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bear by san

March 2017



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bear by san

breathe in, breathe out, move on

So I know what's wrong with my head.

I know I've said this before, but I think I'm just going to have to keep writing it down until I internalize it, and start to pry my fingers off the ledge a little.

I've overengaged my left brain on this whole writing thing.

See, when one is learning to write, one has to go through a stage of learning that one's golden prose and soating narratives are pretty much crap. Sorry, guys--that's just the way it goes. And part of that is learning a critical function.

The Internal Editor, people call it.

I have a pretty well-developed one, these days.

What it really is, based on my understanding of neurology, is the critical analytical left brain working over everything the intuitive creative left brain unearths from the depths of the id and the subconscious (If I may be forgiven for resorting to Fraudian metaphors here for a moment) and turning it into something comprehensible by other mortals.

Well, my right brain used to be really good at pulling up characters and narrative and atructures, and putting them together and making them go. Lately, however, I've been having to do that as a left-brain function--intellectual rather than creative--and it makes everything a hell of a lot harder. Because now I have to think through and construct all of this stuff that used to be automatic, which means it feels very artificial and awkward. And the worst part is, it's wobblier, because all that brain back there under the conscious processes is a lot more powerful--can do a lot more work--than this pathetic little scrap of self we call an "I."

Anyway, right now what's going on is that I am doing just about everything consciously, rather than with the back brain, and that means I am painfully slow and awkward and it all is really hard. I have become like the centipede in the parable--the one who has been asked how on earth he runs without tangling up all those legs, and suddenly can't do it anymore.

So I just have to keep muddling in on my inadequate little left brain--pushing along on craft when I don't have the inspiration--trust the right brain is doing its thing back there even if it isn't telling me what has it so busy, and figure it will be back out sooner or later.

Of course, it's also not helping that I'm over that bout of hypergraphia I was having between 2001-2005 or so, and writing has (mostly) stopped being a compulsion, except when something really gets me by the throat and I have to write it now. Which is pretty much a good thing.

Except when I have deadlines.

Like, oh, now.


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Umm, how much of your right brain is processing the very cool Shadow Unit and keeping track of that?

I've never heard that story about the centipede, but I can relate to it so well. What's it from?
It's a little poem by the prolific author Anon. :)

A centipede was happy quite,
until a frog in fun
said: "Pray tell which leg comes after which?"
This raised her mind to such a pitch,
She lay distracted in a ditch,
Considering how to run.
Well, I know better than to pet the Bear, but is there anything you need from us? Coffee? Cheap humor? Pron? Cause, ya know, we have that kinda stuff. *grin*
You could take my suck monkey out behind the chemical sheds... ;-)

Or maybe figure out what the hell issue of craft it is that has the old creative process so very buried.
Yeah. A lot of writing for a living is learning how to do it even when you don't feel like it.
Hm, I think this meshes pretty heavily with how I can only write it right the *first* time & can't rewrite. Perhaps both my brains have to engage and really can't work separately (or, at least, not with any result but barf).

In any case I've been awe-inspired by how you've been piling up the wordcount. I only get back to the computer every 3-4 days now, and my jaw drops every time I see how many more words you've done. So, go centipede go! *waves pompoms*
Hee. That's actually pretty common. Some writers break out of that as they learn more craft--rewriting is a skill all unto itself, after all--and some never do, but their first drafts get more painstaking.

I'm a very self-conscious artist, and always have been, and I keep getting more self-conscious.

Others are less busy looking at their own feet and more busy running.

Both techniques work.
So with you.

I'm seriously considering taking a year off just to give my brain some fallow time to readjust its balance.

I'm trying to get one of my 2009 deadlines pushed back to 2010, and make some other space in my schedule.

I mean, I realize this happens to everybody who gets serious about intellectualizing a skill? There's a point in the process where it moves out of the body and into the brain, and then you have to move it back into the body again, and that's when pitchers have slumps and Jethro Tull records albums like A....

