With most creative ventures, I find that being in "The Zone" is a crucial step to having anything be accomplished. What does being in "The Zone" mean? For me, this includes having some quiet time with my thoughts and being in an environment that stimulates my thought processes. Certain factors to set the right atmosphere may include listening to soothing music, supplying myself with cold beverages and munching on Stacy's "Simply Naked" Pita Chips. This usually works well enough until I cave in to my vice of goofing off for hours on the internet.
Nota Bene: Blogging may or may not be classified under said "goofing off."
To help stave such a temptation, I call in reinforcements in the company of my good friend May. May is a bibliophile and a brilliant linguist whose avid passion for Japanese culture and language matches what I feel for French. While we both cherish and enjoy each other's presence, we don't meet up merely for shits and giggles. Oh, no. Our get-togethers are serious business.
The moments spent together have resulted in hours of productive brainstorming, bouncing ideas off each other, and trying to catch ephemeral wisps of words that float around until we've found the perfect one. This is what we call Writers' Night.
In the past few months, she and I have spent several writing sessions dedicated to imbibing Starbucks coffee, critiquing various passages and character development, and cranking out paragraphs until one in the morning. I think we both agree that by assisting each other, we manage to restore sanity by ignoring the little negative voice in our head that insists we are absolute failures and making it shut up. Most importantly, we encourage each other to keep on writing.
Being good friends, Writers' Night does indeed feature some joking around, but some sessions go well enough, meaning that we get things done. We sit successfully for long spans while either a pen scribbles the ideas that pop into our minds or our fingers furiously type away, the hard clicks and clacks of the keyboard punctuating the silence in the room, as we churn out pages of our novels and increase our word count.
For other Writers' Nights, our sessions don't fare as well. On "off" nights, when we can barely focus our attention to the task before us, we count ourselves lucky if we reached a set word count goal or if by the end of the night, after several fruitless hours of staring at the glowing computer screen, we have managed to scrap enough words together that resulted in one, coherent sentence.
I also admit that while we are in the middle of a Writers' Night, I can be a horrible procrastinator, especially when I feel zapped of inspiration. With my jokes, goofing off, and general, wandering goldfish-esque attention span, I prove to be rather counter-productive to the activity of actually writing something, and, very often, I become the bad influence who diverts May's attention from writing to talking about T.V. shows like Doctor Who and to watching videos on the internet.
May, however, is very nice and refers to my distractions as "breaks."
(In my defense, I find that these
distractions breaks help stimulate our minds as they snowball into conversations that are entertainingly semi-intellectual.)
A typical Writers' Night for us often goes like this:
And so we go to Wendy's and nom our dinner. Once we've become more alert by having fuller stomachs, it's "back to work."
During said trip to get coffee and tea at a local supermarket, we found Crunchy Speculoos waiting for us on the peanut butter shelf. We bought a jar and proceeded to consume its contents during the night.
That was a definite good sign in my book. I had never tried the stuff back in France so it was blast to
(Seriously. This will blow your mind.)
And just like that, Prisencolinensinainciusol becomes our unintelligible background music for the evening.
Our most recent Writers' Night was certainly different from the previous ones. I mean, we did the usual. We parked the car in a public shopping center, loaded up on our go-to yummy foods and drinks and worked at writing something good.
Yet things were different that night.
I am happy to report that session was, by far, the most productive one we've had to date. We each managed to each jot down 1,500 words for our novels and met new total word counts. Good signs all around.
The best part was that at the end of the night, we both felt great about what we were writing. It was as if by having certain passages come together, we had obtained the clarity of knowing that everything is going to be all right. I wish that feeling could always be with us all of the time.
However, there was one thing that could have possibly dampened our effervescent mood...
No, my Ford Focus wasn't planning to copulate with a truck and make minivans.
Thanks to having left the car parked in a public shopping center well-past midnight, we were THISCLOSE to having the Repo guys tow it away. We encountered them just as they were making a break for it with the car. I screeched in fright and May tapped into her inner Usain Bolt, sprinting behind them and yelling at them to stop.
Between the two of us, May and I (but mostly May) paid the hefty transaction to get the car back. The fee may or may not have included having to promise handing my future first-born child over to supply their company with more manpower so they can carry on with their Repo Towing ways. The head Repo guy also tried to short-change us by ten bucks (despite claiming that he had done us a favor).
I, of course, thanked the man who relinquished the car and tried to engage in polite conversation with his partner, but the other Repo man was clearly too busy sitting in the truck and checking phone to even look at us. I suspect that he was updating his Facebook status while on the job.
I bet The Doctor never had to worry about having Repo guys take the TARDIS. When he wasn't travelling through space and time, he was probably sensible enough to have paid for metered parking.
By the way, nearly having your mode of transportation be hauled away at one in the morning is an excellent way to get some adrenaline pumping through your system. That natural high of having to avoid waking up someone else to give me a ride also gave me the impression that everything is gonna to be all right.
...Okay, okay. I may have been pushing my "everything is gonna be all right" luck and reading too much into things with that last one, but it was still pretty close.
And May: don't worry. Once I get over watching YouTube clips and become a published author, I will pay you back!
Barb the French Bean