Thursday, July 24, 2008


I was planning to post my schedule for Conestoga, and then I realized that anyone who was going to be there would get a program that's probably more accurate than the information I currently have, so why bother? If you're in the Tulsa area and for whatever odd reason would be coming just to see me, Saturday would be the best day for it. I've got a reading in the morning (probably including a sneak peek at The Book In Search of a Good Home), some panels, and as an added treat, I'm doing my (in)famous workshop on using techniques from mythology and psychology to create characters. This isn't me rambling on about archetypes on a panel with a lot of other people rambling on. This is a real solo workshop, with handouts and everything. Plus, Saturday's when the birds of prey will be there. I loved that last year.

There was Fitz, the baby owl who'd been rescued after being washed out of his nest in a storm (I imagine he's been returned to the wild by now). He also came to the Harry Potter party, and I spent quite a lot of time holding him then. We bonded. Needless to say, that made a certain event that happened early in book 7 a bit more upsetting to me.

Then there was Valkyrie, author/artist Larry Dixon's red-tail hawk. She was also apparently a rescue and they've been trying to return her to the wild, but she doesn't seem to have any interest in going. I've always been fascinated with falconry, but I don't live in an environment suited to that.

I still haven't decided if I'll be taking my computer. I'm not at that stage in my work, and chances are I'll get too busy to post. Nothing happens on Fridays in the publishing world, so e-mail access isn't essential. But it's nice to know I could post updates if the spirit moves me.

In other news, I think I have settled on my ideal schedule. Exercising just before lunch really seems to be working for me. Then I recover during my lunch break, and I manage to be on an energy high all afternoon, even without caffeine. I find I'm sleeping better, which means I spend less time in bed trying to sleep, so I get up earlier, get more stuff done during the morning, which gives me time to exercise, and then all the business and all the exercise (all the "should" stuff) is done and I have the afternoon free for writing work. It does sort of mess with my eating schedule, as I'm not that hungry for lunch, then I get ravenous mid-afternoon, but then that spoils my appetite for dinner. I've adapted by just drinking water and eating some fruit for lunch, then having a protein/carb snack mid-afternoon. So, instead of three meals, I'm having a real breakfast and dinner, but two afternoon snacks instead of lunch. Another thing that seems to be helping the sleep is nothing electronic within 30 minutes of bedtime. That's something I gleaned from my medical writing side job. According to the med school sleep experts, the flickering lights on the screen of a TV, computer or videogame reset circadian rhythms, waking your brain up just when it's starting to get ready for sleep. You'll sleep better if you don't do any of that right before you go to bed. That's when reading is good. I also cut off writing-type activities because that also wakes up my brain. (On the other hand, some TV or videogames can be good for stimulating the brain before you need to work, in case you need an excuse.)

Now, of course, I'm going to get my schedule out of whack by traveling, but this does seem to make for more productive workdays.

And I have been pretty productive. Taking the slower approach to The New Project seems to be working, as in all the development work I've done this week, I've found all kinds of parallels and connections that I hadn't realized were there and that I can use. I have a better sense of my main character, who was something of a cipher to me. I think part of my problem (though "problem" is probably too strong a word) is that I tend to come up with big, high-concept ideas, which is great, but that means I also tend to get overly excited and want to just start writing NOW, which means I'm more likely to skim the surface instead of really delving into all the potential of the idea. And that means multiple rewrites to get it all right. By forcing myself to take my time and really dig, maybe I can save time on the other end and still get more out of the idea.

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