How Does A Brain Freeze in 98.6 Degree Weather?

I’m talking about the weather in my head.  Yeah, there’s definitely a storm raging in there that started about 48 years ago, with no sign of slowing down.  The friction from my brain cells slamming into each other alone is responsible for 99% of that heat.

So why is it that I have nothing to show for it in terms of my blog today?  I mean, I literally sat in front of my computer for four hours last night – with a few attempts at inspiration, by poking the logs in the wood stove, washing dishes, snacking on hummus – with not a single blogging thought making any sort of appearance.


Topics were not a problem.  Got plenty of those.  The problem was that my brain just…..froze up.  Creativity?  Perhaps if I could have gotten a string of words on the page, I could have faked the creativity part of it, but the words were playing hide and seek with me.

I’m a pantster, I go with the flow, I react, I put out fires.  I am in the moment at any given time.  But I sat in a very, very, very long moment last night, just staring and wondering what the hell I was doing.

It was frustrating to say the least.  Although I have had to cut back on blogging temporarily to once a week (because I am putting energy into my next novel which, by the way, is in the home-stretch stage) I love getting on here and saying something…anything…to spark a discussion.

Some of the frigidity may be due to the fact that a lot is going on in my personal life.  (The most interesting by far is the suspicion that my father’s will looks like it has been tampered with/switched out/forged, courtesy of two gold-digging family members – and I use the term “family” loosely.)   Be that as it may, even in the midst of the day job, kiddy care, and other goings-on, I’m usually able to slip into the writing world without too much problem, being able to start with a single sentence and get the blog going from there.

Last night was different for some reason and I don’t really know why.  As a big fan of Mike Dooley, I’m taking his advice and I won’t try to figure it out because spending energy on the whys won’t propel me forward.  It will just keep me in a holding pattern of stagnation.

Don’t worry, I’ll be back again with some incredibly interesting post.  *wink*  I’m just going to chill for a couple of days and let my brain thaw.  My WANA sister, Angela Peart, suggested I try sleeping.  Hmm.  As crazy as that sounds, it might just work.

I’m thinking that I’m not alone in this and that most of you writers and bloggers come up empty on occasion as well.

Do me a favor, then.  Let me know what you do to switch those gears and get back on track.   Does this happen to you very often?  Am I lacking something (besides sleep)?  Do I need to switch coffee brands?  Perhaps to a darker roast? Should I up the chocolate intake?  Drink more?  Drink less?

Wine and coffee together ~ This girl may be onto something! Photo: Steve Hall

What is your magic bullet?  I’d really love to know!

About Diana Murdock

California-grown, writer of contemporary and YA paranormal with enough energy to write, raise two boys, run, and dream.

Posted on November 16, 2011, in Blogging, Family, Personal, Twitter, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. I never drink coffee. I try to sleep my 8 hours a night otherwise I become a monster of myself. I eat well, exercise and try to let my brain breathe every time I can.

    Yet…. I know exactly what you’re dealing with. You know you’re gifted enough to be a writer, and a blogger, so you want to give 100% of your talent to your readers, and I understand your passion because I got the exact same one. But you have to remember – you’re only human. You can’t give 100% all the time. Sometimes, you can give only 1% and it’s already plenty.

    Don’t feel bad if you can’t think of anything interesting to write about. I listen to my muse but I tell her to shut up when she pisses me off too much. And yes, then I feel bad for days because I know I’m behind on my writing…

    There’s no real solution. Just chill, enjoy life, stop worrying about stupid stuff, and be you. You’ll soon find something great to tell us about. 😉

    In the meantime, I’ll be here patiently waiting.

  2. I have been there so many times. My favorite way is to just start writing random words. It doesn’t take long for phrases to appear, then who sentences, then I’m off to the races. Plan B is to stick in a few episodes of Firefly. Always gets the juices pumping.
    It was a great post, by the way. See, even with a freeze up, you still have a post that works. Awesome.

  3. Well Diana, an awesome post and your cup is full. What are you talking about girl?

    But I think what you’re talking about is called emotional burnout. Been there, doing that.

    I’m with Angela on the sleep department. We all need to recharge the battery, mental or otherwise. Protein is a good source of energy. If we feed our bodies with the right food, our minds will follow.

    And of course the need for support. And you seem to have that covered very nicely.

    Your WIP is your baby. That comes first. So when feel that your blog is groove back, we’ll all be here to support you. No worries.

    Now go rest!

  4. I was deep in it, not that long ago! I went away for a week and unplugged from all of this to be alone with my WIP. But that’s not always an option. Sometimes you just need to step back and take a breather. Invest in yourself and stop worrying about blogs and social networks. I think that is what was messing me up. My MS has never screwed with my head the way these other things do. So if you need to, unplug from all the noise, take a good book or your WIP and step away by yourself. Let everything else fall away. You’ll know when you’re ready. You’ll feel it. And we will still be here. The problem with turning on a little social network to say “Hi” or check just “one” thing before you’re ready is you get sucked in and then your right back where you started. Take care of yourself first!

  5. I’ve been there. I’ve been having a whole week there this week actually.

    I don’t know if the same thing causes this problem with everyone, but with me, it’s usually a case of emotional exhaustion. Sleep alone can’t fix it. I need some down time to do something enjoyable like read a really good book, play a game, or watch a movie. Maybe try that?

    Thanks for this post. Nice to know I’m not the only one.

  6. Sleep helps. So does stepping away and just doing something else, anything else. Cook, clean, shop, go for a drive, go sit in a movie theater and let your brain concentrate on something else.

    Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way suggests a weekly artist date but who can really do that? But for your situation, now might be a good time to try one. Artist dates are when you go somewhere for half an hour or an hour and do something new, a new museum exhibit, a coffee shop, an antique store… anything that might float your boat and ‘refill the well’ If you try it, let me know if it works. LOL. So nice of me to give advice that I should be following isn’t it???

  7. Ha, you made me laugh, because I had exactly the same problem this week. I’ve decided it’s the full moon. Can’t be lack of sleep and/or family issues… 🙂

    I’m just going to let it be. When my brain says it’s done, there’s no point in trying to kick it into action. Like trying to teach a pig to talk, it accomplishes nothing and annoys the pig.

    As soon as I relax and tell myself I don’t “have to” do any of this, my muse will be banging on my door, begging me to take him back. Always works. Muses. Hmmmph. They’re so predictable. 🙂

  8. I’m no help, the noggin never runs down. I do find that pictures stimulate a storm of ideas: family pictures, bing pictures, pictures of fruit….doesn’t much matter. I once got the concept for an entire novel looking at an advertisement for jam. I never wrote it – but it’s in the idea file somewhere in case the day comes when I have no clue what to do next. Of course it’ll need zombies now, or a sociopath, or something equally icky-yucky.

    Sleep or go to Maui. You choose. 😉

  9. I had this problem today. I just couldn’t write. Finally, it came to me, but it wasn’t easy. I usually look at photographs for inspiration to get me writing or listen to song. Of course, coffee is also a must:)

  10. OMG Lesann – “sleep or go to Maui”!!! I love it! Diana – As we know from Kristen’s book, we are not alone. I’ve had the same feelings you are dealing with. I daresay most of us have, except lucky Lesann. I find photo help and when all else fails definitely up the chocolate intake!
    This too shall pass.
    Sending hugs (((((((((((())))))))))))))))

  11. I can so relate! I’m a ‘pantser’ too when it comes to writing, just can’t get the hang of outlining. Some days, I cannot write fast enough; I need more hours in the day, the scenes and words just keep pouring out. Sometimes, even though all the elements are right, and I want to sit down to a huge writing session, I just can’t. Nothing materializes in the brain, nada, zip. A word wasteland. So then, I pick up a book and lose myself in it for a while. As Karen pointed out, it’s emotional burnout, at least for me. Debra is right, sometimes you do need a breather. Give yourself that time and space. The words will be back.

  12. Well, Diana, with nothing to write you made a really good post.

    I have problems with my blog– I find it hard to believe people would be interested in what I do. But you on the other hand alway delight and enlighten me.

    I’ll be waiting on that next novel. I’m doing the NANoWriMo and pleae don’t tell anyone but I’m at 56,000 words and counting. I decided to write in a direction I’ve always avoided and my muse was pleased. I’m a panster also. I do plot in my head but I try not to think while writing and I just get out of the way of the characters.

    Can’t wait for your next post!

  13. I hope you took my advice, dear Diana 🙂 But sleep only helps so much. You need to clear your mind and get to the root of what holds you back.

    I had a writer’s block for many weeks. It all started with the SCBWI conference when an editor trashed my confidence. She was in a foul mood and took in on me, I suppose. I was already in a fragile state of mind and somehow I let my guard down. Her hurtful words (like “your characters are cheesy” – yes, the “professionals” actually talk this way to writers, sigh) got to me and I threw my arms up in the air, closed my laptop and took a sabbatical from writing. Was this a right move? Maybe. It was when you suggested that I take Kristen’s class on building my writer’s platform. I embraced that idea because I was still doing something for my writing career, even if I actually wasn’t writing.

    Kristen and the whole WANA711 gang helped me get back on track, and so did my wonderful critique group. I’m writing again but I have moments when my brain can’t possibly produce anything worth recording. I take walks, listen to my favorite music, watercolor paint, draw, and read colorful magazines. I also find a lot of inspiration in audio books. I listen to them while driving, cleaning the house, cooking, gardening, running or walking. It’s amazing how much of a calming effect this has on my rebellious soul — it’s like going back in time when my parents or my older sister read to me.

    There is a certain amount of stress in your life now and adding more to it is not the best option for you. I know you want to finish your book as soon as possible but taking a week or two off writing might actually make the whole process much more enjoyable and productive. I chuckled reading Lesann’s comment — yes, Maui would be great, but… oh well, not so easy, right?

    My latest post about dealing with stress has some good advices, I think. Do you think you could use any of them?

    Big hug to you. I’m here if you need to talk.

  14. Oh, I forgot to add, I totally agree with Dannie — with not much to write about you actually wrote a fabulous post. You are very talented, dear. Remember that 🙂

  15. you worry way too much about nothing,or everything, I do the same..

  16. just take a deep breath and everything will be OK trust me, all will be well.

  17. Diana, your thoughtful post resonates with me. Every writer has gone through stretches when the words don’t come. You wrote through the drought. Me, I’d have done a mash-up. Seriously, when I can’t think of a thing to say or am sick of my prose style, I link to other bloggers’ posts.

  18. I totally do the wine and coffee thing. I call it a yuppy-speedball. 🙂

  19. It has been happening to me on an on and off basis for so long, i’m about to give up on my dream of becoming a proper writer. Seriously, it gets so frustrating at times. You’re sitting there staring at your computer screen, words trying to come out but not always in the correct order. And i have tried everything under the sun to get rid of this but when it lingers it usually lasts for a long time.
    I have read that even if you don’t feel like writing, you must write, you must push yourself to write and then somehow it all becomes easier for you. I haven’t tried it myself but i’ve heard it helps.
    So good luck to you sistah! We’re all in the same boat after all! 🙂

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