Tuesday, July 23, 2013


I’m on vacation. The kids are enjoying the lake. I’ve gone horse-back riding; I’ve played golf (with my limited skills) and I’ve had a great time relaxing with my family. But no matter what I do, I find some way to fit my writing into each activity.

This is not something I’ve done intentionally. I’ve even tried to take a real break from writing but all I do is end up thinking about it obsessively. No matter how I try not to do it, I find myself comparing the action in a movie to the action in one of my WIP’s. Or I find myself thinking about one of my characters and how they would hate or enjoy an activity I might be engaged in.

Do these obsessive thoughts make me crazy? I don’t think so. I think it’s probably normal for writers. It’s difficult to suddenly drop a character that’s been with you for years because you want to “do something else for a while.” It almost seems selfish.  Why can’t they tag along, too? Maybe you’ll learn something new about your character that helps with your story.

I’m not saying that you have to be in writer mode 24/7 but if you can go away on vacation and not think about any of your characters, one of your WIP’s, or some aspect of your writing maybe you’re not passionate enough about it. This is my opinion, of course, but it seems the more I write and read – the more I think about these things when I am engaged in activities that have seemingly nothing to do with them.

This has been a good thing: It forces me to see the world differently. I see a potential story-line in the guy in the cabin beside ours, leaning over the railing staring off into space. I see a potential story in the way my oldest daughter’s eyes water and discolor when she comes back from the lake. I watch people as they react to the world around them. I store these reactions for later use when I try to write as descriptively as I can. These are good things.

However, this obsessiveness can have its draw backs. The one area that I find the drawback is my ability to quiet my thoughts and fall asleep. It takes me forever. My brain suddenly goes into rewind and I’m picking over my day and possibly the next… I never fall to sleep immediately unless I’m sick. I’ve been this way so long, it almost seems wrong to count it as a negative. I’m used to it now.

Does your writer brain kick in when you’re doing other activities? Do you find this distracting?



Have a great day. Read a book and laugh


  1. My writing brain is usually ticking over somewhere under the surface, firing off inspiration at the most inconvenient times - in the shower or bath (no notepad or pen to hand), gardening (ditto) and just as I drop off to sleep (notepad, pen but sleeping body). 'tis a curse and a gift. I wouldn't have it any other way.

  2. All the time! I think it's normal. Whenever my husband and I watch movies together, I'll dissect the plot and figure out the ending pretty early on and he's amazed by it. I tell him it's a writer thing. ;)

  3. I can definitely relate, Dawn! Recently, I finished writing the last book in my four-book series and I told myself that I was going to take a vacation from writing for a while. Did that happen? NOPE! I immediately started planning and researching my next piece, as well as editing all of my short stories. I just can't turn off my writing switch!

    I think it's normal for writers. We are obsessive about writing, even when we aren't writing. Some would call it a curse, but I believe it is a blessing. :)

    I also have the same problem as you with going to sleep. It always takes me two hours to fall asleep because my mind is always focused on one of my many stories, but I'm used to it, too. :)


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