Saturday, September 14, 2013

Giving Up

Scott D. Parker

I made a decision this week: I'm giving up.

Ever since school began, I thought that I could do it. Sure, it would take some extra effort, but the effort was worth it, right? If I wanted to be a writer, I would have to do it. But, as the days dragged on, I realized it was too hard. I didn't have it in me. That was that. Time to admit defeat.

Five o'clock in the morning is a dang early time to write.

Most of y'all know that I spent all summer writing at 6am. With my boy returning to school, I needed to do one of two thing: write at 5am or write at night. Since I had spent so many weeks writing in the morning, I decided to give morning writing another shot. The first week was fine. Sure, I yawned more than normal, but that's no bit deal. The only thing I needed to do was to remember to get to bed at 11pm.

That proved more difficult than normal. I'm still a night person. After a few weeks, however, that proved easier to do. I was tired. A lot of the time. I found myself dozing when I was supposed to be doing the day job or helping my boy with homework. That was unacceptable. Something had to give.

I started by waking up at 5:15, then 5:30. Soon it migrated to 5:45 with the promise that I'd finish the 1,000 words later in the day. "Later" became night. Night writing. That's when I wrote my 2006 novel so I wasn't unused to it. But I just didn't want to do it. I liked writing the morning.

But I like my health and well-being better. I could feel myself teetering on the edge of getting sick. As much as I want to be a writer and as much as I have the impression that I'm behind in my career, getting sick doing it isn't they way to go.

So, I going to write at night. Weekends will still be my 6am writing time. Holidays, too. We'll see how this goes.

Do y'all ever alter your writing time to match real life?


Brian said...

Sometimes finding our way takes some experimentation. I'm a night writer too.

Dana King said...

I'm an evening writer. After work, after dinner, but before I'm too tired.

Something else to consider: don't let yourself get hung up on an arbitrary number of words. Maybe 500 is all you can get on a weeknight; try for 1,000 on weekends, if you have more time then. The trick is to keep moving forward; how fast doesn't matter nearly as much.

The Stiletto Gang said...
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Joelle Charbonneau said...

My kid is 5. My writing habits change every day because I'm a mom first. Writers change and shift when they have to. So,'re a writer no matter how many words you write every day. The important part is to write:)

Scott D. Parker said...

Brian - I enjoy the experimentation I've done this summer. Truth be told: I'm looking for a solution that is repeatable. Still looking for it.

Dana - When the summer started, just writing every day was my goal. I gave myself a threshold of 500 just so I wouldn't fall into the "Hey, I wrote a paragraph today." rut. As the summer wore on and my typing speeded up, I bumped it up to 600 in July, 700 in August, and, as of now, I think that I can achieve 1,000/day. A couple of times was a struggle, but I did it. Words may not be great, but I prefer pushing myself. As I wrote in the piece, I have this mentality that I'm behind in my writing career. I feel the need, the urge to catch up. I plan on finishing this sophomore book by the end of the month. [I've started thinking of these two books in 2013 as 'my first two' and leaving the 2006 book as the aberration.] My only question now is do I do a shorter work in October or charge ahead and start another novel. Even I don't know that answer.

Joelle - I certainly agree about daily writing changes. It's one of the reasons why I don't have a set routine or set place to write. I write anywhere. I've also been experimenting with writing in the same room as my wife after the boy is in bed. It hasn't been too difficult so far, but we'll see.