Early to rise

Today I woke up earlier than I normally do. I usually get up at around 9 AM or so, but now, three hours early, I am confused on how to spend it. I’ve made breakfast, tidied up the apartment, meditated, watered my plants, watched a bunch of youtube videos and it’s still only 8:15. It’s almost like I was stepped into a weird dimension time warp where time trickles by at the speed of dripping honey.

I wonder why waking up early gives you an impression of having more time in your hands? Maybe that is the subtle magic of mornings. Everything is slow and graceful. The sun’s rays are gentle and nurturing, not beating on you like a hot-iron rod. The traffic outside is mellow. I have time to chew my food properly. I could almost swear I’m getting more nutrients.

I have always had a weird cat-like relationship with Sleep. I didn’t want it when I need it, but would cling to it when I don’t. Teenager me would wake up at 2 PM on a weekend, following my schedule of 5 AM sleep or later (earlier?). Oh yeah, Mondays were hell. My body clock was so out of whack, I’ve developed panda eyes at the sprightly age of 15. It had never left my face. Even throughout most of adult freelancing life, waking up late always made me feel like I was crammed for time. 9 AM is not nearly early enough. After breakfast, it’s already close to 10.30, and after daily blogging, it’s already around lunch.

It felt a bit… Unsatisfactory.

Of course, time spent is still time, no matter how you choose to spend it. This is me speaking as a normal person and not in anyway an enlightened guru. I’m pretty sure every life coach worth their salt will expound on the benefits of waking up early. More energy for one, that illusion of time I’ve discussed is another. I’m running on fumes of a 5-hour sleep here, and I still feel like spring chicken with all the limbs attached. Then again, I’ll probably feel the effects later in the afternoon.

So maybe I’ll give it another shot. Maybe tomorrow I’ll try waking up early and watch the sun rise. I’ll let you know if the benefits are still there, or if it was simply shell shock from a sudden change of habit. Maybe I really did step into the Twilight Zone. Find out more tomorrow!

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Showing and telling burdens

I’ve read more of this months’ book club feature this morning, Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz. The format is pretty neat. Each chapter is quite short, probably 5-10 minutes reading time focusing on one to two characters’s perspective. It lays the groundwork for the mystery lurking around the corner. At the same time, it paints the characters of the small-town folks involved.

There are some cool ideas I gathered upon reading, such as the author’s use of subtlety in conveying characters. We’ve heard the adage “Show, don’t tell” so many times that it has been pounded to the point of dust. Still, it’s never an easy thing to do, and I’d argue that a writer’s ability to wield subtlety defines their skill.

I’m not really sure how to use “Show don’t tell” effectively yet. Perhaps “actions speak louder than words” is an accompanying adage I might attach to this idea. There are a lot of information communicated through non-verbal language after all, and it’s almost always a better option every time.

That said, where is the point “showing” gets a bit vague, where the writer get too enamored with their metaphors and bits of inessential action? While writing Truth’s script, I can’t help but compare it to authors I admire. They rarely use “He sighed.” and “He folded his arms on his chest.” which are, embarrassingly, littered every where in my prose.

So if it’s not necessarily action, or lofty metaphors, what is left to describe the scene? What do you think? I’m still trying to find it out and would appreciate your thoughts!

 

The importance of Friends (and memes) to the creative life

The creative life can be a solitary road most of the time. There will be long stretches of nothing but pumping away on the keyboard to increase your project’s word count. There will be you screaming into the empty void as you troubleshoot that one code that won’t run. There’s gonna be crunch time, a crucial “don’t disturb me I’m in work mode” door hanger on the knob of your social life.

I’ve only recently realized that this is precisely why having friends who can share the journey with you are not only important, but necessary. Journey buddies! They make the work enjoyable, give you ideas you never thought you’d have, help you with decision making, and because they care about you and the work, you are guaranteed a distillation of qualité supérieure feedback.

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sometimes…

I guess the problem for me sometimes is I can’t pace myself, and it’s hard for me to find a balance between talking to people and concentrating. As the cycle goes, it follows a pattern:

Step 1. Peek out of rock to explore the scary world
Step 2. Find out world is not so bad
Step 3. Have so much fun that the work gets neglected
Step 4. Anxiety at unfinished tasks
Step 5. Dig a hole and bury self in work

And repeat…

I’m notorious for suddenly disappearing from the face of the social media earth for months, only to re-emerge with daily posts and buzzing activity. Ahh… Like Demeter with Persephone. Dang.

That’s one of the things I’d like to get better at. I acknowledge the importance of journey buddies in the creative process. They replenish you and keep you from burning out. They’re a source of strength. I share my writing on Discord and encourage people to write with me, as a way to harness that force to keep me going, instead of destructively sapping away my time and creative juices. Even then, regulation and balance are still big goals. It’ll always be a chase to that horizon, always something to be improved.

Well we’re just on our second day yes? Here we go!