The things I learned about writing this week:
1. I am allowed to take a scene, say “done,” and move on to the next one. It is my book. If I cannot come up with some brilliant witticism just now, that’s okay.
2. Tangents are not my friend at this stage. Tangents get me started looking up random things on the internet that I do not need to know because it does not pertain to the book I am currently writing and only loosely pertains to the book that I may someday write if I can ever manage to finish this one.
3. GO TO SLEEP!!! Seriously. It’s a vicious cycle. I stay up late to finish my writing because “it’ll only happen this once” then get up late and thus stay up late writing. And after a few days of this, I get to the end of another late night and tell myself, “self, we are not going to do this tomorrow because what I actually need to get my writing done on time for once is to just go to sleep and pick up the slack some other day when I am well rested.” And then, because I am sleep deprived, the next night it seems like a perfectly sensible idea to just stay up and finish anyway.
4. When truly stuck, poking at that random side-project with the ginormous family tree and the soap-opera worthy complications will make me feel better. Take the time.
5. Even as a self-employed writer who sets my own schedule, sick days are in my contract and should be taken, because throwing up all over my laptop will not get my book written.
6. (And this one I’ve had drilled in my head over and over and over and it still hasn’t sunk in properly) It’s a first draft. It’s okay if it’s crappy. And if that one sentence makes no sense whatsoever, leave it alone. I should remember I am sleep deprived and no matter how many times I reword this it’s not going to get any better, so just type out all the details to make lots of words for the day’s word count and move on.
7. Interact with the outside world. I was stuck, so I asked my parents “what would make the worst vacation spot?” The answer brought a good five minutes of genuine human interaction and it gave me inspiration for two things I can add to my book.
8. When my brain says “we’re only going to look at Pinterest for a few minutes and then get back to work,” don’t believe it. The brain is a Pinterest addict and it lies. Write three hundred words first, then we’ll talk.
9. (This one is a random life lesson I never considered until it wound up in my book) (By the way, this is bad advice unless you suddenly wind up in a strange place where mad scientists and evil sorcerers have book clubs) Say you are walking along and you see an old woman being attacked by ruffians. Your first instinct might be to rescue her. This is an admirable sentiment, but not one that should be acted on. First, you should clarify whether or not the ruffians are attacking her or if she is attacking the ruffians. As an aside, never underestimate the elderly. They have only reached their advanced age by cunning and the occasional act of treachery. If, in fact, it is the ruffians who are attacking, the next step should be to discern whether they are actually ruffians. They might actually be undercover policemen trying to arrest a spy. And after all those elements are properly ascertained, there is still the matter of whether or not your involvement would not end with your being beaten to death in an alleyway.