Santiago Rámon y Cajal described neurons as “mysterious butterflies of the soul, the beating of whose wings might one day, who knows, reveal the secrets of mental life.”
He was writing about the human mind and its mysteries at the same time he was well on the way to discovering that our brain cells are made up of Neurons that can act a bit differently than in Freud’s theories of the human brain. Freud believed that we are driven by desires that can be detected by impulses and underlying expressions of the unconscious. Dreams were a good place for him to look and find impulses. Ramon y Cajal’s studies were before his time. Modern discoveries show us that these neurons bouncing around in our brains aren’t at all predictable – that’s a good thing. It opens up a whole new world of possibilities for us and allows us to dispense with old sayings like ” You can’t Teach an old Dog new Tricks”. ’cause you can, you know.
Writing, You and your Goals.
Everything is Learning. We begin something with great enthusiasm and drive. It feels great as we pile into our work as authors creating new worlds and people that seem to spring from the depths of our souls as living creatures. Then one day, normally a third through the story, we try to work and it doesn’t seem to be like yesterday. Everything is a bit drab and our story seems so far away from our thoughts that getting into the rhythm of it is the main task. Something went wrong in the brain.
[bctt tweet=”Writing Motivation”]
Maybe we chose the wrong story, or the setting is wrong and we don’t believe in it all anymore. A lot of head scratching and note taking later, we see that time has passed and its been three days since we really worked on the story. Oh dear, life’s a bitch at times like this. What-a-do?
To write the story, however long, takes a hell of lot of neurons and energy from our brains. To ride on enthusiasm the whole time is asking a bit too much since enthusiasm never has a plan; it’s a child that rushes into the playground and splashes in the mud shouting and screaming with glee about how marvellous it all is. And then it gets tired and has to go to bed.
And you’re left standing there. Exhausted and bewildered about what was going on. This is where it’s time to make a foolproof plan about how to write your story and actually finish it. Fiendish eh?
You know you should have done this in the first place, but you were sure that all that energy and enthusiasm would carry you through. It was like being on drugs, really good drugs.
Making plans is a rational exercise. It’s locked in with Time and how we perceive the world. Our world-view is our belief system that operates 24/7 and guides us through our days. It makes us act how we do – for good or bad – it’s the inner system of neurons and nerves that cause us to run when we are scared and it’s the map of the mind that we read when we are lost.
This map of the world that we carry around in our heart of hearts is of our own making. We developed it over years of living in this world. We grab at it like a mainstay in a storm and we feel good about it when we do good. It’s the moral compass of the character in your story that makes her act as she does. Those characters you created have beliefs as we do too.
How does this all add up to make a plan?
It’s very tempting to exaggerate when we plan. We over estimate our personal abilities and our perception of the world can be blurred by the fault in our world view.
We believe that we know ourselves and therefore should know what we can and can’t do. The truth is that we tend to leave out the truth when we plan. Who’s going to admit that they are a lazy, comfort loving bum when it comes to planning high achievements? We live in comfort oriented world – of course we like it and of course we will plan comfort and fun into our existence. It’s just that we don’t see it as an issue when we decide to write a book and make a plan where we have to sit at the desk 3-8 hours a day.
Writing a novel is a high achievement plan. It requires discipline and creativity. It’s not for the faint of heart or the couch-potatoes of this world. It’s a task that requires staying power and the ability to change with the job.
The first story is an on the job training programme and the next story is putting what we learned to use, and getting better results. With each sentence that leads to a successful story we learn and therefore change the activity in the brain. The neurons are at work. The plan is internalising and you are becoming a better story teller. The plan? Write a really good story or novel. Simple. Let creativity take over – you concentrate on keeping your butt in the chair and the words flowing. Flowing words are different to thinking words. I’m sure you’ve experienced the difference between thinking about writing and actually writing. The brain is engaged and is making those fingers run like marathon runners when you work. Thinking about writing is like watching T.V. you’re Zapping with the remote control from one channel to the next.
World view or Belief system, whatever we call it we know that we can change it for the better. Make a plan and follow it but be sure that you incorporate yourself into the plan – you and your beliefs about who you are and what you are capable of.