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Marissa Lingen

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Brain momentum [Sep. 8th, 2013|08:43 pm]
Marissa Lingen

For the last two weeks, my brain has been stuck in “on.” I’ve said elsewhere on social media that I’ve written five stories in that time, and that’s true, and I am not sorry for the existence of those five stories. I have also done revisions on various things and worked on projects still in progress. And that’s just on the writing front.

I really enjoy the feeling that I have a hold on things, that I know how to make a story do what it needs to do. I really do not enjoy the feeling that my brain is going to be twitchy until I actually get the words out get them out get them oooooout. I don’t enjoy writing-induced insomnia, and worse, it’s pretty bad for me. And this is one of the places where I feel like the dominant culture of SFF writers online makes things harder, not easier.

Because I have friends–actual personal friends, people I have invited into my home, people who know details of my health situation–who have to have the downside of obsessive writing behavior explained to them every time. Who go into the same mode that upset me with some of the girls I knew in high school: “Oh, you look so good in that, I hate you.” You wrote so much, I hate you. Whenever anybody comes out and says to me that they hate me, I tend to reply in a very quiet voice, “I’m not feeling so fond of you right now either.” I never got accustomed to that kind of “friendly” hostility, and I don’t really want to. We’ve all got different styles of working, and all of those have ups and downs, and I don’t really think we should have a problem acknowledging that.

I’m hoping that I managed to dump the brain momentum into a novel. Or two novels, I don’t really care at this point, honestly. But novels are not things I can hold in every prose detail in my head all at once, so they are less likely to hit the brain chains that take forever to die down and leave me exhausted and short on cope. Also I like novels. So the fact that I sat down and wrote a thousand words on a novel that had previously stalled out, and before that another thousand words on a novel I haven’t even tried starting–that sounds hopeful. If I can keep productivity slightly elevated but stop it from interfering with things I need like sleep, that would be really a lot better. If I just go back to regular levels of productivity, I could cope with that too.

I really am glad of the five stories. Don’t get me wrong. It’s just that I am feeling the negative side of that behavior pretty strongly right about now.

Originally published at Novel Gazing Redux


[User Picture]From: minnehaha
2013-09-09 02:34 am (UTC)
"For the last two weeks, my brain has been stuck in 'on.'"

Oh, me too. I blame it on Rio.

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[User Picture]From: blue_hat_guru
2013-09-09 02:37 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: redbird
2013-09-09 02:59 am (UTC)
That seems like a remarkably restrained response to that "I hate you" of envy. (Of course, I'm not Scandasotan.)
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From: athenais
2013-09-09 04:28 am (UTC)
I think it's marvelous, if exhausting for you, that you've been so productive. Production at the expense of sleep and energy: problematic, zow.
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[User Picture]From: rosefox
2013-09-09 06:38 am (UTC)
I don't hate you. Or envy you. It sounds like hypomania, and hypomania SUCKS.

Edited at 2013-09-09 06:39 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2013-09-09 12:21 pm (UTC)
I have been keeping an eye on myself for others of the more problematic signs of hypomania, yeah. So far so good, but it is a thought that occurred to me from having friends with these issues.

Honestly it's very like--um, it's like a thing that's a little gross that I will not go telling people without them saying they're up for a little gross.
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[User Picture]From: rosefox
2013-09-09 04:41 pm (UTC)
You have blanket permission to TMI at me without checking first; I was a medical journalist.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2013-09-09 04:46 pm (UTC)
So...sometimes when I have been nauseated, my stomach decides that NO NO FOOD WILL BE HAD NO NO NO ON THE FOOD QUESTION. And as far as I can tell from my knowledge of anatomy, my pyloric valve just refuses to open at that point. So if I try to eat--because with the vertigo, I need to try to eat with nausea fairly often--whatever I have just chewed and swallowed just sits in a lump at the bottom of my esophagus until I either throw up or manage to get the pyloric valve to open. I cannot predict very well when my nausea is regular old nausea, when it's going to be barfy nausea, and when it's going to be this kind of flat digestive line-drawing.

This is what we in Mrissaland know as No Fun.

And it's very like the sensation of having a large chunk of story needing to go somewhere.

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[User Picture]From: rosefox
2013-09-09 04:48 pm (UTC)
That is No Fun indeed! I think in your shoes I would subsist entirely on smoothies.

I hope your writerly digestion settles itself soon.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2013-09-09 04:51 pm (UTC)
Oh, this has happened to me with soup. And the bizarre feeling of the slow trickle while most of the lump remains...yeah. Yeah, um.

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[User Picture]From: klwilliams
2013-09-09 09:08 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that sounds like hypomania to me, too.
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[User Picture]From: autopope
2013-09-09 09:02 am (UTC)

(That was my demented schadenfreude laugh. Or maybe my misery-loves-company giggle.)

I am crawling towards the finish line of my third novel (and a spare novella) in 365 days.

My home is a mess and my spouse is distressed. All because the "off" switch is broken.

Current writing target: 5000 words/day. And I am hitting it, repeatedly.

Please, someone tell me how to make it stop?

Edited at 2013-09-09 09:03 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2013-09-09 12:24 pm (UTC)
The people commenting in this thread are too geographically distributed for me to go with my standard "something in the water"!
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[User Picture]From: minnehaha
2013-09-09 03:28 pm (UTC)
Are they all in North America? I wonder if the changing season has to do with it.

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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2013-09-09 04:33 pm (UTC)
You may well have something there.
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[User Picture]From: autopope
2013-09-09 01:12 pm (UTC)
I think in my case I've just hit a stable point on my hypertension meds. Long-term medication can screw with your head, but I'm now at the most productive I've been since I started having to gobble double-handfuls of pills in 2006, having iterated through probably a dozen different medications until I've found a combination (of six) that have the desired effect without clouding my mind.

The rest I'm willing to chalk up to confirmation bias -- we don't notice the folks who are suffering from writers block this year. (I'll change my tune if Susannah Clark suddenly emits an unscheduled trilogy ...)
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2013-09-09 03:16 pm (UTC)
Med-related issues may not be irrelevant to me, either, but not because I've hit a stable point--I just have to hope that I can stay more productive for longer before I have to go back on the meds. (My vertigo meds are not things I can--or want to!--stay on long-term, so it's a matter of trying to get on them before I've had too many falls and only stay on them as long as I have to. Sigh.)

But yes, confirmation bias is definitely a thing here. Or else I'll enjoy that new Susannah Clark trilogy. One way or the other....
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[User Picture]From: zalena
2013-09-09 12:40 pm (UTC)
Yeah, struggling with a bit of that 'on' behavior myself, except I'm not sure anything productive is coming out of it. Good for you of being aware of it and hoping for a soft landing.
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[User Picture]From: wshaffer
2013-09-09 03:45 pm (UTC)
There are a few times when I've written stuff (fiction or work stuff) at something close to that kind of pace, and while it was worthwhile, it was also exhausting and unsustainable and kind of incompatible with carrying on normal life. *Hugs* Hope you get back to equilibrium soon.
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[User Picture]From: sprrwhwk
2013-09-10 12:40 am (UTC)
Oh god, I'm glad it's not just me. I accidentally put a story in publishable shape last night, and there's other stuff clawing behind that. I'd have said I was coming off a period of high energy, and to be sure I feel generally less energetic, but apparently that's better for fiction? I've been blaming the obvious turning of the year -- it's suddenly dark when I leave work, and fall-cold, in Boston -- but honestly, fiik.
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