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Borrowing (stealing) Marmadukian's format. Thanks for the inspiration.

 

About me

I'm in my 40s and I work from home as a partner in a business that doesn't really bring in enough money to make ends meet. I was a skinny kid but put on weight when I got married (because my wife's such a damn good cook). I've struggled to keep that weight in check (because she's still a damn good cook); however, I've been making progress recently with the help of Wii Fit U, the NF bodyweight strength training routine, and the NF diet (we're on Level 2). I love the work I do, even if it doesn't bring in enough money, but I've also always dreamt of being an author (and an astronaut, but that may be beyond even NF's help).

 

Epic quests

  1. Publish a best-selling novel
  2. complete a half-marathon
  3. have a business that is mostly automated but generates a good income every month

 

Challenge quests

  1. Submit a short story to a writing competition
  2. complete the island running circuit in Wii Fit U
  3. start work on time n days of the working week for each week n of the challenge

 

Notes on the Challenge quests

  1. I've already partially written the story; this will get me to finish it and summon the Triforce of Courage to actually send it off and have someone read it (and give their opinion)
  2. I started my journey to NF with Wii Fit U and I still use it for fitness gamification
  3. I work from home and it can be difficult to find the motivation or enthusiasm to start the tasks that pay so little.
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Welcome! I'm a fellow WFH person (been doing it about 7 years, and oof the weight when you can go to a meeting just by dialing your phone!).

 

When I was writing more regularly I frequented the forums/private offices at Zoetrope - it can be hard to break in there but the critique you'll get on your writing will be thoughtful and honest if not always the kindest/easiest to read about your darlings! I've also heard good things about Critique Circle. I think it's easier to get internet strangers to read your work than people you love. 

 

My challenge also includes a "get to work on time" component. Any strategies that work for you? 

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I think it's worth breaking these quests down into weekly targets... so here goes:

 

Week 1: (we're halfway through already so these targets will be modest)

  1. Write down the ideas I had for a more exciting ending to the story
  2. do the Basic Run more slowly - this is a shorter run than the island circuit; if I run it more slowly (rather than sprint it like I normally do) I'll be running for longer
  3. start work on time on either Thursday or Friday (or both :-o)

Week 2:

  1. Complete the first draught
  2. update my interval training routine to have the Basic (shorter) Run twice
  3. start work on time twice (self-explanatory)

Week 3:

  1. Complete the final draught
  2. update my interval training routine to have the Basic (shorter) Run thrice
  3. self-explanatory

Week 4:

  1. Find competitions, choose the one to which I want to submit my story, and start any rewrites to conform with the word-count requirement
  2. replace one of the Basic Runs in my interval training routine with the Island circuit
  3. self-explanatory

Week 5:

  1. Complete word-count rewrite and submit (while trying not to die from terror)
  2. replace another of the Basic Runs in my interval training routine with the Island Circuit (this may be asking too much)
  3. self-explanatory
  4. celebrate (somehow)

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18 hours ago, alphameg said:

Welcome! I'm a fellow WFH person (been doing it about 7 years, and oof the weight when you can go to a meeting just by dialing your phone!).

 

I tend to do meetings by text (email/chat-room). Even though I type fast, it just doesn't burn the calories :friendly_wink:

 

Quote

When I was writing more regularly I frequented the forums/private offices at Zoetrope - it can be hard to break in there but the critique you'll get on your writing will be thoughtful and honest if not always the kindest/easiest to read about your darlings! I've also heard good things about Critique Circle.

 

Thank you. I'll check those out. They both sound like good resources.

 

Quote

My challenge also includes a "get to work on time" component. Any strategies that work for you? 

 

Before I came across NF, I had come up with my own gamification of starting work on time. It went something like this:

 

Every day I get up at 07.00 I get 150 points.

Every day I get up later than 07.30 I lose 150 points.

Every day I start work by 08.00 I get 75 bonus points.

If I achieve 1,000 points the game is over and I've won the game.

 

My reward for winning the game was a high-capacity battery for my gamepad. There is a half-hour of leeway there where I neither gain nor lose points.

