i love the mornings
okay, so it’s not always easy to get up at 4, but who said writing was easy?
i’ve actually been going too easy on myself lately, which became quite apparent to me during a recent email conversation with a VP classmate. not that he said anything of the sort, but he was relating how his own writing fire had been lit by VP and he was getting up at oh-dark-hundred to get in time to write and he was really excited about the 20,000 words of material he had already put together in the 2 1/2 weeks since VP.
none of this was braggadacio, no look-how-much-i’ve-done or anything of the sort. he was just thrilled to be writing that sleep was entirely secondary, and that made me pause when i remembered how that used to be.
used to be?
the thought immediately angered me because i couldn’t deny it. yes, i am writing, but nothing like i used to. so what happened?
i’d like to blame it on the big whatever that happened this summer that took my eye off the writing ball, but that’s too easy. it’s true that i teach, i have multiple jobs, i have a wife and i even try to have a life, but so do most writers i know (and many have more obligations), yet still they write.
there is no denying it. i have gotten soft.
the worst part, is that i really enjoyed those small hours. i’m an early bird by nature, yet i’ve slid backwards. why? one factor is certainly the lack of momentum from the summer, but the real issue is that i have not really given myself over to Running on Empty. i’ve been playing it safe, making sure everything else (school work, computer work, house work) is done before i start writing, but i now realize this has been a shell game of sorts. i cannot let writing be the last thing i get to each day. it needs to be up front.
and today i followed through. at 4:30 i was above the garage and working. it was a little slow, as i’ve been struggling with some basic plot points and motivation issues, but i remembered something my wife said last night.
“Maybe you need to start from scratch.”
at first, i hated this idea. i’ve already written a fun, engaging, zippy story! now i need to throw it away? no!
but she didn’t mean that. she meant i needed to look at the piece from the beginning, rather than simply trying to continue from where i was. and this was the key. i needed to identify more clearly why things were happening, not force things to fit false rationale, which is what i had been doing. because i didn’t fully understand the full characters and situations, i couldn’t clearly identify their needs and wants; therefore, i was forcing several of them to carry on under contrived reasons and burdens.
within minutes i was building a backstory that singlehandedly addressed the motivation issues and, by assocation, cleared up several plot points. it also swept me along for more than an hour, revealing answers to questions about technology, politics, military relationships, and many other things. i came down to breakfast and bombarded my mostly-awake wife with all this information, caroming from cause to effect to reasoning to impact to plot point to implication like a pinball machine.*
mornings are great.
now, back above the garage for a couple more hours!
* to her immense credit (and my constant good fortune), she did not yell at me to shut up. how amazing is that?