Getting close to the end of the book is exhausting. You’ve put your characters and yourself through hell and you are just as tired as they are.
At the end of the book, I find myself looking for little shortcuts. Everything seems to be too hard; the normal chores are too much. I can’t quit the book, so I find little ways to cheat here and there. I’m used to it, but yesterday was a new low for me.
I was about to go to bed and this thought occurred to me. “Going to the closet to get my nightshirt out of the dresser is too hard. I’m just going to fall asleep in this shirt.”
My discipline game is pretty strong, so I heroically made the arduous journey to the closet and put the nightshirt on. But now when you see writers in the middle of working looking like they had just rolled out of a sleeping bag after a week of camping, you will know why. 😀
It’s curious isn’t it. In a race or physical activity sight or presence of the finish line can make you push a bit harder but the in the act of writing, (or heavy thinking) it just can seem more wearying. Stay strong! Does it help to know we all look forward to the product of your efforts?
Take a break. Schedule a spa day for yourself and recharge. You’ll come back with more energy feeling refreshed. You and your characters with all have more energy and like each other more.
When my life collapsed and health followed I was forced to look hard at putting shortcuts into my routines. Grief Work assignment was to make numbered lists in my journals about how I did stuff. They called it narration. I called it embarrassing. But it did help me make necessary shortcuts and then know where I left off. Don’t quit. Rest. Don’t quit.
Jovan Welch says
Lol that’s awesome! I’m not an author but I do that towards the end of any goal I set up. I usually do a couple of mud runs a year and the closer I get to the date of the run, the more shortcuts I have in my daily routine and diet. My husband finds it endlessly hilarious lol
I have been known to crash in the tank top I wore under my clothes. The calculation I make is whether tomorrow is laundry day for the sheets and towels anyway. The world has not yet ended. Your discipline is impressive.
Ms. Kim says
I’m all “I don’t think I’ve ever done that… why I haven’t I done that?” Answer: by the time I’ve gotten out of my bra, I had to take my off my tank top, and I might well get into my night clothes. (My reading lamp is actually a coat rack with a light attached, so my night clothes are hanging right next to my bed. It simplifies the process of falling on my face.)
(Not that I actually have any particular skill at sleeping. Quite the reverse, actually. Last night, after getting back from the lab at almost ten* feeding myself and crawling into bed, I was woken up after midnight by the campus alert system saying that there had been gunshots, campus was in lock down and to shelter in place. Even though I live a few miles from campus, that was hard to get back to sleep after…) (And yeah, I do silence my phone at night. I, um, had fallen asleep my my earpiece still on…)
* Yes, I’m not actually working right now…
Ouch. Hopefully everyone and your ear are doing okay.
Sports bras don’t come off from under tank tops, but regular ones can. I know this skill is not mine alone, because there’s a male comedian who alludes to it in a routine.
My sports bras – more encapsulation style than compression – fasten in back. But they’re *secure* – and it’s easier to take off the tank, especially if I’m tired. (Until recently, that was all I wore. Now I have these comfy bras that have like ten hooks up the front, two bralettes that fasten in back, and one that pulls over. Has there been a technology change or something?) Generally, though, when everything is strapped in and in place, it takes a little doing to let it all loose again – I can do the trick removing to bra without taking of my shirt, but mostly have only done it when i’m trying not to flash people.
My ear is fine – I listen to a *lot* of audiobooks, so I chose carefully. I’ve been out of it today. I should have gotten enough sleep overall, but it doesn’t seem to have taken.
In terms of the shooting… it’s a little up in the air. It was reported by a bunch of different people at the same time, including LEOs, three shots (which makes backfires less likely?) …but when they searched they didn’t find anyone. There’s been more people being threatened with guns the last bit, and a student was shot this fall (he survived, and was a pretty random target IIRC. One of the shooters exchanged fire with police, which was ridiculous.) We generally see robbery rather than much violence around campus. This was right next to campus? I don’t like not knowing, but there’s an awful lot of it.
Bless you for pushing through the hard parts. I’m sorry it’s ugly right now. Hopefully you’ll get through it and take a very well deserved break soon!
Just don’t spend more time looking for “shortcuts” than it would have taken to do the job in the first place. Real time savers are usually found in the relief after you are through with something. (Why did I do it that way? It would have been much easier and faster to have…)
I have done that with things I hate doing. I find that I still have to do the task, plus I’ve wasted the “plotting” time.
More power to you if you actually can find shortcuts. (Even sleeping in your shirt from the day before – if you’re that tired, you probably won’t notice the difference.) Better yet if you can remember what you did the next time!
Cheryl M says
?? One of my favorite parts of Romancing the Stone is the opening where she has finished the book and is wandering the apartment looking like warmed-over-sludge, sticky notes everywhere, looking for a tissue, only to find a note reminding her to buy more tissue.
Enjoy the race to the finish!
Ms. Kim says
Oh yea, I remember that. Great movie.
