Saturday Evening Post

Get it? Because it’s Saturday evening?

Last night I was pretty frustrated with myself. Two days and almost no writing. I’ve gotten to the point where I start to get a little squirrely if I don’t write every day. But this is my son’s last week of Summer Vacation, and not a very great summer vacation at that. Last summer, we went to hot springs and swimming and visited grandparents and so many other things to fill his mind with new experiences and broaden his horizons. This year, as all of us know, we blew through Spring and are finding ourselves at the end of summer vacation without having done much other than sit at home and gain weight.

So for the last several weeks, we have been using our time together to ride bikes, go places, spend time together, and not play video games as much as he would like. Much to his frustration and disappointment. $45 at a farm supply store got us inner tubes a few weeks ago, and since then, we have been hitting several places along the river, tubing! It gets us out into the sun, it gives us a chance to exercise, and we don’t have so spend much money, other than gas and snacks for the trip.

This week we did a number of things, which I will write about on my travel blog. Unfortunately we have been spending so much time together and I have put my focus on getting him on a river or a bike lately that I don’t get a lot of time to write. Usually after he falls asleep. The barrier I am running into though is by then, I am tired. If I start writing at 11:00pm, then I know that my brain will continue to keep writing until about 2 or 3am. Then we have to get up, I have to feed us, and the whole process starts all over again. I don’t have the luxury of writing all night in a cool, quiet house when he is around, so I tend to play more with him and work more when it is just me.

I didn’t work much at all for the last few nights, and to my mental state, it shows. The other night my brain decided to work, but it didn’t produce anything. It just fretted over structure and which chapter would come next. I still didn’t have any answers. Then, yesterday, a really bad burn on my right hand delayed my writing for late afternoon and the evening. Just a reminder: if you are using a steel skillet as a broiler pan, just remember it will probably be very hot even a few minutes after you pull it out of the oven. Use an over mitt to pick it up. Not your bare hand.

Raw aloe does help. But it only does so much.

Last night I was up really late, just scrolling through social media, then reading a little bit. I finally fell asleep at about 3:30am and woke up at 10am. I had a series of nightmares which are pretty common to me…and BOOM, that was it! This was the next chapter I needed to write! This was the transition in the story! I picked up my phone and went into Notes and just started Writing!

Tonight, after a cat nap post-inner tubing again, I sat down to visit with a couple friends online, and once they faded out (as people usually do when you are visiting on Messenger), I decided to transcribe notes from my phone into Scrivener. As it turns out, I had six or seven files to move over from the last few days. Mostly little snippets of dialog or a theme for a scene. But the chunk that I wrote this morning was 1600 words. Boom. An hour’s worth of work using just my thumbs on a Notes app.

Today I actually feel good about the writing.

There are some days I feel like the book is demanding that it be written. These sleepless nights are usually the confrontation between an active mind and an exhausted body. In my case, the mind usually wins, but the body is useless and painful when it doesn’t get sleep at night. Sometimes the boredom of solitude gets to be a little too much. There is also the problem of money and what to do when you are looking at quickly running out of it. I have to heed to call to write and put the words down. I can’t worry about structure and plotting and all that because that kind of thinking is actually getting in the way of how the story is asking to be written.

It’s weird as hell.

Work in progress update

Over the last few weeks, I have been furiously taking notes, working on scenes in the book, and there are days the book feels like it is writing itself. I moved probably twenty notes over to the Scrivener document and even organized everything that I had by character, event, or timeline. It is going to be the best way to keep track of everything.

I have a lot of beautiful scenes, moments between characters, and some scenes written, but as far as plot and structure go, I was starting to get a little concerned. So, I took a walk by myself at dusk and I thought about the story. I think I have enough cathartic moments, pretty scenes, etc. to last me for a while, so it was time to start thinking about plot. So, what I decided to do was to open the Notes app on my phone. I opened up a new document and typed in three words:

Beginning
Middle
End

Then I started fleshing out what each needed to be, based on the notes I had taken so far. Oh, and later on, I wrote 2,000 words for a new chapter. This is a novel that is highly character based, especially in regards to internal conflict. There isn’t much in the realm of setting or plot, other than overcoming internal struggles, dealing with loss, and attempting to make any sense of it. This is a wide departure from airplanes with the souls of warhorses and zombie armies fighting in the trenches of my previous projects.

My goal for this book is to break your heart.

Anyway, I just wanted to drop a quick update on how things have been going, more for myself than anyone else really. I’m making progress. The book is coming along nicely. The writing feels solid for a first draft too. After all that work, I have one finished first draft of the first chapter.

But the way this story is coming together is a lot like flicking globs of ink onto a page. The spots expand, drizzle over to other spots, and eventually an image will form. The book will be done. And then I can start on the next one!

Writing late

Today I wrote around 2,000 words on a small chapter. The biggest problem I am having lately is with my process. I’m wasting a lot of time throughout the day not writing. Then late at night, I sit down, put words to paper, write a decent amount of stuff and before I know it, the clock is telling me it is 2am and I am still wide awake.

Then I lie in bed, feeling my body shaking from exhaustion. I pull myself out of bed, my feet hitting the floor all wobbly like those of a newborn deer. I reach out for my phone and open the Notes app. There is where I sketch other scenes I want to work on later. Sometimes it is exchanges of dialog, sometimes it is just a note of something I remember that I want to get down before it is lost to exhaustion. This can go on for hours.

Tonight I got over 3,500 words down, excluding this blog post. I’m getting braver about what I write about, taking greater risks, cutting deeper and deeper to the marrow of the story. The solitude and quiet and cool night air help. Once I get the words down in the Scrivener document, anything left over gets jotted down in the notes and then the next day moved from my phone to the main document via Airdrop.

I’m not letting myself think about who is going to read this. It feels good to get the words down. The story is coming through, like big and small blogs of ink on a page, which expand outward, creating the mosaic of a story as I go. I’m beginning to feel a theme, and a plot of some kind come together too.

I’m going to try to rest now before the ideas come beating at the door of my brain, demanding to be heard.