Monday, May 11, 2009
... as the day progresses, it gets more and more cluttered. Exhibit A: the 1:45pm cyclonic chaos to your left.
Yes, I have a point. For years now, I've been reading books on writing, on the craft of fiction. I've figured that if I'm going to do the author thing, I want to do it well. And why not imbibe some wisdom from fountains of the less ignorant? Anyway, everyone seems to have their own idiosyncratic tips on writing, and how he/she writes best. But one common piece of advice that seems to pop up everywhere (one I have heretofore aggressively ignored)? To wake up at an ungodly hour and sit at a desk and just write. No music. No coffee. No distractions. Just me and that blank page (okay, screen).
Yes, many extol the virtues of creating a morning writing ritual. Some even wake up as early as 4am to get into the groove. To me, this and other writers' tips are always worth checking out if only because they provide intriguing inroads into the minds and habits of successful people.
And, yes, the argument for early morning writing has always struck me as stunning in its soundness; that the human brain is at its freest, most malleable, state upon waking. And that writing done during this time is less distracted and pinched and, well, cluttered.
Okay, lovely logic, but my feeling had been that if I am going to peel myself out of bed before 6am, there is going to be a crying or hungry or sick baby involved.
Had been. Yes, I temporarily changed my tune. And, yes, I think I've changed it back already. But that is not the point. Two mornings (IN A ROW) last week, I (gasp) got out of bed at, drum roll please, 5 a.m. (I know, I know, I know, I know -- plenty of you wake up at this time for plenty of good non-self-indulgent and practical reasons. I get it!) Anyway, on these early mornings, I dragged myself to my desk. And I wrote! About 6-10 pages of my next novel each morning. Not bad. Not bad at all. Now, I have no idea how good these pages are. But they exist. And that is something.
But another something? By about 1:45pm each day, I desperately needed a nap. And someone to clean my living room. (To be perfectly honest - and I am all about perfect honesty though I am not sure such a thing exists - my living room only looked like the picture above on one of the two days because my beloved nanny had the day off.)
Is there a lesson here? Maybe so. Yes, I think I have stumbled upon my very own writer's tip. And maybe, just maybe, some writer or blogger (more rookie than I) will one day link to this glittering jewel of wisdom.
Aidan's Writing Tip: Write. Write when you can. Write when you feel like it. When your brain is spotless or a bit dusty or a certifiable sty. Write when your kids are napping or screaming. Write on a laptop or napkin or takeout menu. Write when you are supposed to be doing something else or when you have nothing else to do. Write when your ideas are straight or slippery or a bit twisted. Write early in the morning or late at night. Write with coffee or water or wine nearby. Write to a soundtrack of silence, or to a symphony of sirens. During the calm before the storm. Or the storm before the calm. Just write.