 

I did win the game and got the battery. However, then we had family visiting and it all went to pot and I'm starting from scratch. I've tried moving the alarm clock further away and having a second alarm on my phone but that doesn't really work.

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Sep 20th update

 

Achieved

 

I've started work on time both yesterday (Thu) and today (Fri). If you're still reading this, alphameg, my alarm first goes off 16 minutes before I'm actually due to get up. I allow myself to put it on snooze a couple of times. I'm not one of these people who can jump out of bed and welcome the day at the first beep of the alarm; I don't feel guilty about this.

 

Yesterday, I wrote down the ideas for a more exciting ending to the story.

 

Not achieved

 

A friend popped 'round when I was part way through my interval training routine, before I started any running. It's strength-training tonight - I do strength-training Mon/Wed/Fri and interval training Tue/Thu - so I'm not going to get a chance to do the slower run this week (I don't do exercises on weekends, I just go for walks). This was largely beyond my control but it's still frustrating.

 

My plan for next week is still to update my interval training routine to have the basic run twice. Only time will tell whether that's too big a jump.

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Sep 24th update

 

I don't do my interval training routine until tonight so there won't be an update on that until tomorrow.

 

Achieved

 

I started work on time yesterday (Mon). The goal for this week is two times.

 

I wrote some more of the story's first draught yesterday.

 

Not achieved

 

I didn't start work on time this morning. The main reason for this being the fact that we've just started with the cooked breakfasts from the NF diet this morning. It turns out we're on Level 3, not 2 as previously stated, and we finished off all the breakfast cereal in the house yesterday. It takes longer to prepare a cooked breakfast, rather than just pour cereal into a bowl, and I hadn't taken that into account. On a semi-related note, if anyone has a favourite breakfast recipe, I'd love to hear it - we had scrambled eggs and bacon this morning.

 

Some self-analysis

 

I found it difficult to persuade myself to work on the story yesterday. I think this is because I know that doing so brings me closer to actually submitting the story. If I don't submit the story then I can stay in my little comfort zone where I'm pretty sure I'm good at writing but I never have to find out whether anyone else agrees. I have to persuade myself that the possibility of finding out that others agree is worth the risk of discovering that they don't. I also have to let go of the idea that not winning the competition outright is some sort of failure - I don't really know why I think like that, but it's there.

 

As it happens, I'm playing Wind Waker atm and, on Sunday, I finished gathering all the shards for the Triforce of Courage. Tonight I go in to face Ganon himself. If I can face the personification of evil, surely I can submit a short story to a competition...

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Week 2, day 2 summary - Sep 24th

 

I'm trying to make these updates a bit more organized so I'm going to summarize a whole day at a time.

 

Yesterday (the 24th) was frustrating. Three hours of my day were wasted by a relative. Nevertheless I managed to make some progress.

 

Target 1: complete first draught of short story

 

I made decent, but not huge, progress. I'm now a paragraph or two away from having a complete story on paper (or, at least, on hard disc).

 

Target 2: do the Basic (shorter) Run twice in my interval training routine

 

I did this. I also unlocked a longer route. I haven't seen the longer route yet but I'll try it on Thursday

 

Target 3: start work on time twice

 

I didn't manage to start work on time yesterday, for reasons mentioned in yesterday's post.

 

Other stuff

 

It turned out there were a few more challenges to get to Ganon, in Wind Waker, than I realized. His defeat is now scheduled for tonight.

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On 9/24/2019 at 1:51 AM, The Hero of Time said:

It takes longer to prepare a cooked breakfast, rather than just pour cereal into a bowl, and I hadn't taken that into account. On a semi-related note, if anyone has a favourite breakfast recipe, I'd love to hear it - we had scrambled eggs and bacon this morning.

 

For sure. Cooking with fewer pre-prepared items and processed carbs is just more work. I don't eat paleo or NF or anything--I just try to balance nutrition and pleasure and convenience, maybe picking less-refined-carbs where possible. Traditional rolled oats can be cooked with water or milk and eaten with berries without too much effort. I also grill a bit of tomato and cheese on sourdough toast that's partly white and partly whole meal. Probably not NF-approved but it's worlds better than supermarket white bread and it's got a vegetable in it, so. 

