Alas, some promises are easily broken. Just ask poor Dawson.
This isn’t a matter of Joey Potter breaking my heart. (She was better off with Pacey, anyway.) It’s a matter of me breaking my own. Way back when, I wrote about how hard it is for me to write bad things into the lives of characters to whom I happen to be very attached.
It was hard then. There’s been a bumpy ride between then and now. Which means It’s even harder now. In finishing a first draft of a YA story I’ve been writing for seeming ages, it was time to face the truth of the matter. This was never going to end a blaze of hearts and flowers. I’ve known this from the beginning. It’s not that I don’t appreciate a blaze of hearts and flowers—truth be told, I kind of love them. But this just isn’t that kind of story.
So I sat down and wrote the hardest stuff that needed to be written, and I wiped away many tears as I did. Is it weird to be this caught up in your own story and characters? I hope not. Because if it is, something’s clearly gone awry with me. I’m awfully fond of these folks—I created them, after all. And like any good parent, I wanted to protect them from these ugly parts of the story, but there was just no way to avoid it.
But the deed is done.
I’m feeling good about it now that this part of the journey is over—and ready to start all over again (hopefully I’ll take a page from Melissa Manchester, though, this time around).
Sure, sure, I know that you’re supposed to get at least eight hours of sleep a night. I’ve heard it can do wonderful things for your health and well-being. It might even leave you less groggy in the morning. Insomnia, however, has been a long-time companion of mine. Though I have no Boogie-Woogie Sheep to help me dance myself to sleep (alas), those precious eight hours can prove as elusive to me as they are to Ernie in this song.
There are times when this is a burden, without question. But there are advantages to say, having your natural clock wake you up at 3:30 in the morning. One of them is having some writing time.
In an ideal world, I’d have hours every day at my disposal to write and edit and think about the various stories I have percolating. But I work and I have a family, and that just isn’t realistic. So, I figure, if I’m already awake in the wee hours, why not put said wee hours to some good use?
The laptop sits by my bedside each night, and is frequently used. Sometimes I write down things I’ve dreamed about—what is now a large and unwieldy YA project began as a less-than-pleasant dream—and other times I go back in and revise whatever I was working on before bedtime. I’ve written down whole rough drafts of picture book stories that I barely remembered afterward.
Yes, this leaves me tired. Yes, I do realize it’s less than ideal. But you’ve got to work with what you have. And what I have is insomnia.
So, even though I know those tap dancing sheep would be lovely to have around, I prefer to let my much-beloved husband rest—and write myself to sleep instead.