Well, yesterday was a bit more productive than the last few days have been. I was super wiped by the time midnight rolled around so I didn’t stay up much, but I still got plenty done. I’m only scratching the surface of making up for the days I’ve barely written anything, but I’ll take any progress I can get right now. I need to get the ball rolling again and last night went a long ways towards that. Hopefully, but the time this posts, I’ll have gotten some more writing done, but who knows. I am dozing off as I write this, so it’s entirely possible that I wound up sleeping in super late to make sure I get a full eight hours of sleep. I need it pretty badly at this point, thanks to spending the day helping my friend move and my neighbor playing really loud music again until well past midnight.
I did most of my writing in my National Novel Writing Month project, “What You Know You Need,” instead of in the romance novel. I need a good deal more clarity to figure out how I want to restart that but being half-asleep makes it a littler easier to keep the worlds rolling on a project that’s better established, like “WYKYN.” As long as I don’t actually fall asleep, being half-asleep means getting more words written because the aware parts of my brain shut down a bit. My fingers know my keyboard well enough that I can maintain my typing pace easily enough, even with my eyes closed and my mind approaching dreamland. I can’t always understand exactly what I meant when I review whatever it was that I wrote, but it usually sounds pretty interesting. Take, for instance, the original end of this paragraph that I wrote while falling asleep last night. “but I can be surprisingly coherent most of the time, when it comes to killing stuff and staying alive.”
Classic sleepy Chris writing. If I was writing anything other than a blog post for tomorrow, that would be great. I’m pretty sure I was thinking about the video game I spent most of yesterday’s free time playing. That’s all I’ve played lately when it comes to killing stuff and staying alive, so that would make sense. Well, as much sense as any of this makes.
When it comes down to it, all I’m really trying to do every day is get more words written. I try to avoid staying up so late that I start to feel loopy and in danger of falling asleep at my desk, but sometimes I’ve just got a lot of momentum going and I want to get just a few more words in. I was making such good progress on “What You Know You Need” and I’ve finally gotten through a difficult scene so I just kept writing until I’d eventually done two thousand five hundred words for the night. That’s a good number to end on for a day of getting back into the swing of things, you know. I’d also dozed off in my chair three times, but I still got my words written and they seem to make sense so far. I then wrote this post and dozed off another handful of times, but I still got it done in what I hope is a sensible pattern.
Anyway, I hope day eleven of National Novel Writing Month is going well for you. I hope you’re getting enough sleep and taking care of yourself. I hope you’re making progress on your goals, at least, if you wound up deciding to forego sleep for more writing like I did tonight. Whatever you’re doing, good luck!
The idea that you need to appeal to the five senses is just as much bullshit as every other writing rule (they’re more suggestions that rules since none of them apply absolutely), plus a little bit all its own. There are way more than five senses and you can really add to the reader’s suspension of disbelief (the way readers voluntarily choose to believe the story you’re creating) if you appeal to them. Sense of balance is a good one. The sense of where your hands are when your eyes are closed that lets you touch your nose on the first try. Sense of temperature, sense of the passage of time, sense of thirst or hunger, even! Throw in as many senses as you can! But not all at the same time, or else you’re going to be slowing down the story a lot.
As someone who tends toward negativity in my internal narrative, I often turn toward upbeat music to help shake me out of it or get me working on stuff when I don’t feel like doing anything. My favorite musician for that is Kyle Andrews. His music is reliably upbeat and even the slower stuff still has a cheerful vibe to it. Even when you start listening to the lyrics and realizing the cheerful Christmas song is about breaking up with your girlfriend and burning everything she ever gave you to fight off the chill you feel as a result of her treatment of you. It’s great! They’re clever and actually thoughtful songs, on top of all that. They very much adopt the attitude of “this is bad, but that isn’t the end of the world” and I need that sometimes. There’s even a song literally about that. Check him out if you need that. Or just want some good electronic pop/rock.
There are a lot of things that get in the way of writing every day. Some of them are the unfortunate requirements of life. Things like your day job, paying bills, doctor’s appointments, and grocery shopping all need to happen no matter how much writing you have to do still. Identifying these things and building time into your schedule for them can go a long way to mitigating how interruptive they can be. The biggest problem involved is actually figuring out all of the things that interrupt you or take time away from writing. The best way to find these things is to journal your days. If you keep a careful record of what you do and how it impacts your schedule over the course of a few weeks, a pattern will eventually emerge that could give you some interesting insight into how your mind or days work. For instance, my neighbor playing loud music late at night has the most impact on my schedule since it essentially renders me useless for the entire day after he does it. On the other hand, trying to play Pokemon Go actually makes me more productive because it’s something distracting that gets me out of the house for some exercise every day. Thanks to three months of journaling, which has used up half a notebook, I’m finding a lot of interesting patterns in my life. I hope you find some as well if you take the time to journal.