Thursday, December 10, 2009

Long Winter's Nap

SB -- Mid-December, the shortest day of the year approaching and my energy level is as dim as a 20 watt bulb about to burn out. Full of morning optimism, I promised myself a full evening of productivity. Once again, I find myself craving the couch, a nice glass of red wine, the Pendleton blanket and a good book, followed by an early night, all snuggled and cozy. Mama in her kerchief and all that.

A friend, Mario Acevedo, says that being a writer is like having homework every day for the rest of your life. Some days I’m so full of inspiration the words can’t stay imprisoned in my head. Sometimes firing up the computer and--even more challenging--firing up the brain, is impossible after a full day of work.

Difficult as it can be at times, writing is important to me. I don’t know why. It’s probably a disease, but it doesn’t make me itch or require giving up chocolate or alcohol, so as far as illnesses go, it’s not so bad. I’ve learned that no matter my best intentions, I can’t reliably write in the evenings. If I don’t write regularly, I suffer all kinds of angst you don’t even want to know about. So I’ve had to learn what works, and doesn’t, for me.

I get up ridiculously early. The house is quiet, no one calls or texts or wants to carry on a conversation. It’s not the time of day to do laundry or vacuum. More importantly, I’ve trained my mind to expect to write then. It works for me. I don’t have time for long sessions and I am usually frustrated when I have to stop and launch into my paid work day, but little by little my manuscripts grow. Bird by bird.

How about you? When do you write? Do you have a habit, a ritual, a mind game to get you going? Is it the same time every day? Weekly? I would love to hear how others get the job done.


  1. Having never been an expert at sleeping, my best time for writing new words is also the wee hours. This morning I was up at 3:30. Didn't turn on any lights, just padded into the office, switched on the foot heater below the desk, and started in. For editing, the time of day seems to matter far less, but when creating new characters, envisioning their lives and worlds and hopes and fears, that hush before dawn is the sweetest part of my day. Folio

  2. Writing Where and When
    For me, writing fresh pages accompanies lunch. I go somewhere welcoming, a place that doesn't have dirty dishes, laundry screaming out, or a husband wanting to play a third game of Scrabble. I order my food and a tall glass of ice tea with extra lemons, read a newspaper as I eat, then put the paper away and start writing, long hand, for two or three hours. I suppose it's like upchucking scenes as I digest my food - sort of. Boy, that offers a bad visual. I can edit at home if the dishes are done, the laundry is caught up and my husband has won the last game of Scrabble and is therefore smiling.
    When I meet with the Sisters, commiserating is the warm up for this Inkpot.