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Trusting my brain

Merrilee has once again prompted new stories ideas for me (seriously, she’s like a little pixie or something, sprinkling you with magic story dust). It’s wonderful, but gee I could do with a little more time to write – can you conjure any of that up for me M?

Anyways…the point of the post is actually about having a little faith, and not committing words to paper before they are ready.

Often, I’ll get an idea and it will be grand and I’ll want to rush off to find a scrap of paper and a pen/pencil/piece of crayon/chalk/whatever the kids haven’t stolen or used up to jot it down with.

Lately, I’ve been completely resisting that temptation.

Yes I know, it sounds weird right?

Well, not really. This seems to work better for me and when it comes down to it we all need to learn how our brain works. And this is what does it for me. NOT making notes initially.

Sometimes when I commit a snippet of an idea to paper it stops my brain thinking about it, and that isn’t doing me any favours.

Last night she suggested I write a story to submit to yet another anthology. At first I resisted the idea. I’ve got heaps of other things on the go right now, another story is not what I need. I need to finish stuff!

But my brain wouldn’t switch off and as I slipped in and out of sleep while trying to get the toddler to pass out for the night I kept having flashes of ideas. I was so tempted to reach up to the notebook on the headboard and grab one of the few safe pens in the house and scribble down the different thoughts swamping my brain.

However, due to laziness and falling asleep again, I didn’t. This is one instance in which sleep deprivation is actually helpful, because as I surfaced and went back under, my brain sorted out the not so flash/interesting ideas from the one which was setting itself apart from the crowd until it became the story I wanted to write.

I woke up all through the night. I can’t count how many times, though I know that only half of them were due to the restless clingy child I literally had to cradle in my arms until dawn. Many were because of the story that was slowly but surely building in my mind. Despite the fact I wasn’t fully conscious for most of the night.

Sometimes, you have to just have a little faith and leave an idea alone. Sometimes if you push too hard at it, demand too much from it too soon it kind of dissipates and loses the spark of interest it initially held.

When I woke up this morning I had a fully formed vision of the story. I knew my characters and the situation, the background events leading up to the space of time my story is told in, oh it’s good. And one of the most satisfying things is that I know if I’d woken myself up and jotted down some notes it wouldn’t be the same story at all. I don’t think I could have come up with it if I’d spent time focusing on it too hard.

It’s a learning curve this writing thing, and not every tactic will work with every story. Slowly I’m learning which ones I can hash out face to face, and which I just need to trust to my brain, knowing that it will get back to me when its sorted out the details.

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4 thoughts on “Trusting my brain”

  1. Your brain autopilots? Very nice!

    I used to be able to do that at night. Stopped with my exhusband. Slowly, ever so slooowwwlllyyyyyy, it’s coming back to me. All of my stories magically fizzled together in my dreams. It’s been a rough road back to that, because I had no idea how to do it any other way. Maybe I can con my brain into doing it again via peer pressure?

    1. hehe good luck! I hope your brain gets back to being able to do this for you because boy is it handy! I think knowing how to do it the other way (the non sleep/dream way) is probably a good thing too though 😉 some ideas need to be forced, others need us to have some patience.

  2. I’ve had that happen a few times, where I’ve rushed into a story then had to backtrack and cut to get where I wanted to go.

    The subconscious is a marvellous tool 😀

  3. I was just thinking about this! I had an idea and I was too scared to write it down, because once I do it’s like, that’s it, done lol.

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