burning the candle at both ends

I meant to post a writing update tonight, but I spent so much time writing that I’m too tired to blog about it, so I’ll just leave you with my favorite sentence of the night:

If I’d known I was going to meet the most amazing woman in the world outside my dad’s office that afternoon, I wouldn’t have asked for extra garlic on my pizza at lunch.

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On Writing, Self-Discipline, and a Parade of Cheese Melts

I’m a vegetarian.

It’s not a huge deal in my day-to-day life. I do my thing, shop at the hippie grocery, and make jokes about bidding people ‘so long, and thanks for all the fish-flavored soy protein crumbles’. I live and let live, and most people don’t know unless I eat with them on a regular basis. Thing is, I work at a decidedly non-vegetarian restaurant, and the only item on the menu I can eat (besides the occasional meatless salad, which doesn’t offer much in the way of sustenance or protein) is a cheese melt.

Now, cheese melts are all well and good, and this particular cheese melt is quite tasty. But ask even the biggest cheese-melt aficionado to eat a cheese melt between four and six times a week every week for two years, and—well. Let’s just say that if hell exists, I firmly believe it is, in fact, an all-you-can-eat buffet that serves nothing but cheese melts.

I’m pretty over cheese melts, is what I’m saying. But I can’t say I’ve ever been tempted to try out the chicken tenders or order the Philly cheese steak. Being vegetarian’s a part of me, so ingrained that it just wouldn’t occur to me to try out a meat dish.

A while back I had a brainwave: if you ask me, I’ll say writing—or at least the urge to create people and places and stories—is just as important to me as being vegetarian, if not more so. I only gave up meat five years ago, and I’ve been making stories since I learned how to talk. Giving up writing forever would be impossible.

And yet, although I’d never thought twice about sticking to my vegetarianism even through a never ending parade of cheese melts, I didn’t have the remotest sense of self-discipline about my writing. Although I would occasionally try to keep to a schedule or manage to meet a word goal for a couple of consecutive weeks, I never really tried to be professional about my writing goals or stick to a serious plan.

It wasn’t easy to change my attitude towards my writing, but it’s been worth it. I’m still not perfect about it, and, as I do have a mental illness, I have to be very careful about balancing my work/free time balance. However, for the first time in my life I am within an arm’s length of actually finishing a novel, and I have managed to keep to my goal of updating this blog at least twice a week.

Sometimes, after a long shift on my feet and a dose of meds that cause short-term memory loss and fatigue, I feel like writing about as much as I feel like scarfing down an entire plate of cheese melts. But the more I force myself to work through it even on those days, the easier it gets to sit down and write every day. It’s not much, but it’s a start.

Writing: Inertia

I’d planned, once I finished typing up the first part, to do a ten day sprint (about 3k a day) and finish the novel already. I had it all planned out, and I was so excited to finally get it done, but since then I’ve barely managed to keep to my 500-word/day minimum, and that with great difficulty. It has been a real struggle to get the words out, and one day I missed writing completely, as I was out of the house all day long.

I don’t know why it suddenly got so hard for me. I’m writing some parts that I would normally really enjoy (one of my characters is about to find out she’s pregnant, and another one is about to out himself publicly), but I am finding it so hard to just sit down at my desk and write even a hundred words.

I had taken a break from writing for several weeks recently, due to health reasons, so I guess what I really need to do is get back in the habit. It’s just such a chore, though, and I get back home from work every day just dreading the thought of having to sit down and force myself to write.

So, of course, I’m planning on starting my ten-day sprint tomorrow. The sooner I have it done, the sooner I’ll be able to kick back a few days and move on to something new. I am going to sit down on Monday and write three thousand words if it takes me all night.

Writing: The Ongoing Typing Saga

Note to self: in the future, don’t wait to type up your novel until you’re twenty-five thousand words in.

Yeah, I went and did that. In my defense, I’ve figured out that writing longhand *really* works for me.

Unfortunately, this project (the first entry in what I’m calling the footie verse) is written in text messages/emails/IM logs/articles, so typing up each separate text and dealing with formatting is the worst.

I’m using ywriter to put in the first draft, which is working out pretty well so far and definitely helping me to deal with the headaches (each ‘stream’ of texts or such is a separate scene, and each chapter is a day or half a day). It’s still a royal pain, though.

From now on, I’m going to try to type up the previous day’s output first thing in the morning. Hopefully I’ll be able to stick to that.