It kinda went like this.
This week has been a sucky week in the Small household. Yes, the weather was gorgeous (until today). Yes, aren’t the pretty fall colors amazing? Yep. Don’t you juts want to bundle up and bake some awesome cookies? That sounds nice.
What’s not nice about the Autumn is the inevitable sickness/lurgy/disease that hits you like a Mack truck.
What’s worse than that? When said diease wipes out the whole family at once.
That aside, disease also makes for interesting book writing because on one hand you don’t want to leave the comfort of your easy chair, yet at the same time, you really don’t have the energy to use your brain for anything other than rummaging around the pantry looking for soda crackers and some old cans of ginger ale.
But in a peaked state of nervous energy I decided to delve further into Chapter 10: Conspiracy Theories at 12:30AM in the morning.
Which brings me back to the subject line.
Why is it that authors feel compelled to write at some seriously crazy hours? I understand that most people work a day shift and therefore have to type away in the few hours of solitude that they can actually get in a day, but honestly, it’s brutal. I mean seriously f*@ks you up.
I finished at 2:30AM when my fingers sort of just stopped (it was very odd). For some reason my brain was still switched on, but my body was like “enough already!” If my fingers hadn’t seized up and begged for mercy I probably would’ve written for another couple of hours. There is some sort of euphoric runner’s high that writer’s get. I think I might’ve almost gotten there.
And this is the kicker. I only wrote 4 pages in 2 hours. And it was 4 so so pages. If you had asked me at 2:30 how much I had written, I would’ve told you about half a chapter. For me that’s about 12-14 pages. Four pages is far from that mark.
This is what I mean about sleep deprived writing. You think you’re on top of the world, writing the best chapter of your life, when in actually you’re crawling through average writing at a slug’s pace. It’s tragically funny in some ways – I expect it’s a bit like being strung out on drugs and thinking that you are Albert Einstein when you’re more like Juan Epstein from Welcome Back Kotter.
My point is write when it makes sense to write. And by sense, I mean when you are really going to write your best stuff that’s not going to take twice as long to edit as it did for you to write it. For me, that’s first thing in the morning after I walk the dogs. That’s when my brain is alert, it’s had some sleep, and I can write coherently and pretty quickly. Even if I had to get up early before the family gets up, I’d still choose this time to write. Writing at the end of the day when you’ve already used up most of your good, positive energy is a recipe for disaster or at least a slow, agonizing and frustrating experience.
My attempt to write in the wee hours kicked my butt. Next day I felt like total crap – even crappier than I felt with just being sick. And to top it off, I had to be up by 7AM to run an errand. What was I thinking?