I didn’t get much done last night. All of my effort and pushing caught up with me. Despite a steady influx of caffeine and a manageable but still significant amount of productive anxiety, I struggled to finish my cleaning chores. I had a lot, since I had been putting off cleaning my room for a very long time (a few weeks, at least), and I had piles of new books that needed to be sorted and shelved. Not to mention all the laundry and bird-dust that had accumulated. Cockatiels are lovely birds and can be quite companionable, but they don’t shed feathers so much as they just generate heavy dust and fluff. In only a few short weeks, they can coat any near surface in mausoleum-grade dust.
I did some writing though. Prepped my prompts, inspiration, and tips. Wrote a few hundred words. I’m still super far behind, though. I’m pretty sure that, by the end of the weekend, I’m supposed to be at 20,000 words. I’m at a little under 30% of that. If I did nothing but write for these two days, I could get there. But I’ve got plans. More D&D (and I actually get to PLAY this weekend! Not just run the game) and a Saturday just chock full of social engagements. At least, it’ll be full from some time in the afternoon onward. My plans are still rather loose at the moment.
I don’t mind that I’m going to have to work my ass off to finish in time. As I said during my book club meeting at work (and this is totally stolen from The Oatmeal’s “How to be Perfectly Unhappy”), I don’t need to be happy or feeling good. I need to feel challenged and fulfilled at the end of a project. I don’t do this because I enjoy every moment of the process. I’m exhausted. I’m not sleeping enough and my neck is just one giant rock of tense muscle. I definitely don’t enjoy the feelings of nagging obligation that keep me from my bed on cold, peaceful nights. I don’t do this because its fun, I do it because it makes me feel fulfilled.
It was nice to talk about my vocation at work today, to talk about what I care about more than almost anything and why I care about it. I was fully myself today with my coworkers, no longer the quite but steadfast worker who chimed in with a contribution every time the discussion began to stymie, but someone who had a commanding presence and spoke at length with a great deal of passion. It was also received very positively. I had a coworker remark that if I wrote nearly as well as I spoke, he was looking forward to the day that he’d be able to buy a copy of my book.
Throw in the blog comment I got yesterday (I love getting comments and talking to readers) and a comment I got from one of people in my support community and I’ll be riding this feeling of fulfillment for a week at least. As tired as I am, I feel more fired up and excited to write than I have since I came up with the idea for the support community.
One of the best ways to extol or even just show the features of a character is to set them up with a foil. If you’re not certain, a foil is a character that contrasts with another character and thus emphasizes particular characters or qualities. If your story has a solo protagonist, a good foil can be rival or a villain with whom they have a strong relationship or history. If you have multiple protagonists, a good foil would be another protagonist contrasting with them as a result of the situation they’re in together. Today, pick one of those types of foils (or both, if you’re feeling particularly ambitions) and write a scene that emphasizes your character.
Every so often, someone does something wonderful, weird, and down-right inspirational on the internet. One of my favorite instances of something like this is the YouTube video titled “Wazer Wifle!” It is a rap with accompanying music video made using footage and mods from a Fallout game about a gun from the same game. It is super catchy, right up my weird and nerdy alley, and it shows that someone once cared enough about a game I like to make a music video and entire rap about it. It always reminds me that if someone could make something as popular as this, maybe I can as well.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with your set up if you’re struggling to stay focused or get through your daily word count. Once I figured out that candles help me focus (as a result of the fact that I used to use them in my meditation), I started buying large, unscented pillar candles so I can set them all over my room when I can’t focus. Then, I can turn off all the other lights and just exist in a warm cocoon of flickering light that matches the current f.lux setting of my monitors. There are other ways to experiment as well. Hemingway once said to “write drunk, edit sober” and, while I wouldn’t recommend doing that, I am also aware that I write my fastest when I’m half asleep and barely able to focus on the keyboard. Just try different things until you find what modifiers can help you do what.