Photo credit: Monty Allen on Unsplash
Some days, “better” is good enough.
It helped that I didn’t wait until the wee hours to write, because I’m still exhausted. It’s been a big day in a few ways. I didn’t do a lot of the things on my list, but I did some that came up unexpectedly, plus a few (like mowing the lawn) that I just didn’t want hanging over my head all weekend.
This evening, I debated which scene to work on. The one I chose was one I barely recalled writing. I’m still not certain where it’ll end up (if it stays in the book at all). Also, I cheated a little by dropping another of my own memories into the scene so I wouldn’t have to think—I just had to write down what I remembered. (As it turns out, this is an excellent technique as long as you keep doing things so you always have new memories to draw on.) Then, I dumped the characters into that specific setting and left them discussing their problem.
I wouldn’t say it was brilliant, but it has potential. I’ve definitely written worse scenes. (Like last night, but let’s try to forget that one, at least for now.)
So this is today’s lesson: write before you’re too tired to write.
Of course, some people take this to the extreme. Sir Anthony Trollope famously rose early and spent three hours, from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m., writing before leaving for his day job at the post office. (Fun fact: Sir Anthony was responsible for the red “pillar boxes” to Britain.) He paid a servant £5 extra a year to wake him with a cup of coffee.
This precise routine would never work for me: I have no servants, I don’t like coffee, and I cannot imagine having a sharper brain after rising at 5 a.m. than I do if I write before bed at 2 a.m. But I do admire Sir Anthony for figuring out when he had the brain power to write and using it, even if it was inconvenient and cost him a bit of money. So far, all I’ve figured out is that trying to write when I’m exhausted is a silly idea, an insight I expect most people have already had.
Tonight, I wasn’t too exhausted to write. I was tired, but that’s true of pretty much everybody. On the other hand, if I were to wait until I felt truly energized, I’d probably have four days a year when I could write.
This is what’s known as compromise. Or maybe it’s just taking what you can get.
Either way, I wrote. While the words may not have been great, they weren’t bad, either.
I’m good with that.