Monday, January 14, 2008

For In That Loss Of Sleep What Dreams Might Come

Because I work full time, I often get up early to get in some short writing time in before heading off for work. Most days it's usually 5:15 or 5:30, allowing myself about half an hour or 45 minutes to get some writing done.

Of course, I usually spend about 15 minutes or so farting around (checking and responding to email -- sometimes even writing related emails, catching up on various social networking platforms, etc) and am often only left with about 15 minutes or perhaps as much as an hour of writing time. (Not counting the days when I get carried away in all the wondrous "farting around" distractions that the internet teases me with constantly)

This morning, however, Alexander woke up crying at about 4:20 from a bad dream. I carried him into our bed so he could snuggle down and fall back to sleep with us. It was close enough to the time I'd been planning on getting up, so I figured I'd just put on some coffee and get writing.

Oh what a phenomenal difference that one hour made.

In that time (including the 15 minutes of farting around) I managed to get half-way through a rewrite of a story that I'd finished about a month ago. I always find it useful to put a new story aside, let it rest while I work on other things, then come back to it with a more detached and slightly critical eye. Of course, in the back of my mind I was also working out particular character details for a secondary character that I knew needed to be fleshed out better in the story. Writers can often write in their head for long stretches of time before putting words down on paper -- this secondary character development was exactly that; while working on other tasks, while driving, while staring into space, I was focusing on this character, exploring what made him tick, questioning his views of the world. All useful "non-writing" tasks that help me when it's time to put pen to paper.

So this morning, as I was working away at this last re-write, I accomplished a good chunk of the work I'd intended. Most other mornings, I barely get started before it's time to start getting ready for work.

Fantastic what that extra time allows -- and it's a lesson I keep having to re-learn. I always forget that I need to give myself some time just to get up to speed -- my writing sessions are often like getting an airplane off the ground. I need to slowly build up speed and then only after I've worked at it for a solid consecutive sequence of time am I ready for a proper "take off."

I keep reminding myself that I started blogging as a means to force myself to write something/anything as a means to warm-up for my writing sessions. But again, it's something I often fall off course with, and have to readjust to regularly. Like the tower sending me notifications to alert me that I'm flying off course again -- see, I'm enjoying the whole flight analogy here -- a fun creative exercise putting some extra wind beneath my wings.

Tonight I'll be setting my alarm for 4:30 again in the hopes that tomorrow I'll be able to take this particular re-write to a perfect four point landing


Rainypete said...

I find I am often at my most creative when at odd ends of the day. Either remarkably late at night or extremely early in the morning I have the world seemingly to myself and can explore it and the depths of my mind unfettered.

Good luck on the finish!

lime said...

oh my stars. i can appreciate the need to block out time but if i set my alarm for 4:30 am i'd be drooling on the keys, leading to a short out and then forcing me to resort to paper and pencil. good luck to me as i stagger around the house at that hour looking for writing implements. all my crashing will wake the house and then they'll come out asking me for things which i will have to attend to....

hhmmm, kinda 'if you give a lime an early wake-up call...' grown up version of 'give a mouse a cookie?'

glad that hour works for you though!