The Infernal Chatter of the Spotted Mind

After watching this wonderful video I came across on a Frog’s (friend through a blog) post, I started to think about how we surround our inner selves with constant chatter and how much of a challenge it is to shut it off.

Point in case. I have sent out requests to various carefully selected review blogs, newsletters, periodically etc. Selected because they’re in some way connected with LGBTQ readers/community, or SF/Fantasy readership/community.

Today the first of them emailed me and said they’d love to read my book, and would I send them my ARC? (Author Reader Copy – usually one proof read away from the published product)

This is how my admittedly adrenaline fueled mind-chatter went from the moment I saw who the email was from …

“At last, someone’s responded. I wonder what took them so long? Well, better open it. What if they say, ‘no thanks’? What will I do then? What if they say ‘send us a copy?’ I think I need a cup of tea before I open this. OK, the kettle’s on, I suppose I should open the email. I mean, what’s the worst thing they could say? They want to read it! This is fantastic. This is terrible. I probably should go clean the toilet before I send the ARC off. Maybe I should read it again before I do. What would be the point of that? It’s a PDF. I can’t change anything anyway. Jeez Widder, you’re a grown-up. Just email the bloody thing off will you!!!”

… And that was merely the warm-up act.

Thankfully I have this inbuilt ‘Whack Self Upside The Head’ button that fairly quickly derails these gerbil-on-a-wheel thought processes, otherwise I’d drive not only myself completely nuts but those around me as well. Mrs Widdershins and the cat are very accommodating of my writerly eccentricities but even they have their limits.

The metaphorical head-whacking worked and I did send the ARC off without, too much, further ado.

Back to my intro wherein I ponder the strange force that is mind-chatter.

It’s a very useful trait in a writer … to a point. Character voices gain depth, scenes can be plotted to their conclusion, etc. But after that it just gets in the way, because sooner or later writer’s gotta write.

If my mind is skittering all over the place chasing moonbeams and lollypops, I won’t get that word count up, or that edit finished, or that ARC sent out.

The real trick is figuring out how to deliberately turn it off – without consciousness altering substances, mostly because they really wreak havoc with the eye to hand to keyboard motor skills.

Thankfully in a previous life (as in prior to naming myself a Writer, not reincarnation) I studied various Shaman meditation techniques, which give me a quick and easy way to shift from a beta state to an alpha, to shift gears so to speak, and allow the creativity of writing to come through, rather than the creativity that can be found in mind chatter.

If all else fails, I make a cup of tea.


I leave the last word to one of my heroes, Alice Walker,  she of ‘The Color Purple’, and so many other wonderful and challenging books.

Doing work you love (writing) and where it can take you.

10 comments on “The Infernal Chatter of the Spotted Mind

  1. clarbojahn says:

    What a beautiful video. So true. We win in writing just because we are our true selves and love doing it. We can be authentic when we write. Be real.
    That’s what sets me free. That’s why I have to write.


  2. Dana says:

    This is a great post! When I write I always feel like I’m more connected to everything and everyone around me, like I’m tapping in to something else. It’s neat to hear other people describe the same thing.


  3. For me, it’s a game of solitaire or find the hidden picture. 🙂


  4. jannatwrites says:

    I think I’d try the tea before the “Whack Self Upside the Head” button 🙂


  5. londonmabel says:

    Oh the chatter. It’s why it takes me 1-2 hours to fall asleep at night, even if I’m tired. (Except when I was on Topomax–then I pretty much never woke up.)

    Just don’t engage in any “How come I haven’t heard from Mabel yet in re my book? Did she hate it and doesn’t know what to say??” Cause it’s taking me a long time to read books these days. Mostly because I’m tending to read 5 at a time! Anyway, I just finished reading another “Frog”‘s book, and so this week finally got into Mortal in earnest.


    • Widdershins says:

      Not engaging … ‘cos I know that to hurry a Mabel is an exercise in futility. Mabel will gets back to me when Mabel is readys.

      Most nights it takes me an hour or so to get to sleep too … must be something in the air!!! … except when I’m in a serious writing mode, then I just take a pencil (pens hate me) and writing pad to bed and resign myself that I will, almost on the hour, every hour, have to write down something vital to the story I’m working on …
      Glad you like the ‘frogs’ concept.


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