 

On 9/24/2019 at 1:51 AM, The Hero of Time said:

I found it difficult to persuade myself to work on the story yesterday. I think this is because I know that doing so brings me closer to actually submitting the story. If I don't submit the story then I can stay in my little comfort zone where I'm pretty sure I'm good at writing but I never have to find out whether anyone else agrees. I have to persuade myself that the possibility of finding out that others agree is worth the risk of discovering that they don't. I also have to let go of the idea that not winning the competition outright is some sort of failure - I don't really know why I think like that, but it's there.

 

Fixed vs growth mindset. If you internalise the idea that talent is something we either have or don't, then you need to defend your image of yourself as "good" from being tested. If you believe that skills grow through the application of targeted effort over time, you'll be keen to get as much practice as possible. Fixed mindsets are common among children who were maybe a bit faster than their peers and were praised by teachers for doing things quickly and effortlessly. But it's a toxic, dream-strangling, time-wasting approach. I know because it's the mindset I grew up with, and I did the same thing. I was scared to start anything challenging because I was convinced I'd be revealed as stupid. Happily, weightlifting fixed that for me. I tried it. I'm definitely not gifted at it--if anything I might be a bit worse than average. But damn if those numbers don't go up anyway, in response to the time and effort I pour in.

Treat that story like it's a workout. Get it done. Then write ten more. Don't write like every story is the final word on your innate talent. Write like every hour you spend increases your skills. Submit like every story finished is a battle won (with experience points gained).

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10 hours ago, Harriet said:

For sure. Cooking with fewer pre-prepared items and processed carbs is just more work. I don't eat paleo or NF or anything--I just try to balance nutrition and pleasure and convenience, maybe picking less-refined-carbs where possible. Traditional rolled oats can be cooked with water or milk and eaten with berries without too much effort. I also grill a bit of tomato and cheese on sourdough toast that's partly white and partly whole meal. Probably not NF-approved but it's worlds better than supermarket white bread and it's got a vegetable in it, so. 

 

We are doing the NF diet, so I am trying avoid bread and cereals. I have included oats in "cereals" but maybe I should double-check that. We've been having bacon and eggs (sometimes with mushrooms); we should probably add vegetables to it.

 

10 hours ago, Harriet said:

...Fixed mindsets are common among children who were maybe a bit faster than their peers and were praised by teachers for doing things quickly and effortlessly...

 

That's a pretty good description of my childhood.

 

10 hours ago, Harriet said:

But it's a toxic, dream-strangling, time-wasting approach.

 

I've become increasingly aware that this has been a limiting factor throughout my life. The desire to do something about it is a big factor in why I'm here.

 

10 hours ago, Harriet said:

...Happily, weightlifting fixed that for me. I tried it. I'm definitely not gifted at it--if anything I might be a bit worse than average. But damn if those numbers don't go up anyway, in response to the time and effort I pour in.

 

I'm unlikely to do weightlifting but I can relate that to my strength training routine. I face-planted when I started trying to do press-ups again but now they're included in my three circuits. My lunges started off as more of a forward lean but my form is getting close to how it should be, now. There are plenty of other exercises that need a lot of improvement, but I'm getting better every time. The funny thing is, this is the way I advise other people, especially when it comes to technology. I tell them they'll get better with practise... and they always do.

 

10 hours ago, Harriet said:

...Don't write like every story is the final word on your innate talent. Write like every hour you spend increases your skills. Submit like every story finished is a battle won (with experience points gained).

 

That's very good advice. I suspect I'm going to have to reread it every time I write a story.

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Week 2, day 3 summary - Sep 25th

 

Target 1: complete first draught of short story

 

I got the whole of the story down on paper, albeit with plenty of notes to refer to the thesaurus and get rid of repetition. I also installed and tested software that can convert my Markdown (perfectly adequate for writing a short story) into a pretty much any other format I could need (HTML, PDF, LaTeX...). Next step is go through and fix all those things I noted.

