Meet Writer's Block's Cousin: Foggy Brain
Writers often mention that they have periods in their lives where they run into Writer's Block. In case you haven't heard the term, it is usually associated with people who write professionally. This may include writers here on Hub Pages. Writer's Block is exactly that...a blockage of a writer's new ideas or continuing ideas to write about. Writer's Block is usually temporary but can sometimes go on for months. I am fortunate that in the fourteen months I have been writing online content for various websites, I have not yet met Writer's Block. But I have periodically met his cousin who I not so affectionately call, "Foggy Brain."
Foggy Brain often sneaks up on me when I am doing my best work. I am usually smack in the middle of an article that I have done heavy research for. And dear ol Mr. Foggy Brain takes over my mind. And even though I want to continue to write, I can't. I feel a serious mental need to take a break. Hours have usually gone by and I have worked tirelessly on a piece. As things are humming along, I can feel Foggy Brain creeping up on me. I have trouble wording sentences. My shoulders start to ache. My inner writer starts running around in my head screaming, "get me outta here. I need a break. I can't even think straight any longer." Of course if I feel I am on a roll with the article, I don't want to stop. But then the fog starts rolling in. My friend Foggy Brain has begun to use his special weapons against me. My brain is pretty wired and I feel on edge.I really want to continue writing, but the screaming usually convinces me that it's time for a break. There's no match for the fog that has moved in, and the distraction of my bones feeling like they are ready to jump out of my skin. I start feeling physically antsy, and I can't concentrate. There is a lot of anxiety involved in his visit. I often feel that if I stop now, I will not be able to get the same train of thought going again. My article will therefore be "derailed" ( yes, pun intended!) and I worry that I may not be able to finish it. Or if I do finish it, it won't be as good as it has started out to be. Inevitably though, my brain gives in. Although I still have things I want to add to the piece, I can't seem to get it out in the way I mean it too. It's rather jumbled around inside my head. So I let Foggy Brain have his way.But sometimes I actually write myself notes so I won't forget what I wanted to say, or the frame of mind I need to be in to get it out in the way I intended.
Have you ever noticed that when you write someone a letter by hand, and you stop in the middle of it, the handwriting never looks the same when you pick the letter back up again to finish writing it. Why is that? You are still the same person, with the same penmanship. But there's something different. Maybe the letters slant differently the next time, or they don't slant at all and are standing up straight. I don't know the answer to this (and if anyone does, please write it in the comment section below). But that's what I am afraid will happen if I let Foggy Brain get his way. I fear that when I come back, I won't be able to just pick up where I left off. Maybe I won't be able to delve as deeply into the subject matter. Or maybe I end the article sooner than I would if I had stayed and hung in there.
If I haven't showered yet, I usually go do that, and tell myself I will feel refreshed when I am done and can come back and work on the piece to finish it up. If it's later in the day, I will sometimes take the dog for a walk to get out in nature and clear my head. Usually when I come back to the article, I can get started again. But the article doesn't always have the same flavor. I sometimes have to let it sit for a day or two and work on something else so that I can wait till I am the right frame of mind, with no visitors in there, in order to get back to the place I was when I first started writing it.
I don't know how to avoid Foggy Brain. Maybe if I give myself more frequent breaks, he won't come around? But then that brings on the anxiety of will the piece still have the same flavor if I stop in the middle of it? At least I can be thankful I haven't met Writer's Block yet. And I will keep trudging along and accept the Foggy Brain syndrome as my body telling my mind it's time to take a break from time to time.
Copyright by Karen Hellier, 2013
Have you ever had Writer's Block or Foggy Brain?
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