Brain Strain, Best Intentions and “Five Minutes”

 

Yesterday was a testament to the foil of the best-laid plans.

I’d been feverishly at work on the finishing touches to The Camille Chronicles. My rationale: I was THISCLOSE to finishing, then I would be free to concentrate on my commitments to the Clarion Write-A-Thon and Camp NaNoWriMo.  The sooner I finished, the more time I’d have to work on those other two projects.

Yeah, right. Man plans, God [or whatever deity you prefer] laughs.

I worked on tightening up the story, collaborated with my graphic designer on final touches to the cover, and then back to the story.  Then my eyes started getting droopy around 10 p.m., and I was so tired. I’d gotten a decent amount of sleep the night before, but I couldn’t deny that my eyes were starting to burn like they did during final exam times in college. So I told myself that harmless phrase of self-delusion: “I’ll just close my eyes for five minutes.”

I woke up around 3:45 a.m. :/

In retrospect, I should have worked on The Camille Chronicles for a while, then forcibly stop myself and move to the other projects. This is what I’ve been doing for the past few days. But then, I would just continue to string along three unfinished projects instead of focusing to give the attention to finishing one, so I could move on to the others. It’s like the process of getting out of debt: you pay off one bill, then take that money that would normally be used to pay that bill and contribute it to another bill, and keep that cycle going until everything is paid off. In this case, the currency would be time instead of dollars. I didn’t do that for the past few days. I kept paying the minimum balance, if you will, and carried three balances instead of working to get all of them paid off.

This also made me wonder about brain strain. Writing is a very mental exercise, as is anything that requires more thinking than physical labor. I used to get a similar fatigue when I was a full-time editor, poring through manuscripts and advertisements line by line for typographical, grammatical, punctuation, and subject/verb agreement errors. If an athlete can overtax him or herself to the point of straining a muscle, then it stands to reason that I overtaxed my brain to the extent that it was strained. This reminds me of a line from one of my favorite books, Firestarter by Stephen King: “The brain is the muscle that can move the world.”

I will catch up on Clarion and Camp NaNoWriMo this weekend, and I will finish The Camille Chronicles by tomorrow. And I will rest my brain by taking a walk to the farmers’ market later on today. I just have to keep reminding myself that accountability and pushing oneself are one thing; pushing oneself beyond reason is quite another.

Thanks for stopping by.

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