I finally got back to writing more than “just a bit” yesterday. I had trouble focusing, so I didn’t get nearly as much done as I wanted to, but it was still my best day since last weekend. I had planned to write into the night, but I decided that I would be better served by actually going to sleep at a reasonable hour for once. I also didn’t get much done in the evening because my neck got super tense and it hurt too much to focus on anything but how sore and stuff it was. Even after ibuprofen, stretches, and my rice sock (microwave it for a couple of minutes and its a nice source of heat for a stiff neck), it still hurt. So I just played video games for two hours (which wouldn’t suffer because I couldn’t focus through the pain).
I didn’t do any of the other things I had planned for yesterday, though. No job application preparation (there’s an opening for a Dungeons and Dragons game designer with Wizards of the Coast and I would lose nothing from just applying) and almost no social interaction outside of my roommates. A lot of plans changed at the last-minute yesterday. Which is part of why I was having so much trouble focusing. Today, I’m going to cram as much writing in between Dungeons and Dragons sessions as I can and hope I can make it to bed before 1am…
But hey! I’m over 35% caught up to where I should be, now! If I keep this up, I might actually catch up soon! I hope your NaNoWriMos are still going well, or have improved.
As humans, we all have our own little rituals. The order of our preparations for going to bed. Whether we pour in milk (or possibly even some other liquid) or cereal first when preparing a bowl of cereal. How we get out of bed and prepare for the day. We rely on these rituals for comfort and familiarity. They become so much a part of our lives that we begin to sue them for contemplation. When our otherwise demanding bodies are engaged in a rote task, the mind is free to wander where it will. Write a scene in which your character does this. Show them busily engaged in a ritual of theirs but still using the time to focus on some problem that has been tumbling through their life.
I have a little figurine on my desk, between my monitors, of a character from one of my favorite web comics. If you like good-story-telling and art whose attention to detail is beyond easy comprehension, you need to check out Erfworld. The writer drops so many hints at what is going on in the comic and what might happen in the future via the art that the entire forum, not just sections of it, is basically dedicated to analyzing every page that comes out. I like to keep this figurine in front of me as a reminder of what amazing storytellers can do, regardless of the medium, and because I really like the character himself. He’s clever, but not infallible. He’s a good person who genuinely cares, but can make tough decisions when he needs to. I suggest reading the comic if you have the time, along with finding little things that either inspire you outright or remind you of things that inspire you. Little reminders that you see around can help propel you to the finish line.
It may not be something you are consciously aware of, but the way your keyboard sounds or feels as you type can have a huge impact on your ability to type for extended periods of time. If your keyboard does not feel good as you hammer away at the keys or if it makes some upsetting squeaking noise every time you press the space bar, it might be time to experiment with new keyboards. Either ask your friends to try some of theirs or check out some computer stores like Best Buy. They should have a variety of keyboards for you to try.
If you’ve got any extra keyboards around, try writing with those for a session or two. You don’t always need a fancy, backlit or mechanical keyboard, sometimes a new angle for typing or the change from an often-used keyboard to a fresh keyboard can make all the difference. The same goes for mice! Don’t be afraid to try changing out your writing hardware if its starting to grate on you or isn’t working properly.