Friday, June 1, 2012

Why Starbucks Loves Me

I am a night owl.  This has been true my entire life.  I don't like mornings much, but love staying up late.  And I'm very productive at night.  College was awesome for late night study groups.  Not so much for 7 a.m. physics class.

Now, as a writer, theoretically being a night owl would be a good thing.  I can write all night long after the kids are in bed and the day job is done, right?  Well, yes.  In fact, I'd love to do that.  The words would come more easily, faster and be better.  But those kids and day job also expect me to be up in the morning and functioning.  Or at least able to fake it.

Enter my Starbucks card.  This is a plastic card that started as a gift card (love my sister) but that can be reloaded.  And reloaded.  And reloaded.  Seriously, I'm personally sending some Starbucks CEO's kid to college in the fall.

But here's the thing-- I don't stay up just for fun or because there's absolutely no other time I can write.  I know there are writers like that, but my kids are old enough and in tune enough to know that mom needs her writing time for 1. her sanity and 2. their toys.  Yes, they're old enough to understand that my writing gives us some fun money and that benefits them.  Of course I spend time with them and for them, but I'm fortunate to be able to say, "Ok, everyone, I'm going to my office for two hours.  See you after. If you're hungry you know where the peanut butter is.".  No, the problem isn't that I *can't* find writing time.  It's worse than that-- when I find it, it doesn't work.

I swear that if I have uninterrupted time in the middle of the afternoon or nothing planned Saturday morning or Friday night alone at home while everyone else is out, I can't get a lot done generally.  It sucks.  Seriously.  Either the words come slow, or I write an entire scene and then decide the next day I can't keep any of it.  But sure enough, as soon as it's 11 p.m. and I have an early morning meeting, *then* the words flow.  Then the scene comes together.  Then one of my characters suddenly says or does something that makes the whole plot click and things really come together.  Sure.  Because that's the least convenient time for it to happen. 

Oh, and I've learned the hard way not to stop just because its midnight.  I've learned that assuming those words and that idea will still be there the next day is trouble. They'll be gone. Never to be recovered. Never again will those word, that magical rush of dialogue, that same perfect solution to the plot hole come back to bless me.  So, I stay up and write it. 

And I never leave the house without that magical plastic Starbucks card in hand.


Drmgrl99 - Dawn said...

I too have a love of my little plastic (key ring) card :) and thank god mines open til 2 am cause sometimes I need it

Kelly Jamieson said...

Yup, that's exactly how it works for me too. *sigh* Ten o'clock is supposed to be my bed time. I sit in front of the computer all evening, trying to work, distracted by various things *cough*Twitter*cough* and at about 9:45 I finally get going...and going...and it's time to stop and go to bed Argh!

PG Forte said...

Yeah, stopping work in the middle of a scene that's finally working? Bad idea. When I'm too tired to do justice to those magical scenes I write myself very, very detailed notes--generally including all the dialogue, cause to me that's the most difficult part. Sometimes (like last night) I get so tired I go to bed and forget I've left the coffee brewing.

Erin Nicholas said...

yes, my notebook is always by my bed in case something comes to me when I lay down to actually try to sleep-- which of course it does.

Kelly, are you also like me and know that you should probably just turn things off and give up when it's not coming, but you just can't sand thinking about the words you *might* get if you keep sitting there? LOL

Ugh. No wonder I'm half crazy.

kog said...

I'm not an author, but I am a night owl. I, too, will struggle with finishing that email or status report and keep drafting sentences and deleting them. Then finally I look at the clock and think, "I have got to kick into gear."

I'm finally done, feeling good and I realize it's 2am. Or 3am. Eeep. 7 am, my normal wakeup time comes awfully soon, and makes dealing with my kids and work that much tougher. Yet I keep doing it.

I'm also a chai latte addict, and am embarrassed at how much I spend at Starbucks. Which is why I love my little gold card so very much.

Great post, Erin.

P.S. I got a wonderful package in the mail yesterday: my bag of swag from RT. Holy moly! There is a lot of fantastic stuff. I am totally sharing some of the loot with my SIL, who also loves romance. Thank you Erin and the rest of the NNN.

Kelly Jamieson said...

@Erin - yes! These are the things we live and learn, right? Sometimes it's best to just go to bed. Other times - stay up and write!

Kim B said...

It been a few days so Erin you may not see this, but I have a confession....I hate coffee. I know, I know, but we've talked about this...Snow White.