Have you ever watched TV shows that put you right into someone’s brain and you can see all those impulses running through it like little electrical bolts? They say that when we learn new skills and change behaviors that we are actually creating new neural pathways. Now, in most things in life, creating something new or changing it usually involves a great deal of effort and sometimes, pain – be it physical or mental or emotional.
In learning to write and doing the actual writing, I’m sure I’m creating new neural pathways and teaching my brain new ways of thinking and behaving. I’m convinced that’s why some days the writing, or even just thinking about the writing – the creating ideas part – is so excruciating.
Well, maybe that’s exaggerating a little, but it certainly feels like torture some days. What else would you call all the little tricks writers have to perform to get and nurture a string of ideas and arrange them into a new form? Day after day for weeks and even years on end.
Then, there’s all those distractions. I try to get something planned or written and I’m interrupted before I can finish what I was thinking or doing. Other days, I’ll have a big chunk of time and find myself filling it with housework – housework?! Bizarre.
I just don’t have that writing life mentality figured out yet. I attempt to structure my writing day as if it where a job outside the home. It’s tougher than it sounds. It requires a great deal of planning, which I’m great at for anything else, but this seems to stop me dead in my tracks.
I do know that at this moment I feel stuck. I’m not sure where I want to go with my novel. And sometimes I don’t think I’m a good enough writer to get down in words what I see and hear and feel in that movie that runs through my mind. So, in an effort to improve myself, I’ve been working my way through three different writing books, which is another reason why I have slowed way down with the writing.
During all this, in stolen moments, I’m trying to see farther ahead and get an overall shape for my novel. I’m tired of this limited tunnel vision I’ve been working with lately. When I first planned out my story, I had some scenes for the middle and end of my story, and most are not going to hold up against what I’ve written in the beginning. I did expect this, but I’m starting to wonder if I started at the correct beginning place. Some days I feel I should push through and see where I end up and change things later. Other days I feel like it will take me forever to get to the meat of the story and should skip ahead. I suppose there’s nothing wrong with writing out of sequence. Plenty of writers do it. I have been posting my writing for my fellow classmates in Holly Lisle’s writing classes and I’m afraid it will leave them wondering if they missed something. However, I also need to do whatever it takes to get the writing done. (Sorry guys, things might get a little hairy from now on.)
Torture, I say. And I do it to myself. I choose it. I run toward it. Because when it all clicks, man, the world just isn’t big enough. I may stumble, but I’m motivated and challenged to develop this whole new ability like I haven’t been in years. That’s what I need to remember. That’s what I need to focus on when the doubts settle over me and try to smother my soul.
I can just feel those synapses firing already.