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April 21st, 2007

a good day's dancing

I had a good day's work on A DANCE WITH DRAGONS yesterday.

It's one o'clock in the afternoon as I write this, and I'm just working on my morning cup of coffee, still half-conscious. One of the things that happens when I'm writing well is that all my normal schedules go out the window. I vanish into Westeros, and lose all track of time in the real world.

Which is what happened yesterday. I finished an old chapter that had been partially written months ago, did a lot of work on a newer chapter that I'd decided to add to the early part of the book, revised a couple of other sections, made some structural changes to the outline... in other words, I spent the whole day at DANCE. By the time I noticed that it had gotten dark outside, it was already close to ten o'clock at night. I worked a little more, finally signed off, went across the street and had a midnight supper, but I was too wound up to go to sleep... which is also something that happens when the book has me in its grip. So I watched a little television that TIVO had caught for me earlier (oh, I love my TIVO), then read some of the latest Bernard Cornwell (excellent, as always), and finally went to bed around three. And even then I did not go straight to sleep, but tossed and turned for a long while, my mind full of Dany and Jon and Q and so forth and so on.

It was the most productive day I've had in months, at least where DANCE is concerned (I have had very productive days working on the WILD CARDS, dealing with contracts and subrights, approving artwork and design and giving notes about some of the spinoff projects, and the like, but that's a different thing). One thing that helped that happen was that yesterday, for whatever reason, the world left me alone. The phone never rang. No one came knocking on my doors. None of my friends dropped in unexpectedly. I had no doctor's appointments, no dinner dates, nothing on my calendar but work. I did not even go out for my usual daily walk to get some exercise in.

I need more days like this. Lots more days like this. That's how DANCE will get done. I have lots of writer friends who can turn it off and on at will, who can live their lives and do their work as well, even work on one project in the morning and switch to an entirely different project in the afternoon... but that's never worked for me. When it's going well, my writing tends to swallow me. And when "the world is too much with us," well, that always throws me off my game.

In the past, though, one good day does often lead to another, and another, and another. So you'll have to excuse me, friends. I'm going back to Westeros...

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George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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