal blog, to see if anyone might like to check out the story.

Tomorrow, I’m off on an adventure with some great family members. But as soon as I get home, you’d better believe I’ll be playing on my new word maker – I mean computer.

Now it’s time to read then go to bed. I’m reading The Goodbye Man by Jeffery Deaver and I like it but it’s definitely not my favourite of his books, so far. What are you reading?

Keto Diet, Better Health and Writing

Keto Diet

My low carb, keto diet is still helping me to lose weight. It’s a slow process, but I hope that by Christmas 2021 I’ll be an entirely different shape and loving it.

Since I started keto I’ve lost all of the inflammation I’d suffered with for a long time. I’m still overweight and I have a lot to lose, but the excess weight isn’t choking me, bloating me, making me feel exhausted every minute. Which is wonderful.

I have more energy than before, my head is clearer, and I’m able to write again. I’ve been writing every single day for weeks now. That hasn’t happened for years and I’ve tried many times to get my writing mojo back. It turned out I needed the keto lifestyle to clear my head.

I know that sounds unlikely, and I wouldn’t have believed it if it hadn’t happened to me. I started keto for health reasons, but I didn’t know just how much it would change in me.

Novel Writing

My novel, The Naked Ladies Writing Group, is growing every week on my website www.thenakedladieswritinggroup.com. I now have thousands of words there, some of it story, some of it about writing and some character development.

It’s so exciting, writing this book at last. The title came to me years ago and finally creating the world of those women makes me happy every day.

Some of the characters are nice and some not as nice, and I love writing about all of them. I find it a little bit tougher to write nasty characters and I want to explain their lives, why they act the way they do. Sometimes I write that in my journal, so I can avoid diluting the real nature of my character in the story itself.

We writers like to include life experiences in our work, adding details that are familiar and heart felt. It is fun to write a character who is just as lovely as an old best friend, or as wicked as a person from your childhood.

Instagram

I discovered Instagram in 2020. Well, of course I’ve known about it for a long time but I’m finally having a good go at it using my writer name RachelGraceWrites.

As I write my book, I take breaks to play on PicCollage making visuals for Instagram posts and stories to hopefully bring people to my websites.

Getting Married

We would have been married last year, but the pandemic messed up our plans. We are hoping that this year will be the year we get to have our wedding.

Now that I’m losing weight, it’s really tempting to wait until late 2021 when I’ll be smaller so I can feel even better in a nice dress. This sounds great, except we want a winter wedding. Maybe we’ll wait until winter 2022 instead? Or maybe by winter 2021 I’ll be happy enough with my shape.

Do I Change The Name Of My Blog?

After I get married, I plan to change my surname, so I guess I’ll want to change the name of my blog. I might just add a domain with my married name and keep this Rachel Keerie one as well, so people can find me by searching either one.

I hope your 2021 is better than your 2020.

Keto Coffee, Yoga and Vacuum Cleaner Servicing

My first keto coffee of the day is taken in bed, like a grand lady from an old English movie. I don’t eat breakfast because I do Intermittent Fasting, so coffee is my friend.

When I wake up I’m almost always drowsy for the first hour at least. Most people wake up like this, and I find that it’s the perfect time to check up on social media, see who has contacted me, and who liked my posts on Instagram and Facebook.

A lot of people say you shouldn’t check your social media when you wake up, and instead spend time offline at the start of the day. This doesn’t work for me.

You really don’t need to be clear-headed to check your accounts, which means that first thing in the morning is a great time to get that out of the way. Later in the day I go back to any questions or messages and reply or comment.

I make my bed and take a shower and I’m ready for the day. I’ve already checked my socials, so I can now get started with what I want to achieve that day.

This morning I did yoga, which is a new thing I’ve added to every day in 2021.

I climbed down onto the floor to do yoga and noticed that the rug was really dirty, even though I vacuumed yesterday. Yuck.

My vacuum cleaner needs its yearly service, obviously. I looked up how to pull a Dyson vacuum cleaner apart a few years ago, when something got stuck inside it.

It was a great find, that instructional video. My husband, who passed away, used to call these kinds of videos the university of YouTube.

So, servicing the vacuum cleaner is something I’ll add to my task list today. Nobody likes a dirty rug. But first, it’s time for another keto coffee, because nobody likes a dopey Rachel either.

Keto Coffee and Emptying My Head

My head is buzzing and I can’t write until I empty it.

My house needs a clean and tidy, I don’t know what’s for dinner tonight, I haven’t finished my Christmas shopping and I haven’t posted the few Christmas cards I want to send.

