Disclaimer: I’m writing this at 4:29 AM. I’m exhausted but, with the wild, new stress of editing War of Exiles and dealing with assorted other problems lately, I’ve found I have a hard time sleeping. The edit is going well, but editing a manuscript without taking long breaks between chapters is a completely different beast; you see all the flaws that need tweaking and you change them immediately, efficiently, and exhaustively. It becomes a nonstop struggle that you fret about daily, but I’m sure it would be fine–I’m sure I could sleep–if not for other worries. My solution: Get up again for phase 3 of responsibilities. Sometimes, it means I’m working on a short story at 5 AM (Lokisday, a short I don’t think I’ve spoken about at all here). Sometimes, apparently, it can also mean I want to write a really weird post at 5 AM. So… enjoy?
Step 1 – Wake Up
It sounds so easy.
Step 2 – Fooood?
This relies entirely on whether there is food to be had. Really, this step should be titled, “Coffee,” because coffee is often all I have for breakfast.
Step 3 – Editing War of Exiles
For me, the editing process has been like… being given a sponge and being told to clean a brick wall. Only, the wall is covered with layer after layer of old paint and the person giving the orders wants you to get down to the brick. With the sponge.
That is how it started for me.
I’d take my sponge, rub it on the wall, pull it away, see that there was a small smear of paint on it… and then inspect the wall. There might be one slightly brighter spot where I’d rubbed. So I kept at it, taking long breathers, never feeling quite right about my wall-sponging abilities. Often, I’d jump from spot to spot.
But, as time wore on, I figured out new tools. Turpentine. A… wall… scraper?… Why did this have to be a wall cleaning analogy? I don’t know anything about wall cleaning.
Whatever. The point is, I’m using stronger tools now; I can see the brick and I’m working nonstop now to get it clear.
But I’m still working the paint off of a brick wall.
I love writing. Really, I do. I could maybe use a break though; a break I will turn down every time.
Step 4 – Working out?
Step 5 – Actual Work
The thing about working from home is that my actual work space… is my writing space. So, unless I work out, I haven’t actually moved. In fact, I am writing this–right now–in my writing / work space. One room. One leather armchair. One TV directly in front of me, flanked by windows to the outside.
Step 6 – Video Games?
There’s a chance I can game as I work–but only if it’s incredibly simple work.
But that doesn’t mean much as video games are not exciting anymore.
And, of course. Why would they be? Working on my stories, despite the analogy, is exciting. Being outside is exciting. Seeing friends–smiling and laughing about Peeta and his cakes–is exciting.
Video games are just another thing I do in my writing / work space. My living space, I should call it. My “I’m breathing” space.
Step 7 – Probably Not Sleep
Whenever it happens, there is always the first attempt at sleep. I lie down, stretch out, turn so that my back is to my room, a wall in front of me.
And I stay like that for a while. Always, I contemplate my life. There are so many things I’m not saying on here because this isn’t the place to share them. But, regardless, I think about them–about my mortality. The constant, writerly worries come up–the thought that maybe I just suck. Maybe I’m not doing it right. “I’ve only just,” I’ll ration, “learned how to edit and proofread optimally.” It continues until I imagine being turned down by every publishing firm ever.
And, of course, at that point, I’m awake and back in my writing / work / gaming space, hammering out a post or what have you, eyes glazed over, possibly not even watching what I’m writing.
Step 8 – Why am I still up?
“Why are you still up?” my mother might ask.
“Oh. You alright?”
“Yes. Just tired.”
There’s a range of funny, comforting things my mother might say to this. Even if it turns into a conversation about how tired she is, I’ll still smile.
The rest of this step is me doing things I half-forget–in part because they’re busy work. This morning, for example, I changed the cat litter before hopping on here. Yesterday, I started a short story and then did… something I don’t remember. Played Terraria? Maybe I played Terraria.
Step 9 – Actual Sleep
The sun is always up when it happens. Often, I’m talking to myself by then; we’re going full disclosure on the weirdness here.
Either way, I actually fall asleep this time, the ritual complete, Escribyr sated.
I have a boring, work-driven life with a passion for a field notorious for slow or non-existent returns; I currently have nothing to show for it because I’m still trying to get one of my two completed manuscripts ready for submission. I am… so close. Closer than I’ve ever been.
All I have to do is keep working–keep editing. Keep riding the oddly confined, leatherarmchairpocalypse that my life has become.
Just an absolutely unclear unit of time longer.
I can do it.