There’s that saying – I don’t really know where I heard it – that creativity thrives under limits. This, I believe, is what causes me to want to stay up writing all hours of the night.
About eleven o’clock, the pressure to go to sleep kicks in. So naturally, my need to write kicks in too. I know that as soon as I go to sleep, I won’t get a chance to write until probably 5:00 p.m. And that’s if I forgo a workout and turn off my phone.
Under this amount of pressure I could write all night.
Even though the ideas will be there tomorrow – there is still the unyielding drive to write them down the second they roll in. Be it first draft ideas or revision ideas or query/pitch ideas, I never want to go to sleep until they’re all stored safely in my computer.
When do you work best? And is it ironically when you are most inconvenienced?
Your first thought as to why you slept through your alarm (yet again) is that a secret-societal-order branch of the government has been spiking your neighborhood’s water with Ambien in order to control the mornings traffic flow, so that when the light rail system is finally in place, you’ll already be abiding by their schedule.
My friend Rowdes is a nonfiction only reader, with the very special exception of novels by Sara Gruen. However, he’s also highly entertained YA fiction related media, such as The Vampire Diaries and Twilight. He may be the only person I know who goes into the Twilight movies blindly, with no idea about what he’s about to get himself into.
When he realized he was one of the only people not in-the-know, his nonfiction-need-to-know-nature kicked in, and he started begging me to tell him how it would all end.
Would I spoil the ending for perhaps the ONLY person in my life who doesn’t already know the ending and have an opinion about it? Absolutely not.
This angered him, but instead of researching it online, he was determined to get it out of me. While I was busying myself with other things, he took the book I was halfway through reading (Some Girls Are, by Courtney Summers) and read the last fifty pages. Then he threatened to tell me the end unless I told him the ending of Twilight.
Only your really good friends can get away with this type of cruel bribery. After an entire day of arguing, he never told me the ending of Some Girls Are, and I never told him the ending of Twilight. It took him all of eight minutes to trick someone else into telling him.
After this whole charade was over, he spent the next day asking me, “So have you finished it yet?” followed by, “Well, what are you doing? Why aren’t you reading? When are you going to finish it?”
After I finished, he wanted details. Because even though he’d read the ending, in those fifty pages he’d known only about the character’s fate, and not why this fate came to be or if it was even a settling fate. Instead of bribing him into reading the beginning of Some Girls Are, I just answered his questions and we had a great discussion.
So on the flip side to my serious beef with people who research the ending of a book before they read it (and usually end up not reading it at all), perhaps even if one knows the ending, the path leading them there will still be worthwhile. They will still have the ability to get sucked into the story the way the author intended them to. Even if they do it out of order.
P.R. Pro-BFF and I have convinced some of our nonfiction-reader friends to read The Hunger Games Series. We thought we’d achieved a giant victory, until we discovered that, true to their nonfiction-nature, they were researching the books online. No doubt preparing to read surprising, plot-twisting fiction. *eye roll*
Who cares if they came across the entire plot, including the ending and the earth-shattering epilogue (some say earth-shattering in a good way, while others are peeved - but if you’ve only read a downplayed four paragraph summary, how are you supposed to have an opinion either way)?
You might be thinking, so what’s the big deal?
Fiction is an authentic experience. Authors slave tirelessly to make it this way – so that the reader lives in their world moment by moment. If you prepare yourself to read fiction, then you’re missing out on plot twists and intensity, and of being surprised, hurt, or even emotionally altered when reading unpredictable fiction with characters you never meant to get attached too in a world you never meant to care so much about.
This preparing is the equivalent of knowing you’ll receive an A in a class before the course even begins. Sure you might show up, but will you retain the lecture as well as you would have had you not known about your guaranteed A? I think not.