Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Day 8: Sludge!

Today marks the beginning of Week 2 in this year's NaNoWriMo journey: the week that many veterans claim is the most difficult. I don't know about that...but I do know that this afternoon's stint of writing felt like trying to run in sludge.

In retrospect, I should have known better than to try to write this afternoon. Afternoons are typically a low-energy point for me, particularly on days (like today) when I wake up early to teach. This morning I got up around 5 am to prep for my 8 am class...so by the time I sat down to write around 3 pm, I was dead tired and word-weary.

This sleepiness showed in my prose, which flowed as slow as cold molasses. Alexa has met Mystery Library Guy...but when I tried to write their first encounter this afternoon, I couldn't think of a name for him (calling him, naturally, "the nameless man" throughout the scene), and his dialogue with Alexa was woefully stilted. Given that I still haven't gotten "into" either of these characters yet--I still haven't figured out what makes either of them "tick," much less how they'll act and get along together--generating even a couple hundred words felt like pushing a boulder uphill.

So, I did what any sane writer would do: I took a nap, went to teach tonight's class, and then just now pounded out another several hundred words toward today's goal. I'm still not sure what's going to happen between Alexa and Paul (yes, Mystery Library Guy now has a name), but at least they're out of the scene where they were stuck earlier, thanks to my use of a miracle transition device: the start of Chapter 3, which begins with the phrase "Two weeks later..."

So, when do you find your writing to be the "sludgiest"? Are there particular times of day when you're not at your writing best, or are you sensitive to environmental factors like noise, non-ergonomic workspaces, or other externals?
Word-count: 13,366

Last line: "But my office is quiet and incredibly secluded: nobody wants to visit an overworked graduate student in a cramped, presumably haunted attic office."


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