Synapses Firing in 3…2…1

Somewhat disoriented, I checked the time on my phone. 4:31am. It was the bang that woke me and as I stumbled to the bathroom, I remembered the eldest was off to fly away again for work.

I snuggled back down into my bed. And then they came. Rushing out like a burst dam. Words like water flooding my neurotransmitters so quickly that I realised, yet again, I would be up early.

B&W waterfall

So much for the Saturday morning sleep in. Who really does that anyway?

I tried. I really did. But then my brain started shooting off emails to the rest of my body and before I knew it, my stomach was replying to the morning instructions with growls.

Twenty minutes passed and I had fully constructed this post in my mind. Bugger. I’m fully awake now. Sigh.

I popped down to the kitchen, which is never a quiet and stealthy operation: we have floorboards and they like to announce your arrival. Packed a few snacks for the boy, gave him a hug and said ‘Have a great trip. I’m off to my second bedroom’ and he laughed, knowing exactly where I was off to.

Pen, paper and tea

This is my life. I write all day, every day. I may not get it all on paper but it’s always there; a continual flow. If I get blocked, I assume my brain has finally fatigued enough to shut up for a few days and I don’t complain. Some days I can generate more than a dozen ideas in just a few minutes and it can be physically and psychologically draining.

Sometimes I am actually thinking about four or five things to do while showering or driving and I’m so engrossed in the deluge that I forget steps.

Like whether or not I’ve already conditioned.

And wonder how I could be rolling into the driveway when I only just left the shop.

To call it a minefield would be appropriate at times. One move in any direction can set off multiple mind bombs, exploding across my mental headquarters and all I can do is try to keep up. My synapses are firing and I am usually found running for cover, pen in hand, paper tucked under my arm…

Screen Shot 2016-02-06 at 6.13.12 AM

Unless it’s a 4D day. They’re amazing. It’s like the world was grayscale even though everything seems like it was colour and then it suddenly becomes full technicolour – sometimes just for a day, other times for days on end.

These are the days that are hard to control but they are so compellingly beautiful that I have to follow the White Rabbit down that blasted hole because all my answers really just might be in there… somewhere.

Woman standing in the woods in winter.jpeg

These are the days when it’s not just racing thoughts; in fact, it’s clarity like nothing else. It’s the 10,000 word days, the hour long CD recording/producing/publishing days, the art making days…

It’s now 5:56 am. I have seven tabs open, have made a promo graphic, read an article on how your greatest disadvantage can turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to you, had a cuppa and written these words.

I don’t think today is a 4D day, probably just 3D. And I have things to do, just like always. And I’ll probably achieve some of them but not all of them. And that’s okay, because as uniquely wired as I am, and as odd as I might seem to some, I am this. This is me. We are one and the same.

And finally, I am getting used to what that feels like. To be me. To be okay with just being me.

I hope you find your me too.

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By the way, I thought you might like this too…Feel free to share πŸ™‚

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5 thoughts on “Synapses Firing in 3…2…1

  1. Wow, this is a great description of writer’s brain!! I feel similar, as though I could write nonstop. I have a million more ideas written down then I’ll ever get around too. And it’s often hard to decide what to focus on. I have writer’s overload rather than writer’s block. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Have you discovered some techniques to focus / narrow down your ideas? I’d love to hear any techniques you’ve developed to focus as a writer.

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    1. Hi, thank you so much for your encouragement! I can really resonate with your experience, and like you, just don’t seem to have times when I don’t have anything. The quote that I created at the end of this post, I hope, sums up the struggle between feeling guilty for not completing everything I put my hand to and feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of ideas.

      As far as general focus goes, I would say that having set times to write, being aware of what kinds of music (or silence) help/ hinder my writing process and planning ahead for EVERYTHING are all important to help me maintain my workflow and keep on top of the direction I want to go in.

      If I was to just chose a few techniques I would:

      1. Take a look at how I naturally process information and store information. Do a mind map or write a reflection on when these ideas come, how they arrive and what I tend to naturally do to capture them.
      2. When the ideas come it’s easy to just write them down on anything and then lose them! Instead, choose one or two ways to store that information (digital, or not, there are so many options but it’s vital to chose just one or two, so we store it all in one space)
      3. Plan ahead and make sure my ideas are easily accessible.

