Your Friends Are Still Sleeping

Posted on 19 September 2012

I’ve posted before about the encouraging messages I found written in chalk on the pedestrian path in a local park. They were meant to inspire runners, but they could apply to any number of endurance-based pursuits, writing included.

Well, I found a fresh batch of messages the weekend I returned from Bread Loaf,* and the timing couldn’t have been better. I was bleary-eyed, experiencing culture shock, still sweating out the last of all that alcohol, and also coming to slow and painful terms with the fact that my writers’ utopia was over and it was time to get back to the real work, both job- and writing-related.

While these messages were written for runners who drag themselves out of bed at an insanely early hour to get their miles in, I took some encouragement from them, too. A few highlights:

  • Your friends are still sleeping.
  • One foot in front of the other.
  • Your butt looks amazing!
  • Find your greatness.
  • You are awesome.
  • You’ll feel so good when you’re done.
  • Just puke and rally.

Okay, fine, maybe #3 doesn’t apply to writers who spend hours sitting in one place while stress eating everything in the fridge, but we can dream. I have, however, been thinking about the “Your friends are still sleeping” message this week, thanks to my renewed get-up-super-early-to-write-before-work schedule. (Plus, 9 times out of 10, the cats nap next to my desk while I work, so for me, this little bit of inspiration is quite literal.)

As for the last message…well, let’s just say I had to learn this one the hard way on the final night of Bread Loaf, when my body gave me clear orders to stop with the drinking, already. (This is assuming that by “rally” you mean finally crawling into bed, whimpering, at 3:30am and then waking up three hours later to take the longest and most agonizing shuttle ride to the airport ever.)

But in conclusion: I’ve done my writing for the day, and those chalk messages were right: I do feel so good now that I’m finished.

Have you found your greatness?

Photo: rightee

*Apologies, by the way, to all my non-writer friends who read my Bread Loaf status updates on Facebook only to later ask me, “How was Meat Loaf?” and “So what exactly is this Dough Loaf thing?” and “Can you tell me why you apparently spent the last 10 days eating bread and getting wasted?” Sorry, everyone. Sorry.


14 responses to Your Friends Are Still Sleeping

  • Teri says:

    I’m going with the “Your butt looks amazing!” encouragement. A girl wants what a girl wants.

  • Sarah W says:

    Some people find Writers’ Rear to be wildly attractive. Statistically speaking, I mean . . . humor me.

    I’m not sure I’ve found my greatness, but the first one fits and so does the second to last (I hope).

    Thanks, Laura!

  • Teri says:

    Okay. I’m back. I’m back because all day all I can think of is “Just puke and rally!” which is cracking me up! I blame lack of sleep.

  • Averil says:

    “Just puke and rally” is such good advice for writers. Especially writers with drafts that look like mine.

  • I’ve found the best way to stop drinking is to have children. Not everyone agrees. In fact, I’ve seen many people react in just the opposite way and begin their descent into alcohol driven waters. For me, though, it worked. And I come from a long line of boozers.

    • I swear I’m not truly a boozer…Bread Loaf was kind of an isolated situation for me. (Never mind that during these last few weeks I’ve been back, I still have a lingering desire to claw someone’s eyes out for a 5:30pm cocktail…but at least I don’t give in.)

      Now I’m realizing that people who don’t have drinking problems probably feel no need to defensively insist they aren’t drunks. Hm. But the thing is, I don’t want to have kids, so where does that leave me? I’ll tell you: with my cats, who would certainly judge me if I started drinking daily or alone. And while Peter likes to joke about my drinking since Bread Loaf, he also informed me he would not be an enabler if I really had a problem. I know this is true, considering the Great Cookie Fiasco of 2008, when we had an entire CRATE of cookies delivered to our apartment from Amazon. I would have eaten myself to death without him.

  • Paul Lamb says:

    Since I’ve become a running fool lately, I’ve been amazed at the parallels between writing and running. All of those encouraging maxims apply to both. One sign I saw at a race was “Good Work, Complete Stranger.”

    It certainly is true for me that all of my friends are still asleep when I write. I rise at 3:30, and sometimes 2:30 in the morning to peck at these little keys and put one word in front of the other. And like my running, my writing goes slowly, but it keeps going forward.

    Plus, I’m sure your butt looks amazing.

    • I love the “Good Work, Complete Stranger” message!

      A writer friend of mine just got an absolutely gushing acceptance email that concluded with, “Good job on being the best.”

      • Teri says:

        That is awesome, Laura! Words like that will ring in her head for a long, long time.

        As for the drinking ….. there are many shiny sides to the coins. My mother didn’t drink at all. My mother-in-law does not drink. No 2 women on this earth need a cocktail more than these 2 tightly-wound women. Here’s to my, almost daily, 5:30 pm glass of wine. The Joan Didion method.

        • Teri says:

          For the love of all that is holy ……. Delete the word “shiny.” And they “needed” a cocktail.

          Maybe one day I will learn to proof a comment before hitting the submit key.

  • Messages from the gods. Love these. You’d have been fine with all that drinking though if you’d only stuck to Bloody Marys in a Mickey Mouse mug.

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