A Writer’s Life, Again

by wjw on October 16, 2008

Amazing how much difference a couple days can make.

On Monday, I wrote at some length about the distractions that were preventing me from properly thinking about my work, let alone getting much of it done.

Most of Tuesday I was a total wreck. I blame the fact that we were socked in by rainclouds. I’m a solar activated person, one reason I live in an area that’s sunny 360 days per year. Clouds and gloom weigh on me like, well, clouds and gloom.

Tuesday I could barely drag myself out of bed. I was so down that I couldn’t even summon up the energy to play computer games. The best that could be said for me was that I got some reading done.

And then, late in the afternoon, the mood shifted. (Not coincidentally, the clouds were dissipating.) I did my workout on the Total Gym, soaked my sore muscles in the hot tub while watching a lovely sunset, then cooked a healthy dinner of tuna steak with mushrooms, asparagus, and a salad.

Then I went to the laptop and wrote like a demon for several hours. Wrote well, finishing more words on the one night than I’d managed for a week or more.

I completed a chapter. It helped in building momentum that the end of the chapter was in sight, because this chapter was one of those accompanied by a lot of second-guessing on my part. The chapter was almost all exposition, and as I worked I kept thinking, “Maybe I should deal with this piece of information later. Or earlier. Or maybe I should just cut it.”

It’s impossible at this early stage to know whether I made any of the right decisions. But at least the chapter is done, and I can deal with all those issues later.

When I finished in the early hours of the morning, I felt very pleased with myself.

This morning was sunny, and so was I. I bounded out of bed full of energy. I started the day with martial arts, ate a modest and healthy lunch, spent the afternoon dealing with the sort of trivial annoyances that had so vexed me on Monday. I ran for an hour on the elliptical machine, did my stretches, watched sunset from the hot tub, cooked myself another tuna steak. Then I listened to the presidential debate while playing Rome. (The score: Obama 3 for 3, more because his opponent kept shooting himself in the neck than because Obama was so brilliant. And also I am kicking Rome’s butt. A good day for sports.)

So now I’ve got the laptop fired up and will be launching more genius into the fictionsphere. Excelsior!

Forecast for tomorrow: Sunny. Warmer. Wordier.

Rebecca S. October 16, 2008 at 4:48 pm

These looks inside a working writer’s life are very interesting; also, they make me hungry.

You are my psychometeorological opposite. A lot of sunlight–a couple of days of it in a row, say–makes me fretful and anxious, unless I am on vacation. If I am at home and trying to work, I am overtaken by restlessness–not so much a feeling that I want to be outside, but a feeling that I ought to want to be. But give me a nice long stretch of gray, damp weather, with short days and unbroken cloud cover and plenty of drizzle, and I feel snug and cozy, happy to be inside my office and even, often, to be writing.

How lucky each of us is to live in the right part of the country. both lucky enough to live in appropriate places.

Rebecca S. October 16, 2008 at 4:50 pm

Sorry for not editing the extraneous words out of my previous post. Blame it on an all-night workathon . . . writing a book on the Patriot Act for high-school kids. The things I do for money.

Dave Bishop October 16, 2008 at 9:48 pm

It’s a good job that you don’t live in Manchester (UK), Walter. We have gloomy, overcast days for around 360 days per year. We’ve had two wet and dismal summers in a row. I’d emigrate if I had the energy and wasn’t so depressed!

Ralf the Dog October 17, 2008 at 11:00 pm

I prefer slightly more dramatic weather. I live in Oklahoma. There is nothing greater to inspire your writing than watching a town you drive through every day destroyed by a 318 MPH, mile wide tornado. The noise is quite extraordinary (speaking of Voice of the Whirlwind).

About once a year or so we get power knocked out for a day or 7 by a thunderstorm that knocks down the power lines (Usually about 75 MPH). Unfortunately we are moving out of the big weather time of year. The next time the power gets knocked out for a week it will probably be from an ice storm.

Part of the fun of big weather is watching the local weather people freak out. If a tornado is forming in the daytime the TV stations send out their helicopters to follow it. “That cloud looks like it might start turning any moment, anyone in that field should take tornado precautions immediately. OMG there is a cow in the field and the cloud is moving in the cow’s general direction. RUN LITTLE COW RUN!!!!”

Ethan October 20, 2008 at 1:15 am

I’m from the Seattle area, and thus thrive when it’s cloudy and rainy, and start to hiss menacingly as I squint at the sky when the sun is out. Such are our people.

halojones-fan October 23, 2008 at 12:19 am

It’s amazing that you, an astoundingly rich person, are voting for Obama. I thought rich people were required to vote Republican.

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