Wednesday, June 29, 2011

ordered, shipped, and RECEIVED!

My books cames in yesterday.  I was a happy receipant of two used books ordered online.  Now I feel pressured to finish Alice Munro's short story collection so I can crack open my new books.  This holiday weekend is going to be books books galore!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

It Continues...

If you took bets I called it quits after one week - pay up! Last Thursday was the most difficult to get through. I wrote the least amount of words (171), BUT I found something interesting, and important, out about one of my characters. This was huge because as much as I thought I knew what my novel was about I didn't know many specifics about my characters. Well now I know one of them has dropped out of college. That's potentially good stuff, right? Lots of examples to chase after and cause and effect scenarios to arise later.

I took a break from writing on the weekend. The sleep experiment made me more than moody by Friday and I already had a jam packed schedule ahead of me for the rest of the weekend.  Monday, I would have liked to sat down and added to the word count, but I took the day to recover from my weekend and pay special attention to my pup.  He is sick.  This morning, though, no excuse was acceptable and I was up and typing.  Another secret reason I avoided writing over the weekend and Monday - I didn't know what to write next.  This morning felt tough and each word and sentence was fragmented writing but I squeezed out 228 words.  I'm proud of that for now.  No onward with the day and the vet I go. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Day Two - Change Up

295 words today. I had to check that count three times just now because I kept forgetting as I tried to login to my blog. Good indication at how my body is taking the VERY slight change in sleeping pattern. I couldn't get up when my alarm went off today. I got up to use the restroom in the middle of the night and could not fall back asleep for awhile. Its funny how that can happen and not so funny when it puts you on your arse when the alarm goes off.

I didnt give up (completely) though. I fought the sandman! And I eventually won --> fast forward to a half hour after my initial alarm and I got up. I still had the time to give myself an hour to write but I only took about 40 minutes of it because my morning was already off. Instead, I took my dog for a walk - quite a treat for him. The pup is not sure about this whole mom getting up early thing. He likes to follow me to bed and usually gets up with dad, who gets up an hour later and takes care of him the entire morning. And on the days mom is still in bed (I only work part-time)and dad leaves, the pup makes sure to wake me up so I don't waste my morning getting more beauty sleep than dad. Long story short, the pup deserved the walk, my experiment is throwing off his morning too and he walks so nice when he's sleepy.

Story/Novel update: I have absolutely NO clue where this novel is going or what it wants to be. However, my 30 second sales pitch makes it sound earth-moving, life-changing, and marvelous. This morning I just switch into whatever scene I thought I could write and threw my type A personality and need for order out the window. This is something different for me and for now it is racking up the word count and forcing me to figure out my characters and their lives. These are all good things.

Here's crossing my fingers that tomorrow feels more like the first day and not more sluggish than today.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Finally An Explanation

What is a sleep deprivation experiment, you ask? Followed by, how could she tweet such a cliffhanger so early in the morning? Well let me explain...

Monday, I played catch up as most writers do after neglecting my writing and writer duties for a good few weeks. This included reading everything in my Google Reader. I struck gold. A past classmate and fellow writer was blogging about something writers always claim they do. And by writers, I mean the visiting writers that travel around the nation for "Reading Series" appearances on college campuses. At these events someone will always ask - "Could you talk about your writing process?" Nine times out of ten the writer will say they make time to get their writing done by getting up extra early to write before their day gets started. How simple, you think, how obvious, right? Then all the students leave thinking to themselves that they will do this early writing technique too (or some students opt for the stay up all night alternative). I, too, thought this every time I left one of these events, BUT I never actually did it.

Well, perhaps it's because it's a person I actually know and admire, but reading her blog the other day really jump started my motivation. So I set my alarm an hour before I usually get up and went to bed at a decent time. When my alarm went off, I mulled over my options (as is always the case when I say I'm going to get up early for anything). And I'll even admit I was going to let myself go back to sleep, I even tried to get back into a slumber. Yet, my guilt, I think, kept my mind clicking at a fast pace and sleep was no longer an option. So I got up and opened up the laptop and began pounding away on the keyboard. I decided to work on my novel project since that was the project I was avoiding the most. I started about 10 minutes after I planned too and I allowed myself distractions because complete focus that early is not normal for me. I wrote, I checked my email, I wrote, I checked facebook, I wrote, I took the dog out, I fed the dog, and I wrote some more.

