Whew. I had five chapters left to read over today to complete my read-through of chapters 1 through 20, and I wasn’t sure I’d make it, but I did!
Let me back up a bit and explain why that was a worry.
July was just terrible for writing, so I didn’t progress as much as I wanted toward my goal of writing through chapter 20 in order to start a read-through. So many things took time away from me, some good things, some bad. Visiting family, good, having to wait for technicians (and watch them while in my home), bad. Home ownership comes with so many little, um, joys, like failing parts of security systems, or sprinklers not working, or low water pressure due to a bad city water meter, and, well, you homeowners know what I’m talking about. But the thing that has had a larger impact on my writing than I would have thought, and a negative one at that, is sleep. Or lack thereof.
When I started writing this fifth book, I was determined to go at it for as many hours a day as I could, so I started waking up earlier than I normally do. That added anywhere from an hour to two hours more to how long I could write each day. The thing is, it wasn’t really helping. It seemed I was struggling to get words on the page. I mean, I was doing so, but it just wasn’t flowing as well as I would have liked. But there was another issue which this read-through has made very clear to me. Lack of sleep seems to have made it harder for me to track things as well as I should, and worse, I didn’t notice. I think it was sometime after I finished my last read-through, chapters 1 through 15, when I decided that I was tired of feeling tired and went back to my normal sleep schedule. Why do I think this? Because during this current read-through of Chapters 1 through 15, I found a TON of things wrong (things that I did not catch in the last read-through). Not major plot-breaking things, mind, but lots of little things. Say, something like character 1 being shocked by something said, when four paragraphs earlier, the same thing had been covered in their own thoughts. The biggest weird thing I found was a scene where a character who was supposed to be there, per what happens two scenes prior, was completely missing for no apparent reason. I had to rewrite about three-quarters of that scene, to insert that character who was supposed to be there. Because of all the things I had to fix, it took me nearly three weeks to get through those fifteen chapters. That is why I was so worried that I wouldn’t get these last five done today (I wanted to post an update that I’d completed this read-through by the end of this month). But happily, in these last five chapters, everything was as it should be. There were only tiny little tweaks needed. A slightly different word here, a trimming of a couple of words there. Nothing major, and things were good. So, I was able to finish the read-through of chapters 1-20, and I learned a lesson in the process.
And that is the advice I have to give today: get proper sleep. Any creative out there should seriously consider the impact lack of sleep can have. For me, it is shocking just how much it had, and I will no longer make that mistake.
Now, on to writing chapter 21. Happy reading!