Mid-Week Brain Freeze

Or brain meltdown.  When I hear stories about authors like J.K. Rowling writing the first draft of Harry Potter on napkins on her breaks during her job as a waitress…well, first of all I wonder if it’s true or one of those apocryphal stories that makes those of us balancing full time jobs with our creative pursuits feel like there’s hope.  Plus it makes great copy for publicity.

But seriously.  I have been busting my ass at work the last week and a half and am just so wiped out when I get home in the evenings, it’s been a real challenge meeting my word count on Champagne.  Heck, it’s been a real challenge doing more than pouring myself a glass of wine and collapsing on the couch in a heap.  This week has been particularly brutal, with a big two day meeting Thursday (jeez louise, that’s tomorrow!) and Friday.  Add to that some particularly annoying and random crisis’ involving corporate cars, tickets, police stations and a hellish drive this morning through rush hour traffic during which all the short cuts I tried got me lost…well, it’s been a trial.  A Salem witch type trial in which the choice is drowning and being proclaimed innocent or surviving and getting burned as a witch.

Okay.  NOT that bad.  I’m just feeling especially dramatic here. Did I mention I haven’t gotten a good night’s sleep all week either?  Us sleep deprived people are drama queens.

My question here to all of you writers who either have full time jobs or kids (same thing) is how do you balance it all out and save energy for your writing?  What do you do when you’re so exhausted that changing out of your work clothes into pajamas feels like an hour of tae-bo?  ‘Cause I could really use some good ideas or inspirational speeches about now.  Y’know, like playing EYE OF THE TIGER except lacking the ’80s power chords.

I’ll tell you what I did last night.  I visited Brad and Aldyth, plopped myself down on their kitchen floor, accepted a glass of wine and let myself get covered with kittens.

I was still tired, but extremely content.

11 thoughts on “Mid-Week Brain Freeze

  1. They look like my last litter…. okay, not MY last litter exactly. Oh, get out! It’s “we” not “us” isn’t it? Might have to sharpen my blood red pencil. 🙂

    If I get any more bitching over at BBT, I’m turning the list over to you. You think you’ve got a workload now. Ha!


  2. Okay, Dani, I’ve had it with you. I mean, really… okay, not really. I just wanted to see Dana panic.

    It looks to me, Dana, that you’ve chosen the best way to unwind and recharge. Lie on the floor with a glass of wine and let the kittens climb all over you. Just be sure to set the glass down before you fall asleep. Or drink white wine.

  3. Oh, poor Dani…I’ve missed some of the bitching ’cause I was communing with kittens.

    Helen, you are just WICKed… 🙂 I had red wine and one of the kittens REALLY wanted in the glass. I want to name him Lush.

  4. ZZ – dang you poooooor thang! LOL I always get such a kick out of your style of writing about your everyday life. You are one heck of a drama queen, girlfriend!

    Me, I’m semi-retired and didn’t start my writing career until after I had left the 40 hour a week grindstone. Sooooo, I cannot impart any words of wisdom upon my friends today, sorry. I DID read in Stephen King’s book “On Writing” where he knew of an author (don’t remember the name) who had a full time postal job. His devoted daily writing time was from 5:00 am until 7:30 am. Every day that’s when he wrote and he ALWAYS wrote then. If he happened to type “The End” at the bottom of a finished manuscript at 7:15 am, he would load up another sheet of paper and start typing his next manuscript right up until 7:30 when he had to leave for work.

    Somehow, knowing the serendipitous nature of your soul, I’m betting that regimen is probably not the answer for you – LOL!

  5. Cats should come by prescription! I think sometimes as a reader i forget that not all authors (probably not that many) can afford to write full time and have ot hold down jobs too.

  6. Heh. Marvin, it’s not so much the serendipitous nature of my soul, but my deep seated aversion to getting out of bed early! I need a lot of sleep or I am very cranky and no one wants to be around me. 🙁 I do try to put in 500 words a night, though! This week has just been not so good for that…

    Cats should definitely be prescribed for all ills! Unless you’re allergic to them; then it would silly. Sadly, a lot of writers don’t get to write full time…but I will get there. THis is my Scarlett O’hara-esque, shaking little fist skyward vow!

  7. We’ve had this discussion before, but I really don’t know a better answer than the one I’ve already given: set a schedule, set reasonable goals, put butt in chair. That’s really all it is. It doesn’t mean that you will be able to manage to make your goals all the time or make your schedule either. Stuff comes up, and you won’t always be able to write. But more you think of your writing time as a regular commitment, the easier it becomes to do.

    That said, writing this last book after work just about killed me. The book was too freakin’ hard, I stayed up too late all the time, it was just emotionally exhausting, physically too, when I’d go, GAHHHHH and pour myself one glass of wine too many to force myself to keep going.

    But that’s what the situation called for, so there you go. Lots of exercise helped, but you know that already.

    After writing after work for YEARS I am really hoping for a different, more flexible lifestyle. It IS hard. But most of the time, the choice is either do it, or don’t write. And we all know what happens when we don’t write…

  8. See, if I pour myself that extra glass of wine, I will be snoring instead of writing. Otherwise, yup, I totally agree with you. And here’s to that flexible lifestyle!

  9. My understanding was that J.K. Rowling wrote her first draft of Harry Potter while she was on the British equivalent of “Welfare.” And that she had no job at the time (thus the need for welfare).

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