My 700th post: Wednesday Writing: Where We Are and Where We Go From Here

One of the best things that happened to me last year was setting up a weekly routine for writing. Everyone (i.e. my husband mostly) knows I write on Wednesday nights. Once I have really put it into the agenda and that everyone (i.e. my husband) expects me to be at my computer and not, say, watch Downton Abbey, so that he’ll have the chance to watch something he loves (and that I love less), I have little excuse not to write. So I mostly do stick to it.

The good thing is that I look forward to this session, so I often find myself making mental notes before and rarely find myself staring at a blank page. I’m not saying I’m writing great stuff every single time, but something (anything) gets done. If I don’t feel like writing that story, I write a blog post, or I journal, or I add some sentences to one of those (many) essays that are left unfinished in my drawer.

One thing I’d like to change is stop editing. Editing is time-consuming with little visible result at my stage. My problem is first quantity over quality. What’s the point of having 3 perfectly-crafted paragraphs if the story goes uncompleted?
If you have a trick about this, I’d love to hear about it.

The less-than-great thing is that I get so excited that I don’t know how to stop. What’s the problem here? The truth: I’m not a night owl and I need my beauty sleep. I need to be out the door and fully-functioning at 7.15 a.m. the next day (not to mention clothed and washed). My brain gets so full of words and sentences during those Wednesday sessions that I can hardly stop around 10pm and more than once do I keep tossing and turning in my bed well past midnight. And nobody’s happy of this the next day, I promise you.

I’m thinking of trying 2 weekly sessions, if only I can get a way to cool this mental excitement phase down, and if I can really step up my commitment (over DVDs and Internet-related time-wasters whose temptation is ever so strong). I recently read a blog post by Stephen Page and article by Caitlin O’Neil about the writer’s triangle, this “metaphorical vortex writers get pulled into while trying to balance making a living and being committed to their literary lives”. Well, my solution to this dilemma induces sleep troubles. Do you have a better suggestion?

Btw, I noticed that this is my 700th post in this blog. Even if I can’t exactly compare with veteran bloggers who write daily, it blows my mind that I could write that much and do it that long. I met lots of great people through this space and I’m just thankful.

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16 thoughts on “My 700th post: Wednesday Writing: Where We Are and Where We Go From Here

  1. Too much mental activity before bedtime destroys a good night’s sleep, for me at least. This includes reading something too exciting. Once I put down a suspense novel/thriller about 50 pages before the end and went to bed. At 2 in the morning I gave up, got up, and finished the darned thing.

    Could you write in the early morning? Since I am awake at 5 and no one else is alive at that hour, I often write my blog posts then.

    • Reading doesn’t affect me, but a tv thriller might keep me from sleeping just like you. I suppose I should try mornings, but I’m kind of useless very early in the day.

  2. Congrats on the 700 post milestone. This night owl has no recommendations. I can loose myself reading, writing or editing photos and and suddenly find that it is well after midnight. Most days, though, I’m awake before 6. But one of the joys of being retired is being able to take a quick nap in the afternoon. As for being out the door so early, I was once told by a French relative — who was astonished that my son started school at 7:30 and I was at work by 7:45 — that nobody in France started to work so early! Obviously she was wrong! I certainly do not miss those days of getting a sleepy boy to school so early, especially on winter mornings when the sun is not up until 8 AM.

    • Six! I wish I could stay asleep that late. After a couple of bad experiences with jet lag making me awake and alert at 2 in the morning I decided to be philosophical about it and use the time to do what I enjoy — messing on the Internet, mostly. You are right about retirement. My afternoon nap is worth a couple of hours of sleep at night.

    • Leaving at 7.15am makes me start at 8, which is not so early but a lot earlier than normal Parisians (who start later than the rest of France, admittedly). That’s a perk I negotiated with my boss (who shows up at a more normal 9am) so that I can beat the commuting peaktime and leave early to take care of my son.
      Hurray for naptime!

  3. Congratulations on your 700th post! I am exactly the same about working in the evening. I never sleep well (if at all) when my brain is churning. You’ve either got to have such a formidable bedtime routine that you can stop at 9.30, go into the routine and trick yourself into relaxation, or – and this may well be too radical – bargain with your husband for Saturday afternoon. Offer him Sunday afternoon to do what he wants. Or something! I do remember all this was not easy with small children, but it can be very life-enhancing to have some dependable time for an important activity. Good luck!

    • I should probably confess that I’m already using whatever naptime we get on weekends to catch up on blogs. The discipline to close blogs and start on my short stories is very hard to muster on early Sunday afternoons especially during digestive time. I should probably blame it on the Sunday roast… I’ll try nonetheless.

  4. Congrats on your 700th blog post and congrats on Wednesday night writing going so well! My trick for not editing when things stall is to darken my computer screen so I can’t see what I am writing and then just type. And as others said, maybe try early morning or a weekend afternoon instead unless you can set a timer and stop at a certain time at night and then give yourself half an hour to do something really relaxing. Good luck!

  5. Congrats on your 700th blog post- that’s incredible! I’ve had to sacrifice editing (or rather, mostly sacrifice it) in the interest of accomplishing anything…I think the trick with that is to just be okay with it for now and understand it doesn’t determine the entirety of your writing life. And I do think splitting your writing up into two sessions is your best bet…

  6. Congratulations on your 700th. I have to stop writing by 7.00 at the latest if I’m going to sleep so I can’t offer you any help there. But, I do have to have a committed writing time. I write over the weekend when I don’t have other commitments and use the time I do have on weekdays to read and comment on others work.

    • Organisation and commitment are really paramount! Stopping at 7pm feels weird to me because it’s the time I’m just back home at night and my dinner-evening routine starts. Which makes me realize how daily rhythms are so different worldwide!

  7. Congratulations on the 700th! I seldom have trouble sleeping but find it easier if I keep some music softly playing when I do. But no Rachmaninoff , please.

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