Sunday, August 28, 2016

Body and Mind at Work

Well, the exercise at the gym has been knackering me. I’ve done an hour plus in the morning seven out of the last eight days. I’ve then come back, done some work, eaten at about midday, then fallen asleep for one or two hours. Okay, I’m fifty-five so there’s that, but I am seeing quite rapid change to my physique and, over the last few days my knackerdom is decreasing. With this steady decrease my brain is picking up slack too and I’m working more…

Usually, when writing a book, I can happily record a word-count in my journal five days a week of 2,000 words a day. That is simply not occurring this time for … various reasons. When I started writing this book (this was maybe the year before last) it was while I was depressed, anxious and suffering from panic attacks. I would have periods when I would feel better and maybe do a few thousand words. Also I took the view that just getting words down was the main thing and would pursue any idea that occurred to me. This had always worked before and I could usually sew together plot threads, or excise those that added little, or remove characters I didn’t need or even meld them with others – do the work. It didn’t go that way this time.

The ninety plus thousand words I produced rather reflected the state of my mind. Disparate disconnect threads run through. Characters are subject to radical change, often illogical change and some of the things they have done just don’t fit a story arc, probably because I had no idea of their motivations.

You get the picture.

I have tried a number of times to resolve this, approaching the book with new brio and tearing it apart, making a fresh start, rewriting a lot, but such has been the state of my mind that my energy for this would leak away after a few days. I would gaze at the work in bewilderment and see absolutely no solutions. I was never actually blocked; just incapable of weaving together the complications as I had always done before.

State of mind of course.

However, over the last four months things started to change. Many of you have read here of my perpetual battle with my own mind. I’ve tried many things, some of which definitely helped, some of which might have helped. All I do know is that I started to beat the panic attacks, and that the anxiety and depression started to decline. I also got slapped in the face with a couple of things recently: I’ll simply call them reality wake-up calls. So I came back to England. And now I’m working…

I started on the book again and again felt things were unresolvable. I then, after working on it for most of a morning, just sat and thought about it for four or more hours, hardly making any notes – a level of concentration I have been incapable of for some time. I saw solutions but they were not easy – I had to dig them out of my skull. The next day I copied the book to a new file and started tearing it apart once again, and once again putting it back together again. And it is working; I am seeing my way clear to an ending. This, to go back to what led me into this ramble, is why I cannot record 2,000 words a day: I am rewriting, reordering and deleting. In fact today’s word count would be negative.

Something else happened too. This book is the start of a series of books – maybe a trilogy or maybe more – and I was getting the same feeling of where am I going with this about the overall story. I slept today, again, and when I woke up I started thinking about it all. Immediately I started having ideas about that overall story – they propelled me to my feet and to a notepad. Wow, I just love the way the mind keeps on working even when you’re snoring. The subconscious is like a bull terrier with a bone, it keeps gnawing on it till something snaps.

The way is clear now and I feel good about this.    

7 comments:

Fred Nuncic said...

Good to hear you got back in to a kind of ink flow... Congrats for deafeating this Phase... I am looking forward to your next publishings...

Bill the Butcher said...

This sounds so familiar.

When my girlfriend left me in 2014 and sent me crashing back into the suicidal depression that never really went away since my teens, I suddenly couldn't write at all. For months I didn't write, didn't draw, didn't even read. I'd lie in bed and get crying jags. It took six months before I began productive writing again.

And of course the more you write the easier it gets and the faster the pieces fall into place. Isn't it a wonderful feeling when the elements of a plot you're trying to resolve click abruptly into place?

Simon Collier said...

The beauty of your blog is your searing honesty. I am so glad to see that you seem to be turning a corner. It is impossible to forget the loss of one you loved but one can come to terms with it and carry on. Life is not the same but it can still be rewarding. Remember the thousands of readers who have derived pleasure from your work and carry on.

Laffe said...

Have a nice day every day until the end of time

Snorri Gudmundsson said...

Neil, I've searched for someone to give me what Asimov and Tolkien did - thank you - you did just that. Dark Intelligence (DI) is one of the best books I've ever read. It takes a bit to get used to the idea of AIs running everything in sync with humans, but then it begins to become very real and possible.

I work in the field of marketing tech where AI and neuroscience are becoming increasingly prevalent. When I read the back cover of DI, my initial impression was 'This sounds totally idiotic!' Being in Trier, Germany, however, made no other sci-fi book more interesting so I decided to give it a shot. And thank the stars, AIs and Penny Royals I did.

After DI, I immediately went on a hunt for your books but here in Trier they are impossible to come by! I was lucky to find Line War which brought me into an entirely different, yet equally as powerful, world of futuristic tech (this time more focused on alien tech which made my mind do inverted pirouettes in anti-grav).

You paint a future that is absolutely fascinating on so many levels. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. :)

Ian Campbell said...

I have some spare puppy treats I can throw in the direction of your subconscious, though our puppy may object, hunt you down and take slow and painful revenge on your subconscious (though of course you will be totally unaware of it.. after all its your subconscious).

There, now thats a ramble for you....

;)

Snorri Gudmundsson said...

Ian, you must report to the Polity at once for reprogramming. :)