I am always thinking about writing. Whether I am in the garden, playing video games, or on the phone with a friend. Just about everything sparkles with the beginning of a story when I think about it. Whether a long tale, or a short one. Poems sprout up among the dirt and the weeds as I prepare the earth for planting. Butterflies pull trails of words behind them as they dip and hover through my yard. Stories dance and squeal as they grasp at the heels of my romping dogs. Beginnings float up into the air through the evaporation over my saucepan. Endings whisper in the sunsets and the melting snow.
Everything speaks to me, and it is both a welcome experience as well as a curse. It’s hard to just “be” when your brain is constantly running. When I dream, my dreams are often vivid, and I will wake with a new character or setting and nothing to do with it just yet. Meditation has always been a novelty to me. To sit and think of absolutely nothing would be impossible, although I admire those who can accomplish that level of inner-peace.
Always thinking about writing doesn’t mean that I can just start writing these thoughts down and creating millions of stories. If you have ever seen Sherlock, you will have heard of his “Mind Palace”. I’ve got one of those, but not quite like his. I do not have the ability to store information on multiple subjects in folders and boxes in my head. I can just keep notes and a few files in my mind for long periods of time and I pull them up when the file starts to get full enough to begin to shape a story. Those files can stay in there for years. For example, I have been internally building a book that I would like to write for about 2-3 years. I’ll write it eventually, but it’s not quite there yet. I still need to smooth some things out. I am a planner, I cannot start writing without having worked out certain problems.
This is my process. Think, ponder, decide, change, and eventually write. I have a decent memory, so it’s not hard for me to retrieve files stored in my head. When I come up with a new angle or change, I just make a note of it and it’s simple for me to pull it up later and review it. I know that a lot of you write constantly, but for me, the story starts becoming something long before there is any concrete evidence of its existence. That’s why I don’t set writing goals for myself. If I write before I am ready, it will be garbage and I will discard it without hesitation.
What about you? What is your process? Do you have a “Mind Palace”? What is your brain like?
PS: I highly recommend the Sherlock mini-series. It’s brilliantly written, the actors are highly skilled, and it will get your brain working.