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Warning: potentially long post ahead. Like I have said before, it’s my birthday tomorrow and maybe it’s that (ie I’m a Virgo in Virgo season) or maybe it’s being back at work and needing to remember everything I’m supposed to know and be working on or maybe it’s trying to rebuild all my routines after six weeks off but I have virgo brain on overdrive today. And overloaded virgo brains bounce from subject to subject and thought thought at about 3 zillion miles per hour and won’t settle. Hence the long post to try and just dump some of it out and get the noise down to a dull roar.

So what is buzzing in my head? Virgos, in general, are analytical, logical, thorough (so why the heck I’m not a plotter remains one of the mysteries of the universe) and somewhat cautious. And while I’m perfectly happy to fly into the mists with my books, when it comes to a lot of other stuff, I am definitely a Virgo. I like to research, to learn about things, to ponder, to circle a decision for awhile while I weigh up the facts and generally look before I leap (usually). Most of the time this is fine but when the virgo brain cranks up it’s not. It means I get a horrible sensation of spinning my wheels. I get too much into my head and stress myself out and then put things off so I can worry about them some more and repeat, repeat, repeat. At the moment my brain seems to be doing this in a number of different directions (so I have bouncing, spinning wheels…fun).

I’m trying to think of better ways to keep track of my writing and juggle the different things I want to work on. I did the metrics posts for the first draft of the last book which I did find helpful and I have my progress spreadsheets for each book but nothing that gives me the overview of everything. I went to a great workshop in San Francisco given by Lilian Darcy and Jane Porter about writing processes and they suggest keeping a writer’s journal. The girls kind of pricked up their ears and went oooh but the idea somehow got lost in the holiday haze until it popped back into the brain the other day. Which means of course, that the virgo brain says “but how do you do it? What goes in it? Let’s read about this online (there’s not a lot online about keeping a writer’s journal)”. I haven’t got my RWA tapes yet and can’t listen to the workshop again, so I’ve been umming and aahing. Until I finally remembered I had the cd of the handouts. The handout says (in a manner designed to thwart virgo brain) pretty much whatever you want, wordcounts, ideas, problems, how you’re feeling, what felt good etc. Okay, I can do that. I like that idea. (Though, hey, if anyone keeps one, let me know how you do it : ) ) I do bits of it already, so collating it all might be useful. Then the brain pops up with “but what do we keep it in? Another notebook? Something to carry around, something small? A serious writerly moleskine? A journal? What?” After speaking sternly to my brain we agreed that this is why we bought the circa stuff, dummy so we will make a junior sized circa to keep on the desk and transfer pages we write in either the day to day notebook or anywhere else into it. Let’s see how that works.

Next there’s the projects. I’m trying to work out an issue with Wolf 2, figure out what’s making me stuck in the current WIP and come up with a vague plot or problem for which 2. Three sets of characters are sending me cranky looks and pleading neglect. But the words aren’t ready. So I need to find things to spark ideas. I’ve even been reading some bits of my contemporaries just to try and think about something different. But that just makes me think “I like writing contemporaries too”. Don’t really need even more books to worry about. Hopefully something will click soon and I can get stuck back into something for a few weeks.

What else? Well, the diet and exercise part of life seems to have gone onto some way back recess of the brain. I need to coax it towards the light but getting back into the routine is not easy. I’ve been going through a cooking is boring mood but the ever brilliant VT gave me a slow cooker for my birthday so I’m hoping playing with that will bring some inspiration. I’ve cut the virgo brain off at the pass on that on and picked a recipe and bought the ingredients and will try it tomorrow (not that I didn’t manage to spend a reasonable amount of time reading about slow cookers and recipes on the net before I got that far). Not sure what would inspire me to exercise at this point other than Johnny Depp wanting to take me tangoing or something, I think it’s just going to have to be grit my teeth and do it until my endorphins come out of hibernation.

Endorphins which I know will help the brain chill out. Vicious circle and all that. Then again, maybe I’ll wake up tomorrow and everything will feel do-able again thanks to the birthday fairies. But until then, I’ll be the one in the corner trying the deep breathing thing.

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