Monday, May 26, 2014

Out of Control

Wisdom of the Inner Editor
Last week the Muse came by and entertained you all with some floating, empowering nonsense about owning the words and focusing on what we can control within the context of Renee's writing control. Apparently she believes we have no control over anything other than what words Renee chooses to put on the page.


I am an Inner Editor. I have immense control over many, many things.

For example, I control. . .

The words Renee chooses to leave on the page. And. . . Well, um. . .

Fine. Perhaps the Muse had a point.

The problem with her point is that, for the pessimistic pragmatic amongst us, that leaves quite a few things which are out of our control. There are the grand things, of course, like world peace and Renee's general health and the weather and such. I can accept that I, as a mere abstract, cannot control those things. Renee can't control them either.

And neither can the Muse or the Idea Salesman, which is at least some comfort.

But then there are other things which we feel like we should be able to control and which I find that we just cannot. And it is that lack of control that gets so frustrating.

For example, we have been tracking Renee's word counts and timing for the last six months or so and, in looking at the spreadsheet, it quickly becomes apparent that Renee is most productive between 10AM and 2PM. That is, by a rather significant margin, the best window for writing.

And Renee's children are scheduled for naptime from 1PM to 3PM, so a few months back we reorganized Renee's schedule so she could take advantage of that one hour of overlap to get some really good productivity injected into her day. For a little while it worked out quite well. Renee was writing faster and better than ever and all was well in the world.

But while you can lead a toddler to their bedroom, you cannot make her sleep. And, of course, just as soon as we settled into this new routine and started to count on having that time in the afternoon to work, the children decided to stop taking the nap.

Grrrrrrrr. Why?!? We need that time to work and they need that time to sleep. Why on earth won't they just lie down and close their eyes and get the rest they so very obviously need??? Renee (and I, for that matter) would kill for the luxury of being able to rest for two hours in the middle of the day, and these children insist on squandering that opportunity every day! It's just. . . I can't even. . . Aaarggggghhhh!

You can see what I mean about the frustration.

But we cannot just give up completely. Oh sure, you'd never know it to listen to Renee on most days. It's not uncommon to hear her stomping up the stairs for the four hundredth time, mumbling under her breath (and sometimes not so under her breath) about how she might as well just chuck the computer out the window and give up the whole damn game for all that she ever seems to achieve. But once logic kicks back in, she knows better.

In order to control those words on the page, we must find some time somewhere to write them down in the first place. And so Renee has grudgingly put her schedule back to where it was before, and is once again writing in the too-early mornings, mainlining caffeine and doing her best to race against the sunrise.

It's not as good as it could be. We could probably be netting upwards of 10,000 words a week if we could write later in the day. But we just weren't getting that time most days. Fighting with the children over naptime meant some weeks we would only get one day to write. Some weeks we got none at all.

And so it's back to the pre-dawn schedule. It's not as productive, but if we can manage 5,000 words a week this way, we'll have a completed zero draft of Guardian by the end of the summer.

No comments:

Post a Comment