Monday, September 6, 2010

Mid-coffee ramblings

Forgive me, my coffee's only half-drunk and I'm not fully awake yet. No clue what I'm about to blather at you. Mmmm, coffee. Cream, no sugar. Pale and bitter like I like my men.

Did we all solve the Sunday Puzzle yet? It's hard to know if you've got the best answer with this week's challenge. The longest word I've come up with so far is DETECTED. Not bad, but I suspect the real answer's more impressive.

Today on vacation I'm heading up to Portland, Oregon for a few days. While my manfriend attends a nerd conference I'll be set loose in the city, hopefully to get a bunch of writing done. My evil conjoined erotica-writing twin is hoping to finish her WIP while we're in its characters' natural habitat. That'll mean about 4,000 words a day, normally a tall order for me, but doable given that it'll be my sole focus this week.

On a typical working day, if I'm not consumed by intensive edits or revisions, I try to write between 1,000 and 3,000 words. During a focused writing jag, it takes me about an hour to write a thousand words. That's an hour where I'm in the zone, and the temptation to check my e-mail or Twitter is nil. I love those hours. Often when I have a deadline I want to hit, the starry-eyed optimist in me thinks, "Okay, thousand words an hour, I'll just write for five hours today and hey, there's 5K!" Right. Five hours may be a short day for shift worker, but five hours of pure, speedy writing is like five hours of sprinting. Exhausting, grueling, physically impossible. But five or six hours of semi-focused writing—jags interspersed with lunch, coffee breaks, the day's expected distractions—can equal a very healthy 3,000 words by the end of the day.

I heard once that our brains get "flipped" halfway through the day—between two and four p.m.—our minds going from analytical and focused to emotional and reactionary. Sorry, can't remember the chemistry or anthropology behind that shift. But it explains why I used to lose the will to live around three every afternoon when I worked in an office. And it still happens to me now, regardless of what I've gotten done. I can only count on writing between 7:30 and 2, really. Before that, I'm asleep or running or showering, after that, my brain's Jell-O, because writing is truly an exhausting activity. So I switch tracks in the mid-afternoon and do less creative tasks, like website updates, simple edits, and dicking around on Twitter.

Hmmm… Is there anything less enthralling than hearing about somebody's writing routine? Well, maybe hearing about their diets. Can I just say I've managed to gain four pounds in the past week? Inexplicable…oh wait, no, it must be the extraordinary amounts of food I've been eating on vacation. Mystery solved!

Okay, I'm off to get a little writing done before it's time to head up to Portland for the official kick-off of my week of [fingers crossed] intensive and distraction-free writing. To my fellow Yanks, enjoy your Labor Days.

No comments:

Post a Comment