Monday, December 1, 2008

Hooray, I have a headache!

No, really. Hooray!

I have a headache. I've had it since Friday. And yes, that's a good thing. I spend a lot of time lying down when I have a headache, not reading or watching TV or even sleeping. Just lying there, not quite asleep. Thinking. Playing scenes in my head. Letting my mind wander.

And that's when my best ideas are born. That's when the magic happens. Revelations occur in random flashes of brilliance that sometimes hurl me from my half-slumber, heart pounding and out of breath with the sure knowledge that this--this is the way I need to go. Forget all the crap I thought I knew about my characters and their stories. I knew nothing. I was a fool. Now I know better.

Saturday around 6 PM, I learned something about the villain in my current WIP that completely invalidates all the plotting I made myself do a couple weeks ago. It also makes every aspect of the story that much more perfect, makes everything fit together with perfect elegance. It was one of those POW! moments when my subconscious kicks in and overrides everything else. And damn, if that isn't almost better than sex.

About ten minutes after 6, another revelation hit me, an epiphany about the nature of my creative process--an amalgam of headaches, parental guilt, and getting things done. Last December, I got my tubes tied. Consequently, I was able to go off the birth control pill. When I did that, I went from having three migraines a month, to one--or none. And my daily word count plummeted. Between being more busy than ever, recently becoming a single parent, and no longer having an excuse to lie around on the couch playing pretend in my head, I hit a creative lull. Lie down? Who has time to lie down? What kind of mother lolls around daydreaming when there's laundry to be folded?

Well, this kind of mother, from now on. As of today, I've scheduled in two mornings of downtime every week for the foreseeable future. Hopefully, that will get my muse back on speaking terms with me, and my wordmeters chugging back along.

And if not, well, at least I'll be well rested. :)


Seeley deBorn said...

Those moments between awake and dreaming really are magical places.

I've found that staring at the countdown on the microwave as my lunch heats up works sometimes too.

You could always have a bath and doze in there...that way you're multitasking and kids are (somewhat, slightly, maybe) less likely to think they can talk to you.

kirsten saell said...

Heh, except then my tub drain leaks through the floor and drips on my bed...

I think daylight hour naps are the answer, actually. Even when I do fall asleep, it's a different kind of sleep--very vivid dreams and a kind of lucid unwakefulness. Plus, I don't feel as much like I'm wasting time as if I'm staring into space...

Caffey said...

Hi Kristen!! Oh that headache was a good one! You just never know what will work for you! Now you have something you can call that is your own unique routine to get your muse going!!! Have a great week! Cathie

Seeley deBorn said...



kirsten saell said...

Sheesh, Seeley. You're such a nag.


Seeley deBorn said...

Do you want a spanking??