 

I'm just going to take a moment and enjoy the fact that this is a pretty big achievement for me. I've been talking about doing this for years. I know that actually having the whole story written down, rather than in my head, makes it far more likely that I'll actually send it off. That's the very reason I've been procrastinating.

 

Target 2: do the Basic (shorter) Run twice in my interval training routine

 

I don't do my interval training routine on Wednesdays. My strength training routine went fine, though. The amount of sweat will attest to that. I improved both my press-up and lunge form. However, I may have to review my plank form. Should my body be in a straight line from my ankles to my shoulders or should my back be parallel to the floor? I used the straight line form.

 

Target 3: start work on time twice

 

I didn't start work on time. Wednesdays are tougher anyway. I did get more information about what I need to do differently, though.

 

Other stuff

 

Ganon (or is it Ganondorf? I was never clear on that) is defeated. The Triforce of Courage is safe. I'm going to hold on to it in order to help me with this challenge.

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Week 2, day 4 summary - Sep 26th

 

Target 1: complete first draught of short story

 

I went through the story with thesaurus in hand (well, on screen) and replaced repetitive words. Did a bit more experimentation with converting Markdown to desired formats.

 

Target 2: do the Basic (shorter) Run twice in my interval training routine

 

I did the Basic Run twice. I did the longer version of the Basic Run first and the shorter version second. I handled the longer version without too much difficulty but this is still not the 2.5km island circuit. I've updated my routine to include the Basic Run three times, ready for next week. My plan is to do long, short, short on Tuesday and long, long, short on Thursday.

 

Target 3: start work on time twice

 

I started work on time, successfully adapting to the cooked breakfast. We've stuck to bacon and eggs largely because it's quick and easy. We need to get some variety in there.

 

Other stuff

 

I started Metroid Prime which is going to do nothing for my Zelda analogies. I know I'm way out of date, but I'm catching up on a twenty year gap in my gaming. I even have Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader on the list.

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On 9/27/2019 at 6:12 AM, The Hero of Time said:

I started work on time, successfully adapting to the cooked breakfast. We've stuck to bacon and eggs largely because it's quick and easy. We need to get some variety in there.

 

Bacon and eggs is pretty much a staple in our house because of this reason.

 

Great work on the challenges, by the way. Writing a novel is no joke, and you're a brave soul for taking that one on.

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Week 2, day 5 summary - Sep 27th

 

Target 1: complete first draught of short story

 

I went through and improved punctuation. Currently, this is an exercise in perfectionism but I'm trying to remind myself that it should be treated as an opportunity for practise.

 

Target 2: do the Basic (shorter) Run twice in my interval training routine

 

Friday is strength-training so this one doesn't apply. I did, however, improve my press-up form and concluded that my plank form should have my back parallel to the floor.

 

Target 3: start work on time twice

 

I didn't start work on time. Friday is laundry day and that delayed things a bit (I feel as if I'm making excuses here).

 

Week 2, whole week summary

 

I actually got the whole of the story, down on paper. This is a big achievement for me in pushing through the fear of actually submitting my writing to be critiqued by others. It's a huge step forward in finding out whether a dream could become reality. There's a re-draught, and possibly rework for length, to go but I'm actually pretty bloody proud of this --- and that's not something I say very often.

 

I made better than expected progress with the running. I didn't struggle as much as I thought I would with doing the short run twice; I even managed to do the longer version of the Basic Run in there as well. I've never been good at distance running so I just want to see how far I can push myself.  I blame Steve Kamb... :friendly_wink:

 

I managed to start work on time twice, which was my target for the week. I'm a little disappointed that I didn't manage more than that but I suppose I should still count it as a win.

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11 hours ago, The Hero of Time said:

I actually got the whole of the story, down on paper. This is a big achievement for me in pushing through the fear of actually submitting my writing to be critiqued by others. It's a huge step forward in finding out whether a dream could become reality.


That is awesome, yo. Keep pushing. 

