This week Benjamin caught me trying to paint my nails. Last time I did this, Chris looked at them afterwards and said, “Honey, next time let me do it.” Benjamin remembered this story, and convinced me to let him do my nails.
He was a manicurist in The Little Mermaid III, after all.
Benjamin: I forgot to ask you last week…Do you have a Doppelganger?
Me: I’m told I look like Zooey Deschanel when I have my bangs and my make-up done.
*pouts* I miss my bangs.
Benjamin: Where did they go?
Me: I’m not going to explain to you how hair-growth works. It will get awkward.
Benjamin: Men have more body hair than woman.
Me: Yes, they generally do.
Benjamin: What’s your writing routine like?
Me: I generally write in the morning, unless I’m too lazy. Then I write in the afternoon. I try to write around 1000 words a day, but I also go by the rule that Ernest Hemingway speaks of: “You read what you have written and, as you always stop when you know what is going to happen next, you go on from there. You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day when you hit it again.”
I just type a note when I’m done write about what is going to come next, and then I leave it until tomorrow.
Benjamin: Have you written everyday this week?
Me: No, unfortunately not.
Benjamin: Is the story not interesting enough?
Me: It’s not that. I’m kinda writing blindsided on Kate’s story. I’m going Dostoevsky style: stick a bunch of characters in a situation and see what happens.
Anyway, even if I knew exactly what was going to happen, some weeks are good weeks. Some weeks are bad. Writers are affected by their environment as well. If what is happening to us and around us requires more attention than the story in front of us, we have to leave the story be and attend to whatever else.
Benjamin: What usually distracts you.
Me: I have my dark moments when I just don’t feel motivated to do anything, but usually it’s another book(s), or a surprise visit from Chris.
Benjamin: Oh yes, Chris showed up after you wrote that Humpday post, huh?
Me: Yes, yes he did.
Benjamin: What books have distracted.
Me: The Hunger Games trilogy. I have my critique, but it was surely attention grabbing. Chris got the box set and let me borrow the last book. I started it yesterday afternoon, and only put it down to eat. I finished it around 1 in the morning. Not many books have made me skip bedtime.
Benjamin: Is there anything else that keeps you from writing?
Me: It’s hard to write a story that’s difficult to tell. CURSES is an excellent example of this. Her psychological turmoil was difficult to write, and it was emotionally exhausting . When you write in first person, the voice of the protagonist affect you so much more. Biddy’s was broken, but she was also a fighter. She fought for the wrong thing, but she was still fighting for something. I had to purposefully take breaks so that I didn’t fall into her mindset outside of the page. It would have affected everything around me negatively.
Benjamin: Did she win or lose?
Me: Depends on how you look at it.
Benjamin: You’re being evasive.
Me: No, I’m actually not. It does depend on how you, the reader, look at it. That’s the beauty of the ending, I think.
Benjamin: What do you think?
Me: I think she’s beginning to win, but she’s not quite there yet.
Benjamin: So there’s room for a sequel?
Me: Definitely. The only problem is that after CURSES she would be going to a lot of drastic changes because everything she thought she was has collapsed. The Biddy you get to know in CURSES would not be the same Biddy in the sequel, even if I time it so that the second book starts right after the first one ends. I don’t know who that Biddy is, either.
Benjamin: How do you overcome distractions?
Me: You can’t overcome anything without discipline. You have to tell yourself: this is the time I’m going to write, and nothing can stop me. You have to have superpowers to write, to ignore everything else and focus on people that don’t exist in your world.
And you have to care about them. If you don’t, then they’re not worth writing about, right?
Benjamin: Well, that’s all I have this week. Should we open up comments and questions?
Me: Sure. Why not?