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Brain on fire

Pic of woman with ideas around her headMy brain is on fire.

In a good way.

I’m not officially participating in NaNoWriMo this year, but I’m still writing as much as possible. One of the benefits of working on my book every day is something I’ve noticed during NaNo in years past: The more I write, the more ideas come to me at all times of the day. Last night I even had a dream that rehashed the scene I was working on, something that rarely happens to me.

I love this state.

The joy, this constant flow of ideas, is how I felt when I first started writing nearly six(!) years ago. I thought about my characters while walking the dog, jogging, driving, shopping, eating, sleeping, cooking… At any time, I might get hit with the solution to a troubling scene, an idea for how to make the stakes higher or deepen the emotional impact, or a great twist.

Sadly, this phenomenon also works in reverse. Worse, I’ve tested the theory several times. 😉 The less I write, the less motivation I have to write, the more time passes between great ideas and thoughts of my story, and so I write even less. I sit down and stare at the page with no idea where to go next.

That loss of excitement and flow is the reason I signed up for NaNo the second time (and 3rd, 4th, 5th). To remind myself that consistency was the key to getting my writerly brain back, banishing the infernal internal editor who blocks me, and rediscovering the joy of telling stories.

It also reminds me that I can write way more words than I think I can.

When it comes down to it—like with anything—the key (for me, anyway) is to keep working at it. When it’s a slog, I brainstorm, free write, or reread parts of the story that I’ve forgotten. I do research or write backstory scenes to get to know my characters better. Anything to keep my head in the game.

Anything to keep my brain on fire.

8 Comments

      • Reply

        Hi…I recently bought, SCRIVENER and your book. SCRIVENER FOR DUMMIES. I want to take your beginner course in the future. I would like to see more practical applications, i.e.. How to put chapters into folders, etc. I’m writing my novel in SCRIVENER and using the INVESTIGATOR for notes but I’m sure I’m not getting full use of the program. JOE

  1. Reply

    Amen– to the continuous writing, even if somewhere along the line major editing– including complete episode changes– should be a result. Most of the time it enhances what you yourself like about the story. Nice post.

    • Reply

      loujenhaxmyor: Oh, definitely lots of editing. But I always have to remind myself of Nora Roberts’ quote: “You can edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank one.” Thanks!

  2. Reply

    Absolutely agree, Gwen. Whenever I do a NaNo, everything improves for me. Ideas come easily, words flow from the fingertips. I love that feeling of complete immersion into a story … what a great feeling. Wish I had it all the time.

    • Reply

      Dave: I guess the only way for us to keep that going is to keep writing as much as possible. Doesn’t have to be 1667 words/day, but even 500 would make a huge difference. At least it does for me. Good luck! 🙂

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