Early mornings, thinking on Destiny

My experiment in waking up early terminated rather abruptly when the lack of sleep caught up with me by Wednesday evening. I left my alarm where it was, but on its first sounding I pushed it back to my usual time and happily slept another hour. Thursday evening, I didn’t even bother; I set the clock straightaway to the later time.

Three mornings out of five isn’t too bad, right? I’m left unsure of what I’ll do this coming week, though. It was nice, it felt good to have more time to wake up before stepping out into the cold. One morning had me sleeping in the métro, head bobbing as the tunnels curved left and right. This leaves me getting to work feeling groggy and unfocused, nullifying the peaceful hour I spent in front of my computer.

There is also the fact that I am not doing much writing these days making it more attractive to stay in bed for that extra hour. I have it set in my head that I must devote all of my attention to Yggdrasil before setting off on another project. Every now and then, though, I wonder: can’t I do both? It’s like when I hop back and forth between two books that I’m reading; as long as they aren’t too similar, I don’t run the risk of confusing characters and events.

I worry about one project sweeping me too far away from another, though. If some grand inspiration should strike, I would be foolish to ignore it by saying, “No, I have to work on the other project now to be fair.”

I keep forgetting that what I should do is try new things and change tactics if they don’t work. There is no manual for this, no way to find out what works for me without first attempting it. A story left behind does not curl up and die, either; worst case, the words will sit there patiently for my return, like the myriad ideas I’ve scribbled down and left to gather dust. Perhaps they even ripen in my absence, growing fuller and more interesting.

I think I’ll go play in Destiny a bit to see where my head’s at.

Imagining different lives

Today marks my third morning of getting up an hour earlier than usual to sit in front of my computer and catch up on internet things. While I have been enjoying what I now come to think of as “quiet time”, I think I need to shift the focus a bit. Catching up on blogs and e-mails is something I can do on the train ride to work; writing on my smartphone is something I’m less at ease with. Sure, I’ll tap out an e-mail to a friend, but blog posts or creative endeavors always feel stunted by the smaller screen, as though I’ll curtail my thoughts to fit its size. I bought a cheap tablet to see if that might work better, but found that I still couldn’t type on it as quickly as on a real keyboard.

I think I should take advantage of my quiet time to get as much use out of the keyboard as possible, saving the reading for later. I have things I want to put down here, I have updates to make to my personal journal, and I feel I am falling behind. I suppose that is better than lamenting having nothing to say.

I have started reading We Need to Talk About Kevin, a first-person fiction written as a series of letters to the narrator’s ex-husband after their son has murdered nine people at his school and been put in a juvenile detention facility. I enjoy being in this woman’s mind so far. Reading this book, I realize that I enjoy stories like these where I can fall into the details of a person’s (fictional or no) life and thoughts, especially someone markedly different from myself. I’ve already gotten through a large chunk of it in the first day, and plan to keep up the pace. I’m also interested in seeing the film adaptation afterward. I love Tilda Swinton.

It is very refreshing to get away from the sweeping vistas and endless journeys of fantasy; the intrigues and power plays, betrayals and confessions. I live there so much of the time that I forget how nice it is to visit the real world. It makes me look at people in the train and métro differently, wondering what their stories are and how they would tell them. When I was younger I used to visit coffeeshops and sit for a while, watching people and inventing stories for them. Then I would figure that my story is, of course, nothing like their reality and start imagining all over again.

Managing my time

I had the great fortune to be on vacation for many days during the holiday season this past couple weeks. Now that I find myself in the middle of my first real week back, I notice that I am not blogging as much nor doing as much writing or editing. Curious, that.

I’ve read a lot about people who work to balance a full-time job (or school) with writing and the general sentiment seems to be that saving writing for the end of the day is a bad idea; work or school is invariably mentally and physically draining, leaving us with little left over to put on the page. Also, in the few hours I have at home before I go to sleep, I prefer to spend time with my husband instead of lock myself away to hammer at the keys for an hour or so.

I have given some thought to rising early for the sake of writing. To be honest, the idea of rising early for anything sounds unholy. Then again, I have gotten up earlier than usual and not suffered any terrible consequences; it’s actually easier to get up if I have some special reason to do so. It would be a nice, quiet (dark) time to collect thoughts and put them down. I couldn’t listen to music too loudly, but that’s a small compromise.

I can’t be on vacation all the time, sadly. I have to make the most of the time that I have.

How do you all balance life and writing?