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In the Brambles of Your Mind

Here it is five-forty in the morning, and I’ve been up for maybe a little more than an hour.  It’s going to be a long day, but if I can get through this without being yelled at, and getting my other work done, and not loose my mind in the process–which is always an iffy possibility–then it’s a three-day weekend for me, and some work on the novel, and a road trip, something I haven’t done in a while.  Still deciding if the road trip is tomorrow or Sunday, but right now it looks like I might be on the road early Sunday morning to go visit my planed destinations.

A Day?  For Me?

A Day? For Me?

Yesterday I discovered that January 16 is National Dragon Appreciation Day.  That’s right:  there’s a day to appreciate your dragon, or dragons if you happen to have more than one.  Yes, you little fire-breathing flying monstrosities, we do appreciate you being around, because it’s always good to have a sense of wonder about these beasties in their various incarnations.  There are few people who’ve never heard of dragons, and even fewer who probably haven’t had a dragon story inside them.

I have one:  I’ve had it for a long time.  If I think about it long enough, I’d say the idea probably came to me about fifteen years ago, maybe twelve.  But it’s been around for a long time.  And it is a stories that I have in my idea file, and that I intend to write one of these days.  In fact, it was bugging the hell out of me for a couple of weeks in December, 2013, where it was sitting in my head saying, “I’m right here, why don’t you take me out for a spin?”  Why?  Because you’re going to be a long story–novella at least–and I’m in the middle of something else.

“But, you can drop that story and come stroke my scaly head, can’t you?  I’m gonna be a lot of fun!”  Nope, sorry ol’ chap.  You’re just gonna have to wait your turn.  I have a plan, and I’m sticking to it, and when I do write your story, it’s gonna be a good one.  But it’s coming when I say it comes, Flammy, and not a second sooner.

When you’re working on a story, you gotta finish, and that means you have to leave those pesky and nagging ideas in the bramble to scoot around and root for food, or whatever the hell it is a put-aside idea does when you’re not working on it.  And sometimes it’s best, because if you have an idea pop into your head–one of those mythical plot bunnies I keep hearing about–then I, at least, run the risk of writing something that’s eventually gonna piss me off.

That happened last year.  I can even tell you when:  late April, 2012.  A friend asked me if I would write a story for them, and they were pretty persistent about it, and eventually I gave in.  I set up the story, started into writing it . . . and about three thousand words in I said, “Screw this,” and put the story aside.  As of this moment, it’s the only one I’ve started in the last two-and-a-half years that I decided wasn’t worth my time finishing.

No, I won't write about killer robot hamsters!

No, I won’t write about killer robot hamsters!

That story wasn’t a cute little bunny that came hopping out of the bushes, it was more like one of those insane war rabbits from Watership Down, and it was necessary to go all Bigwig on it’s butt and put it in it’s place.  Because if I’d spent my time–no, back up and rephrase that:  if I’d wasted my time on that story, I wouldn’t have written Diner’s at the Memory’s End, and I’d feel worse for the wear, because I like what I did with the second story, and realize there was no place in my life for that first.

There are a few things in my idea file that will never see the light of day, that may never get written.  That’s okay, because there are a lot of writers out there who’ll tell you they had a great idea come up, they wrote it down, and when they returned to the idea later, it was as if they’d found a hairball in the middle of their new white shag carpet.  What is this thing?  How did it get here?

Don’t worry, buddy.  Sometimes your mind does that.  Clean up and move on–

You got a story waiting for you in another part of the house.

6 thoughts on “In the Brambles of Your Mind

    • It all really comes from years of practice. You have to teach yourself these habits–like every other habit–or it never gets done. Really, I should have been doing this 20 years ago, but I let my own negativity get in the way, and that really destroyed whatever creative process I’d developed. I stick to a mantra of “Write every day, don’t start anything else while writing, finish what you start.” It does work. You have to work at it, just like any other job.

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