braindeadĀ 

Im rather appalled when I think of it at how dead my brain has become

It feels like it’s been far too long since I’ve used it at all

I can feel it’s definitely worse for lack of use. It’s essentially like a muscle that needs to be worked or it gets weak

The other day I was having trouble getting my brain to absorb information from my psychology homework. But I decided that if I was going to procrastinate, I might as well procrastinate in a “productive” way. So I opened up my folder full of my novel drafts – finished and unfinished – and plans, with the goal of finding something to work on.

I was – and I can’t find a better word for this – rather amazed by what I’d done. Don’t get me wrong. My work is nothing to shout about and needs much improvement. But … I had written novels. I had written multiple novels. There were a lot of words and a lot of effort put into them.

I couldn’t imagine doing that now. I struggle to write a paragraph of fiction … how am I supposed to write 50,000 words? And yet I did it and I can only imagine the focus and determination that went into it.

I was inspired to brush up on my French language (pretty much non existent at this point) and I remembered how I passed three years worth of French … how I completed Duolingo and was attempting to read classic French stories like Sylvie.

I can introduce myself and order food now (badly). That’s about it. And every time I resolve to learn it for real this time, the resolve lasts a week at most.

I could go on with these examples … how I listen to my old songs from 2015 and haven’t written a full one for months … how I was learning the piano and reached Grade 3 and would sit there for hours learning new pop songs but I can barely muster up the effort to remember how to play my own songs now … how I used to write fricking English essays for fun and I haven’t put a word to my essay for my upcoming exam.

In short, I’ve stopped trying. I give up so so easily. At the slightest sign of difficulty, at the slightest blank of my mind, at the slightest suggestion that my brain will have to work, I run. I shut my laptop. I switch to facebook. I go to bed. I. Give. Up.

I’ve lost resilience and my brain is losing strength. I’m terrible at focusing. You don’t understand how huge the temptation is to switch the tab from this post and go to social media instead, or watch a video.

Yes, social media plays a huge part. I can’t deny it any longer. It does. I still can find a million ways to procrastinate without it … but it gets boring much faster. And there comes a point when my own thoughts interest me more than no thoughts at all … when working my brain becomes entertainment. But with social media, I am constantly entertained by a barrage of …. stuff … that I have little incentive to use any form of entertainment that would require effort. It’s too easy now.

That said, eventually social media too can become rather repetitive and I do feel the urge for something different. I long to stretch my brain … even as I panic because it’s hard and it makes my brain hurt.

Mostly, I need to learn to stop giving up and that’s more a case of willpower than anything else. It’s a mentality that if you start something, you goddamn finish it. No excuses. Because that’s how you progress.

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Bleeding out

There’s a famous quote I’m sure you’ve heard: “There’s nothing to writing. You just sit at a typewriter and bleed”.

It’s frustratingly true.

Ok, on the one hand it illustrates how writing just can’t be analysed. There’s no shortcut. You just have to DO it.

But I think there’s another meaning to it.

Writing is exhausting – mentally, emotionally, even physically. It’s not as easy as simply typing words. It’s more like vomiting words or stripping naked. It takes something out of you.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing.

I can write at any time, but I write best when it’s quiet and I have set aside a large amount of time for writing. That gives me time to “get into the zone” – that space where the words just flow from my brain. It’s almost like being taken out of reality and sucked into the story.

To write a good story it has to have some element of personality. That’s where the pain and the blood, sweat, and tears come in. At the end of the day, it’s the emotions and what the story makes the readers feel that makes it most effective … It’s the personality – the “you”ness that sets it apart from other stories.

So the quote … it’s frustratingly true.

You bleed yourself out whenever you write a story.

You have to think, too, and plan and plot and push yourself to form the ideas and feelings into sentences, yes. There is definitely not NOTHING to writing.

But you also need that rawness and that honesty. That blood. It’s something that can’t be forced and neither is it easy.

It’s guts spilling out on the page and extracting out your essence, slowly, surely, for the world to see.