This is the blog post where I take back everything I said a few weeks ago! No, actually, that's a complete lie, I don't take any of it back. I have been trying out the routine I described here on Jan 1st for the past few weeks, but the writing at night element of it just isn't working. I loved coming into my study at 10pm and writing until 2am, but then I was so hyped up I wasn't getting to sleep til 3am... and was waking J up in the process. I was feeling jet-lagged, and both us were sleeping badly, which really ruins everything. It just wasn't working.
But - I am the kind of person that often needs to make a RADICAL change in order to knock me out of my rut, and this was that radical change. I have learned an enormous amount from what I have been doing, setting off for a walk first thing, and making sure I come back with something. I've learned to really observe the world around me, putting energy into seeing and hearing in a way that I have never done before. I've learned just how much inspiration this close observation can provide me for my writing, as I make notes on what I see and hear, sometimes things that I know no-one else is noticing.
It gives me enormous pleasure to be using my senses like this - when I am out and about, I watch how people interact, and when I sit in a cafe I don't have my head buried behind my laptop anymore or checking my mobile phone. I wonder if anyone has noticed me noticing - do they wonder at the single woman sitting there, with no book, no newspaper? Just a pen and notepad. Is anyone watching me?
Because of this, for the first time ever I have been writing fiction based on real life events, or how I saw them. This is really a revelation - first it takes the pressure off me to "make up" everything, all the time. It lets me give my imagination a kick-start, which I had been doing with prompts and the New Scientist articles in my book, but hadn't done in this way before.
My routine also severed my umbilical connection to the Internet. I do my best every day not to turn it on for the first few hours at least, but when I do, I also now feel freer to just turn it off again, pull out the cable, block the wifi. It's a great relief! If there is something I need to look up first thing in the morning because I hadn't got myself organised the night before, I feel in some way unclean!
So, the current plan is to shift everything back a few hours. I've managed to get to sleep earlier, it took a few days, and I am getting up earlier, but right now I am quite confused about when my writing time is. I love going out first thing, getting the blood moving. I often go out quite grumpy and come back totally exhilerated! I also like not starting to write straight after my walk but to let what I've observed percolate, while I get on with other stuff. So, maybe this should be my writing time right now? 6-9? Late dinner? Early dinner? I've started a new healthy eating regime too... the working at night had the effect of utterly throwing off my mealtimes so I kept skipping a meal, which didn't help.
To sum up: I need to sleep. I need to eat. I need to write. I need quality time with J. I need to let him sleep too. I haven't quite figured out all of those things, but it's only Jan 26th, there's still 11 months and 5 days to go!