Writer’s Notes: February 12, 2022

Current Project Progress
The Lucky Squirrel: 1,022 words
MM (Editing): Page 146 of 328

Nutrients. Hydration. Sleep.

Three things I need to keep my brain alert and creative, and two of which I deprive myself far too often (I mean, I never forget to eat, though sometimes *what* I eat is questionable).

Before writing this blog, I was trying to plot out the ongoing Lucky Squirrel story in some software I’m doing a trial of. I’ve never been a good plotter, always preferring to “pants” my way through a first draft and find out how the story goes as I write. But pantsing a story requires a certain amount of focus and thought that I find I have less and less time for. If I have a vague idea of what I need to write next on any given night, it tends to prime the writing pump, so to speak, and makes discovering the details as I write much easier.

But as I said, I’m not much of a plotter. And as I stared at the shiny new software, having read the instructions on how to use it and with a surface understanding of what I needed to do, I felt my brain shutting down and backing away, whispering, “Shouldn’t we check Facebook again? Instagram, maybe? Did you send that email? Do you want to write another one?”

Often, I don’t catch myself when this happens, I just follow it. But I want so badly to finish this story so I can move on to something else that my self-analytics kicked in, and I asked myself what the real problem was. I was tired from a lack of sleep the night before (my own fault), unfocused, and I considered what I could possibly do physically to kick my mental state up a notch.

I wasn’t hungry, but given my overall “droopy” state, I decided to eat something. I had a clementine for sugar, and a cheese stick for protein. And I felt moderately better. I got a big glass of water, because I am *never* hydrated, and instead of sipping on it, I told myself I needed to actually *drink* it in longer swallows. I got out of my chair and stood up, because I wanted to get the blood flowing.

And after all that, I looked at the software again, and it seemed slightly less daunting. So I took a stab at putting in my first plot line…and realized after I got a few cards in, that I was doing it wrong. But with that realization came the proverbial lightbulb moment when I realized how I needed to do it “right”. And I redid what I’d done, continued on, and managed to finish the entire plotting exercise, which in this particular piece of software, added all the necessary scenes right to my draft. So then I just had to divide what I’d already written into the scenes that were created, and then I knew exactly where I needed to go from there.

I purposefully kept my notes very vague and general, because if I know every detail of a story (or even a scene) before I sit down to write it, I lose interest in actually writing it because I already know it. But with a loose plot done, I had a general idea of what comes next, which makes actually jumping into the draft so much easier when I’m much more tired late at night.

Then I switched gears and wrote this blog post as a solid reminder that I need to take care of my physical needs for my brain to work optimally. I know it, but I need to *do* it, not right before I want to accomplish something (though it’s good knowing that’s an option, when I have time), but daily, so I don’t have to fight that procrastination, “don’t feel like it”, “no energy for new things” mentality.

This week hasn’t been a great writing week, but it had some great moments, and getting the LS story plotted so I can finish the thing was definitely one, in several different ways.

Next week I have three days vacation from the day job…which I’m hoping to use for a lot of publishing catch-up, but also some new words and process-testing as well. It should be a good week, and hopefully very productive.

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