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This Writing Life: Not Enough Room in my Head

15 March, 2012

I said in my last post that I’d been neglecting the blog a bit in the last week or so, and the more I think about it, the more I realise there was an actual reason for that, other than sheer laziness. You see, I’ve been steadily working on a new novel, writing about 2000 words a day (the total count is now at 30k, written in less than a month). This is a phenomenal pace for me, faster even than my writing speed during NaNoWriMo. This novel is going to be finished amazingly quickly – but as a consequence, other forms of writing are slipping behind. That means less blogging, less short story writing, even less submitting of short stories to potential markets.

I’ve noticed the same thing in my approach to social media. I recently went back to Twitter, and stopped keeping up with my reading of other people’s blogs as a result (and I was so nearly caught up!). When I’m listening to a lot of writing-related podcasts, I almost entirely stop watching anime and other TV series.

This is not an issue of time. I could just about write 2000 words, submit a short story, tweet, read a few blog posts, watch a single anime episode and listen to a single podcast in a day (before I go to the ‘day job’, of course). Many of these are relaxing activities, too, and I combine them with other things (watching anime whilst on the exercise bike, listening to podcasts whilst knitting), so it’s not a matter of stress either. Instead, I feel as if I simply don’t have enough room in my head.

It’s a strange feeling, and one I can’t exactly explain. It’s as if I only have a certain amount of concentration to devote to social media, or to writing new words – and when it’s been used up on one activity, it’s gone entirely for that day. No reading of blogs if I’ve been looking at Twitter – my head just can’t take it.

I’ve considered a few strategies for managing my time and my apparently limited concentration. Write fewer words per project each day? Spend a few minutes less on Twitter and read some blogs instead? Watch anime one day and listen to podcasts the next? Eat/sleep/exercise differently to improve my concentration? None of these seems entirely satisfactory, so I’m still working on an answer. For now, I can only work on one thing at once, and hope I can find enough brain power in the day to get everything done!

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