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Week 3, day 1 summary - Sep 30th

 

Target 1: complete final draught of short story

 

The story has evolved significantly from the idea I had before writing it down. It's the better for it and I started making changes that make the most of those developments. I'm thinking about cutting part of the story --- there's one scene that I think makes the protagonist less likeable, it doesn't have any lasting effect on the story, and it seems to delay the introduction of the antagonist too long --- either that or I could just make it a lot shorter.

 

Target 2: do the Basic Run thrice in my interval training routine

 

Monday is strength-training so this one didn't apply. I did, however, increase the mass on the dumbbells, improve my press-up form, and felt a lot better with the proper plank form. I didn't sweat as much as usual...

 

Target 3: start work on time thrice

 

I didn't manage to do this. I'm not going to make an excuse. I just cut things too fine and didn't manage it. There are four days left so this just leaves me one spare day.

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Week 3, day 2 summary - Oct 1st

 

Target 1: complete final draught of short story

 

I continued refining the story to make the most the way it's evolved. I still haven't cut out the section I mentioned yesterday; I'm leaning towards just making it shorter.

 

Target 2: do the Basic Run thrice in my interval training routine

 

I did this. There was a definite build-up of lactic acid towards the end of my third run but I got to the end. That was with a sequence of long, short, short for the three runs. I still plan to do long, long, short on Thursday --- we'll see how it goes.

 

Target 3: start work on time thrice

 

I started work on time. I got up a bit earlier and concentrated on being efficient (but not rushing) while getting ready. I even had a little time to spare.

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On 10/1/2019 at 1:41 AM, The Hero of Time said:

there's one scene that I think makes the protagonist less likeable, it doesn't have any lasting effect on the story, and it seems to delay the introduction of the antagonist too long --- either that or I could just make it a lot shorter.

 

Yessss, make them less likeable! That's a good thing, imo.

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16 hours ago, Harriet said:

 

Yessss, make them less likeable! That's a good thing, imo.

 

You may just get your wish. I haven't been able to let go of that scene, so far, and it's still in there. It does follow the modern trend of making protagonists a bit more rounded and not 100% good/right all the time...

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Week 3, day 3 summary - Oct 2nd

 

Target 1: complete final draught of short story

  

More of the same --- refining the way it's evolved. I reworked part of the story and then mostly changed it back again. I'm starting to feel like a painter who can't leave his picture alone and could be making it worse. I haven't cut the scene that makes the protagonist less likeable and I'm currently inclined to keep it (I blame Harriet :friendly_wink:) --- I may rewrite it slightly to remove one word that makes it sound worse.

 

Target 2: do the Basic Run thrice in my interval training routine

 

It was strength-training. I'm happy with the way my press-up and lunge forms are improving but there's definitely still a way to go.

 

Target 3: start work on time thrice

  

I didn't start work on time. I wasn't that far off and I'm a little frustrated with this because some of it was beyond my control.

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9 hours ago, The Hero of Time said:

 

You may just get your wish. I haven't been able to let go of that scene, so far, and it's still in there. It does follow the modern trend of making protagonists a bit more rounded and not 100% good/right all the time...

 

Is that a modern trend? Pretty sure the ancient greeks were bomb at making deeply flawed protagonists. 

 

9 hours ago, The Hero of Time said:

More of the same --- refining the way it's evolved. I reworked part of the story and then mostly changed it back again. I'm starting to feel like a painter who can't leave his picture alone and could be making it worse. I haven't cut the scene that makes the protagonist less likeable and I'm currently inclined to keep it (I blame Harriet :friendly_wink:

 

Muahahah. Seriously, though, it's an interesting question when editing is necessary and enhancing, and when it starts to interfere with the original vision and just make things blurry. I don't have an answer to that as I'm a complete novice at writing. 
 

9 hours ago, The Hero of Time said:

It was strength-training. I'm happy with the way my press-up and lunge forms are improving but there's definitely still a way to go.


Yay strength! Strength training is never wrong.

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Hey,

 

My two cents, (unsolicited and sans any experience in the area, so feel free to ignore it) is that if you are now at the point of “refining” your story beyond what you can recognise as efficient its time for independent peer testing!  

Find some people you can trust and get their honest feedback!

 

Goodluck! 

