On Becoming a Sociopathic Writer

002In the mornings, we get up at six o’clock, get dressed for the gym and leave the house via the garage. This means that, blearily stumbling about as I’ve been – not a chipper morning person – the moment we hit the button to raise the garage door is my first real sight of the day.

This time of year, it’s right at the onset of sunrise and what a spectacular sight it is.

There’s something about the dimness of the garage, the way the heavy door lifts, with its cranking motor, that reminds me of a theater curtain – that unveils the large screen of this.

The outside comes in and steals my breath away.

It’s an amazing way to start my day and I treasure that.

I value so much about my daily life and am truly blessed to have it. Our daily routine is dull by most standards. Most days I don’t leave our property except to go to the gym. I love each phase of my day, from the kitties walking across my pillow when the alarm goes off to ensconcing myself in my reading chair at night with a glass of wine. The sun shines, flowers bloom, rains fall, the sun sets and rises again. It’s a good rhythm. A long-term cycle.

All through this, my steps seem to be set by the words I lay down in whatever I’m writing. I mark the passage of time by the change of seasons and the accumulation of word count. Writing a novel is an exercise in this kind of patience, I’ve found. For long periods of time – days and weeks and months – the the project continues. Every day I add a little more and track my progress. But it’s incremental and I can’t worry about it feeling like it’s taking forever because it takes as long as it takes.

That’s one of the keys to understanding novel-writing. Patience, persistence and endurance.

Until, suddenly, I’m near the end.

That’s where I am now. On Tears of the Rose, Book 2 of The Twelve Kingdoms, I’m at 84, 502 words. I’d originally thought it would end up around 85K, but once I dug in, once I judged the pace and length of Act I, in fact, it became clear that the first draft would top out around 98K. Writing about 2,000 words per day, as I am now, that means I’ll be done in a week.

And I’m filled with all kinds of odd, restless energy.

It’s as if, now that I can see the city on the horizon, I’m no longer satisfied with traveling 65 mph. I want to go faster and to hell with a speeding ticket. I want to drive all night, just to get there already.

I’m filled with impatience for everything else.

News articles – from frivolous to searingly serious – irritate me. People post jokes that I find facile, ridiculous or even infuriating. Every Facebook and Twitter post I see seems to elicit a snarky response from me and I have to stop looking, because I’m afraid I’ll lapse and actually type one of these comments. Even pics of cute baby animals annoy me.

It’s like I become a total sociopath.

I sometimes think that if I were a full time writer, I would take myself and my last 15-20K and just lock myself in a remote cabin or beach house somewhere. Which I find bewildering, because I love my beautiful, peaceful home and the life we have in it, with our lovely daily rhythms.

Somehow, though, this process of completing the book – which means the ending, because I write my stories from beginning to end, no jumping about – absorbs so much of my thoughts and mental energy, that I snarl at anything else impinging on it.

Also, I’m pretty sure I write a post like this every time.

You all are lovely to put up with me, really.

22 Replies to “On Becoming a Sociopathic Writer”

  1. I do the same thing! I completely lose myself and resent having to think about other things. I really love this post, darling lady. You are so inspiring.

  2. I guess I never noticed other posts like this from you. But I understand. I have those times, too. I just don’t know if they’re writing related or I just reach a time where I have one nerve and everything is on it. Or I crawled out from under the wrong side of the rock. This too shall pass.

  3. Sweet. Beautifully described and oh so spot on. I’ve never been able to pin down the angst. Perfect. Now I feel better, too. Solitary but not alone.


  4. Let’s be honest: there are a lot of annoying facebook and twitter post out there, so at least half (if not more) of the annoyance is not caused by your mood but by those posts 😉

    good luck! *hugs*

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