Monday, April 2, 2007

A Sensitive Subject

As many of you regular bloggees know, way back in mid December, I endured the agony of caffeine withdrawal when I gave up all hot, cold, and solid forms of the legal drug. For three and a half months now, I've kept my body and mind clear of the addictive ingredient. Then came yesterday. A rainy Sunday morning when I knew I had to get up and go to church, but I longed to wallow in bed just another half-hour or so. I awoke to the aroma of French Vanilla coffee brewing in our bedroom's mini-pot. . .and, at my temptor/husband's urging. . .I caved. Just one luxurious cup with a dash of half-and-half, but that sweet indulgence--oh, what ecstacy!

Fast forward some eighteen hours to 1:30 a.m. Then two. Three. Four o'clock. And I'm wide awake. The only explanation I can give for my sleepless night loops back to that one measly caffeine-infusion, backsliding experience. After the months-long absence of caffeine in my veins, its reintroduction sent my body chemistry's sensitivities to new heights.

I've noticed the same principle at work in my writing. When I've lived with a story for months on end and immersed myself in its addictive pull, I find it's hard to be clear-headed when the time comes for a final review before sending it off to the editor. However, If I've allowed myself enough time in the schedule to pull back and put the story away for awhile, when I come back, I discover a heightened sensitivity and new "eyes." Time and again, I (pleasantly) surprise myself when I read a line I distinctly remember slogging through during the first draft. Wow, that's not bad. Not bad at all. Did I really write that?

So, while I most certainly do not recommend revisiting a caffeine habit, another go at a manuscript after a lengthy respite might be a positive addiction to support. Now, if I can just stay awake until bedtime tonight and avoid a repeat performance of last night! At least I have sufficient incentive to continue my caffeine sessation. skd


Janelle said...

YOU GAVE UP COFFEE??? Oh my. How could you give up coffee? Amazing. I've come to believe it's what makes my blood pump through my veins. I shudder just at the thought of not having it. Great analogy though. I'll agree with stepping away from a manuscript for a bit, but I'm sticking with my coffee.

Susan said...

I miss my Diet Dr Peppers more than I miss coffee. LOL I've not yet decided that it's worth all the sacrifice, but I'll keep at it a while longer. Enjoy an extra jolt of java for me, will ya Janelle?

Kathy said...

wtyfsbzI'm with Janelle! I have to have coffee, but with with flavored creamer. Give me a big dollup of French Vanilla creamer and I am a happy gal. Even in the evening, I have two cups before bed, and I sleep like a baby. Of course, I have very vivid dreams, but they are interesting. I've stepped back from my manuscript for a while, now I am anxious to get back to it.

Kristy Dykes said...

Great analogy! Great post! Enjoyed it.

Beth Loughner said...

Do you know how hard it is to find restaurants that serve decaff diet soda pop? Never liked tea or coffee, and the only caffiene jolt I enjoyed was an occasional diet Coke at a restaurant. Even the occasional stuff causes heart palpatations and skipped beats. Sigh! Now I order ice water at the restaurant.

Susan...they do have diet Dr. Pepper that is caffiene-free in cans. Want me to send you some by Express Mail? :-)

I like the analogy about the manuscripts. It makes the biggest difference in the world to set back my writing for several weeks. All of a sudden my "perfect" scene is now full of holes that my previous state of mind had filled in with all the knowledge running around in my head, but not on paper. I'm sure the readers appreciate being let in on the full story. :-)

Susan said...

Thanks for the offer to send the caffeine-free DDrP, but I've also given up on artificial sweeteners and processed sugar for the time being, so that pretty much means water or decaf green tea. I'll let you know when I'm out of this "phase." :-)

Mary Connealy said...

I'm not a coffee drinker. I have a cup to be sociable and enjoy it with lots of cream, but I'd never hunt up a cup for myself. Hot tea in the evening, decaf a must, and diet Coke in the morning, more for reasons of speed getting out the door than anything.
Hope you slept last night Susan.
Mary Connealy