Thursday, April 13, 2006

Sleep is for the Weak, I Used to Say

Everything feels very heavy today - especially my eyelids and my brain.

There was a lot going on last night - to the extent that I couldn't sit down at the computer until about 1:30 in the morning. As you can imagine, mental and physical energy was at a premium.

I stared at the short story for a few minutes, then realized that I could barely read it, let alone write it. I needed to do something else.

Well, I'd been talking to my friend Nicole earlier that day. Nicole has been trying all sorts of interesting ways to experiment with her own writing, and she told me about an exercise she picked up from The Artist's Way, by Julia Cameron. I haven't read it (although this idea was good enough that I'm going to check it out) but Nicole has been finding it very valuable.

This is what I used to kickstart myself last night. It starts very simply:

Write down your 5 favourite movies.

(Last night, my 5 were The Princess Bride, The Muppet Movie, Star Wars, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and The Seven Samurai. If I wrote the list again now, I bet at least two of those movies would be different.)

Now comes the interesting part: Find the thread that connects them all. What do those 5 movies all have in common?

Honestly, I barely remember what I wrote on the subject - it was 2:00 in the morning. But it got me going, and kept me going for 411 words. I'll have a look at what I wrote again tonight, to see if it's coherent enough to post.

And now I know that I can hit my target using a brain that's barely functional. Thanks again to Nicole - and Julia Cameron! - for the idea.


Anonymous said...

Wow, you're hardcore! 2am, no way would I be writing. No fekkin' way.

That said -- you always seem to write very late at night (by my old-person standards). Are you a night person, or is that really the time that works best for you? I turn into a pumpkin at 11, and often don't make it that late.

Does the writing all have to happen in a lump? Would ten minute snatches throughout the day work for you? I imagine your first inclination would be to say no -- that would have been my response 3 years ago. I thought I needed time to "get into it" whatever that means. What I really needed was time, period, and if it only came in tiny pieces throughout the day, then I had to find a way to use it.

And you don't have to try that, don't get me wrong. I just feel sympathetically exhausted at the IDEA of 2am!

Anonymous said...

I'm with Rachel. My brain shuts down at 9 p.m. It's really amazing that you were able to stick with it even though your brain was fried. Kudos, kudos.