It's the wee hours. Coffee cup at hand. Darkness and a sky full of stars outside the window.
Okay, so it's street lights and a billboard outside. I'm trying to build a mood. Work with me here.
I love writing in the middle of the night. I have two thoughts on that. One is that those hours bring to mind spookiness — ghosts and serial killers and monsters under the bed. Since I write horror, sci-fi, and supernatural-ish stuff more often than not lately, what could be more perfect?
The other is, I have no responsibilities left on that day. No appointments, no promises I have to keep, no aggravating/scary/depressing things that have to be dealt with RIGHT NOW, no phone calls coming in, no cats to be fed. Until the sun comes up, it's finally ALL about me.
And then I chuck *me* aside and focus entirely on made-up people in my head.
I'm relaxed and temporarily living in whatever world I've created in my latest work-in-progress. The writer in me says, Cool, that's where you should be. Unique ideas pop up, characters reveal themselves a bit more, images of their world become sharper in my mind. But mostly, it's just more fun.
I actually get more done during the more normal morning hours — between 8:00 and noonish. Editing, smoothing things out, figuring out that some paragraphs need to be moved, etc. It's not as enjoyable, but that's when my projects get finished. The “work” part of writing.
Those are also the hours when my new stories are born. Every last one of them so far, if I recall correctly. I don't know why. There are traffic noises outside, cats whining to be fed (dishes of dry food don't count, or so the furry ones tell me), the phone ringing, personal problems to obsess over, the day ahead full of necessary but un-fun things to do out there in the real world.
I guess it's true that stress and misery get the creative juices flowing more than happy, happy thoughts. I mean, down through the years and decades and centuries, how many talented, accomplished artists of all kinds have had darkness in their lives that caused them to imbibe till their poor liver cried uncle, or to scribble scenes on crumpled paper while fogging up their brain in opium dens, or to, you know, cut off an ear?
Their talent far excedes mine, but fortunately, so does their misery (yikes!). Which is good, because I don't drink (except at midnight on New Year's Eve), don't smoke dope, and couldn't bear to part with an ear — what would hold up my sunglasses?
I have my own methods for coping (as one of my characters once said, “When life gives you shit, make shitburgers.”). Fairly popular methods, in fact...
Coffee helps. Chocolate does, too. Bitching brings me down, yet is magnificently satisfying at the same time.
So. The writing.
I've been working on a sort-of-dystopian novella for a while. Or so I thought. "A while"? Recently I checked the date of the first draft of that novella. April, 2013. Next month it'll be a year. How did that happen??? I got this idea, then a few characters wandered into my brain, a cute little kid joined them, and the story began to take shape. I worked on it off and on, when I had time.
And then I looked at the first file, and 11 months had gone by.
Apparently time flies, not only when you're having fun, but also when you're snow-shovelling your way through a polar vortex-y winter.
Although I'm determined to finish an Easter short story first (you know that, me being me, it won't be all cuddliness and Easter baskets and egg hunts, right?), I AM going to finish that novella! I have time to do both. (Sure I do.) I know that holidays frequently start with me kvetching, "I'll never get this (Easter, Halloween, Xmas) story done in time for the holiday!" But a holiday wouldn't be a holiday without me #amwriting my brains out till the last second.
Ok, so last Easter I blew it. Can't win 'em all.
Anyway, that's where I am, writing-wise, at this moment. I'll keep you updated (not that anyone is begging me to), as the words continue to flow, or even if they get dammed-up like a creek inhabited by an overly-industrious, demented beaver. I'm determined to write blog posts much more frequently. Weekly would be cool. I can't imagine me accomplishing that, but it's good to set the bar high, right?
So... see you then. :-}