Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A normal writing day - is there such a thing?

The crazy thing about writing - at least in my world - is that there is no normal day. There are days when the interruptions are endless and there are days when everything goes smoothly and there are days somewhat in-between.

The days when things are going smoothly are the best of course - you sit down at your desk, a cup of perfectly made coffee in your hand. The birds are chirping outside and the ideas are flowing in a constant stream. On days like this you marvel at how perfect the world is. But these are days of deception because most days are...

The phone rings - problem.
The dog eats something - hope I didn't need that?
Computer crashes - did I back everything up?
Phone rings again - problem number 2.
Coffee tastes like motor oil - but its all I got.
Dog throws up - good thing is: I didn't need what he ate after all, the bad news is: I gotta get a Haz-mat team in here to clean up.
Finally the Haz-mat team leaves - time to get writing. What? It's four pm already. Where did the day go?

But as Vince Lombardi once said - its not how many times you get knocked down - its how many times you get back up. So these are days that make us or break us - these are the days that you have to push through until you get to where you are going.

For me a good day always ends late. Starting is rough. I tend to procrastinate and do all manner of other things. And then, when I finally get going I don't want to stop. As I was finishing the rewrites on Black Sun - which comes out in August - every night of work got later and later. I stopped at midnight and then one am and then two and then three and finally the day I was supposed to send it in I finished at four o'clock in the morning. But for some reason I am just sharper late at night. In the day I'm kind of fuzzy.

So for me a typical day is this: Try to overcome procrastination - take lots of vitamins because I'm eating like crap and stock up on Jolt Cola - anyone remember that? All in all its a lot like cramming for final exams.

Till next time.



Shane Gericke said...

Mmmm, Jolt Cola. When that stuff came out, the maker sent a case to the business desk at the newspaper I worked at, so we could write about it. Naturally, we had to conduct a taste taste; i.e., reporters will eat near any damn thing not bolted down, right? Count me in on that! I chugged down half a bottle and my hair started on fire the caffeine hit was so intense. Yahoo!

Your mention about night writing is so intriguing. During daytime, I get distracted by stuff. In the middle of the night, it's just me and the story, surrounded by the blackness of the room. Makes my brain take off and my fingers fly.

Unfortunately, writing in the middle of the night all the time isn't possible--gotta have a life, too, and working midnights isn't too conducive to that. But I sure love night writing, and Graham, thanks for mentioning it.

And the dog throwing up, that was nice too ...

Graham Brown said...

Shane - I think you and I would have had a good time in college together. Might not have graduated on time - come to think of it I didn't anyway - but that's another story.

Like how you described the night writing as just you and the story - that's exactly what I was trying to get at. The real world melts away.

Kelli Stanley said...

Jolt brings back fond (?) memories of Vivarin or No-Doze and all-night paper writing on a Sears typewriter I got as a high school graduation present. :)

I wish I could write at night ... and if I didn't have to get up early, I might be able to. I like to sleep too damn much. :)

Problem for me is that writing makes me agitated, so I need to wind down afterward. But one of these days, I'd love to try it, because I totally get what you mean about making all the distractions disappear. :)

BTW, Graham--how about Red Bull? Almost as good as Jolt ... ;)


Sophie Littlefield said...

i like your schedule - it's what allows you to be my late-night pal. sometimes it helps just knowing someone else is laboring away out there...