      It’s about looking at what I do naturally and tapping in to that. If you’re full of ideas, and run out of time to capture them all, consider using a voice recorder (the iPhone has a number of options, as I am sure Android phones do) and jot them down when you want, or use a note taker and add them there. You can use Trello to capture ideas and keep track of whether or not you’ve used them too and this helps to make sure you don’t double dip on an idea πŸ˜€

      I don’t really try to narrow down my ideas though. I think some of us are just born to be idea generators and that is just how it is. It’s how we steward this wonderful gift that makes it a wonderful gift to have. So, like I said, notes, voice recordings (I write songs sometimes, and have hundreds of little ditties I have come up with in the shower/ car/ at church/ in the coffee shop!/ etc.), and just quickly do a voice memo. Works a treat.

      To focus though, it’s about planning, like point 3. I am using a paper based planner again this year after years of digital where I write it down, forget about it and then wonder where on earth I put the ideas! This year I am working on using my own handwriting and paper to plan ahead and I am actually remembering more! But the reason planning matters to me, is because it helps me make use of my ideas more effectively. There is no point them being on a voice recorder or in a notebook and never used.

      Finally, I would say this: you’ll never use every idea and that is okay. They are all seeds; some of which germinate and grow and some that die. That’s okay. Trust the process. Let the river of ideas flow and take your pick. You are privileged to have this. Share what you’ve been given with those who are struggling to find new ideas. Give away and receive ten times in return πŸ™‚

      Does this help?

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      1. WOW!!! Thank you for your incredibly thoughtful response. And I’m in total amazement to talk to another person riding “the river of ideas!” You are right–it’s a blessing to ride the river. I do get frustrated sometimes because 1) I have too many ideas and (seemingly) not enough time and 2) I forget about them! And then find them later and forgot what the heck I was thinking about. I’m gonna sign up for Trello! Currently I use Notes on my phone for spontaneous ideas. I also have a journal and Stickies on my computer that I occasionally go through and give each idea a “home” somewhere (like in a Scrivener file). Sometimes I use a voice recorder. You’re right, it would probably help if I narrowed it down even more. What do you do when you “plan ahead” exactly? Does that mean you sit and allow your brain to generate ideas, or that you catalogue them somehow? Thanks SO MUCH for the help.

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  2. Ha, that’s great. So glad I can help, although reading my comment back, it looks like I’ve totally got my s$@t together! Which is only 50% true πŸ˜› But I have tried a number of ways to trick myself into being more organised and track my work.

    I love Scrivener. It’s fantastic for putting ideas down that are all related, especially if they’re for the one blog. It’s just about being a bit more disciplined I think. We are so overstimulated as a society that it’s easy to really lose days and wonder what the heck we achieved!

    With regard to planning ahead with creative ideas, I will say that to begin with, it’s important to have an organised personal life. Without planning in this area of my life, I find my time and energy goes into keeping the ship from running ashore rather than using that energy to invest in the work I need to do.

    Regarding planning content, I will just comment on blog writing because novels and such are a different process for me.

    1. Write everything down that comes and don’t peck at it. I’ve been using Podio for this for a while (see comment below)
    2. Go through my ideas and chose one, or a few that might work well together.
    3. Open up a doc and start working on it.
    4. Realise that I won’t end up using everything and be okay with it.

    But then the hardest part is working out what to do with it all, isn’t it?

    Do you categorise your ideas? I have 6 different sites that I write into for myself (2 being business related) and I write for a Sydney based business that supports small businesses and entrepreneurs. When I get an idea I write it down then try and think about which audience it would be best for. Sometimes I have two or more audiences that the idea could work in.

    This is where you can use Trello as well, but I also use a great software called Podio (not that I am enticing you to try more!!!) but you can really customise it a lot and I have about 150 blog post titles there that I have allocated to specific topics and blogs and now and then I go back into it and write an outline or three. I think this is probably the space I will continue to use because it’s more powerful than Trello for writing up the whole thing.

    Before I really finish any posts, I work out a schedule. If I am writing content that has a purpose, such as selling a product or service for a business, I outline a strategy over a course of time, say a month or 6 weeks and I work out how to introduce the topic, explain why it’s important for the buyer, etc., and just keep working through the schedule.

    Stay tuned, as your questions have really prompted some deeper discussion on this πŸ˜€ I think I will ‘plan’ a post to go into these ideas a bit more with some practical examples.

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