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.

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, Writing, Reading and Renovations

The house is completely silent. A currawong is singing in the trees behind my house. Everyone has gone back to work for the year and I’m ready to write.

There are chicken breasts in the fridge and the makings of a low carb, keto, Mexican dinner in the pantry. So I don’t have to think about what’s for tea.

Last night, as I was reading in bed, an idea came to me that solves a big problem in my story. (The Naked Ladies Writing Group and you can read it here)

It’s so great when ideas come out of the blue like that, when you’re not even thinking about the problem. When I’m folding laundry or showering, doing some mindless task, my unconscious is free to work on those nagging thoughts that hound a writer.

This will be a year of writing, reading, yoga, low carb and keto, house renovations, gardening and magic.

Right now, it’s time to write; fix the problem in my story. The rest will have to wait for another day.

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

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

I am taking charge of me

do be free

I’ve had so much talk counselling/therapy in the past 22 years that I am completely sick of it. The advice I’ve survived, the lectures I’ve tolerated, the scoldings I’ve gritted my teeth through, the sympathy, the empathy, the tears, I’m sick of it all. There is no cure, not mainstream or alternative, for the mental illnesses that have plagued my life. I’m sick and tired of people in positions of learning telling me I just need to try this or that or the other. Step back, experts! I’m taking charge of me!

You know what I need? I need to stay in my house and not be harassed to go to appointments that only add stress. I need to stay in my house and cook good food. Stay in my house and write my book. Stay in my house and write my blog. Stay in my house and love my friends and family from right here in my studio, where I can breathe easy, feel safe, feel happy. That’s what I need right now. Anyone who says different just ain’t living in my skin and hey, you don’t know how it is.

Thanks for listening to this.

be you xx Rachel

Loving My Writing Studio

It’s a gorgeous, sunny Winter Sunday and my writing studio is bright and warm thanks to the wall of windows across the back. It’s a really nice place to be. The kind of place I can look forward to spending time.

I have a second hand recliner in the corner, where I sit and read or edit my work. I have a white melamine round table in the centre of the room, with plants on it that I often forget to water and then wonder why they’re not thriving. At the moment I have papers spread across my whole desk, needing to be sorted into trays; my old business, tax, blog or writing fodder, government forms, current work. Maybe tomorrow?

Our chickens are very quiet in the yard. They’re not loving this cold weather. Usually they’d be marching around the entire yard clucking and chatting to one another, reinforcing the pecking order, hoping we’ll step out the back with a bucket of kitchen scraps so they can fight like ninjas for each little bit.

My dog Kira needs a bath. Really badly needs a bath. She loves to go under the house and take a dust bath, or dig up an old lizard she killed and rub herself in its putrid goo. She gets so confused when we invite her into the house and then start yelling in disgust at the smell and order her back outside. I thing she sees us as mentally deficient and incapable of making a decision.

It’s time to make Sunday lunch, but I feel like baking instead. I have leftover stewed fresh strawberries and I thought I might make vanilla cupcakes with the strawberries mixed through. Maybe I’ll have some of last nights leftover spaghetti in garlic red sauce first.

I hope your day is as nice as mine has been so far.

be you xx Rachel