Work and writing and Japanese summers

We finally entered the rainy season here in Japan.

This is not a correct opening, areas further south and west, like Okinawa and Kyushu, had it start earlier, but now it reached us here in the Kanto area, too (Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa, Saitama). I’ve been here for a while, and know from experience that this is kinda like a death knell for someone from the northern regions of Europe. What comes after, is three months full of heat, humidity and mosquitos. Impossible to survive without air conditioning, I could never get used to this in all these years in Japan… but neither could my wife, and she was born here.

Since I’m a high school teacher, I have to follow a dress code, which is a bit tough during this time of the year, and I’m working in Shibuya (which you can see on the picture above) in Tokyo, surrounded by asphalt that radiates heat like crazy and never quite cools down in summer. Thankfully, I’m surrounded by green when I return home after work. It does make a difference.

Working in this heat is really draining, and coming home, I usually don’t have any energy left, so my writing workflow changes a bit. I “write” in the bathtub at night, dictating my scenes, and edit them on the train to work, and sometimes, when the scene was longer, on the way home, too. I do dictation anyway, regardless of the season, but I’m usually doing it when walking the dogs. Switching it over to this time and place helps me disconnect from reality; It transports me into a small, private bubble of this universe, alone with my thoughts. The pre-editing part (or maybe I should call it “cleaning up”. What I’m doing is, I fix all the weird stuff Dragon produces when transcribing, like “One ago?” instead of “Wanna go?”) only works well, because at least my way to work is outside peak time. On the way back, I either have to get on a later train, or live with standing in a crammed wagon for the one and a half hour it takes me to get home.

As for my current work-in-progress, I’m now well past the midpoint of the novel, slowly homing in on the last act (but not quite there yet). I just took three days off from writing, because, after writing every day for six weeks without fail, fatigue sets in, and the excitement goes down a bit. This is not a problem anymore now, three days were enough to make me feel refreshed and motivated to continue. I also gained some distance, which made me see a few problems in upcoming scenes I can now avoid instead of fixing them later.

I also decided to rename the book. “Children of Gaea” really only ever was a working title anyway, named after one specific political movement in the setting this plays in, one which does have a role in this story, but only a rather minor one. I’m currently thinking about various names, but I’ll probably go with “Synthesis”. Deciding this is important, because I’ll have to get a cover soon. I’ll most likely get one at the end of the month (so, in a week or two).

I’ll be off work during July and August, which is awesome for my writing projects, and will probably save me from collapsing and turning into a formless blob on the searing streets of Tokyo. It also means no salary, but that can’t be helped. There’s always a trade-off. This time period comes at the right time, too. I’ll be able to finish this draft and get it edited in shape, and I can focus on it all day. No that I’d be able to do this for more than 3-4 hours at a time though — writing is an exhausting affair.

Enough rambling for today.

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