Jan 28, 2014

Writing Without Sleep

As wonderful as my kids are, I will never miss the lack of sleep that comes with the first weeks of parenthood.

The hardest part isn't getting up for work (though that's no picnic...) or having the energy to take care of my children, because they energise me like nothing else. No, the hard part is managing my writing time.

It's a holdover from when writing was a hobby, just another way to spend my free time. It can be tough to think of it seriously, as an important priority.

My usual writing time is during my lunch in work, supplemented with a couple of hours on weekend mornings. At the moment I've been indulging in a shiny new computer I treated myself to, and playing some video games on weekend mornings.

And I've been trying really hard not to nod off on my lunch hours in work.

Things will have the kick into a higher gear soon, as I start my edits on Final Hope and Lady Raven.

Of course, I've learned my lessons from last year, and as much as I want to be able to write all day, every day, I know my body and mind need time to rest. I can't spend all my waking hours writing if I'm only getting maybe 4 hours of sleep a night, total. So I relax, I enjoy my chillout time watching tv with my wife, or playing video games while the rest of the house is asleep. Importantly, I do it guilt-free, because I know all too well that I need to take whatever rest I can get when I can get it.

Over the next few weeks I'll be solidifying my plans for the release of Lady Raven, letting you all know how I find the self-publishing process. What'll be really interesting is seeing how I juggle this with my traditional-publishing work. Of course, anything I'm on a contract for has to take priority over things I'm only working on myself, and I won't let my Nathan Shepherd fans down. I promise this is going to be a great year for my stories, seeing the end of one, and the start of so many more!

10 comments:

  1. Hey Paul, having been the parent of a young child (she's now 13), I know the feeling of being sleep-deprived while trying to write. Nowadays, it seems (I'm 52) I need a lot less sleep. I'm getting five and a half hours sleep, waking up and writing for three productive hours. Sometimes I take a nap in the afternoon, but seems like all I require. Best of luck juggling your priorities. Question - why'd you opt for self-publishing this time around, and not WiDo?

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    1. The main reason was to increase the number of releases I have each year. One book a year isn't enough to satisfy my writing urges, and the more books I have coming out, the better my odds of being able to write full-time some day. I just don't see it being possible to reach my goal of having 3-4 new releases a year unless I pursue both traditional publishing and self-publishing.

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    2. Makes sense. Wow, 4 new releases a year. That's a lot! It took me 13 years to write my 250-word novel, which finally comes in March. Then again, I didn't know I was writing a novel until a few years ago.

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    3. The first one's always the hardest. :-)

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  2. Oh, Paul, you have so much on your plate right now, I honestly don't know how you do it. I can just picture your new baby and lovely daughters and wife sleeping while you play away on your computer. The writing will come the more you relax. Sleep is important, though.

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    1. Hopefully Olivia will take after her sisters and settle into a nightly routine easily enough once we start sleep training. Until then, I'm mainlining coffee :-p

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  3. I am a firm believer in downtime. I think writers are the only people who think they have to be "working (writing) all the time. When other important life things have to take precedence for a while, I take it as the universe's way of forcing me to take a time out. Life is balance, yes? And so, you have been given these precious gifts of babies to enjoy the fullness of life and all of it feeds the writing well. You are so impressively talented and productive, you make me feel like I need a nap!!

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    1. Thank you :-)

      I learned the hard way, last year, just how important that downtime is. I can forgive myself a lot more readily now for those evenings when I just want to chill out.

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  4. I have a hard time finding down time. But rest is super important. I make sure no matter what to get between 6&7 hours of sleep each night. If not I'm utterly useless.

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    1. 6-7 hours is my ideal amount of sleep. Any more and I feel really sluggish for the day, and frustrated that I've missed out on awake-time.

      Right now, though, I'm lucky to 4 hours, and even then, it's likely to be interrupted.

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