Coffee, Tea, Revisions, and The Pug Method

Ah, revisions. Endless revisions and a long, hot holiday weekend with too much light and one pug. I am running out of clean coffee cups rapidly and actually losing my mind. 

It starts at 4 Am the first day off my day job.  I light candles, put myself under some headphones to block out the world with ambient music, and on comes the computer. I write and revise until the pug wakes up and demands her morning ritual – a walk, breakfast, and a cuddle. For me it’s more coffee and a protein shake. More revisions. 

Then there is passing out, perhaps lunch or something like it, more revisions until the pug needs another walk. Then outside I go for a swim, maybe to read a little (clears the creative palette), and then up for a shower and more revisions. I accidentally walked into the wrong apartment on my way up from the pool today. It’s day 3 of this routine. And my mind is beginning to blow apart from reality. 

There is no bedtime. I try to sleep the last few hours of daylight. Then as the sun is quitting for the day, the pug and I venture out for a final walk. Then it is more coffee and more revisions. An hour of sleep here and there in an attempt to revise 99,145 words in a long weekend. This is in hopes of having this book ready for beta readers in 5 weeks. 

I suspect The Pug Method is employed by precious few of my fellows.  I have tried the stay healthy and sane methods, a few hours here and a few hours there worked into the routine of a responsible adult.  It doesn’t work for me. A routine of that kind renders my writing dull and predictable.  Only when I deprive myself of sleep so I can write in the darkness am I able to call the magic.  It is not a fault I seem to be able to fix. 

How do other writers manage? Can a real writer work their craft like a 9-5 job? I can’t imagine that myself. If only I were not so rapidly running out of time. 

2 thoughts on “Coffee, Tea, Revisions, and The Pug Method

  1. It’s hard for me to even imagine writing being my only job, so I can’t speak well to that at all. Perhaps helpful that I love my job, and it does *its* job, paying my bills. But I do have quite a nice office, in which I like to spend time, so I can see being fairly dedicated to SOME kind of discipline. I just can’t say what discipline would work for me.

    Your sleep pattern catches my attention; researching historical fiction, I’ve learned that the 8-hours-in-a-row sleep pattern is a relatively recent human invention. For many centuries, we might go to bed with the sun – which means, quite “early” (by modern standards) in winter. But it used to be that we’d sleep two or three hours, then get up for some sort of activity in the night. Reading or being read to, sewing or mending of some sort, prayer, a bit of light family/childcare time. Marital relations. Then we’d turn in again for a bit of a longer sleep. Segmented sleep is also a pattern I’ve noticed people adopt, who don’t have the 9-5 grind to work around, and afternoon siesta is also a lot more common in people who don’t have to hew to basically a corporate schedule. Almost everyone I know who hasn’t had that in their lives spends some period of time in this sort of pattern – daytime sleep, then two or even three segments of nighttime sleep.

    So, in this at least, you may be following the very ancient imperative of your own body and instincts! It is an excellent way to sustain and to follow your energy.

    Good luck – I was slow to this post, but hope you will nail that deadline!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you are right, Diane, about sleep. I never can sleep more than 3-4 hours at a stretch. As for my deadline, well maybe not. Only 2.5 weeks until WDC and I don’t think I will have book with beta readers. It still could happen but I keep getting in my own way.

      Like

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