I’ve been blogging all my life, only I didn’t know it.
In my head.
I’ve been writing in my head since I can remember. Essays, stories, songs, thoughts, ideas, how to, inspiration, snippets of life, you name it, it’s written in my head.
Writing in my head sometimes is a curse. It never shuts off. It never stops. I just want my brain to be quiet for a little while. Can I have some peace? No. It doesn’t seem so.
In the shower, driving home, cooking, making the bed, shoveling horse manure, putting away freight, you name it, doesn’t matter what I’m doing, the words always come. Then I have to stop what I’m doing and go write them down so I don’t forget them. If stopping and writing isn’t convenient, which most times it isn’t, I have to try and memorize the words. Often I just let them go. If I remember the words later great, if not, more will come. They may not be exactly the same, but I assure you, they will come.
The thing of it is, though, this writing – the writing in the head – is the best writing. The most amazing sentences and paragraphs happen here. They happen in the head. But as soon as paper and pen or computer and keyboard show up, the greatest words and sentences flit away. How much great writing have I lost? Then again, maybe it wasn’t great. It may have only sounded right because I knew I couldn’t sit down and write it just yet. I didn’t have to make it perfect.
The hardest part about writing in my head is if I’m working on a real writing project. That is when the words in my head are the worst. I will wake up in the middle of the night with the perfect sentence tapping me on the brain. Wakey Wakey. Here I am. Catch me if you can.
I like sleep. I like it a lot. I don’t want to wake up enough to turn on the light and jot down a few words. Do I chase the words? Do I let them go? Do I get up? And write? It’s a toss up. If I don’t get up, I might remember the sentence in the morning, but I might not. Often the words won’t let me fall asleep at all. My mind won’t stop making sentences. They just keep coming.
At some point, I have to ignore them and fall into an exhausted sleep filled with weird dreams. I won’t even try to describe the dreams, for one, I can’t. I don’t remember most of them. They are just odd impressions of people, places, animals, buildings, shapes, or feelings that I can’t identify. A lot of stuff was going on in those dreams. I don’t know any of it. But I feel it.
Go away little words!
The perfect sentence or passage doesn’t only wait for sleep. The words taunt me in the car too. This is their favorite place to appear. My drive to work, depending on conditions, is anywhere from twenty minutes to a half hour, sometimes more. I live in the country. It’s quiet. It’s beautiful. Little traffic. The words and sentences love this time with me, and I love the time with them. I sincerely do. But how do I keep them? Should I keep them? Or do I let them melt away, knowing more will come?
Friends have suggested I use some kind of dictation device and speak the words out loud. I resist this idea vehemently. It doesn’t feel right. I like to type the words or jot them down on little pieces of paper that are cluttered around everywhere. Maybe dictation is a good idea. But stubborn me doesn’t like it. I feel that trying to speak the words and record them would inhibit their natural flow. And as soon as the device comes on, I clam up. I don’t know what to say.
Pulling over on the side of the road to write a few sentences, however, doesn’t always work either. I’m usually cutting it close and don’t have time to stop, and then I get stuck behind a tractor, or I’m driving in snow or ice. When the ice is slick, and your hands are gripping the wheel, when one wrong shift of a tire can send you spinning into the ditch, you don’t pull over for frivolous things such as transferring words from head to paper.
Words in my head.
But the words, the words swirl around in my head, and the writing always sounds better there. I want to capture them exactly as they are. Once I get home where I can actually sit at the computer and write, then the words hang back and hide. They act all shy and don’t want to flow. Little teasers. But I can coax them out again, if I’m not too tired, if I try, if I’m determined to find them. Sometimes the little buggers hide pretty good, though, and I can’t find them. So I turn off the computer and slip happily under the covers and close my tired eyes. I’m ready for a good night’s sleep.
But wait! Words! Sentences. Paragraphs. Passages. Here they are, all peeking at me and poking at me. Write us! Write us! Write us! Turds. Why can’t they leave me alone? I tell them to let me sleep and I’ll write them later. If they were so all fired worried about getting written, they should have shown their little faces earlier when I was ready to write them. But they keep me awake, and I let them run. I have no choice. They are not going away. I’ll drift off eventually while they continue to dance around in my head.
Some days work is long and demanding. No energy is left for writing. I have a mantra. “Every day if only a sentence.” So on those long tiring days when all energy, emotional and physical, is spent, I let the one sentence have it’s say. Sometimes, though, more sentences demand to be written, and that’s good, although sleep is delayed, and dragging out of bed in the morning is all the more difficult.