I’ve occasionally wondered what I’d be like if I could get a decent night’s sleep. Alas, that hasn’t been in the cards for a while, and I see no hint of change on the horizon.
This past week has been worse than usual. Lying in bed while my mind spins freely for five to six hours is no fun, and since DH is working long hours and needs every bit of sleep he can get, I have to be careful not to disturb him. So, no loud parties or home improvement projects at two am, alas.
A week of involuntary insomnia has had some interesting effects on my writing. Normally, I write straight through, editing as I go. Whether I’m plotting or pantsing, the words usually come out in reasonably coherent form, integrating setting, plot, description, dialogue, etc., into a unified whole.
But these are abnormal times. I’m currently writing dialogue only. No description, no movement. Sometimes I can manage speech tags, and I haven’t completely lost my spelling and grammar skills. At the beginning of the week, I was able to write some description, but couldn’t figure out how to integrate that with anything else. Fortunately, the story has some quiet, conversational, low-movement scenes that I can work on. I’m still making progress, in paltry and frustrating amounts.
I’m able to write this post straight through because I’m saying it out loud to myself as I type. This is mildly disconcerting, and I’m glad my DH is at work, and doesn’t have to listen to me talking to myself. Copious amounts of coffee are also involved- have I mentioned that I’m so glad I live in the modern Western world, where caffeine is cheap and available?
(In case it wasn’t obvious, my ability to concentrate on a particular train of thought is slightly diminished, too. Which might explain why the load of laundry that’s sitting by the door to my office; I dropped it there because I had a thought I needed to write down, and though I’ve walked by the hamper three or four times by now, there it sits. Oh, well.)
How to fix it? Good question. A full eight hours of sleep might help- who’d a thunk it? In the meantime, I’m writing what I can, trying to make notes in the margin about who’s doing what, and enjoying the chance to explore my characters’ voices in depth. Eventually, I’ll get to a point where I’m rested enough to layer description and movement into the talking, and from there, progress to scenes that require more action. Or I’ll get sufficiently ticked off that I print out the manuscript, delete all copies, and burn the thing; that’s always a possibility with this project.
And who knows? Writing only dialogue might become a useful skill, if I ever manage to kick this particular story to the curb and become a playwright. I’ll make the director write the stage directions and the set and costume designers will provide visual context, mwahahaha!