Ergonomics for Writers (Not)

There are four people in this house, all on different sleep schedules. I get up at 3-4 a.m. Generally, the person in the living room at that time turns off the TV and goes to bed soon after, leaving me in peace and quiet until the next person gets up around (fingers crossed) 10 and peace and quiet take their leave for the day. On a good day, I can get five hours to myself.

Sometimes, however, people don’t go to bed or get up when they’re supposed to, and peace and quiet don’t put in an appearance at all. Such was the case today.

I can’t put words together while being bombarded by loud televisions and shouted conversations, so this usually means I don’t write at all on such occasions. However, since I spent all my waking moments between last evening and the realization today’s routine was broken psyching myself up to make my entire life about The Book, it seemed defeating to toss that agenda before adding a single word.

To that end, as soon as there was some daylight, I took my laptop out to the pollen-covered patio set. The weather was pleasantly cool. The birds protesting my presence were less distracting than human chattering. I got a little bit of writing done. Unfortunately, it soon became apparent that crane flies find me irresistible. I do not reciprocate fond feelings toward the enormous demon mosquitoes (they’re harmless, but I object to hosting a bug party in my hair on principle), so I had to retreat indoors.

BLAH BLAH NOISE NOISE WORDS WORDS still being in effect, I sought sanctuary in the unoccupied laundry/furnace room, which lacks a door but at least put a muffling wall between me and the noise. No table, no chair, so you might think not the optimal work environment, but considering I’ve written most of my books in a notebook while pacing circles around a table, it wasn’t so bad typing a few words on top of the dryer, walking over to the water heater, and walking back to peck out a few more words. That was actually the most productive segment of the day.

(Tangent: I follow someone on Twitter who was recently diagnosed with adult ADHD, and I strongly identified with a lot of the behavior she described. “Hyperactive” is the last word I would ever use to describe myself, but when I said as much to my daughter, she explained as if this should be perfectly obvious: “You have low energy because you’re constantly walking around, fidgeting, and in the middle of a dozen projects.” Oh. Well. Huh. Never too late to understand perpetual motion doesn’t have to be ⚡ ENERGETIC ⚡ to be disruptive, I guess.)

(Bonus Tangent: This has shed light on how much mental health diagnoses are contingent upon what’s disruptive to other people. When ADHD manifests as bouncing off the walls, annoying teachers and parents, it doesn’t take 46 years to be considered as a possibility.)

At any rate, Day One of My Life for The Book got off to an inauspicious start, but I adapted instead of surrendering and made more progress than I have on any given day for the past several months. I might have these sample pages done by the May 1 deadline after all.


Out of Context Line of the Day: Rumors of his flesh-eating corpse army had gone to his head.

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