Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Day 15: Cranky, and cranking

Today marks the beginning of Week 3 of NaNoWriMo's month-long challenge: the official halfway point. Since I reached 25,000 words this weekend, I'm slightly ahead of the game in terms of word-count; still, I'm trying to leverage that momentum so I begin the week of Thanksgiving nicely ahead of the game.

And then there was today.

Today was an average Tuesday, which means it was a full teaching day. On Tuesdays I get up early, and although I have an afternoon break between classes, I'm usually too tired then to be very productive. And today was more tiring than usual, one of those days that makes you want to go home afterward and not do much of anything.

I'm finding, though, that even when I'm tired and cranky, I can still crank out words on the novel, this afternoon adding yet another sex scene (ahem) and just now an imminent chase where Campus Security comes to sniff out the secret hiding place where Paul and Alexa have been engaging in their, uh, extracurricular activities.

In other words, there's nothing like a sordid plot twist to make your own day seem not so bad by comparison. You think you've had a bad day? Imagine trying to seek tenure at a college where you're standing naked in a towel, about to get busted for having sex with a grad student in a bathroom. (Can you say, "Career suicide"?)

All in all, I wrote only about 1,500 words today: I would have liked to have written 2,000, enough to break 30K. But damn, this latest plot predicament is making me giggle, and I guess that's a precious commodity on an otherwise tiring Tuesday.

So, what kinds of things do you like to write when you're tired or cranky? Does writing make a difference in your mood, or do your moods get in the way of your writing?
Word count: 29,579

Last line: Alexa nodded, and Paul stepped toward the door, quietly turning the knob as he beckoned with one finger for her to follow.


At 11/16/2005 9:54 AM, Blogger The Misanthrope said...

Let me turn the tables and ask why is it that one seems to write better when depressed, or seemingly so?

At 11/16/2005 10:52 AM, Blogger Lorianne said...

I can only speak from my own experience here, but here goes... When I'm depressed, writing is soothing because the page always listens, and it never judges. It never tells you to "snap out of it" or "get a hold of yourself." It just listens.

I also think that writing fiction can be a sort of escape. When you're paying attention to the lives & details in an imaginary world, for a while you distance yourself from the facts of your own world (even if you're borrowing heavily from that world to write).

AND...in a story, you can write whatever ending you want. In fiction, even Losers can win, and I for one find that soothing.

At 11/16/2005 1:13 PM, Blogger Devon Ellington said...

It depends on the level of exhaustion. If I can push through it, the zombie-like fog I hit is often an asset -- I just push through.

Sometimes, though, if I suffer from what Natalie Goldberg calls "monkey mind" I can't get anything done.

Commenting on what misanthrope said above, I write MORE when I'm depressed, but the quality of writing is BETTER when I'm happy.

It took me a long time to get there, but now it's true.

At 11/16/2005 7:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tend to write more (and better) when I am NOT depressed, although I've had spurts that were entirely due to the dark days syndrome. I guess, in general, I'm less likely to do much of ANYTHING when I'm depressed, writing or otherwise. But there have been times that writing is just the escape I need.

I miss fiction, really, I do. Before my eyesight got bad enough where I can't just pick up a book anymore, I was a voracious reader of fiction. I loved being able to get lost in the story, and I really and truly loved it when I came across one of those books that were impossible to put down. I surely do miss that.

Writing my own fiction (so far) doesn't carry the same appeal. I'm hoping for the day when I'm excited and eager to see what's coming from my brain to my fingertips ... for now, it's still work, even when it's pleasantly satisfying. I yearn for the zone, and just knowing it exists is enough to keep my fingers moving (at least, most of the time).

Good work on cranking out more word count, even on a cranky day. Better than letting the blank page mock you.


At 11/18/2005 8:58 AM, Blogger Lorianne said...

Devon, I think you've hit on something. When I'm depressed, I often write (journal) a lot, but a lot of that writing is so whiny, it's all but unreadable.

ntexas, it sounds like you need to give your eyes a break & get some audio books. What better way to unwind?


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