Friday, August 20, 2010


I scheduled this post yesterday. So I'm talking to you from the past. This is a little Henry DeTamble-ish, isn't it? But on to the point...

Today, (technically tomorrow, Past-Chelsea argues) I'm heading to PA to take part in PAYA ( I'm doing a writing workshop and signing. I have a feeling I'll be getting very little sleep the next few days, with the workload I have.

So I'm going to talk about something only semi related: writing when you're exhausted.

I find I like to write at midnight, with a cup of coffee by my hand. My mind thinks this is rational. It really isn't.

But writing when you're exhausted isn't always bad. For me, my personal editor shuts up and lets me write whatever I write. A lot of it comes out sounding like Virginia Woolf, but I get the words out there and the plot moves forward. And the next morning, there's stuff for me to sift through.

I'm a fan of crappy first drafts. You need to have words, even crappy words, to work with. For instance, you can take "I walked over to the other side of the room and tripped over something and landed on my face" and make it "I walked to the other side of the room, the one plastered with cheesy-looking wallpaper. I gracefully did a foot-shuffle when my shoe got caught in a section of carpet; the floor tasted like locker rooms." And, okay, that's not the best example of writing, but it's midnight. What do you expect? The point is, it's harder to make something out of nothing.

So, one day, when you're tired and you don't feel like writing, open your Word document anyway. Maybe even tonight. You might find you like sleepwriting more than you'd think.