It was about five minutes from when I told myself I'd call it quits and I thought I'd just stop anyways. I mean how much more could I write. I had 281 words, I was still stuck in the same scene (the first scene) and I had no idea where it was going or what was coming next. Guilt got a hold of me again. I could not quit early. Quitting early defeated the entire point of getting up early to dedicate time to writing. (Maybe I'll save "quitting early" for a time when the experiment becomes more of a habit) So I stuck the five minutes out and ended with 356 words. I was not blown away by the word count. However, put in perspective...I strive to write 500 words a day (I hardly do but that is my long-term goal). If I would have quit early I would have only been just over half way there. By sticking the five minutes out, instead, I was more like two-thirds of the way to my goal. And if I didn't get up early at all I would still be at zero words today. From that perspective I feel pretty good about my writing today.

So why call it the sleep deprivation experiment and not something with writing in the title? Because the hard part about this experiment is not so much the writing as it is the giving up of extra sleep time. I confess I LOVE to sleep. Some people tell me I sleep or want to sleep more than anyone else they know. Eight hours is never enough for me. I prefer to get a solid nine or ten hours in if I can. When I don't, I can be moody and short-tempered. YIKES, right? Well, day one results are in and it was a long, long, long day. But a GOOD one! I was up and alert for a solid two-hours before I wanted to crawl back into bed. But I was close to a Dunkin Donuts to snag a coffee and bring me back to life. I worked a good eight hours, took the pup to the dog park for an hour, and even got in a run. Current status --> TIRED. The couch never looked so good. But the extra encouragement throughout the day from friends that knew right away what I was doing this morning makes me ready to start tomorrow the same way.

In other new, before I go, I ordered East of Eden again along with Joshua Henkin's Matrimony. He was one of my very first graduate professors and I should have read his book years ago. My bad, Josh. But better late than never, right? The books are being shipped to an non-disclosed address for the safety of all parties and objects involved. I want to help the world love literature and read books, but on my own terms. You got me?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Book Crime & Forgiveness

I am late posting this but I still feel as strong about it as I did a week or so ago. I ordered Steinbeck's East of Eden using a fantastic gift card given to me. I was anxiously awaiting its arrival and after waiting over two weeks and checking the mail at all hours of the day I finally called the store. They claimed the book had been delivered days before, so I called the post office. They seem nice enough to look into the issue for me despite their poor reviews but all they could tell me was it was probably stolen. I will not go as far as to include my list of suspects in this post BUT I will say I was extremely upset. I have already read the book and fell head over heels for it. And when my good friend mentioned that she was going to be reading it soon I jumped at the chance to escape into that world again and have someone to dish the "dets" with.

For awhile afterwards I did not think there was anyway to come back from this tragedy. (No I don't think I am being dramatic) I had my assumptions that someone took the book out of desperation hoping it was a biology book that they could sell for $$$$ lots of dollar bills. Then they opened the box only to be let down. But then I thought to myself, I hope whoever has my purchase actually opens it and their curiosity gets the better of them and they READ the book. And by reading it they become enthralled with literature and its magic. Then because they are sorry for their theft they remember my name so that one day while feeding their new appetite for books and reading they purchase my newly published novel as a gesture of apology for stealing my book (scene fads into darkness and sappy triumph songs plays in background). And that was how I got over my book thief.

In other news - I am way behind on my writing. No new novel additions - but a newly revised Charlie Hoot draft of Story One (it has no title yet, just the first story I wrote in my anticipated series). This morning - through some sinus congestion I will be working on getting a new draft of my "Charlie Flies" story. And despite my lack of writing (insert slap on the hand) I have been more than up to date on my reading. I am juggling three different books/journals right now Alice Munro's Selected Stories, Salt Hill's Issue 27, and Mark Bittman's Food Matters. What a selection, right? Most important thing learned about juggling these particular books --> I don't write as much like Munro as I once thought, nor do I want to. Not in a bad way either, I just know at this point in my writing that that is not the direction I see myself going. It is always great learning things about yourself.

Stay tuned in, more to come this summer.