Thursday, December 01, 2005

Book Brain

I've had two signs in the last day or so that my head is really in this book. One is that I'm finding the fiddly little business things that I usually jump on as a way to procrastinate to be intrusive. I love answering fan mail, writing marketing plans and researching marketing targets. It's a way to feel like I'm not wasting my time when I'm not actually writing. But yesterday I caught myself grumbling about having to finish the marketing plan and get it to my agent, and I have several fan mails stacked up that I need to respond to.

I also have a bad case of what I call Book Brain. Book Brain happens when all other details of life fade away and I spend more time thinking about the story than I spend thinking about what I'm supposed to be doing at any given moment. I first noticed the bad case of Book Brain last night at choir practice when I got sidetracked if I wasn't actually singing. The director would be working with another section, and then I'd be right back in the scene I was writing in my head, so when it came time for the whole choir to sing again, I was totally lost and had no idea where we were supposed to be starting. We're doing Christmas music, so there's a lot of "Gloria in excelsis Deo" stuff repeated over and over, which means the words aren't much of a clue as to where you are in the music. I sing soprano, so when I'm in the wrong place, it often means singing a really high note that really stands out. Oops. And I might as well not have bothered with the descants. I managed to sidetrack myself while in the process of turning a page. It's a miracle I found my way home last night.

Then I experienced the second symptom of Book Brain: difficulty falling asleep. Whenever I'm not actively, physically doing something, my brain goes to work on the book. That means lying still in a dark room becomes prime thinking time. Unfortunately, it's nearly impossible to shut off the creativity once it gets going, and it doesn't always limit itself to the book. I may start thinking about the book, but from there my brain goes on to plan my New York trip, which leads to thinking about promotional ideas, which somehow leads to general philosophizing about story structure and characterization, which then leads to an analysis of this week's episode of House. And somehow that then leads me back to the book, starting things all over again. It didn't help that in the middle of this process last night, my feet got cold and I had to get up and find some socks, so I was back to square one when I turned the light off again. It took me more than an hour and a half after I went to bed before I actually got to sleep. That meant I then slept late, which started the process again because after I woke up my brain wanted to maximize the lying still time for daydreaming, and I finally dragged my body out of bed an hour later, groggy and late in starting the day.

Now we'll see if all that thinking actually accomplished anything, but first I need to make some tea.

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