Sucked into the revision cave ...

Things are going to be pretty sparse around here till the end of August, since I'm approaching my deadline to turn in the second draft of the sequel to Adaptation. Of course, Adaptation itself comes out two weeks after the deadline, so I won't be entirely absent. If anything exciting happens, I'll let you know! But mostly, I'll be head down in the revision cave. When I'm close to a deadline I tend to live sort of a monastic lifestyle. I have a fairly structured schedule for my days, and I try to not deviate from it. I get up early (by 7), eat breakfast while reading the news or my email or Twitter, walk the dog, and get to work by 8:30 or 9. I meditate first.

In the past, when I've been impatient or unwilling, I've skipped the meditation, but I've noticed that my writing days are consistently better if I meditate. So by the time I get to the deadline, I'm pulling all the tricks out of my bag in order to make sure I have the best brainspace possible for work. Meditation can clear away extraneous anxieties and, most importantly, bring me into the present moment, away from the distractions of the future. The future has been pretty distracting lately, since I have a new book coming out very soon! That's why it's even more important for me to clear away the cobwebs in my head before starting work every morning.

I also schedule in trips to the gym or time for hikes, because physical exercise is very important for someone who spends a lot of time sitting in a chair. (I also have a laptop cart and use it to stand up to work for a couple of hours a day.) Exercising gives my brain time to relax as well, and I often work through plot issues while working out.

At the end of the day I have a cocktail. :) This is important! But I only have one because more would be detrimental to my sleep and waking up early the next day. I stop working at least an hour before bedtime to give myself time to unwind, and I usually go to bed by 11. I should also mention that I'm pretty strict about my diet during these weeks. I eat a balanced and healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and I have regular snacks. Food is key: not only for enjoyment but also to fuel your brain. Irregular eating does not lead to good writing. I also noticed I tend to eat more Chinese food, because hey, I'm Chinese American and it makes me feel good!

During the last couple of weeks before a deadline I don't like to do social events, although I do plan days off to spend with my partner. My focus is pretty much on maintaining a good headspace because I need to focus on the task at hand. I'm not an athlete, but the brain needs as much care and maintenance as the rest of the body, and for these last few weeks I have to use my brain a lot.

So, that's where I'll be for the next few weeks. After writing it down it sounds fairly rigid and boring, but if I give myself a stable daily life, I can put all my energy into the book. Off to work...