Monday, May 24, 2010

What I Do


Stealing a page from Steven Pressfield I thought I would talk about What I Do in relation to writing and motivation.

My kids are still very young so I generally have to get them ready for the day before I do anything else=breakfast and school. I then check e-mails, blogs, twitter etc. I can try to multitask listening to the radio but I usually fail at this having to pay attention to one or the other in snippets.

Unless I am on a self-imposed deadline I typically take a bit of time here to read and brainstorm about projects in general and think about what it is I want to work on. This involves some research and some pleasure reading. I have this particular routine because there are often so many interruptions throughout the course of the day that writing straight through with the inspiration flowing and the dance of the muse going that quality and quantity would falter...so I sit down to really write when the rest of the house has gone to bed.

I am serious night owl. I can be ready to fall asleep on the couch if I'm not careful at 5 in the afternoon-but come darkness I awake and feel energized like some kind of nocturnal predator.
As previously mentioned I usually like to have music playing beside me but not always If I forget and am in a groove it doesn't matter. When I sit own I also like to have something-anything to drink beside me-not food but a drink-vanilla and sweet anything.

I sit down at my desk and glance around the room. I am not a huge Ray Bradbury fan but something he once said has always stuck with me-He liked to look around his office for inspiration, his office was full of wondrous curios and mine is too. Around 2,000 books, swords, inspiration art-Frazetta and Friberg. Scented candles give an ambient flickering organic glow in contrast to the steady computer monitor. I have a Chinese dragon facing the west on my desk, an angel Moroni blasting his trump in my direction for inspiration, a heavy pewter Wolverine ready to pounce and any number of notes of ideas plastered about. I keep a huge amount of research books on my left in case I need to look something up because so much is still not on the Internet(surprise-surprise)and I begin.

Opening the word processor I often begin tales with a simple first line-something that the muse just sings to me. Like this one for my grandfather..."It was cold enough that you didn’t dare touch metal with bare skin. A bare hand or finger would stick and rip skin, then the blood would freeze upon the ground like lost rubies."

I then go to bed so That I'll have just enough sleep to get up and do it all again the next day. Therein is part of the secret of getting things done as Mr. Pressfield says "it's not the writing part that's hard. What's hard is sitting down to write."
So every time I write I have a satisfaction that I have accomplished something toward the dream that day, now I need to go and do it again.

15 comments:

Ann Best said...

I wish the muse would sing to me as beautifully as it does to you. I'm anxious to read your novel. I hope it comes soon.

David J. West said...

Thanks Ann.
It sure ought to arrive soon I would imagine.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

your day sounds very much like how i wish mine went!

M. Gray said...

Your study rocks. I can picture it. I need some of that ambiance.

David J. West said...

Tamara & Mary-it takes work getting to that point and there can always be monkeywrenches thrown in.

Charles Gramlich said...

I too find myself tired in the afternoon but energized at night. It's after 2:00 now and I'm still rolling, although starting to sag a bit.

David J. West said...

I can't explain it Charles but the night brings me to life.

Morgan Ives said...

I need the motivation to sit down and write. The ways I find myself procrastinating are dreadful some days. I need a cool office like yours, I think :)

David J. West said...

Angela-you need to beat that resistance I strongly urge you to read the Steven Pressfield link.

Even if you don't have a cool office.

Angie said...

I write at night too. Pretty nocturnal myself. But I don't fight the urge to nap in the afternoon. Naps are my life saver!

David J. West said...

Angie-If the wife and kids would let me, I probably would nap in the afternoon-but they won't.

Nichole Giles said...

Yeah, I'm like this too. Totally nocturnal. Writing during the day is too hard. It's distracting. But at night? Yeah. My muse is inspired by the moon.

David J. West said...

Exactly Nichole, the night brings it all to life.

Chad said...

I have always envied your abilities as a night owl. All those nights camping and you were always the last to retire to your bedroll. I do so much academic writing that it seems a bit sterile. Perhaps I should do more creative writing when I can. There are so many demands on me for lesson plans and research papers that it is hard to justify the time for what I really want to do. I hope that with summer coming and school demands backing off a bit I can spend more time with my novel and short stories. My office can stand to have some inspirational themes. Right now it is mostly a catch all for my many hobbies and a repository for my academic research. You have done well my friend.
May 27, 2010 8:15 PM

David J. West said...

Keep at it Chad, its takes a lot of work and youjust have to find a way to do it.