Sunday, July 10, 2016

Summertime Assessment: Where are you writing? Where are mentally?

I haven't updated in a while, so I thought I would post a quick blog. See that there doggy up there? Yep, that has been me, for months. My dedicated writing days and hours have given way to lengthy sleep-ins and naps. My doctor says there is nothing wrong with me, so I am left to speculate on the cause of my seemingly permanent exhaustion. So far, I am looking at a number of possible reasons, but no clear answer.

  • I have spent many years doing too much and keeping odd hours, and my body is taking a few years to recover and make up for lack of sleep from 1998 - 2010. 
  • I am still grieving over the loss of David Bowie. Yes, I am. I am still having sad dreams about his passing, like this one*. 
  • I fell really hard a month ago and wrecked my lower right leg - I may have fractured the tibia bone, even. Serious bruising and pain...and my body may need sleep to help heal.
  • I am of an age that causes weird hormonal surges and stuff...exhaustion could be related to that.
  • I have a fairly open schedule these days (no extra jobs or classes or hobbies beyond my normal ones) and have more time to I do. Like, "a body in motions tends to stay in motion" but inertia breeds inertia...
  • I am possibly doing some heavy duty work on the astral planes and spiritual levels that makes my sleep less rejuvenating and more exhausting...
  • I'm just a lazy MF and layabout.
So... that said, I am still writing a bit here and there, but haven't made much progress on my long-term projects. I have written a few scenes, a few short pieces, but nothing I'm really excited about. 

I've been reading and editing manuscripts for others, which also eats some of my writing time. I really should be carving out more dedicated times for each activity and mixing them so.

In two weeks, I am going to Los Angeles for the weekend. I will be attending a literary event at a well known bookstore, and hopefully meeting a few authors. I will also be meeting with another writer to discuss a mutual project. I'm looking forward to it. I am also hoping to have time to take the Hollywood Ghost Tour! I love that stuff. 

I am looking at a lot of changes that I want to make this year:
  • Create a working space at home with a better chair and writing desk
  • Adding more instructive events to my writers group
  • Creating a more specific calendar for timelines, deadlines, and publishing (which I have slacked on)
  • Clearing clutter at home and updating my goals and environment to be more productive
I suppose, being halfway through the year, it is a sort of assessment and adjustment period. 

I'd love to hear from some of you, as well:
  • What kind of things are you working on? 
  • What areas of your life would you like to improve?
And our work space can be so helpful or hindering. Tell me about your own writing work space?
  1. Where do you write?
  2. When do you write? (Times, days?)
  3. What conditions have to be met for you to feel focused or productive in your writing?
  4. Do you listen to music or anything while writing? What?
  5. What inspires you?
  6. Do you write regularly? If so, how do you do it without "feeling inspired"?
I'll give my answers in the comments. 

I will address #6, though: It is the distinction between a WRITER and a WANNABE WRITER. You must show up, for the inspiration to come. If you only sit down to write when you feel inspired, the muse won't come as often. The more you sit down to write - even ten minutes a day, in a journal, or at your computer, or on the backs of envelopes, whatever - the more you will find you have to write about. 

* I dreamt that 70s (Man Who Sold the World) era Bowie had auditions to be his suicide assistant, because he was terminally ill. And when my turn came, I just held him and cried and kept trying to thing of other non-lethal I failed the audition.

1 comment:

  1. 1. Where do you write?

    I usually write at Starbucks. Sometimes at Caffe Ladro. Occasionally at home, or at my massage office. I use Evernote, and often when a scene or an exchange of dialog or a story idea hits me, I write it in there on my phone (it shows up on my laptop- synced app) wherever I am (in bed, at the movies, in the car once I've parked...) to use later.

    2. When do you write? (Times, days?)

    I have set aside Sunday afternoons every week. Some Monday afternoons, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays around my massage work schedule. Now, lately, I've been sleeping more of those times...

    I get most of my ideas and stuff between midnight and nine am...which is why I need a better desk at home! At the cafes, I usually write sometime between 3pm and 9pm.

    3. What conditions have to be met for you to feel focused or productive in your writing?

    Well, for one, I need white noise, which is why the large Starbucks works for me. I can use my headphones if I need to.
    Secondly, I have to have a good table and seat. Comfortable, the right height for my arms, etc. Good body mechanics!
    Thirdly, I need good light. This is another issue with my home - I need a good lamp. Even with writing on my laptop, the light is more for my mental state than to see.

    4. a) Do you listen to music or anything while writing?

    Not at home, often. But usually at the coffee shops. I like atmospheric stuff, although sometimes I listen to more rockin' tunes to keep me going. It can't be too lyrically distracting, though. If I am trying to sing along, I can't focus on what I'm writing!

    4. b) What?

    Regularly I choose Guster, M83, Air, Pink Floyd, Hot Chip...
    Also, soundtracks, like 28 Days Later, Rocky, Memoirs of a Geisha...But I try to pick music relevant to my writing, so I wouldn't listen to Memoirs of a Geisha while writing about France in the sixties.
    Sometimes, the relevant music is Metallica, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Motley Crue. Other times, it's Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Prince, or Bowie. Sometimes, it's a playlist of various aritists. I'm open.

    4. c) What inspires you?
    I get inspiration everywhere:
    Music, movies, TV shows, books, history, historical photos, art, photo portraits, overheard conversations in public, interesting news stories, etc.
    It always starts with a "WHAT IF?" right? What if that person turns out to be a killer or a time traveler? What if that story went this way instead of that? What if they had never met? What if, what if, what if?

    5.a) Do you write regularly?
    Usually, at least three times a week for two hours at a time. Lately, more like ten to fifteen minutes every other day... not enough for me.

    5.b) If so, how do you do it without "feeling inspired"?

    Just sit down to do it. I often revisit my morgues - I collect interesting, provocative photos to inspire me. I also have my writing ideas - snippets of scenes, character sketches, story ideas set aside...maybe one of them sparks. And even just writing on this blog, or my newsletter, or my dream journal, or a letter.. something to write! to get the juices flowing. To get started. Just do it.