Sunday, January 25, 2009

If I Only Had a Brain…

“If I only had a brain…” sung by The Scarecrow, from the movie The Wizard of Oz, original story by L. Frank Baum

Today I woke up with brain fog. It’s those lovely hormonal shifts that leave me drained and sleepy. The urge to consume too much caffeine (leading to headaches and trembling limbs) strikes and my ability to focus dwindles. If there were ever a day when I could avoid writing, this is it.

And naturally, I can’t.

My manuscript is due to the editor tomorrow and there are a few chapters left to read and revise. My essay is due to be posted today so despite the urge to crawl back under the covers, I’m pounding the keys. What to do when the outside world or inner dilemmas interfere?

There’s only one solution. Keep writing. It may not seem like much at first, but as you venture forward on your quest, the answers will appear. Better to write five pages and toss out four, then write no pages at all.

“The road to the Emerald City is paved with yellow brick.” --L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

We yearn to venture into the magic glittering world of our imagination. How many times have I stared at my blank computer screen, wondering how other writers come up with such amazing tales. Yet no matter how much I wish I were a wonderful wizard, seems that my job description is more like a brick-layer. *grin* One brick… er… word at a time is how I write. No wave of my hand nor magical incantations has produced a single page.

Dang it.

Writing takes time, work, and focus. However, the magic is there. While sometimes it feels as if I’m plodding along, laying those bricks and worrying that my prose is boring and mundane, the magic is snuggled deep within the words. Often, when I go back over the previous day’s work I’m astounded and pleased. How can this be? Where did this writing come from? It’s as if a wizard snuck in while I was busy working on the road. How cool is that?

Even those days when I pore over the words written previously and despair over my tendency to use the same word three times in one paragraph, *snort* I have a distinct advantage over those who don’t write. Those bricks are laid out, and now with a bit of rearranging, a substitution here and there, and voila! I’m back on track to the Emerald City.

“I can’t give you a brain, but I can give you a diploma.” --L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

In the movie version from which the above quote is plucked, the Wizard admits to the Scarecrow that he has no magic. Nothing more than a stage magician who landed in a magical world, the Wizard realizes two things.

One, he alone is “mundane” while those around him possess a magic he can only dream of. More importantly, the truest magic lies within our beliefs. By offering the Scarecrow a diploma, he gives the straw-man an opportunity to believe in his ability to think. Pretty cool, eh?

Writers often feel despair, trapped within a land where others seem to work magic. Yet we too have the same power the Wonderful Wizard holds. We can have the opportunity to make others believe in our magical powers, and it all starts with the belief in our ability to create wondrous worlds.

“Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.” --L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Optimism is our guiding light. As Daniel Reardon says, “In the long run the pessimist may be proved right, but the optimist has a better time on the trip.” So, if you have your own version of Brain Fog, whether because the outside world is encroaching or your inner world is crumbling, remember to keep breathing.

Breathe in Hope and release fear…

Today I felt so befuddled, I seriously doubted my ability to compose a coherent sentence. Searching through past essays, and considering whether a “re-run” would be necessary, my eyes spied one titled, “Just Do It.” Hmmm… I considered my past advice while preparing a second cup of tea.

Immediately, the sing-song voice of the movie version of the Scarecrow popped into my head. I rushed back to my computer and typed in the beginning of this essay.

“I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” --L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

So here’s our focus for the week:

Just do it (even on those days when we don’t have a brain).

Remember… Our reality reflects our beliefs—We Are Writers!

Keep breathing through the fear.

Listen to your heart, have the courage of a lion, and somehow, someway, you’ll find your own magic…

Let’s set some goals!

I’m wrapping up my last edits before I turn in my manuscript to my editor. *happy dance* Then I have four goals. My bio and blurb for my October release. Pull up my current WIP and get in at least ten new pages. Begin re-read of previous book to consider possible revision and submittal. And of course, my weekly essay.


Bio and blurb.
Ten Pages.
Begin Re-read.
New Essay.

How’s about you?

Let’s get writing!

Chiron O’Keefe

Writing Motivation. A new essay every week.



Linda LaRoque said...

Hi Chiron,

I loved the quotes from The Wizard of Oz. You have such a talent for finding good ones and making them work in your essays.

I hope your fog has lifted and you get those edits done!


Miss Mae said...

Chiron, I am feeling very UNmotivated today...I don't know where you get your strength, but mine has fled...LOL..

Bonnie Ammon said...

Chiron...I`m so impressed by your writing. It`s so motivational in itself plus it makes a person want to sit down and hunt for that "magic" something in themselves just like you. To perservere and come out ahead of the game with your head held high for such a wonderful masterpiece TO grow from a "brain fog". Congratulations my go get them girl...always behind you...SMILES

Misty Evans said...

Chiron, YOU are the magic behind the words, whether you're writing an essay for this blog or a story for all of us starved for something fun and happy. Good luck on the edits and the rest of your goals. The magic is there, I can read it!


Chiron said...

Bless you, Misty! I appreciate your kind words. *huge SMILE*

Thanks so much!!

Smiles and hugs,

Chiron said...


You are such a treasure! Thanks for stopping by and adding such a lovely comment. You really have a way with words, you writer you!

Smiles and hugs,

Chiron said...

Oh, Miss Mae,

It happens. Sometimes we just feel BLAH... You hang in there. When I can't focus on my work I pour my heart out into a journal.

If you need an extra hug, zap me anytime. Okay?

Smiles and supportive hugs,

Chiron said...

Hello Linda!

Thanks so much! The quotes are always such an inspiration to me. Like the sweet fragrance of daffodils in the spring...

Yes, the fog finally lifted and I did get the edits AND my dreaded spell-check. *laughs* Today I managed to do some re-reading of my WIP. Seven chapters with light revisions. Woo-hoo!!

Thanks, my friend, for your support.

Smiles and hugs,

Sandy said...

Just what I needed, Chiron. I also have some edits to do for a chapter in my wip.


Stacey Joy Netzel said...

Chiron, if this is you with brain fog, I can't wait to see what you come up with when the sun is shining on your yellow brick road!

Great piece!

Chiron said...

Sandy, thanks for stopping by!

Good luck with those edits!

Smiles and hugs,

Chiron said...

Stacey, what a lovely thing to hear! *blush* You're very kind...

Thanks so much!

Smiles and hugs,

Angela Guillaume said...

Chiron - you are a force of nature! And I won't merely say "congrats" for getting your first story published - I will also say that I'm sure it's no stroke of luck. You have it in you, girl - and I'm proud to be a fellow RBA!

Chiron said...

Thanks so much, Angela!!