Noises in My Head

I’ve been struggling with my writing for the past few months. Every time I sit down to write, my brain freezes up. I stare at the white space and that annoying, flickering cursor, just praying that just an ounce of inspiration will appear out of thin air.

It’s not like there’s nothing going on in my head–quite the opposite. There’s too much going on up there. Ever since I finished the last round of edits on Dividing Spirits, I’ve been contemplating the next story. I have at least four in my head screaming for attention, while there’s like 20 others in the background adding to the chaos.

Everytime I think I’ve picked one, I sit down at the computer and pull out the appropriate notes. I’ll situate my diet soda and snacks, do a quick run down of the social networks, and then pull up that blank page. And…nothing. I try to focus on one story, and the others start pounding on the doors in my head.

My friend, Frankie, described the “writing place” in her mind as a conference room with different doors. When she sits down to write on a particular story, she allows the characters from the right door into the conference room to tell their story. I couldn’t really picture that when she first told me–then again, at the time I didn’t have the problem I’m having now. Now, I totally get it. I’m in the conference room with Cynthia, trying to figure out how she’s going to start over all by herself in a new town, and then Cortesia starts pounding on the door screaming about the Nephilim, Ninevah tries to be polite, but insists that the demons are trying to find the Lucifer’s Eye, Ally whines about being chosen as Elohim’s prophetess, and Jules moans about hiding in a run-down motel from the government. Two fantasies, two supernatural thrillers, and one comtemporary suspense. These aren’t even all in the same genre, people!

My mind is a jumbled mess, and I fear that I won’t be able to write anything else with all the chaos. I’ve read up on how author’s choose which novel ideas they run with–I’ve tried various techniques, but nothing seems to work. I know I need to be sensitive to God’s timing, too, and this could just be an “in between” time. Maybe I need to focus on other aspects of writing–learning the craft, expanding my horizsons, work on my blog or articles for magazines.

Maybe I just need a few more minutes staring at the white space.

About Ralene Burke

Whether she’s wielding a fantasy writer’s pen, a freelance editor’s sword, or a social media wand, Ralene Burke always has her head in some dreamer’s world. And her goal is to make it SHINE! She has worked for a variety of groups, including Realm Makers, The Christian PEN, Kentucky Christian Writers Conference, and as an editor for a number of freelance clients. Her first novel, Bellanok, is being published as a 4-part serial! When her head’s not in the publishing world, she is wife to a veteran and homeschooling mama to their three kids. Her Pinterest board would have you believe she is a master chef, excellent seamstress, and all around crafty diva. If she only had the time . . .

13 comments on “Noises in My Head

  1. Love the conference room concept! Enjoyed this post a great deal as I have “enjoyed” the same problem. All those voices!!! Sometimes I just stand up from the desk and shout “STOP! Everyone OFF! Now, form a line…no, young Mr Hyde, you must go to the back of the line. Sonnet practice is first today.” Then in all that sullen quiet, I find asking God to be line monitor helps immensely! Best of luck! I really enjoy the posts on this forum. My Juniper Tree friend Tymothy got me started reading here!
    Blessed be!

  2. That’s a tough one, Ralene. I guess I’d say to write whichever you’re most excited about. If other stories come to mind, jot down the ideas as notes, but try and keep the fiction to the main project. Some people work well with multiple projects; I’m okay if they are short fiction, but I only want one novel to worry about or I’ll become too far removed to remember intricate details and where I was headed. Just a thought.

  3. When I get to many ideas at once to work on any, I write them all down. Everything I have for them gets written down in a notebook to get them out of my head.

    It also protects from forgetting them.

  4. Yeah. The conference room has MORPHED! There are a lot more doors. LOL!

    But there’s a lot of staring into white space. That’s the time when you allow yourself to talk to each of the characters, run them through the scenes THEY need to tell you about, and work to get your brainpan organized. There’s no writing. You don’t need to write that. It’ll come out IN your writing. But you DO need to take the downtime and regroup. You HAVE to.

    I say as the crazy person who writes four books a year. *eye roll*

    • Ooo…pretty white space. Look at all the emptiness-all the potential. Aaaaahhhh, someone help me! The cursur is after me.

      And now back to your regularly scheduled program.

  5. I’m with you! I am really having the same struggle and not really finding any answers. It is very frustrating. Let me know when you hit upon a solutions!

  6. Two pieces of advice from my very first college class called “Master Student”: “Be Here Now” and “Write It Down.”
    As much as possible, make a decision and act on it. Focus only on that one story during your writing time and “be” with it.
    But, if you can’t get the others to shut up, take a minute and “write it down (like Kaleb said).” It will move out of your brain into “safe storage” and free up some space to “Be Here Now” with the story you chose.
    Give it a try for, say, one month. Focus only on one story for one month. If at the end of the month you have more notes for another story, switch to that one and be with it. I’d guess within four months, you’ll know which story is loudest and that’s the one to write.
    Who knows? In four months, you may have written it and be ready to move to story number two. 😉

    • I agree with Robynn. These are both important elements.

      The way I grease the writing wheels is through dialog. What if he said ___ and she said ___, where would it go from there? If you’re more of a plot first-er, you might want to start with an incident. If ___ happened, how would she handle it?

  7. I normally only work on one story at a time, but I agree with Tim and Caleb. Write everything down. It will help you clear your mind, and then you can focus on the story you want to write. That’s what I do when too many thoughts are distracting me – or driving me nuts. Or both.

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