Monday, May 19, 2014

Ebb and Flow

It's funny how things need to be aligned for the writing to flow. I am a person who doesn't actually believe in writer's block, but I DO believe a story can get stopped up... that sometimes you have to write something ELSE for a little while before you can get back to progress on that WiP.

One side of the mountain blew totally off
So IMAGES today are from Mt. St. Helen's... it blew 34 years ago yesterday, covering the little town I lived in (Moscow, Idaho) in ¾ inch of ash... school was canceled for the year... one of those once in a lifetime experiences... (which is probably good)

You know what helps the writing flo?


I am SO IMPORTANT at my job that I can never take time off... erm... or rather, we are in our first real year as an office and I'm the only veteran besides my boss... it is possibly my own exaggerated sense of self importance, but it has just seemed for too long like I couldn't actually be GONE...

We had a bunch of hiring to do, then we had a grant, then I had a national meeting, and I had students with projects... (like I really COULDN'T be GONE)--but I also noticed I was losing vacation days... you can only accumulate so many, so this summer, as much as possible, I am taking three days weekends... now into the foreseeable future. And Friday was my first one.

Hubby worked part of it. Me home alone... and it was a GREAT writing day.

It left the forest below looking like this--those are TREES (not grass)
Know what DOESN'T help the writing?

A hangover.

I really am too old to be so stupid, but I got to drinking wine with my neighbor Friday night and Saturday I was really mostly worthless writing-wise. I got some other stuff done. Some shopping, some chores. But each time I'd think, “I should write” I would sit down and think... no, what I really want is to watch a episode of Deadwood... So don't do that.

Know what HELPS?

A good night SLEEP!

I do really good writing when I get up feeling refreshed. When I still feel tired, not so much.

Here it is 30 years later, recovering slowly
Know what DOESN'T HELP?

Needy people. Doesn't matter who they are, but mostly childings... childings who need rides. Childings who need jobs. Childings who need clean clothes. Childings who you are married to who are just generally needy. Childings with fur who need their dogfood made... Other childings with fur who need their litter boxes changed... But I love them, so I suppose that is just part of the deal.

I suppose if it flowed too fast, it would just bowl over everything in its wake.

Whatever the challenges, I managed to write almost 8000 words in my three days off and have reached the halfway point, if this book doesn't end up a bunch longer than the rest. The biggest deal is I really wound up about the first five chapters, all of which I'd started, but had [needs a scene that does this] at the end of all of them. I finally feel like I really AM half way, rather than having a whole bunch of started chapters, none of which had reached satisfactory conclusions. Hopefully a week from now I will be able to tell you the first draft is DONE.

So there. What helps and hurts your writing?


Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

8000 words is huge! Congratulations, Hart. And I'm so glad you're taking those days off--it probably makes you feel guilty, but if you lose them if you don't take need to take them!

And...yeah, I hear you on the needy people! This is why I've discovered I have to write so early--no one needs me at 5 a.m. Or, if they do, then there is some form of illness in our house!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I completely forgot about Mt. St. Helens' anniversary yesterday. Living in Salem, we just got a dusting of ash.

8000 words is great. Despite the efforts of the needy childlings.

Old Kitty said...

Lovely Tart! You are beyond amazing - childlings, hangovers, and still you get 8000 words out there! Good for you! Take care

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

8000 words even after a bad hangover? That is just amazing.

M.J. Fifield said...

8000 words is awesome. I would love to have written that. Or even half that.

Days off are a definite must to successful writing. I need to better protect my writing time. Right now, it often gets sacrificed at the last minute for needy family members, or a last minute shift at my day job.

Oh, and the photos are amazing.

Sarah Ahiers said...

Woo on 8000!

Being sleepy doesn't help me. Or being ill, or worried about being ill. That will knock me right off my horse

Jan Morrison said...

I still have no idea what makes me write or not. I'm in a good writing jag now but wasn't for sch a long time. I have no job right noe, no kids here, just a dog and a fella. Oh well, it is a mystery wrapped up in a conundrum.
As to Mt. St. Helens anniversary I have a memory. My best pal and I were in Vancouver at my aunt's house. I was living on Vancouver Island in Zeballos and we'd been down island attending logger school. We had gone to my aunt's for the weekend. We'd been out the night before drinking scotch with tequila chasers eith my cousin and his wife. Later on I'd convinced my cousin's wife to cut my hair. All perfect eh? We woke the next morning to this noise (the eruption) and I wondered upstairs with a very bad head. My aunt looked at me with great surprise which I didn't understand until I saw myself in the mirror. It looked like somelne had been at my head with a weed whacker.

Jan Morrison said...

And it looks like someone has been at my comment with one too. Dang these androids!

Helena said...

If I don't get enough sleep, my concentration sucks and I can't write a grocery list.

8000 words is fantastic! And I'm not surprised that you're being forced to take three-day weekends, which for you must only mean working more at home and a teensy-bit less at the office. But this also means you can write more! And this is a cause for celebration.

Johanna Garth said...

I remember that Mt. St. Helens day clearly too!

So sleep, biggie!! And perspective, a little time off, but not too much or I get out of the groove. Coffee. Physical movement seems to shake my ideas out of me.

What doesn't help, YES, childings!!! So needy, but yes, I love them too so I guess that's part of the bargain!

mshatch said...

I am extremely envious of your 8K in three days! Holy Cow!

Gina Gao said...

Hangovers are definitely not a good thing to have while writing.