There are usually a couple of reasons I can’t sleep. Very rarely is it because I am not tired. The more likely reason is that my thoughts are too loud.
I will lay there in the cool dark with the ceiling fan stirring the air, and instead of just enjoying the peaceful silence my mind starts to wander. I think about work and the kids. I think about all the things in life I could be better at. I feel guilty about the things I didn’t get done that day or the fact that I am making the dog stay outside in the back yard because she keeps peeing in the floor. (She will be out for hours and then come in and pee on the floor for no reason. I really don’t understand why.)
Depression closes in around me and I just continue to spiral downward for hours until I finally pass out or it is time to get up again. To bypass this, I often read before bed. However, this is a double-edged sword because I have a problem putting a book down once I start. So if I am not careful I will not sleep for reading too much.
There are over the counter sleep aids that I can take but I usually only go with those if I don’t have to get up early. Even if I try to go to bed early I am still groggy the next day. Often I end up feeling the same as if I haven’t slept.
I also have an autistic son that likes to wake me up after I’ve been asleep for a couple of hours. It is usually because he needs something so I feel guilty getting annoyed about it, but it is just so hard to go back to sleep once someone wakes me up. It feels like it is twice as hard as just going to sleep to begin with.
I am having trouble sleeping right now. I thought maybe writing a few words would clear some brain space for sleep. Here’s hoping it works. Sweet dreams everyone.
Last night I stayed up too late. I didn’t actually go to bed until after five this morning. I took a nap yesterday afternoon because I knew I would want to take a peek at the Lunar eclipse. If I didn’t take a nap, I probably would have been warm and comfortable in my pajamas by the time the eclipse started and then I wouldn’t want to go out into the cold. And it was cold, 18 degrees to be exact.
The moon was full and round, as something called a Super Blood Wolf Moon should be. The eclipse itself was pretty spectacular too. We won’t see another total lunar eclipse until May of 2021.
I managed to get a few pictures before I could no longer feel my fingers and toes. Some of them turned out pretty good considering my camera isn’t exactly fancy and doesn’t have extra lenses and such. I warmed up with a hot drink then sat down to read since the cold had made sure I was wide awake. I only have one book of a trilogy left to read and then the first one of the next trilogy. After that I have to wait for the author (Yes, still Mercedes Lackey,) to publish more.
I have been able to focus more on writing lately though some places feel like I am struggling through a swamp. I have to write a magic battle coming up next and I need to visualize it so I can describe it properly. However, this is harder than it sounds. At first, my brain kept basically showing me Dragon Ball Z reruns with my characters substituted and I had to convince it that there would be no Kamehameha-ing going on. Now I have an inkling of an idea. I just have to flesh it out.
I am also working on another nonfiction book I hope to have completed by May. If I focused solely on it I could probably have it done earlier, but I have other things I am working on too. I am also thinking about putting out another book of short stories. I haven’t decided for sure on that yet but I am gathering my orphans together so to speak.
Next weekend, if all goes well, I will probably be popping in at a local convention.
Currently, I am coming to the end of chapter two in a book I am writing. At least I think it will be a book. (I have been mistaken before.) I would be much further along if it wasn’t for Mercedes Lackey.
For Christmas, I received an eagerly anticipated trilogy of books. I knew I would get them. I had asked for them specifically when people inquired what I wanted for Christmas. Mercedes Lackey has been one of my favorite writers for a long time. I picked up one of her Valdemar books at a thrift store when I was too young to appreciate it and hated the book.
Then I discovered the Bedlam Bard books and fell in love. They were rare treasures I would search shelves for. That was how I discovered the Serrated Edge series. I loved those too but I hated them as well. Those books turned a flashlight on the dark corners of humanity. They absorbed you as you read them, immersing you in the story until you felt all of the horror and pain but also the hope. It was wonderful and awful at the same time. I read some of them over and over.
Years after my first introduction to Valdemar my sister started telling about this book she was reading. It sounded awesome. It had magic, adventure, and was written by one of my favorite authors. Then I found it out it was a Valdemar book. By then I knew Valdemar had quite a large fan base but I don’t like jumping on bandwagons. I honestly thought the Bedlam Bard series was better and that people were fans of the wrong series, even though I had never really given the Valdemar books a chance.
My sister can be quietly demanding when she wants to be. She gives you unspoken orders and you hop to, only later realizing what happened. I don’t think she even realizes that she does it. Which was how I was presented with a stack of Valdemar books from her collection and told to familiarize myself with this world she was always talking about. I devoured them all and came back for more. The storytelling was great. Later as I learned to read as a writer, I picked out a couple of things I thought could have been done differently and made a few of the books better. (In my opinion of course.) I was fool enough to mention these thoughts out loud.
