You probably once stumbled on my previous blog post, in which I wrote about waking up early to write.
Waking up early to write – so that meant 4.30am – ended up to be quite an effort. And to be honest with you, I managed to do it for about one month. The first week of this year, in which I allowed myself to finally start writing, were all about that early alarm. Interrupted by a necessary trip through neighboring Viet Nam, I continued with the scheme as soon as I got back home again.
And then I had to stop it.
I discovered two significant reasons to immediately stop with the early rising stuff. Firstly, my writing got out of control. I was writing that much that I lost the direction where I was supposed to go, characters got to do and say their own thing and it was hard to stay on track with the story.
And that track was missing. I have the initial idea for the novel in my head, but that did not seem to be enough as a base. What I was missing was The Outline. The life line for writing.
“Hey character, where are you going? That’s not where you are supposed to go. Here is a buoy. Let me pull you back.”
Yes, I was naive enough to think I could just start off with the story I had to tell.
Secondly, not only was I knackered at 11pm at night. I also became Mr Oh-I-really-need-a-nap, preferably at 5pm. If I could not have that nap of about one hour, I would become cranky. I was tired all evening. I wasn’t fun. I wasn’t exactly nice company for others either.
Of course it’s great to be able to talk with friends about my writing at the dining table and how cool it is to wake up early. But they saw it too: the tiredness in my eyes.
So BANG. There was the second reason. I want to stay socially human. I don’t have to wake that early to write.
What I needed the most was The Outline. Again, that safety net. That thin red line that should connect everything that will happen with which characters and at what time in a novel is totally unmissable. And with that awesome story in my head, even plotting down that necessary outline isn’t that easy.
But it will serve as a blue print. It has to be fixed from the beginning, otherwise I loose control – and I just learned that.
And what happens with the stuff that I did write that early?
Yes, that was quite a lot. About 15,000 words. But it ain’t all quality stuff and I think most of that material might not even enter the novel. Ever.
Perhaps in other words, though.
As a fellow early riser and writer who insists on a daily nap to offset my Quest for Something Readable, I identify with everything in your blog except for the conclusion. In other words, balderdash! Get yer butt out of bed! Pound the keyboard! The thing about writing is you need to write, regularly, even religiously. Some of the most earnest stuff I’ve produced will never see the light of day, but it’s all part of the process. And what about a writers’ group to help keep you focused and on target. Let’s start a virtual one! We’re about done with our book on pursuing life outside of the workaday US/West and am tackling a novel. Let’s collude!
Just found your new site and thought I would just say howdy. Sounds like you’re having fun and enjoying life. Bill Bongiorno (Far Flung Enterprises) would be pleased. Just remember to keep looking up, it’s always a wonder. Be safe my friend.
Jim from Svensen, Oregon
Waking up early for writing: Not been in my thought. I wake up early for hikes but with social parties it is harder to sleep early and rise early. Thanks for the blog to inspire me.