Chris T. says
I love tha5 part too,also the cat!Romeo I think?
You always make me want to travel down there and be your housekeeper for a while. Can’t help it, it is the Middle School teacher in me wanting to fix a problem for a lovely person.
Take care. Eat well.
LOL – me too!
Oh my goodness!! Me three!! Even the middle school teacher part! ?????
Diane Drayson says
I have ME/CFS, which means I am always short of energy and institute shortcuts without even thinking about them. I have an inherent sense of priorities.
I clean a quarter of my house properly each week and just wipe a cloth over anything that needs doing in the meantime.
I only make my bed when visitors are coming and might be taken into the bedroom to see my wonderful view.
At night my clothes are just as likely to be hung up on the wardrobe handles because I’ll wear them again in a day or two. The underwear ends up on the floor to save me walking back to the laundry bag. I’ll have more energy in the morning to do that extra job (and yes, I always pick it up in the morning).
Claire M says
I too have ME/CFS, so I really get this!! Shortcuts are my normal. And leaving things to move until I’m heading that way again is standard. Just common sense really 😉
Sue Padgett says
I just sleep in my underwear…
I’ve been sick this week and every night I’ve wanted to do just that, even though my PJs are usually on the floor by the bed but it feels like so much effort lol.
Akeru Joyden says
If I lived closer, I would volunteer for a supper or dishes/laundry duty… Like when Mom is doing major baking or grilling/smoking. That is just the way my family rolls. But unfortunately, I’m a state away. I don’t mind helping out with mundane things when the end result is something I enjoy. Hang in there… then you can relax and soak in a tub with bath salts before contemplating the mundane…
My main responsibilites for work picks up around March, and is a race through July. My staff always laughs because at the start my emails are all polite, and by the end they are quite, er, pithy. I tell them I just don’t have the energy by the end to type the extra key strokes just for pleasantries. I have also learned to embrace the ponytail, and the second you start getting disorganized and behind you will never catch up.
I’ve always been impressed with your work discipline. Yes, I know you have to eat and pay bills, but, compelling yourself to write…every day….and have that turn into an acceptable product, I think, would be difficult. You seem to be endlessly hard on yourself. Cut yourself some slack. Taking the easy way with your sleep shirt is not important. Press the release valve. The pressure will return soon enough.
Um, you mean you don’t work in your pajamas every day? Don’t you work from home? I thought the whole advantage to working from home was that you DIDN’T have to get dressed. Or shower. Or put on a makeup.
I’m so disillusioned, I can’t tell ya.
I am now disillusioned.
Disillusioned x 2
I used to have the below XKCD comic printed on my desk. I do test automation, so it is important to remember. This is time saved amortized over 5 years.
It is fun to think about.
We do a lot of data analysis (and all kinds of other routine lab work), because research. The Ginger Unicorn and I have a number of jokes that come down including an aggravation factor in all of this. It totally makes sense to spend an hour and a half (or more, but we try to pretend not more) automating a task that really irritates us, the working out how to automate it is entertaining and doing the task is horrible drudgery. Especially since, no matter how much you are sure you’ll only have to do it once, if you do it by hand you’ll *of course* end up having to do it every 3-6 months over the next couple of years. (The reverse is also true.)
…but also, these are things you do to keep yourself sane, and when you are under enough time pressure, that gets factored in as well.
I agree, any time I’m asked for a new chart/pivot table I automate it because I know I will be asked for it or something close again
It helps if you don’t get dressed in the morning too. No need to change for bed. Another option is to just go to be nude.
…go to bed nude.. I didn’t mean be nude all day. Although I have done that just to see what it was like. Yes, the blinds were drawn. It’s good to be introverted sometimes 🙂
There is a nice comic* on webtoon with a cat named Tuna: he’s adorable, as well as yours! ?
*Honey Lemon by courtneywirthit
I have been butting deadlines a couple of times. I went to bed normally, woke up early, thought I’d do a little work until breakfast. That little work lasted until bed time, and I was still in my PJs.
I admire your discipline. I went to bed in my daytime shirt last night. It’s a least once a week occurrence for me. I just undo my bra and pull the straps off through the sleeves of my T-shirt, pull out the bra the same way and go bed. Sometimes I literately can’t lift my arms at the end of night (back issues) but that’s not always my excuse.
Mary Cruickshank-Peed says
We’ve all been there… Good for you for actually getting the nightgown. I’ve sat down on the bed for “just a second” and woke up 5 hours later because my clothes are trying to strangle me. P
Suzann Schmid says
Hey, it’s all good. So long as you are functioning and enjoying your life enough to make the end game stuff tolerable, then you’re winning. Sometimes just breaking even is a huge win. Take care of yourself, and don’t worry over the mundane stuff. It’ll be there tomorrow.
C Dondero says
So normal – relax and enjoy being a bit ‘naughty’ (not in my world, LOL) – winters in New England had me crawling into bed with socks, day-shirt and pj bottoms (only because pj bottoms had more room than my jeans) – Anyone else out there who has done this?