Learn from my mistakes. If you are discussing books with someone who showers a story world with complete adoration, never ever ever suggest that there is something wrote with it. Ever. Not even if it is just saying that the ending felt a little rushed and you wonder if the author had to hurry through it to make a deadline. Don’t do it. You will regret it. (Unless of course, you are trying to start a fight or have odd compulsion to have the skin ripped from your body with words. If that is your goal then insulting a favored author or book series is an easy way to accomplish it. Even if the slight is only perceived, it will do the job.)
So after eight books or so I wandered away from Valdemar and on to something else. Then this Winter I was poking around on Amazon, looking for gifts for others when I stumbled across something called “The Herald Spy Trilogy”. I am a sucker for rogues and I enjoy Lackey’s writing so I asked for them for Christmas. I received them, eagerly sat down to read after the holiday craziness was complete, and discovered I had no idea what was going on. References were made to characters I had never heard of. Confused I contacted my local Valdemar informant, A.K.A my sister. She did some google-fu and produced a list of books that come before the trilogy I wanted to read. And to her surprise, she only owned three of the five and they were in storage. (Another long story.)
So I set out to acquire the five books that came before the trilogy I got for Christmas. Then I had to wait for them to be shipped because I bought them online. In the meantime, I got an idea for a book of my own after speaking to a friend and started writing. I managed to get a chapter and a half in when my books acquisitions arrived. I ignored them for a few days but then the person who got me the trilogy started asking questions about if I had read them yet and if I liked them. So feeling guilty for ignoring my gift, I started on the Collegium Chronicles and am now on the fourth book. However, I have only written a couple of paragraphs over the past few days since reading has taken over my writing time.
My writing is suffering from my lack of focus, concentration, and sleep. If Mercedes Lackey wasn’t such a hell of a storyteller I wouldn’t have this problem. The compulsion I feel to read and purchase these books because I enjoy them so much is fascinating. Wouldn’t it be awesome if I could be like that one day?
(By the way, during the writing of this blog post I stumbled upon another book in one of Lackey’s series that I haven’t read and ended up buying it too.)
Today I sat down to look over a poem I wrote earlier in the week. I have sent it to a few good first readers to get different viewpoints. I have spent way more time on this one poem than I ever planned on, but then I never really planned to write it either. A line just sort of popped into my head one day, so I wrote it down and the rest followed. That’s usually how poetry works for me. Often that is the way stories work too.
I am pretty much one of those people who write by the seat of their pants. I rarely plan anything out. I think it is more fun that way, even if it is a bit chaotic. However, if I am writing non-fiction, then I do plan things more carefully. I have the ability to plot things out, I just don’t usually do it because it seems to make getting the words down harder for me. I tend to daydream quite a bit as well.
The idea that I don’t plot things out drives a few of my writer friends crazy. They always plot. I know others that never do. I mean, there is always a vague idea where the story is going. Usually.
I do have eight pages of a work in progress that just kind of popped in my head like poetry normally does. That one I have no idea where it is going. It probably won’t turn out to be anything good enough to share with the rest of the world, but it is fun to write so I am keeping up with it as sort of a writing exercise.
Anyway, my rambling point is that I have spent a lot of time working on a poem. I like this one and I want to get it right but it isn’t quite there yet. I am not sure where “there” is but I am working hard on finding it.
We arrived at the convention a little later than originally planned but our timing worked to our advantage. My sister-in-law and I got our badges and checked into the hotel without issue. We’ve been to a few awesome panels and bought probably our weight in books. I’ve met some new people and was able to reconnect with old friends. So far we have had a good time.
The only problems that have shown their warty heads were the internet connection and the fact that we went left when we should have gone right (or the reverse) after getting off the elevator a few minutes ago. This meant we spent ten minutes trying to open a door that was to the wrong room. It took a handy passerby to point this out to us. In our defense, we were tired and just about ready for bed. I am looking forward to tomorrow.
Recently I was reading a book of short fiction by an author with more experience and success than I. The stories had interesting ideas driving them but then they fell flat. This author has been published traditionally and has marched the independent path. This particular work was indie published.
I am a big supporter of indie publishing. It gets more of what I like to read in my hands and provides writers with another way to get there stuff out there. It is a tool for the tool box. However, I am not sure I can finish reading this book.
It isn’t bad. Not really. I see some of my own mistakes made by this author and it irritates me. Also I doubt the author uses beta readers. That is a mistake I try not to make. (Not saying I’ve never made it, but I try not to get impatient and toss out stuff that isn’t ready.)
Beta readers are one of the most important tools a writer can have. You really do need that second pair of eyes. I know I have written about this before but it is still true. Fresh eyes and a fresh brain see things you will miss. If you spell the wrong word correctly, spell check isn’t going to catch it.
Often writers will read what is supposed to be there rather than what actually is. So get a beta reader. Two or three if you can. Bribe them. Beg them. Whatever it takes. I find coffee, the occasional lunch, or a free book work well for mine. Some will even do it just because they love to read. Make use of your bookish or grammar Nazi friends.
Those personality quirks that may annoy you in everyday life will be indispensable for your writing world.