So I’m trying the ritual…

So I'm trying the ritual thing, but kind of failing so far. I don't really like jumping in the shower first thing; I like to putter around in pyjamas for a while in the morning. Also, our shower is right under the kids' rooms, and I'm afraid of waking them. And I love the garden in the early summer morning -- cool and fresh and you get to discover something new every morning. So, fine. Revised ritual, based on what I've actually done this morning:

  • get up at 5-ish
  • make tea, take medicine
  • putter in garden for ten minutes (lop off an errant branch, deadhead roses, cut some flowers for inside the house)
  • check e-mail BRIEFLY
  • post a blog entry
  • 6 - 7: write
Obviously, I haven't done the last one yet, but I'm heading off to do it in a minute. Yesterday, Lori came down to Oak Park; we had lunch, talked writing, went to a local author reading (Julie Hyzy, cozy mysteries) at Centuries and Sleuths (our local history/mystery bookstore), went to Caffe de Luca, had mojitos followed by bruschetta (because the mojitos were stronger than anticipated, and we needed some bread rather badly), and wrote.

I know someone posted in the last entry than an hour didn't seem like enough time for writing. And I just wanted to note that that used to be true for me -- that for the first few years I was writing, I needed to block off 3-4 hours if I wanted to write something. In part that was because I just took a while to get into it -- now I can fall into my story much faster, with fewer false starts. And it definitely helps to be working on a book-length work (whether novel or linked stories or nonfiction), because having a bunch already done kind of preps you for starting again; you don't need to start from scratch and fight through the activation energy. (I don't know exactly what activation energy means, but you know what I mean, yes?) So, anyway, my point is that these days, an hour is plenty for me to get a good scene or two done. And if I do an hour (roughly 1000 words) a day, about 2-3 months will get me a rough draft of a book. I do still need a solid, uninterrupted hour, though. Maybe someday I'll be able to work in five-minute increments. That would be splendid.

I did 1200 words on a new Detective Chandran story, and it's chugging along nicely. This is for Minal's queer Indian anthology, which I may have missed the deadline for, but I was thinking about this story for a while last month, so it's mostly plotted in my head, so I may as well write it. And maybe she'll take it. I'm enjoying writing it, anyway. Back to it now -- should his Aunty be calm, or hysterical, on discovering her favorite ruby necklace has been stolen? I think calm, since his Uncle has already completely lost it. We'll see.

To do:

  • write for an hour -- DONE
  • get kids ready for school and drop off -- DONE
  • call painter with finalized house colors -- DONE
  • put away dishes -- DONE
  • prep syllabus & print readings -- DONE
  • after 9, call DeWolfe's office & schedule surgery -- DONE
  • take bin and toys up to playroom -- DONE
  • hang mirror -- DONE
  • shower and dress -- DONE
  • 10:45 -- take Green line to downtown
  • 11:30 -- lunch with Rupa, Sapna, and Venu @ Oasis, 21 N. Wabash
  • 12:30 -- take #60 bus back to campus
  • print and photocopy syllabus and first day's materials
  • file grade change
  • 2:00 - 3:40: teach
  • have Kev help me take wine rack down and hang planters
  • finish Detective Chandran story and send to workshop


  • read and comment on Nicole's essay -- in progress
  • revise "Red Light" and send out to Ellery Queen
  • finish drafting "The Language of Birds"
  • pick up dry cleaning
  • talk to Kevin re: sash locks for old windows
  • send SLF grant award check
  • start conversation with CBS board & Tempest re: workshop / literature discussion

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