I've been noticing lately I don't really know how to use my brain. This is a sad realization on the eve of my 35th birthday because this seems like something an introvert should have a pretty good handle on by midlife.
Here's what I mean.
The other night I was telling Mr. R I really like creative writing during my 90-minute writing session each week because I come home feeling refreshed for having stretched my brain into a different shape, but it's mental gym time and nothing more. I have no word count to show for my efforts.
Here's how my 90 minutes generally go.
90 minutes and counting -- baby-sitter arrives.
80 minutes -- I leave house after finding laptop, phone, keys, and water bottle.
75 -- I walk into condo building's common room and open my laptop. Begin to read what I wrote last time so I remember if I'm working on a novel or something else.
55 -- Someone comes into common room and says they have it reserved for bridge club.
50 -- I get off elevator three floors down in search of another unoccupied common room.
40 -- I finish reading what I wrote last time because during my 5-minute commute to another workspace I forgot what I'm working on.
35 -- I type something. Erase it. Type a paragraph. Erase it.
10 -- I get into the writing groove. I figure out what happens next! *TYPE FURIOUSLY BEFORE BABY-SITTER LEAVES*
Mr. R astutely observed I could eliminate the long step of reading what I wrote last time if I would think about my plot in advance. He said, "I find I can solve problems best at the end of the day when I'm unwinding, just sitting and thinking about things."
This sounds a lot like the advice of a friend who claims to plot while driving the car, or another who figures out plot points in the shower.
"Just sitting and thinking about things?" says I. "Explain this intriguing concept to me."
A memory from childhood surfaced the other day that illustrates how rebellious my brain can be whenever I try to "just sit and think about things." As a grade student, I gave up on counting sheep to fall asleep. Whenever I tried it, I'd picture one cute little sheep trot up to the fence and hop over. Then 2 . . . then 3 . . . then 4. . . 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 45 90 114 5,000 A MILLION. ARG! STOP, SHEEP, STOP! WHY ARE THEY ALWAYS STAMPEDING THE FENCE?
Every. Single. Time. It was my own imagination, but I couldn't harness it.
I'm feeling anxious right now thinking about all those wild sheep and their pointy hooves.
If you're a prolific type, how do you focus? I know how to get the butt in the chair. What I haven't figured out is how to get my mind prepared so I have something to type when I get there.