Friday, July 06, 2007

Maybe you already knew this...

Something about me that you probably figured out if you've hung out here long: when the writing is going well I post about it a lot. When it isn't--I just don't post. Unless there's a special tour going on or something!

So, just to 'fess up. Life seems to be complicated. (No *duh* eh?) When I started working at the flooring shop six years ago, I'd have entire days with no interruptions but a phone call or two, or a brief visit from a client. The economy in BC is totally booming right now, and in our little town alone we've had more housing starts this year alone than we probably had in all of the 1980s AND 90s. Even though my shop is owned and operated by two guys, two guys can still only do what two guys can do, no matter how many houses are being built. And the two guys used to be younger, too, if you know what I mean.

That doesn't stop people from coming into the shop, though. My role is to figure out if their job fits into our timeline (currently booking October-December), and if they are people we actually want to work for. My guys have a very good rep and lots of folks are willing to wait for us, but we have to make choices because we simply can't take on every job. Folks say, "Well, they should hire help." I'm here to tell you that anyone who knows anything about laying floors (or anything else in the construction business) in all of Western Canada is already working, and they don't have time to take on an apprentice.

So there are now lots of days where I sit down at my desk and am back up again in five or ten or thirty minutes. There are writing tasks I can do with that many interruptions, but revising doesn't seem to be one of them. I don't want to do a slap-dash job of this revision; I want to think through each scene and fix it correctly, keeping in mind what came before and what comes after. All this is hard to hold in place with dozens of interruptions a day, many of them lengthy as folks consider samples.

Most working people who write don't write at work. They write after hours. I've been staring at my *after hours* trying to figure out how to wrap my brain around them. For starters, I am way fresher in the morning than evening, but I'm already trying to establish a solid habit of exercising before work every day, so I'm already getting up an hour earlier than I used to. Depriving myself of yet another hour of sleep does not sound appealing. (To say nothing of the fact that my bedroom doesn't really cool off enough to sleep comfortably until 4 am.) I truly cannot think late in the day. It's like wading through muck. And with the house and the garden and the farm...

So the job of revising Marks of Repentance that I started in January (horrors) is still only one third done. I really want it done by the time the contest winners are announced in September *just in case*. Either way, though, I want it ready to send out. It's time I kicked something out the door. Obviously I need a new plan for completing the work. I just don't know what the plan is!

I've started critiquing a novel for Maripat that I also want to have done by the end of summer, because then I've promised a crit to Fiorinda. I mean, if SHE can revise with four small kids including twins under a year old, what is holding ME back? :P

And meanwhile, my brain is atrophying from lack of creative work. Finally I just decided to start writing what is likely the least marketable of my ideas--flying completely without a net--into my Palm Tungsten E2 in the first half hour of my work day, just whatever gets done. I'm writing Connect the Dot in first person present tense just for the hang of it, to remind myself it's just for fun. I've only done that for the last two days and it's feeling good.


Dawn said...

You'll find a way to make it work, just keep trying different approaches. Have you tried napping for an hour in the evening, then getting up to write/edit? This way you don't have to leave your bed during the comfy hours of the morning. :) Or, here's another thought. Exercise in the evening to *wake yourself up*. Then try writing. Make it small, 15 minutes a night. Your brain will learn to function (if you're willing). I once made the mistake of writing on a morning "coffee" break at work. My brain learned very quickly that it LIKED writing at that time. to the point that when I worked instead of taking that "coffee" break, I couldn't focus on work. Train the brain, train the brain!

Random Walk Writer said...


I think we all do this by trial and error. What's that book Bonnie recommends--The Weekend Novelist? You might see if it has any tips that grab you for making time to write.

During the school year, I had the exercise/writing clash, too. I'd drop the kid at the bus stop, then go for a walk or jog before heading back home. But then I'd think it was too late to write, so I'd dive in to work. Now, when I'm not exhausted, I write in the morning rather than exercise. Seems unfair to have to make a choice!

Congrats on getting Dot going.

Maripat said...

Hugs, Val. I'm sorry to hear you're having issues. You'll get through this. I have faith in you.