(Not all the daily reports will be this detailed, but I figured it would be fun for one post at least)
I wake up after a decent amount of sleep, though I expect if I manage to write a bunch today I’ll take a nap at some point. Do the morning routine of checking the internets, then make sure my chapter file and novel notes file are open and ready to go. Not quite awake enough yet to write (sometimes first thing in the morning right after checking email etc. is a really good writing time for me; other times the mental gears kick in a bit later), so decide to do a couple of small things around the house. I figure a good brain hack is to bribe myself, like “Well there’s a perfectly good chapter waiting to be written if you’re tired of doing these chores…” Dishes are washed.
If you’re a coffee drinker, it might be good to give yourself at least one wake-up cup before attempting to engage higher writing functions. On the other hand, if your Internal Editor is overly active, you might want to try writing before or during that first cup, in the hopes that you’ll tap into the deep mind processes before the more cerebral Editor notices enough to criticize. Those of us who aren’t coffee drinkers can use the trick without the prop, and try writing or not writing during that just-woke-up phase depending on what is needed to get the words flowing.
I figure out pretty quickly that lack of food is part of my problem, so make a quick breakfast. I was never really a breakfast person, but I’m making myself adapt anyway since from a health and energy standpoint it really is better to have sufficient fuel to start the day. Homemade biscuits, bacon, and eggs dirties maybe 4 dishes in the making and is so much more viscerally satisfying than a mcmuffin. However, if your choices are mcmuffin or no breakfast, go for the caloric consumption and worry about improving the food quality later. Feed your brain!
Still feeling a bit oogy even after eating, so a quick dip in the hot tub is the next step. Definitely a luxury for which I’m thankful every time I get in, it’s so physically and emotionally beneficial to have a daily soak. If you can’t afford your own but live near a YMCA that has one, pay the $3 fee to go sit in it at least once a week. It’s the price of a Starbuck’s cup but so much more relaxing. If that’s not an option, stretch, take a hot shower, or get up and walk around, anything to get the blood circulating more effectively. And don’t forget water! I buy a camelpak 24-ounce water bottle and refill it several times a day to make sure I’m getting my proper water intake daily. (Also because I’m prone to spilling normal water cups, but if you can drink out of the grown-up cups then save your pennies and use that.)
Time to start working. Since it’s been several months since I’ve worked on this project actively, I open up several files and scan through them to get a feel for where I left off. Goodness, I put a lot into the first two chapters! It’s a bit complicated since the novel is in two drafts and several pieces scattered across multiple files, but I get it down to 4 open chapter files, one notes file, plus the file for the chapter I’m starting today. Hopefully these are all the pieces I’ll need. I don’t spend too much time on this part since, as I suspected before reviewing the files, the first part of this chapter will be all new text. I give myself a little break to let my mind integrate all the pieces for a few minutes, then it’s time to work.
This chapter starts off with my main protagonist dealing with some in-house business before the main action of the day gets underway. There’s another brief pause as I go to that ever-useful writer tool, Wikipedia, to double-check some information on the two secondary characters since this will be their first appearance “on-stage”. That doesn’t take long since the information checks out with no complications, and now there’s no more delay allowed. Writing time!
After writing for 3 pages and most of an hour, it’s time for the first break. I get up, move around, and stretch. We also have the evening call with The Kid that fits in here with nice timing. I start a black bean soup for tomorrow that will cook in the crockpot overnight, which takes only about 10 minutes of prep, most of which is chopping vegetables. We have enough leftovers from this weekend’s Mediterranean feast that tonight’s meal is covered with no effort. It’s been long enough since breakfast by now that I feel like a small snack would be good before writing more.
What with the snack, the phone call, and the general mid-day confusion of stuff happening, it’s a few hours before I get back to writing. In the meantime we finally finish the final episodes of The West Wing, which we’ve watched together as a household over the past several months. Awesome writers on that show, I’d definitely recommend it for anyone who is needing inspiration on snappy, fast-paced witty dialogue. What with those distractions and the awareness that I have more work to do on my small business job later this evening, it’s a little difficult to get back to the writing. That inertia again, tricky beast. However, I’d rather not report a major stumble on my very first day in the wordcount mines, so that thought helps me jump the motivational gap.
I start feeling the urge for a break after a while of writing but notice I’m inconveniently between scenes, so I start the next scene and write another couple of pages before I get to a spot that is between pages but still in the middle of a scene, therefore easy to pick up after a break. I’m not sure if I’ll get a third writing session today, but I’ve managed to go several more hours without eating so now, time to feed the brain again. I’ve written eight pages so far.
I start to take my break but then realize I want to get another page written, so I sit back down and get to the bottom of page nine. And here, dear readers I decide to stop writing, likely for the evening. Thanks to having written enough different things by now, I know about one of my particular weird writer quirks, involving Page Ten. In nearly every short story or book chapter I have written so far that has ten or more pages, if I stop on page ten I have a horrendous time getting started again. Something about my mental or psychological writing process makes Page Ten a block point, for me. If I stop at the end of page nine, or get through to page eleven or more before stopping, I don’t have the same problem. Eventually I’ll probably work on dismantling this block, but in the meantime I simply work around it as I’ve got more pressing mental matters to attend to. For tonight, I stop at the end of page nine, right as the man with the metaphorical gun has walked in–an exciting place to pick up the writing threads tomorrow.
Have you noticed any Weird Writer Quirks of yours yet?
Novel 2nd draft wordcount total before starting current writing crunch: 19,085
Today’s chapter wordcount so far: 2,084
Plus, words in this post: 1,299
Making the novel draft running total: 21,169
And today’s total count: 3,383
Today’s favorite bit: smart heroines are made of win
Funniest flub: can’t correctly type “Grendel”. repeatedly.