Thursday, May 05, 2011

It's hard to be creative when your brain is full..

I feel like I have so many things going on in my life at the moment.  Work, homeschooling, trying to lose weight, keeping in touch with friends and family, dealing with the day to day minutiae of life - making sure there is food in the house to put on the table, clean clothes in the drawers etc; volunteer webmistress and falling way down on the priority list is writing.

Yesterday I spent the day watching some programming lecture videos with Billy, travelling an hour to my appointment at the optometrist, going to the library, calling in to a client to fix a problem with their system, rushing back to get Billy changed, dropping him at footy training, walking 6 laps of the oval because I hadn't had a chance to exercise in the morning, rushing to Aldi to do the grocery shopping, getting back in time to pick Billy up, fixing dinner, answering work emails that had piled up through the day, making some website changes for the RWA, getting Billy to bed - bath, reading with him etc, making a stab at tidying the kitchen, answering some personal emails.  By the time I did all that, I had no creativity left in me to write.

I'm trying.  If I get a spare minute to think - in the shower, washing dishes (if I'm not interrupted) etc - I start trying to think up plot points, character backstory etc.  But my brain is just so full with everything else I'm doing that it keeps getting sidetracked.

I start off thinking "So if my heroine were to do this, how would it change the story?" only to interrupt myself by remembering that I need to book the car in for a service.  Then my thoughts circle around and around and I get nowhere. 

I need to sit down and do a brain dump.  Clear my brain out of all the stuff its trying to remember and make a paper list.  Maybe then I'll feel more in control. Oh, and book the car in for a service..

What do you do?


Butterfly said...

I'm not a good person to answer this one ... lucky to write ONE creative sentence a day! Any ideas I manage to scribble down get lost in the piles of other papers I generate each day. I have started using an organiser, but it keeps getting lost in the pile too, ha!

The full brain thing is something we have in common, and it will always be a challenge. Mine is overfilled with the loveliness of life, plus things to do, upcoming events, admin tasks, unwritten home ed paperwork, and the mess all around me ... washing to fold, lego minefields, textas, shoes, books, walls. It's all good in a way, but too cluttered and demanding.

If I were you, I'd pick one or two mornings when you can possibly arrange to sleep in ... that will give you two nights, from 10pm until 2am, to JUST write. You have the other 7 days and 5 nights to devote to the other parts of your life. And maybe those days you can still find 10 minutes here and there for creativity.

When you're writing, keep a separate notepad to jot down ANY intruding thoughts ... whether shopping list items, gift ideas, memos, chores or feelings or ideas for other books ... do it as fast as possible and get back to the fun stuff.

These are the things I'd do if I was going to get seriously back into writing, and if my kids were Billy's age and if my husband could handle it.

Too much about me, sorry. What's your plan?
:) Vanessa

Sparklee said...

Wow, and I thought I was busy!

I have struggled with "full-brain syndrome" too! When you spend all your time doing the things you have to do, it's hard to settle down, change gears, and use the creative part of your brain!

You simply can't run on empty--you have to give yourself (and your brain) a chance to recharge. I hope you can steal a few moments for yourself soon!

jugglingpaynes said...

As important as cardio exercise is, it's helpful to add some meditative exercise. This can be as simple as sitting quietly for five minutes (set a timer) and focusing on breathing slowly, in and out.

I highly recommend taking a yoga class as well, even if all you can manage is half an hour a week with a DVD. Doing yoga has helped me to recenter after being busy for too many days in a row and calmed my mind so I can focus on writing my comics or simply writing on my blog.

Also, schedule time for your writing. You're worth it! fifteen minutes here and there or an hour a week, it may not seem like much, but it does add up.

And get some rest. Let your son handle the laundry or cook dinner once a week, or at least help you so that he can learn to do it in the future. Children do grow, and they can lighten your load if you let them!

Peace and Laughter,

travis602 said...

Hi Kez,
Do you use GTD ? I find it works well for balancing work and home competing priorities.
I am a super convert now!


Kez said...

Note to self - don't write blog posts when you're stressed, hormonal and exhausted!

Thanks for all the wonderful advice. Michelle, I've tried GTD but like all systems, it only works if I use it! Duh :)

Cristina - I think part of the problem was that I'd missed my BodyBalance class for a couple of weeks - its TaiChi, Yoga and Pilates and it really helps keep me balanced!