Reigning It In

Posted: March 6, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

It’s crazy how the brain works under pressure.

Go ahead. Think about a time in your life when you had all the time in the world at your disposal and yet your brain refused to put pen to paper and actually do something. Oodles of time and you accomplish nothing!

Different scenario. You have a 10 page paper and it’s due in less than 24 hours. Suddenly you are the most brilliant person you know as words flow from your brain to the page.

I’ve been experiencing something similar to scenario number two, only minus the pending due date. In fact, the only thing similar is perhaps the amount of stress I feel I’m currently under. My sleep schedule is all messed up, I’m putting in extra time at work, and it seems there are a million and one things to do when I arrive home every evening. I want to put ideas down, I want to work on that draft, I want to start something new…but I’m just too tired. So I put it off. Meanwhile, my brain is working in overtime. Despite being incapable of actually focusing on getting any writing done it is thriving in its freedom to think of ideas and not be beholden to them.

That short story draft I’ve been working on? My brain has thought of several edits to make that would fix some things. More than that, it finally convinced me it was right about the POV. (My brain and I were of differing opinions for about one week. I felt the story needed to be told in the first person. My brain kept telling me while that would be nice, it really is fine in the third, and makes much more sense in regards to continuity should I wish to turn it into a serialized work. Now that I’ve had time to think on it more, my brain is right.)

And then my brain took a journey to another short story idea I had thought of working on after I’m finished with my current project and did some world building.

It also looked back on my NaNoWriMo novel that I’ve abandoned for now as I can’t seem to solidify some character issues. It troubleshot a few things. Not perfect, but hey, we work with what we have.

My brain is a genius when I don’t have the time to pay attention and act on what it’s doing.  The problem is it’s starting to run amok.

So, the only thing I can do is retaliate. I don’t have the mental capacity to actually work on anything (it would be cruel to all involved, not least of all the story) so I have to resort to the friend to all writers: The Mighty Note Card. I don’t typically buy into the note card strategy. I like a full page where I can fill in snippets of dialogue and run on for pages if I see fit. I don’t typically have the ability to isolate plot points into small enough chunks to divide them onto cards that can be rearranged. The cards become teeny tiny notebook pages and then I feel silly for even using them. But right now I see an opportunity for something different. The note cards will become the superheroes I’ve always been told they are.

One story edit per card, telling me exactly what I need to address in a scene. One card per alternate story my brain has been thinking of working on but does not have the time. If those cards need to be subdivided to further particulars so be it, I just can’t handle so many thoughts in my brain anymore. It’s too frustrating and upsetting to not have the time to address everything.

I’m starting to believe that the creative process is like a faucet. It starts as a leak with a few drops here and there and then becomes a small stream leaving stains along the porcelain. Before you know it the whole thing is out of whack and the handle breaks. All hell breaks loose. You just have to hope the drain isn’t clogged with hair or you’ll really have a mess on your hands.



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