Restless Mind Syndrome

Here I am, in Vermont, working hard on Amelia and it’s been going well. I’ve made good progress and my time here has been productive (I’ll do a separate post on this), but the past two days have been weird. I’ve felt this before and it’s annoying as hell. I have so much going on in my head and I can’t pull it together; I can’t get anything on paper.

My restless mind seems to be screaming at me, “Amy, stop! Let me work on my own for a while!”

Then I say, ” NO! I’m on a roll. Don’t stop me now!”

Today, my mind won.

We’ve all been there. Restless Mind Syndrome is a part of most writers’ lives and we all deal with it differently. Is there a right or wrong way to approach this inevitable, writer’s demon? For me, so I don’t mistake it for procrastination, it’s key that I’ve become aware when my mind needs time to work its magic alone.

Here’s what I mean:

Some days, I don’t feel like writing, but know if I get focused, it’ll come together…but procrastination kicks in. Some days, I may not feel like writing, but I’m still creative and imaginative, so I’ll take notes and I feel productive. Then, there are days like today when I truly want to write and I feel I have good plan pulled together to get a lot of words written, but nothing…absolutely nothing. I tried all my writerly tricks, and again, nothing. That being said, I ‘ve felt the heaviness of thoughts and my mood has been quiet. I can’t pin-point it, but I know my mind is working on plots, characters, scenes…so, I give in, and let it do its thing.

Guilt. That used to be what I felt when this happened, but I’ve learned to let that go. Just because I’m not putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, doesn’t mean I’m not working on my story. The mind is a powerful thing and when I get the feeling it needs its time, I’m going to give it time. In the end, it always ends up being more productive than if I force it.

Restless minds are good for us. It means something’s going on, something’s working, something’s about to produce itself. Embrace it and watch comes of it.

Until next time…



Filed under June 2012

5 responses to “Restless Mind Syndrome

  1. Sometimes when I can’t motivate myself to write I’ll run scenes through my head to see how they feel. There are times when I get into them enough to say lines aloud.

    Thankfully I have dreadlocks (they can’t see my ears) so 9/10 people probably assume I’m talking on a bluetooth for a cellphone. Considering most of the stuff I write about is fantasy, they’d probably raise a brow at what I’m actually saying.

    Making progress doesn’t just mean putting it to paper. Sometimes just shuffling around ideas, new and old, is more than enough to utilize that ‘restless mind’.

  2. I think I have chronic Restless Mind Syndrome 🙂

  3. Spot on! I frequently have spasms of guilt when I think I should be writing and I’m not. Sometimes the mind just needs to work things out on its own without you being anywhere near a keyboard or pen/paper. Some of my best ideas (or solutions to particularly knotty problems) pop up from my subconscious when I am miles what from my laptop.

    That said, I do have one trick to help kick start my writing. If I am stuck in the middle of a chapter, I will print off what i have written and take it to Starbucks and manually edit it. For some reason, doing manual edits seems to spark the creative process and when I return I have enough ideas to carry one writing.

    • Brant, thanks for reading and for leaving a comment. I agree with you 100%! When I step away is when ideas, words, and solutions come to me.
      I love your editing tip when I get stuck! I’ll definitely give that a shot. I can see where it would help.

  4. Thanks for giving this affliction a name – I plan to use it often as my excuse! 🙂

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