The Reindeer Games of the Writer’s Brain

As I sit here and compose my last Inkpunks post for 2013, I find myself reflecting on the past year with an uncomfortable mix of contentment and frustration. It was a very rough year, full of personal and professional setbacks.

These things are sharper than they look! (by ChaoticMind75 flickr)

These things are sharper than they look! (by ChaoticMind75 flickr)

In the wee, cold hours of these winter nights, my Writer’s Brain precipitates these frustrations into giant, cruelly-edged failure snowflakes. I see you nodding. You’re familiar with them, too. But wait–what are those shadows lurking in the snowdrifts along the dark treeline?

Oh, the evil Reindeer Games our writer brains play with us.

There were a lot of good things that happened this year, too, but the Writer Brain knows that play; tries to stamp down with its sharp, muddy hooves.

AND YET: a handful of sales (one this week!), completion of the first draft of my novel, some fun experiments with comic scripts, and a steady stream of (nonfiction) freelance writing that presented some interesting new challenges. I attended Rainforest Writers Retreat and had the good fortune to attend Launch Pad Astronomy Workshop this summer, too. All along the way there have been good times with friends and colleagues old and new.

In your face, Writer Brain! Ducks past the razor-sharp antlers of not having enough time to write!

When I tell my friends everything I’ve been up to (especially my non-writer ones) they are impressed with how busy I am! How come I haven’t been able to do more?

Shut Up, Writer Brain! A be-hooved kick sends me reeling into a snowdrift of abandoned drafts!

 As the year draws down, many of us start making lists of all the goals, plans, and resolutions we hope to accomplish in the new year. It’s always been my habit to explicitly write down a list of all the things I’ve done in the previous year (the good things, Writer Brain. I’m on to your plays.)

 This list of things is topped by the things I’m most proud of. The things that have given me the most joy. They don’t all have to be BIG accomplishments, (or necessarily completed) but each will have moved my writing life forward in some way. See my list above. What about you? Name three things you accomplished this year with your writing. I bet you could name five. Ten. Twenty.

A reindeer fires lasers from his glowy nose, but I leap nimbly behind an old, scraggly tree made of previous years’ lists!

Don't let his placid gaze fool you. (Photo Courtesy Classic Media/CBS)

Don’t let his placid gaze fool you. (Photo Courtesy Classic Media/CBS)

I have a lot going on in my life that has nothing to do with writing. We all do. Some days/months/years, it seems like writing takes a back seat to everything else. So I focus on my list of accomplishments (public or in-progress), my huge network of friendly fellow scriveners (that would be all of you reading this), and the close support of family and friends (much gratitude) who give me the space and encouragement to suit up and face those Reindeers and their Ninja Star Snowflakes of Death. Okay. I’ve probably tortured this analogy enough. But make your list. Check it twice.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday full of many words to light your way against the dark. Or at least against that pack of surly reindeer set free by your Writer Brain.

Time to get our game faces back on. 2014 is just around the corner.

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