Listening to Bob Evan’s “Don’t You Think It’s Time.” I’ve got 40 minutes till I start tonight’s writing.
I’ve been clocking in at least 3 hours of writing every night for more than a month now. I had to start doing it at some point. Initially I thought I’d burn out; after a whole day at the Day Job, the last thing you’d want is do more thinking. But it’s been going really well; some music then cuppa tea to start me off, the initial leap into the writing zone – arguably the hardest part of the routine because it involves shutting out all the temptations, then before I know it I’m there.
I spend the day editing the story in my head, tossing the plot line looking for holes, getting to know the characters, asking the tough point of view questions (tough being if I had chosen the wrong one, I’d have to make a more-than-usual painful rewrite). True, all the potential edits get all tainted by the tiredness from the Day Job but at least most of them make it to the manuscript.
The best part is that the discipline hauls me to crunch words whether I want it or not, instead of having to wait for the muse to stumble in, tie her to a chair, and get her drunk, as Warren Ellis put it. There’s no retrogression in writing the longer you do it (except the case when you’ve been doing it such a long time that the Editor side of your head starts drying up the Artist side and leaves it looking like a prune because it’s already a knee-jerk reaction to have the Editor call all the shots in anticipation of the rewrite – but that’s more of an issue with psychology rather than skill, I think), so theoretically I’m getting better at it. Also productivity’s up, which is never a bad thing. And it’s a bit like leading a double life as well, in the sense that I have serious work at night that has nothing to do with the Day Job. It’s comforting, actually, to know that you’ve got something else you find more fulfilling going on in your life.
Anyway, I’ve been using the free full-screen writing software Q10, which blocks out everything else from my monitor and forces me to concentrate on my writing. Cool thing about it is the option for typewriter sounds; it feeds into the romantic idea that I’m in some way connected to the old greats. It’s best when in the heat of pounding first drafts, but when it comes to editing, I must say it gets rather tiresome.