Thursday, January 9, 2014

Writing on a Cold Winter Morning

by Jackie King

Bloody January!

Snow, ice and freezing temperatures send a message to my body that it’s time to hibernate. Then I hear the annoying loud buzz of the alarm clock and know that I must get up and begin editing my (sort of) first draft. (I say sort of, because my characters keep changing the ending.) But my eyes won’t open. I force my lids into a tiny slit and everything that is gray, stark and chilling, frighten them shut. Surely the alarm must have been set wrong, I rationalize.

For eight and a half torturous minutes I lie stiff-as-a-board, uncomfortable, guilt-ridden and stubborn, steeling myself against the inevitable. Finally I drag myself out of bed, remove my newest form of self-torture called a Bi-Pap mask for my sleep apnea, and sit on the edge of bed.

Where is my beloved sunshine?

I main-line my first cup of coffee so I can turn on my computer without throwing the monitor out my third-floor window. (I’ve downsized to an apartment, which I very much like. No more worrying about frozen pipes. But not even this fact can cheer me at the ghastly hour of 7:30 when everything outside my window is the color of concrete and covered with ice.)

I pull up chapter 14 and wonder why I ever liked any of these characters? Maybe I should kill everyone off. That would certainly be surprise ending.

I drink my second cup of coffee and read the chapter, making small changes here and there. (How do all of those ‘ly’ words creep in?) I take out three adverbs and a couple of adjectives.

By the time I’m sipping my fourth cup, I decide to let my protagonist and her quirky sidekick live. I solider on for 30 minutes, and then pause to take a break. After an egg, toast and a sliced orange, my temper has sweetened enough that I stop threatening to delete my manuscript and ready keep writing.

Sunshine is a faraway memory.

Bloody January!



Jean Henry Mead said...

I hear you, Jackie, but January is a great month to write. No golf, tennis matches or picnics but plenty of snow to make frosty men. I think I'll stick to my keyboard.

Jackie King said...

You always do, Jean, and your ever-growing list of books prove this!

June Shaw said...