I’ll do these things and then I’ll get writing:

  • Vacuum the lounge-room floor
  • Tidy the dining table
  • Wash the ensuite bathroom floor
  • Decide what to make for dinner
  • Make and write the few cards I want to send

I feel lighter already. Bring on the writing!

Do My Magical Characters Brush Their Teeth

sally august 2015

Today I washed the kitchen floor. Not very exciting, but it made me think of the characters in my book, as always. Had they ever washed a kitchen floor? If so, how did they do it? If not, who has done this for them and why? Every action in my life has a corresponding thought, a wondering about my characters. Thinking about one guy I’m writing, I had to laugh at the thought of him ever cleaning anything with his own hands. As I thought about another character, a woman, I decided I couldn’t imagine her having ever cleaned either, but in a very different way. My female character wouldn’t consider herself ‘above’ such things, like the guy might, but it would never have occurred to her to clean with her hands when she can wave it into being done magically and get on with some form of fun or adventure.

Showering is another intriguing one, does a magical character clean itself or does it perform a ritual or a spell, or do they have the ability to kind of pre-set a regular cleaning spell that kicks in every certain number of hours or so? Do they brush their teeth? Do they floss? Imaginative minds want to explore everything and anything in the life of a character. Not all of this will end up in my book of course, maybe only a small fraction of it needs to be in the story to show who the character is. The rest still has value for me as I write, though, to add to my encyclopaedia of the story.

I have a handwritten encyclopaedia and a computer file as well. The computer file mostly holds parts of the book that I write and then decide to cut, character descriptions, place descriptions and bits from the text of the book that I want to be able to reference easily for consistent writing. I also have some pages in the file for things I find online, like a photo of someone who looks like one of my characters, or places that look similar to places in my book. My handwritten encyclopaedia is a collection of information I’ve written by hand about my story. I’m thinking about taking a photo of these bits so I can have everything in my computer file, all set out alphabetically. Ease of access when I’m writing is the most important thing.

Sally, in my photo above, is my muse. She lays at my feet while I’m writing and takes me out to our big back yard to run and play ball when I need a break. I love my labradaughter.

be you xx Rachel

What To Call Her

It’s been so long since I blogged here. I have been writing my novel, and it is shaping up, but to be honest that is just writer-speak for I’m going more slowly than I want to in the actual writing of hundreds and hundreds of words department. I love my main character, she kicks ass, but I am not happy with her name. I don’t think my inner muse will really let me fly until I get the name right.

So, what to call her? I think I have it. It came to me while I was doing the dishes a couple of days ago. In between scrubbing the sticky bits off an oven tray and disinfecting the sink, a much better name came to me. I can’t write it here, because of course that would jinx it. Of course. I’ll keep it tucked up inside and have a play with it writing the next scene of the book. If I look down and start writing and when I look back up many words have been written, I’ll know for sure that my inner muse approves. Hell, she’ll pretend she gave it to me. I don’t mind, as long as I get back to prolific me.

Ring-tailed lemur I love this picture of a lemur, just had to share.

Left Handers Day

Left Handers Day

lefties

So, apparently yesterday was international Left Handers Day. I’m not Left Handed but I do like those ‘international days’. I wonder who decides these things? Maybe now we’re all on social media, all that is required is an online announcement that hey, it’s International [fill in the blank] Day! Makes me want to put it out there that August fifteen is International Rachel Day. A day for everyone named Rachel? Why not? We’re just as awesome as left handers and they have their own day. Only, it must only be for the ones called Rachel who spell their name that way.  We can’t have the Racheal, Rachael, Raychel crowd getting in on our day. They can have another day. Maybe August sixteen?

 

Writing a Novel and Writing a Business Book

It’s been ages since my last post. I’ve been writing a book, and it has my attention most of the time. In fact I’m writing two books, one novel and one business book. This week the business book has had my full attention, especially since I bought some ink for my printer and was able to print out all of the pages thus far, so I could start editing and resorting.

I’m planning to self publish the business book, as an ebook. I think that’s one of the reasons why it is flowing out of me so easily. No publisher submission guidelines in my immediate future.

Another reason the book is flowing so well is that I know a lot about the topic I’ve chosen to write about; writing business books. I’ve helped a lot of people who were not writers, to write their own business book, I’ve consulted with many business owners, and I know something about what they want for their companies. I love the idea that I’ll have a book out there in the e-world, to help business owners. They are such hard-working people, with dreams beyond the next payday.

My novel is coming along, too. I spent time last week fleshing out the three main characters and giving them back-story and reasons for behaving the way I have them behaving in the story. I’m enjoying writing these three girls very much. They are very different from one another, and they each have their secrets. It’s fun to write about secrets, to hint at them and leave the reader wondering all the way up to the reveal.

be you xx Rachel