The Heartbreaking Timeline of a Normal Writing Session

10:00 PM (the night before) – I set the alarm for 5:30 a.m. I will write tomorrow. No matter what.

1:01 a.m. – I wake in a panic. Did I oversleep? Did I set my alarm correctly? What about my first chapter, will it grab people?

3:15 a.m. - I remind myself it's not time to plot my epic fantasy trilogy or fret about my puke-inducing Amazon ranking.

5:30 a.m. - Alarm goes off. But I didn’t sleep well I need to sleep, because they've done studies, and lack of sleep can lead to obesity, and I need to look my best for the Today Show. And yeah, I'll be first author to host Saturday Night Live. If I only I could sell more books.

5:33 a.m. - Thinking about my dismal sales makes me want to go back to sleep--sleep, perchance to dream of a better world where I sell E.L. James amounts of books.

5:45 a.m. – It’s too late to write. I need at least two hours, and I won’t get them because I didn’t get out of bed in time.

5:55 a.m. - My jaws hurt from clenching my teeth. My mind is racing. I'm sweating. E.L. James. She's a zillionaire, and what am I? Dang it, I swore I would write. I swore on my mother's grave, though she is alive, reading Fifty Shades of Grey, and the thought of Moms reading about bondage finally gets me up and away from the chatter in my head.

6:15 a.m. – At Starbucks, I order my drip coffee with steamed soy because I'm trying to stay lean for the Today Show interview. I then order a donut because...because...because...donuts.

6:26 a.m. - I've eaten the donut and worked through the guilt. I’m halfway done with my coffee. My laptop has booted up, and I'm ready for magic.

6:48 a.m. - Facebook is magic, right? I needed a cat video. I've had a rough morning.

6:49 a.m. - I open my novel. I read the first sentence. I shudder and reach for a cat video. Just one more cat video, then we'll talk.

7:01 a.m. - I read the rest of the chapter. Hey, this isn't bad. Actually, this is pretty good. Dang, I just might be a freakin' genius. I am swept along by the characters, and oh, that one line, I'm so witty. I titter. People look at me. Okay, fifty-nine minutes left. I start on the next chapter.

7:45 a.m. – Oh, I’m so loving this. Why did I wait so long to sit down? The words are flowing, and in this chapter, my hero’s dog dies. Oh, it’s so sad. I’m weeping. People look at me. I want to tell them that life is short, they should love their dog, even when it barks at people, because soon, soon, poor Fluffy will be dead and gone  in her cold, cold grave.

7:48 a.m. – I get up to get a napkin because snot if sprinkling my keyboard. It’s just so beautiful. However, I have to stop. I promised my wife I’d be home at 8:00 a.m. I can’t be late.

7:55 a.m. – I’m late. It’s official. Even if I packed up my laptop, it’s still a five minute drive home. Maybe she’ ll understand. Maybe I can write something extra nice in the acknowledgements thanking her for her patience.

7:56 a.m. – Uh oh, I realized I accidently changed the dog’s name. How could I do that? But I like the dog’s new name. I’ll change it really quick. Find/replace.

7:57 a.m. – I need to make sure I changed all the nicknames for the dog as well. Back to chapter two, I know the dog had a nickname there. Oh, chapter two, it’s such a great chapter. I love the dialogue near the end. Dang, but let me read that section really quick.

8:07 a.m. – Chapter three is good too. Maybe I used the dog’s nickname there as well. I better check. I know I’m late, but this will be quick.

8:17 a.m. – Text the wife. I’ll on my way. She’ll understand, right? Right? I just had a great idea on how to end the dead dog chapter. It’s so poetic.

8:31 a.m. – The wife is calling. I’ll call her back once I’m in the car. If I end the dead dog chapter like that, I really should set it up in chapter four. I’ll do that really quick, while it’s fresh in my head. Then I’ll leave. I promise.

8:49 a.m. – Okay, I’m really leaving this time. I wrote for two hours, as promised, only it took me a bit, to um, start. And the wife is gonna be mad. But dang, did I do some good work today. I save, backup, do another backup, save to Dropbox, and while it’s saving, another great idea hits me and I open a notepad and write the very cryptic – dogs are just bats without wings and you should work that in as a metaphor. Plus? Superheroes.

8:54 a.m. – All saved, out the door, in the car, driving home. Had a great time. I’ll have, um, domestic issues to handle, but I did some really good work.

Why did I drag my feet? Why did I have such a hard time starting?

I don't remember. But tomorrow, I'll get up a five a.m. and really get some work done.

Aaron Ritchey
Aaron Michael Ritchey is the author of The Never Prayer and Long Live the Suicide King, both finalists in various contests. His third novel, Elizabeth’s Midnight, was called “a transformative tale for those who believe in magic and in a young girl’s heart” by Kirkus Reviews. In shorter fiction, his G.I. Joe inspired novella was an Amazon bestseller in Kindle Worlds and his steampunk story, “The Dirges of Percival Lewand” was part of The Best of Penny Dread Tales anthology published through Kevin J. Anderson’s WordFire Press. The first two books of his young adult sci-fi/western epic series, The Juniper Wars, are available now also from WordFire Press. He lives in Colorado with his wife and two ancient goddesses of chaos posing as his daughters. Learn more about Aaron on his website.

4 thoughts on “The Heartbreaking Timeline of a Normal Writing Session

  1. This is an eery echo of my writing session!! It smacks of plagiarism! Or, I should say, “Did you plagiarize me?” Um, is that with an “s” or a “z?” But wait–I haven’t written about it yet, so you couldn’t have, and it was about gunpowder, not dead dogs. Hahaha

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