Not the socks. That’s why I don’t live in New England. Not pj bottoms either, just because I don’t own them. Day-shirt and thermal bottoms or leggings, yes.
don’t forget the hat! a necessity if, like me, you use a CPAP. no pulling the blankets up over your head when your head gets cold! 🙂
I honestly love these little insights into your lives. Personality wise, I see so much of Kate in you. It makes me smile ❤️
Chris Brady says
Dear Dear Ilona,
You NEVER shortcut when it comes to the story. It is always Perfection “Bookafide”.
Call me Fussy, but I absolutely hate it when secondary plots take up my time to read them and then the author forgets about them and leave me hanging;
when great detail is given to introducing a character who is hinted at being a pivotal character, then completely forgotten.
When you know that the author ends the book about 3 chapters before the plot concludes and all of the loose ends are tied up.
I’m talking about best selling authors here.
But one shortcut I would love to see is this one: If the plot doesn’t start until
page 135, Please, I beg of you, Start The Book On Page 135!
Don’t these people ever read their own books?
But You, Ilona(and, of course, Gordon) can write in your pjs or do anything you want
just as long as long as I can read the finished product (again and again).
Another shortcut is to cut out the nightshirt. Not only does it save you valuable time at night since you don’t have to find it and put it on, but you also save time in the morning since you don’t have to take it off and put it away. And you save yet more time since you also cut it all the washing, drying, folding time. You will use less detergent since you are laundering fewer clothes so you won’t have to go to the store as often. Because you don’t go to the store as often, you save time filling the car with gas. Because you don’t use the car as much, you save time maintaining the car. OMG! How are you getting anything done while carrying around the load id the nightshirt!!!! 😉
Lol. Love this!
I would adopt this idea except I’m always cold. So will just stick to the opposite, ie, wear the PJs & socks all day so I’m ready for bed when bedtime arrives.
You could always leave the sleep shirt on the bed (under the pillows if you have to have it “put away” aka out of sight). I leave mine on the foot of the bed unless there are guests coming (non family guests LOL, family doesn’t count).
I love the idea of saving on laundry. Heeheehee Yes, I have a pj day. It’s relaxing. Aren’t sweats another type of pajamas.
I am sick (the 4th or 5th time this winter), the husband has pinkeye (i has it last week). i have worn the same pj’s to bed for 3ish days now, the kids are on day 4-ish. Add work stress and life stress and laundry just hasn’t happened. i’m making the decision to be ok with that until one (or both) feel better and morale improves.
d LM a says
It’s not about the nightshirt, the socks or the cat.
It IS the gauge by which you measure your commitment to yourself.
Yeah, you want to shoot the gauge! … Poing Ping Plink bippity boppity PO-O!!!
I can see you now blowing the smoke off your smokeless revolver.
Ya killed it didn’t ya, we gonna be screaming, never would we have expected that one
I mean … is it really cheating to get sparse in your delivery, to …
do wrong, knowing it is just wrong, not right … ya just should’na done it
what did you do? not that we really care, have concern, give a flippity floppity FO-O
You do realize between now and then there is all that STUFF before we get it (the book) and all we can do is wait. you realise that right!
ANDDDDDD let me just say;
that I HATE all these auto corrects and grammars and language evolution’s that make you change ZZZ’s to SSS’s and INSIST mightily on possessive apostrophes “”””””‘s take that you morphing fiends!!!!
I totally identify with everyone on the overwhelmed feeling and needing “little shortcuts ” to get through the final push of a deadline… or just through the week. For me it manifests in things like only doing a small load of just my underwear… or just my black tops & tee shirts and putting them on hangers because folding and sorting a mixed load to put away just isn’t going to happen. Making 10 pancakes/muffins/chicken breasts and freezing the “leftovers” to heat n’ serve throughout the week has been a life saver. I figure, “I’m already standing here and I’m only going to be busier later .” I clean-up in between flipping pancakes or whatever. Oh, and what I’m doing this morning- baking zucchini pineapple bread for the week in my toaster oven because it has a 60min timer and will automatically stop baking while I’m getting ready for work and the zucchini bread will be cool enough to pop in the fridge just before I dart out the door. (Our diet is restricted and gluten free doesn’t mean soy and dairy free. The dairy/wheat/soy free options are spendy and often chalky. So it’s a heat-and-serve-made-from-scratch-in-bursts life for us.) Everyone is so creative in how they get through their crunch time, I’m inspired by the ingenuity of the ALs and the BDH!
BTW: Your hair style in the last post looks pretty and the color as luminous as a sunset.
You know what makes going to bed easier – sleeping in the buff! 🙂
I am an autism mom. Life has become nothing but shortcuts and creative life hacks. Exhausting as hell but my kid is awesome and I love him.
You sleep in that shirt! just stop at 1 … maybe 2 nights. Lots of tea and sympathy from over here.