Friday, July 30, 2010

Writing process: zombie time

I don't talk about him much on this blog (partly because I don't have a clever name for him), but Spouse is also in a writing profession, except that he's a model writer in ways that I'm not: he gets up, goes to his study, and starts writing. He puts in a couple of hours before breakfast and before going to his office. We kid about this sometimes, since if one of us has a good writing day and the other one is struggling, we'll say that one of us has used up all the writing energy allotted to our house for the day.

But when Spouse is done writing for the day, he's done. He won't work after dinner because (a) he's already put in 12+ hours of work by then and (b) he says he dreams about work all night if he doesn't take some down time.

I get a second wind after dinner and a few hours into the evening. The only time I actively have a desire to write is after about 7 or 8 p.m. Even if I think I'm done, as in reading an unrelated book, I feel a positive compulsion to go to the computer and write "just a little bit."

It feels as though an alien force is dragging me there. I move to the computer as if against my will, and, once I'm there, I'm not distracted by anything. Before I know it, it's 11:30. It's zombie time, and I'm a writing zombie.

Edited to add: task for tonight's zombie time = finding a title. I brainstormed about 40 of them and they're all terrible--except the ones that somebody has already used for a book, of course.


AliceAcademic said...

Is this true about your non-writing lives too? I mean are you a night owl in general?

I'm a morning person, but I would love to work more hours at night. I have no compulsions to go to my computer at 7 or 8pm -- all I want to do at that hour is veg. out. Feel free to send the alien forces to Postdoc city, Undine.

Horace said...

I'm much the same as you, though before we had kids, my zombie time was just on arrival home from campus until I had to be dragged into the kitchen to help make dinner (in those days, usu. 9 or 10). Now I have to wait until the kids go down, and then I can crack open the laptop, but those are often some of the best hours, when I've been kept away from the writing long enough that I really want to be there...

Dame Eleanor Hull said...

If it works for you, work it.

Sir John and I totally split good/bad days. If I've been productive, he hasn't, and vice versa.

undine said...

AliceAcademic, I'm actually more of a morning person for most things. That may be why it's hard to write: it's hard for me to sit still at all in the morning. I'll send those alien forces along if I can.

Horace, I think that's the key: something keeps you away from writing, like cooking dinner or socializing with the family, and that increases your desire to write.

Dame Eleanor--you, too? I'm starting to think the "splitting the work energy" idea isn't a total myth.