Come play inside a writer's brain, scary!

Many years ago a dear friend, Pat Kerry, gave me a poem she’d written called Books in My Head. The last lines have stayed with me because they’re so true –  “books in my head will never get read/ unless I get up and write them.” She was talking about those dreamy times straight after waking, when our heads are full of thoughts and ideas.  Unless we get up and write them down somewhere, these precious words are likely to vanish forever. All we’ll remember is that we had a great idea, but not what it was.  Whether you record your ideas on a laptop, tablet, cellphone or a notebook kept by the bedside – and I recommend you keep something handy for this purpose – doesn’t matter as long as you capture your thoughts. You can edit and develop them later. The main thing is to get them down somewhere.  Our brains aren’t wired to make memories out of the thoughts we have in the time between sleep and waking. That’s when the slower brainwave cycles called alpha and theta waves occur and we’re most likely to have great insights and inspirations. Frustrating when you think it’s also when we’re least able to remember them.

There’s another way of looking at the lines from the poem, too. It’s that wanting to write a book, intending to write one and talking about your wonderful ideas to your friends won’t produce one page of words  unless you actually “get up and write them.” It’s probably why so many people dream of writing a book but the majority never actually do. Writing is hard work. And news flash, it doesn’t get easier with practice. As I’ve found writing 25 nonfiction books and over 50 romance novels, you get better at  putting words down in a readable order and seeing where the work can be improved. But every book is a first book. As one would-be writer asked me, “How do you know when you sit down to write, that you can do it?” The answer is, you don’t. You write to find out IF you can do it this time, with these characters, telling this story. When I sat down to write this first blog, I had no idea how it was going to turn out. All writing is a voyage of discovery. That’s the fun part. And it’s the part which keeps me writing even when the going gets tough. We writers are very lucky, we get paid for doing the very thing that got us into trouble as kids, making things up. Like my next book. And this blog. It’s no coincidence that I chose to write my first post about what’s going on in a writer’s brain. My two great loves are human psychology – what makes us tick, and how we turn books in our heads into worlds for readers to come play in. Whether you’re a reader or a writer or both, I hope you’ll come play here again soon.



Comments on: "Books in my head, inside a writer’s brain" (11)

  1. That is one heckuva great first entry into the blogging world. In fact, you eloquently wrote the blog entry in MY head. I just never did that whole writing it down thing. Thanks for doing the hard part.

  2. donicacovey said:

    Excellent first blog!

    I sleep with a macrocassette recorder on the nightstand to record those dreams. Unfortunately many times my words are slurred and unintelligible so it takes quite a bit of slogging to find the kernel of idea buried there.

    Now I just need to get off my tuchus and write!


    • I know you will, Donica. Your slurred words on the recorder remind me of notes I’ve written in the wee small hours, only to find in the morning that I couldn’t read my own handwriting. I was obviously meant to be a doctor LOL

  3. Seems like I don’t have much choice about writing down the story lines that come to me in the night, Valerie. Blabbermouth just won’t shut up until I get up and start typing.

    Very nice start to your blog. I like it already.

    Hugs and all that stuff,

  4. Oh I too know the odd handwritten notes well… *Squints eyes* “I’m sure that says ‘he’ or ‘she’ and those words must be ‘skydiving under pizza sofa’ … oh that is a pretty cactus i have drawn here… or was it meant to be a word?”

    Enjoying the blog and looking forward to reading more!


  5. Darn it…now you’ve inspired me to actually write today. Just when i had decided to lie around and make up stories in my head.

    Great job

  6. Kathi Robb Harris said:

    Darn it…now you’ve inspired me to actually write today. Just when i had decided to lie around and make up stories in my head.

    Great job

    • I’m glad, Kathi. Thinking about writing is always going to be easier than sitting down at the keyboard. But unless you do, we’ll never get to read those “books in your head”. Good writing!

  7. Anita Joy said:

    Valerie, I agree! You have to pick up the pen (or put your fingers on the keyboard) – talking about it won’t get you there…

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