East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Up all night writing

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And so I’ve been up all night, and for once not because of my insomnia.
I have been writing a lot, in the last weeks and months.
The Pro Se Thriller of the Week stories, AMARNA and its spin-offs, the revision of House of the Gods, various translations and a number of articles. Setting up my courses too, preparing the articles and the lesson notes. And as I think I mentioned once in the past, writing is the best job around as long as it does not feel like a job.
And the last weeks in particular, it was a job.
So yesterday afternoon, I opened a fresh Scrivener file, and started writing a story for the sheer fun of writing it.


By the time I stopped to prepare dinner, I had one thousand good words.
After dinner I read a bit, and I wrote a post for my Italian blog, and then got back to my story. Brewed some tea, wrapped myself in a blanket, and right now, about one hour before dawn, I have 3000 words, and I’m halfway through the story, nice and smooth.
I slipped in my usual in-jokes, and even put in a scene the Bach piece I was listening to while I was writing that scene. It’s part of the fun and play.
I also took some time to do a modicum of research – about star systems, circumstellar discs and the Roche Limit: what I’m writing is a space opera/military SF short, and I like my science fiction medium-hard.
Also, space science fiction is the sort of genre I can easily slip into, and one of my favorite genres1.


Writing is a pleasant activity, to me.
It can be relaxing.
Sure, I need to take care of my fingers and my carpal tunnel, but really, it’s a fun thing. You get these ideas in your head, you arrange them in the most logical and effective order, and then you place them on the screen through the keyboard.
This is the reason why I tend to be leery of those writers that suffer through every page, that talk about bleeding2 and battling their demons or what else.
I sit wrapped in a blanket, drink tea and make up stories about my imaginary friends. Granted, my chair could be a little more comfy but really, is this suffering?
It is not.
It’s fun, and it’s the closest thing to “effortless” I can imagine.
it still requires attention, focus, work, but it’s fun.
Should it stop being fun, it would be a problem.
I must make it a habit of taking a weekend off once in a while, and write a short for the hell of it. Pursue silly ideas, experiment.

So, what about my story?
I guess I’ll have it ready by tomorrow.
Then I’ll send it to my friend Marina for a revision. Because it looks like I’ll probably have a market for it3. But it still does not feel like a job, and that’s the important part. This is a short vacation.

  1. I have here Yoon Ha Lee’s Raven Stratagem, that is absolutely smashing, and I’d love to have more time to read it. 
  2. sorry Pops! 
  3. I’ll get it for free to my Patreon buddies, too, because I owe them a few stories. 

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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