Wednesday, February 12, 2014

02/12/2014 Writing Wednesday!

Hello everyone! I hope the week is being nice to you all so far. I am trying so hard to make it through, but it is so hard knowing that I have a relatively (well hopefully, we'll see how today goes) easy rest of the week. I have tomorrow and Friday off, work Saturday, then have Sunday and Monday off. I know I need to work, but my brain is already in time-off mode, which is not really that great. It doesn't help that the cat really has the right idea when I get up and he gets all curled up and comfortable in the blankets, purrs really loud and looks at me like I'm some kind of crazy person for getting up. I know kitty, I know, don't rub it in you jerk!

So you're all here for a reason though, so rather than listen to me lament about the fact I have to do what everyone else does, let's do that instead. As things get closer to a point where I have to start making a choice about what to work on, my brain has started being kind of a jerk to me, so I wanted to take a step back and talk about that a bit. I know I've brought similar up before, but it really is important enough to bring up again, at least I think so. The brain is a wonderful piece of machinery, but it also ends up playing tricks on us, and we end up digging ourselves into holes that we can't necessarily get out of if we don't recognize what's happening.

To give an example the problem I'm having right now, and I understand that this might not seem like a big deal when put into a text format, but this is why the brain is a jerk, is this: I have about eight to ten pages left in 'Daughter of the Shackled King' at the editing stage its in now, which is super cool because I love making progress in that story. The thing is that I know I need to get to work on 'Through the Broken Mirror' because it needs to actually be published first, so I know I need to get that story to some place I feel comfortable showing people. That isn't the problem as much as currently people have 'Rending the Seal' and my brain is/has almost convinced me that they don't want to read something else by me so soon, so there isn't a point in working on either story in such earnest. Not to mention asking my normal alpha-reader to look at 'Daughter of the Shackled King' wouldn't make much sense because it really isn't their genre and most of what I'll get back from them is a request to put in explained that my actual audience won't need. This is the problem I'm having, and while logically I know that is likely not a real problem, my brain has decided to make this a major issue.

The reason for this is something that I've brought up previously; your brain loves habits, and when things are getting close to finishing that means that the habits are going to be disappearing, likely to be replaced by new ones. The problem is that forming new habits is actually kind of hard. In general it takes about 30 - 40 days for a task to become habitual, and once that happens your brain becomes comfortable and happy with the routine. The problem is that when you know that the habit you've made is going to be ending soon, your brain starts panicking, mostly because it doesn't want the habit to change. This is all an attempt to get you to slow down to make it last longer, or stop entirely so that you'll have to pick it up later. Again, your brain is a jerk and you can't let this get in the way of progress.

When it comes to having choices you brain also panics because somewhere you want to be able to do everything at once. As awesome as that would be though, we don't have computers in our brains (yet) so a decision must be made. Now you can go with the option that is the most fun for you, or you can go with the logical one. Hopefully they are the same thing, because that would be awesome. Also, maybe there's a chance that you can do both, obviously not at the same time, but maybe one thing will only take a couple weeks and the other you can start up right away afterward. You can do some rough time gauging, and I do understand wanting to actually complete one project because moving onto another. It makes sense and it drives me nuts to leave something unfinished just sitting there, but sometimes that is what needs to happen. As much as I want to get 'Daughter of the Shackled King' done, I know that I need to start editing 'Through the Broken Mirror' and it's not that I like the story any less, it's just that I know that one story is actually closer to the finished mark than the other.

Your brain will also come in and play around here and make you crippled by choice. You will sit there and wonder what you should do next until things just sit there and gather dust (pixels if they are files in a computer, maybe?) because somewhere your brain wants you to do everything and not just settle on one thing. This is the 'if I can't have it, no one can' logic that sometimes your brain will employ, again because it's a jerk. This is when being a writer means sitting down and making a tough decision. Sure I want to work on flash fiction or make up things all the time, but I know that I need to get this done because if I don't, with the way my wrists are, I risk not being able to finish everything before things get too bad. You just need to convince yourself that just because you're taking a break from one piece of work now, doesn't mean you'll never work on it again. It might just be a few weeks or a month or so. Maybe look at a calendar when you do it, whatever helps convince yourself that things will be alright.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. I hope you have a great rest of your week and also the start of next week. I am going to try really hard to push through today so I can get to tomorrow even though my imagination is still asleep in bed. If you have any questions, suggestions, comments, or concerns feel free to contact me and I will respond as soon as I'm able. For now though, have a good day!

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