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Couldn't resist a Zelda themed challenge! (my favourite games ever, I'm currently playing 'a link to the past' on SNES for the first time in at least 15 years) 

And turns out one of your main quests is writing, awesome- you're definitely inspiring me. 

 

About breakfast, when I was still avoiding grains I always loved cutting up sweet potato into really small bits and cooking those a bit before breaking the eggs over it. Some smart carbs do make the meal more well rounded for me and I'd be less likely to go looking for something else to eat. 

 

On 9/25/2019 at 11:53 PM, Harriet said:

Fixed vs growth mindset. If you internalise the idea that talent is something we either have or don't, then you need to defend your image of yourself as "good" from being tested. If you believe that skills grow through the application of targeted effort over time, you'll be keen to get as much practice as possible. Fixed mindsets are common among children who were maybe a bit faster than their peers and were praised by teachers for doing things quickly and effortlessly. But it's a toxic, dream-strangling, time-wasting approach. I know because it's the mindset I grew up with, and I did the same thing. I was scared to start anything challenging because I was convinced I'd be revealed as stupid. Happily, weightlifting fixed that for me. I tried it. I'm definitely not gifted at it--if anything I might be a bit worse than average. But damn if those numbers don't go up anyway, in response to the time and effort I pour in.

Treat that story like it's a workout. Get it done. Then write ten more. Don't write like every story is the final word on your innate talent. Write like every hour you spend increases your skills. Submit like every story finished is a battle won (with experience points gained).

Thank you for that very well written and explained reminder! 

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14 hours ago, Harriet said:

Is that a modern trend? Pretty sure the ancient greeks were bomb at making deeply flawed protagonists.

 

You make a good point there. We'll call it a reintroduction, then. The Ancient Greeks are a great inspiration for stories --- we still haven't come up with any new story-telling forms!

 

As for modern, I'm thinking along the lines of Stargate Universe, as opposed to SG1, with conflict and mistrust (with good reason) among the protagonists. For the record Universe was my favourite --- it's a real shame they cancelled it.

 

14 hours ago, Harriet said:

Muahahah. Seriously, though, it's an interesting question when editing is necessary and enhancing, and when it starts to interfere with the original vision and just make things blurry. I don't have an answer to that as I'm a complete novice at writing. 

 

Well, I stopped editing yesterday. It's a day early but I concluded that I was more likely to make things worse than better.

 

14 hours ago, Harriet said:

Yay strength! Strength training is never wrong.

 

Oh, I'm quite sure I could get it wrong. :friendly_wink:

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13 hours ago, Quirky Quinn said:

My two cents, (unsolicited and sans any experience in the area, so feel free to ignore it) is that if you are now at the point of “refining” your story beyond what you can recognise as efficient its time for independent peer testing!  

Find some people you can trust and get their honest feedback!

 

Goodluck! 

 

I actually printed it out yesterday and let my wife read it so I can only agree that this is good advice. :smile-new:

 

Thanks for the good wishes.

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12 hours ago, KB Girl said:

Couldn't resist a Zelda themed challenge! (my favourite games ever, I'm currently playing 'a link to the past' on SNES for the first time in at least 15 years) 

 

I have to confess that I've only played the 3D Zelda games. A Link to the Past looks beautiful on the Switch but I'm not likely to have one of those for a good few years yet. I love the story to Ocarina of Time and I remember being blown away by the open world when I first saw it on my friend's N64. I completed that and Majora's Mask for the first time this year.

 

Are you playing A Link to the Past on an emulator or a real SNES?

 

12 hours ago, KB Girl said:

And turns out one of your main quests is writing, awesome- you're definitely inspiring me.

 

By far my biggest achievement is actually getting the story down on paper. I've had it in my head for ages; I've written down notes and ideas; but actually writing down the story is the thing that took the most courage.

 

12 hours ago, KB Girl said:

  

About breakfast, when I was still avoiding grains I always loved cutting up sweet potato into really small bits and cooking those a bit before breaking the eggs over it. Some smart carbs do make the meal more well rounded for me and I'd be less likely to go looking for something else to eat

 

That's sounds delicious. It's making me hungry again. :friendly_wink:

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