But it doesn't make it suck any less when you're doing it, and I'm pretty sure there's no cure but time.

Back before I had deadlines, when I got like this, I would just quit writing for a couple of months or a year, and come back better at it after I had internalized whatever I was fighting.

Alas, that is less of an option now.
Thank you for this - my brains war with each other constantly. I've always said this writing thing would be a piece of cake (relatively speaking) for me if I could somehow hook my computer up directly to my brain, where I tend to dream my stories. I thought maybe instead of typing to try speaking, but that doesn't eliminate the "middle man," either.

In a lot of ways, I almost feel as though what I'm doing is translating rather than writing since I'm trying to capture what's going on in my head (and doing a piss-poor job of it).
I bet....

You're a very visual writer, aren't you? What you describe seems to be a common problem for writers who see a "mental movie" of what happens.

There are people who get mostly dialogue, and people who get mostly scenery.

I am neither, so I'm afraid I'm not full of useful advice--I think in words and sensations, physical movements, the pinch of emotions as they move through my body.

I know sartorias, however, who is an excellent teacher and writer, is a very visual thinker. If you're not reading her journal, it might be worth it to do so.
/e-transfer hypergraphia

Well, five years of it nearly killed me. But I could use, maybe, a *touch?*
I really hope "Fraudian" is intentional because it is the best thing ever!

Good luck with the writing! Have tea; tea makes everything better.
Why yes, it does.
Do you have any tricks for making the Internal Editor go away? Because I'd like to be able to write something again, even if it is all crap. :-(
Do it anyway. *g*
:le sigh:

going through the same thing. Intense embarrassment at everything I've done, and at my age, there's also that shadow of a lifetime of failure, So of course the self says, "But others have gotten a handle on this writing thing in middle age!"

But yeah.
And of course I look at you and see a respected teacher and a skilled writer, somebody without whose wisdom I would not have learned a great number of very important things.
The centipede story is a good one and I may borrow it for my next set of antenatal classes. It's interesting how the much the rational side of the brain can silence the more instinctive - and obviously sometimes we need that - but doing stuff consciously, especially when we are used to/happier to do it unconsciously, really does make it all harder.

Damned hard to shut down the analysis though. Unfortunately, deadlines seem to make it so much more difficult. Covering up the clock in the labour room helps in the birth process but won't be applicable here. So, nothing particularly helpful to offer, except best wishes and some sideline cheering. I guess knowing why it something is more difficult is better than not knowing.
Yeah. You have to intellectualize to learn ,and then you have to de-intellectualize to DO, and it's HARD.
Oh, I read some reviews of that. It sounds interesting.

another right brain/left brain book is 'drawing on the right side of the brain' more about drawing than writing. but perhaps the creative element can transition mediums a little?
oops. sorry. just read your next post and realized this might be treading on toes type area. not meant that way. just an interesting book that seems to fly under folks radar on creativity. apologies if i have offended
Ages and ages ago you said something about how being a writer had kind of spoiled reading for you, because you found you were now reading as a writer instead of just reading. (That was you that said that, wasn't it?)

So I was just wondering, the thing you're experiencing at the moment, with a lot of your writing going on in the left brain, do you think that's similar to the reading thing as well? Or are the two processes somewhat more separated in your view?

And this:

So I just have to keep muddling in on my inadequate little left brain--pushing along on craft when I don't have the inspiration--trust the right brain is doing its thing back there even if it isn't telling me what has it so busy, and figure it will be back out sooner or later.

-reminds me a lot of how psychotherapy works with much of the talking and speculating going on at the surface level, while somewhere underneath in the darkness, out of sight of the conscious mind, a transformation is taking place that will eventually filter back up to the daylight while the conscious mind is looking around and going "Wha...?"
Yes. It's all about an overengaged analytical brain.

Which is necessary for learning--it's the conscious incompetence thing. But man, it SUCKS to struggle through.
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