A writing friend and I were discussing the difficulties we’ve been having recently when it comes to focusing on writing. She and her husband are dealing with a friend’s estate; I’m dealing with Ken’s accident (among other things). I said something about getting a new brain, and she kindly said that she liked my current brain.
I said, “Most of the time I like my brain, too. Lately, though, she's really been pissing me off!” To which she responded, “My brain keeps shutting me down which is making me mad.”
And as I composed a response, I realized it was really more of a blog post. Have I told ya’ll about popcorn kittens? ::checks blog:: Okay, not in any detail. This started at an OWN workshop when I said my brain was on popcorn kittens, based on this video. What I meant was sometimes you had so many projects you could potentially work on that your brain just bounced around like crazy. How do you decide what to do? In this new work of publishing, on top of writing duties, I’ve got manuscript design, cover design, uploading, and basic promo (blog, Facebook, Twitter, publisher website) to do. I could work on this novel, or that one, or even that one, or a sequel to that one...! Plus I’ve been doing freelance copyediting for other writers.
When Ken had his accident, all work considerations went out the window. Oh, once he was stable, I was coherent enough to design a few short-story covers and get the stories uploaded, that sort of thing. But it’s been a long haul to getting myself back up to speed, to actually working for 8 hours a day (which hasn't happened yet). Even bribing myself with writing something silly and fun and not-for-public consumption held no joy.
At one point, I researched getting a “real job” again. Considered giving this dream up and going back to employment with a regular paycheck and health care and walking away from my office at the end of the day.
Thankfully, that lowest-of-the-low points passed before I did anything rash. But it was scary.
As I said to my writer friend, “I had so much on my ‘to do’ list that I felt as though the popcorn kittens had turned into zombie kittens and were surrounding me and biting me, so I'd run away screaming.”
So, when my friend said her brain was shutting her off, this is how I responded….
My brain is actively thwarting me:
Me: Okay, time to go to work.
Brain: Ooh, let’s play Marple on your iPad!
Me: No, we have a copyediting job that needs to be finished before we leave for our niece’s wedding in Ohio.
Brain: Facebook! GoogleReader! Shiny!
Me: Dammit, can we at least write the short story that was due two days ago but the anthology editor kindly gave us an extension?
Brain: Niece’s wedding! You haven’t made a packing list! You haven’t bought a skirt for the rehearsal dinner!
Me: Goddammit! ::manages to get copyediting done before fruitless searching for new skirt:: I fucking hate shopping.
Brain: Marple! And then TV watching with Ken!
Me: Shut. The. Fuck. Up. ::goes to bed::
Brain: But I thought you wanted to work? Because here’s the first scene of that story….