Friday, April 15, 2011

saying no to social media for a few days

Today is very warm, wonderfully so without being uncomfortable. I've made one of my famous day-camps out on the balcony and have been organizing the stacks of notes associated with my book. This project should feel overwhelming, but for some reason it doesn't.

When I make a day-camp, I surround myself with everything I might need for a long, uninterrupted stay in one place. Besides the stacks and stacks of papers with notes I've made over the last five-plus years, today I have both phones, something to drink, reading glasses (regular) as well as reading glasses (for sitting in the sun), the remote control for the awning, several pens, my microcassette recorder, my camera (just in case something remarkable happens), and my giant 2011 calendar.

It doesn't make for a very fascinating blog post, but I want to go on record that I've been reading through these notes and working out story details all day. A while ago I stopped and took a few photos of a great blue heron and a snowy egret hanging out by the creek. It's OK to take a break, right?

Finally, it's quiet out here. This morning saw (and heard) quite a bit of maintenance work going on in the form of gardeners on riding mowers and some wood chipping down the block. But it's just after 2 PM now, and all I hear are the birds.

Today I am focusing on the characters, one by one. What do they want? What is stopping them? What are their secrets? What do they bring to the book's themes? What can make them more vivid to the reader?

Maybe I'm just in a good mood, but as daunting of a task as this novel is, I suddenly am beginning to feel more positive. Maybe all the vitamins I've been taking over the last few months are finally having an effect. It's not that I don't still feel awful about how long I've spent on this multi-volume epic extravaganza (because I do), but because I recognize such agonizing is counter-productive if it goes in circles and doesn't lead to improvements.

Social media doesn't account for all of my wasted time, but it does eat up a couple of hours each day, time I could be spending on any number of book-related activities. Including writing the damn thing.

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Before I go to bed tonight, I want to have a specific schedule for the book's completion.

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