Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Fatigue and writer's cramp

There are certain daily habits which I try to follow. Reading in a book for at least 30 minutes. Reading the whole newspaper. Cleaning the house. Writing something (anything!). Getting fresh air. And taking a nap. (I'm one of those people who STRONGLY believes in the health benefits of naps.)

Well, I haven't been able to read the newspaper for 2 days. The only chance I had yesterday to close my eyes for a "nap" was for 10 minutes before I had to get busy again. Most of my reading was on the computer and on the Internet, when I was editing a manuscript and researching an interviewee to put together my interview questions. But, boy, did I do A LOT of writing yesterday!

In fact, I do believe that yesterday was my most productive day as a writer so far.

I started my day working on a new book. Yes, a NEW BOOK. I am writing ANOTHER nonfiction book, even though I promised myself NO MORE NEW BOOKS to work on now. (Everything I get ideas for goes on my project checklist. There are over 40 books on there!!) But I seem to be the only person best suited to write this book, since it DOES focus on something I follow as far as being a writer is concerned. (Sorry, I won't go into details at this point!)

Next, I started tackling the manuscript edits. In between that, I wrote a blog post on my MySpace blog. I wasn't able to do my allotted chapters in one sitting but I DID manage to edit all 7 before I went to sleep at night. (I was in bed with the last 3 of those 7, staying up until 1:35 a.m. to finish them.)

After that, I wrote an 8-page essay for one of my essay collections. EIGHT PAGES!! My hand SERIOUSLY had some writer's cramp after that! And even after I wrote those 8 pages, I later realized there were certain points I'd left out, notes which I jotted down in the margins. (Well, I only had an hour to write that essay, so I forgive the oversights!)

Now add that up. That's THREE DIFFERENT BOOKS I worked on yesterday. Three books!! (Wow, I really know how to rotate between them, don't I? LOL) I have NEVER done that before. Wow, what an accomplishment! I felt so good about it last night, but of course I'm not going to let that accomplishment go to my head. But, more importantly, I'm not letting that be my ONE accomplishment as a writer! No, sir. Time to aim for a new one!

(The funny thing is, as I was cleaning, I began to wonder if I would be able to pull off working on 3 different books in one day. How very interesting I ended up doing JUST THAT that very same day!)

And I STILL managed to do my mom stuff yesterday AND clean up the house. I wasn't, however, able to get much of any rest. Like I said, I only grabbed about 10 free minutes to just close my eyes. By day's end, I was soooo tired, yet I was able to stay awake to watch a movie like we do every night (last night's movie was "Memoirs of a Geisha." I have not YET read the book but I enjoyed the movie). I also still managed to write yet another blog post yesterday, this one on my Palms to Pines blog.

So all told, yesterday I did the following:

--Edited 7 chapters in a novel manuscript.

--Wrote an essay for an essay collections manuscript.

--Started work on a new book.

--Wrote 2 blog posts.

Wow. I am not trying to brag, or anything. I just really feel so taken aback that I managed to get so much writing work done in one day. Seriously. WOW! My muse was really on fire. I can't even begin to figure out how to tally up my word count for the day, but I am confident it is waaay past my daily quota of 2000 words.

Still, the writer's cramp I suffered from that essay-writing marathon still lingers even today. (And here I am, typing. I'm such a sadist. LOL) I am going to soak my hand today and hopefully that will help. I have 5 more chapters to edit today. We'll see how much else I do.

The week is almost over. Hubby will be home on the weekend. I am hoping this means I will be able to get some rest. I think I need it; I almost collapsed while standing in line at the store, holding a gallon of milk! (I think that weight was tempting me to lie down.) I was sooo tired when I was awakened by the alarm at 7:30 this morning. I almost fell out of bed because of that! (Haha! I kept chuckling over the image replaying in my mind; reaching to turn off the alarm then sleepily turning over to lie back down, only to fall OFF of the bed in the process. Well, I didn't fall off -- but I ALMOST did!) As I lied awake in the bed this morning, lost in thought (I do that instead of jumping out of bed right after the alarm goes off), I began to ponder just how much writing I will be able to get done today. So far, I have this blog post. What ELSE will there be -- besides manuscript edits?? The pain in my hand sure wasn't encouraging that I'll get much done, but what I managed to do yesterday is sure acting as a strong initiative that, just maybe, I will be able to keep it all up.

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  • At 2:09 PM , Blogger Sean said...

    Well, I am impressed ... and sympathetic, too. I only have one book taking up my time and I really only have the time to work on it late at night. I get up, bleary-eyed, everyday thinking i should take a night off. But that makes me feel guilty.

    And the benefits of napping are seriously underrated!


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