confessions / distractions / revising / writing


Yesterday morning my usual attempt at stumbling up in the early-dark to be a writer turned into me lolling about on the couch with a splitting headache (moaning softly to myself till the pills kicked in). Clearly I would have to give up on writing, so I slept till I had to get up for work. But the headache had a good hold on my skull, vicious as ever, and I ended up taking the day off. For nothing. I basically got up intermittently to take pills and sleep. It was a waste of a day and I am now even more behind than I was before at work, and now also off my rhythm with the revising.

Reason for headache… stress?

I slept so much yesterday that I could barely sleep last night. I kept waking up. I kept lying on my back staring at the dark ceiling telling myself not to have another ceiling nightmare (long story) and telling myself to go to sleep and telling myself if I slept I could write tomorrow and all that, and at some point I must have slept because I do remember the alarm going off at crazy-o’clock and fumbling down out of the loft to turn it off.

The clock radio was playing Led Zeppelin. Which reminds me of my childhood.

Either way, I am here at the café revising. I took a big table so I can spread out my edited pages and if anyone thinks that’s unfair they can suck it!

Gotta revise the mood before work today.

So hey, I do not understand, I really just do not understand, how other writers are able to do this. Write, work, have lives—this. How, tell me, how? I am so tired. I can barely function by eight o’clock at night.

Recently the thought came to me at how easy it would be not to do this. When something’s all up in your face in front of you—your day job, which pays your bills—you pay attention and do that first. It’s only practical. And you put off doing everything else till later, which becomes next week, next month, next year. That’s how writers don’t end up writing because they have to live first.

I could just live, you know. My days would be busied up with all that—and I’d have time and energy to clean the apartment for guests next week, answer emails, write notes on the awesome pages a writer sent me for feedback, organize bills, redecorate, read novels, paint my nails, do, I dunno, stuff. I’d have time for STUFF.

But something’s keeping me from doing that. I just wish I could stop whinging about it all the time.

I would also like to announce that my right leg is asleep for the second time this morning, which is how my brain felt yesterday after the headache, so I guess that’s what some might call progress.

7 thoughts on “Trouble

  1. Nothing stresses me out like revisions. I wouldn’t be surprised if a build up of revision stress was behind your headache. At one point, I ended up staying over at my boyfriend’s just so that I wouldn’t be in the same house as my ms.
    As for this:

    So hey, I do not understand, I really just do not understand, how other writers are able to do this. Write, work, have lives—this. How, tell me, how? I

    If you find it out, please let me know. I suspect the answer is that we’re just stronger (or crazier) than we give ourselves credit for.

  2. Sounds like you had a migraine. I suffer from those; they’re awful. My sympathies. And about finding the time and being able to write when you have to live, well, I think every writer, even established writers have trouble with that one. For ‘famous’ writers, however, there’s usually an assistant or support staff that takes care of things like groceries, picking up the kids from school, making sure bills are paid. Maybe those people even suffer headaches on behalf of their writer bosses. From everything you’ve mentioned so far, I’d say you’re doing very, very well. And it’s okay to whinge every now and then. cheers, m

  3. The question you posed is exactly what I’ve asked myself about you and Bloglily. How do you do it — the work, the writing? You are doing it though, and I’m always impressed, especially that you get up at oh-dark-thirty. That’s more self-discipline than I have!

    I think it’s okay to allow yourself respite. Sounds like your body forced it on you in the most painful way (so it wasn’t really a restful break, unfortunately).

    You bring up a good point about living, doing STUFF. I’ve often wondered if I’m crazy for not doing what most of my friends do — just stuff. We must be crazy…but a good kind of crazy, right? Hopefully?

  4. Amen sister. I feel so hideously selfish that I keep on writing despite the presents to be purchased, the house I should unpack, the decorating I should do…I KNOW S. wishes I would at least take the rest of the month off. But that’s how I know for me this is *almost* as much need as want – I write through all of it. Shitty, shitty pages, but I write…

  5. I took a big table so I can spread out my edited pages and if anyone thinks that’s unfair they can suck it!

    Just so you know.

  6. The “stuff” — the super clean house, the nails, the nights out with people — just doesn’t matter that much. What matters is that amazing world you are creating in your book. And the good thing is that the time you devote to it is the best time in the world — even when it hurts or is stressful or worrisome — because you’re doing something that’s terribly important and you should never forget that or neglect it for the things that don’t add up and don’t, in the end, matter very much.

    Having a day job is not a bad thing — it’s important that it not leak into the rest of your time,of course — but there’s something honorable and good about supporting yourself the way you do. If there’s anywhere you might want to focus on making change it’s on not letting that work take too much out of you. But I think this will happen naturally (and is happening). As you get more and more practiced at what you do for your day job, it becomes easier to keep it under control. I think you are already good at what you do, and the next few years will be ones where you really get things dialed in properly, so you don’t give too much to your job, while still being able to feel like you’re doing it well. I’m guessing that might be where the fatigue comes in — the small stresses of work that in time will fade away because you’ll pay attention to getting them to do that.

    I am sorry if this sounds prescriptive or preachy. I don’t mean it to be either. I just wanted to tell you that when I read what you have to say I think to myself that you are completely on the right track as a writer, and you must not let your doubts about things stand in your way.

    Much love, Nova — Lily

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