Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Sleep-deprived Writer

Hi again, everyone! How are you tonight?

I just finished lunch, it’s raining outside, and I have a bunch of articles to write. It’s afternoon in the Philippines. I’m glad I had enough sleep.

One of my busiest months ever was April 2015. I spent the month blogging every day, writing for Camp NaNoWriMo, and participating in NaPoWriMo. Doing all three gave me no more time for sleep. I can stay alive for four days without sleep, but I didn’t feel exactly alive. So what is it like to be extremely sleepless?

  • Your head feels like it’s filled with water. Knocking on one side of your head feels like the knocks are being echoed by the other side of your head. For me, I had the additional, sleep-deprived aberration that was my ears making clicking sounds whenever I was chewing food.

  • Not only do your eyes get dark circles around them, your eyesight also has dark shadows around it. When you look at the sky - even on a stormy day - your eyes hurt so much as if you’re looking at an extremely bright light. During my most sleepless days, I also had difficulty keeping my eyes open in spite of remaining awake.

  • When you’re standing, the ground is still, but you feel like you’re standing on a boat that is floating on strong waves. I learned to master my balance despite always being in my mental “boat.”

  • Different people show different symptoms for lack of sleep. Most people get a bad temper. For me, I laughed way too much when I was sleepless.

These are the reasons why I stopped staying up late. Losing sleep is a habit that is hard to break, though. I had become accustomed to shaking off my sleepiness whenever I felt sleepy. I still tend to do it these days. You just need a bunch of health articles that advise on how to have good sleep and a few tricks you’ll learn on your own.

Reader’s Digest advised that you must avoid arguments before you sleep. The advice works for me because I spend the hours after an argument thinking over and over again all the things I could have said to win the argument. Arguing at night can be one of the ultimate ways to stay awake.

To avoid arguments at home, I usually sit in front of my computer and look busy. Here’s a secret I’ll share with you: I’m actually not doing anything on my computer, I’m just looking busy. I have a policy to not communicate with anyone online after 10pm.

In the past, my online communications that were done after 10pm only ended up in arguments. During those times when no one was online, I only ended up posting things I regretted posting. Those posts kept me awake for the next months, worrying about the catastrophes they might bring.

I just happen to have no choice but to stare at a computer screen at night, but most health articles on insomnia actually advise that you must stay away from technology one hour before you sleep. They say the screen makes us think it’s still day. The way how the internet seems to never sleep also makes us lose track of time, making us forget it’s already night.

Stay away from your computer before sleeping tonight and make sure you get enough sleep. Sweet dreams!

Photo credit: Pixabay

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Summer Writing

Hi, everyone. Glad you are still reading.

I’m sorry for taking so long to return. I said last May it was going to be just a month-long vacation. It turned into four months!

Anyway, I was just thinking of some of my earliest writing projects. In June 2011, I joined Clarion Write-a-Thon. I pledged to write 2,000 words of “Crab Mentality” by the end of the event in exchange for funds donated to The Clarion Foundation.

“Crab Mentality” was the fantasy-horror story I created. It was about a boy who can control water and an arsonist who turned into any person he burned. I spent Clarion Write-a-Thon 2011 taking notes for my story, writing the story, promoting my Clarion Writer page on my social media pages, and emailing potential sponsors.

I was also studying Statistical Reasoning, training in touch typing, and helping in my family. I did not have enough time for everything. I did not win in Clarion Write-a-Thon 2011 and did not finish “Crab Mentality.”

Clarion Write-a-Thon is just like a walk-a-thon. You write to raise funds.

Sponsors donate to the foundation based on the amount of work you finish. In 2011, sponsors donated to writers based on the number of words they wrote.

Now, sponsors can donate based on the number of poems, pages, hours, and more that the writers finish. The writer who raises the most funds wins.

In 2011, the event was held on The Clarion Foundation website. Updates about the event were posted there.

Us Clarion We were asked to email our names and details to Clarion, and their web programmers created our Clarion Writer pages for us. Here is my page. Sponsors donated through these pages.

Now, Clarion Write-a-Thon has its own website. Anyone can sign up for the website and build their own Clarion Writer page.

We had no direct control on our Clarion Writer pages. If you made a mistake in the details you submitted to Clarion, it will be on your Clarion Writer page forever. Unless you send another email asking them to correct your mistake.

My Clarion Writer page had no picture, but I didn’t have the time to send another email to update it because my time was full. Now, you have direct control on your page. You can edit it anytime and make it stand out from other Clarion Writer pages.

My Clarion Writer page had a picture, a Bio, an Excerpt, a Donate button, and fund-raising details. I had to write about my other details on my social media pages.

Clarion Writer pages these days have personal details, links to social media pages, and badges for extra goals. Clarion Writer pages now have a bar that measures how much your progress to your pledge. I love that bar.

My time in Clarion Write-a-Thon 2011 was not satisfying. I finished “Crab Mentality” in 2012 outside of the Write-a-Thon in exchange for no donations and for free.

I joined Clarion Write-a-Thon in 2012 again, but it was through the new Clarion Write-a-Thon website. I pledged to finish 85 poems before August and I was finally able to upload a picture to my Clarion Writer page. I did not raise any funds again, but I finished my 85 poems.

NaNoWriMo is coming up. If you have no time at the end of the year for writing, you can save your story ideas for Clarion Write-a-Thon instead. It takes place in the middle of the year, usually from the first week of June to the middle of August.