Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.
~ E.L. Doctorow
Does your slow and sludgy brain make you dread sitting down to write? Does staring at a blank page induce cold sweats? Does your focus wander, your attention drifting with every ephemeral impulse?
Have you stopped feeling like a writer?
Writing through the Fog can help.
Before the fog descended, my mind felt crisp, like the brisk and rousing aroma that startles you awake when you catch a whiff of wintergreen. I was often dazzled by the world and its strangeness, forever noticing curious and compelling connections and fleshing them out into poems or essays. My imagination was vast, unhindered, and creativity dripped from my fingers as I wrote. But, when MS entered my life, a sludge began to form inside my brain, a quicksand that threatened to swallow me. Words and ideas would flit above like sparrows, always just out of my reach, while I struggled dully to pull myself from the mud and muck that had me trapped. My thoughts became heavy and sluggish, weighing me down. Concentration and focus seemed like parts of my past that might never return, much like my mental energy, a well I never thought could run dry.
It sometimes seemed as if I’d become a person entirely different from myself, a person whose world never revolved around writing, but somehow, I knew in my bones that I hadn’t really changed. I knew the me that I had always been, the me that I was when I was younger and healthier, was waiting inside. I knew that I still possessed the same creative mind, the same talent, the same skill for stringing words together that I used to take for granted; finding those qualities would just take a bit of work.
So, I resolved to relearn how to write, and eventually, I confirmed my suspicions: writing was still possible – and fulfilling. Writing with brain fog takes intention, planning and discipline. It takes will-power. It takes determination. But most of all, it takes courage.
If concentration and focus seem difficult to grasp, if your mental energy is lacking, if your thoughts are weighing you down, don’t lose hope. Your creative mind, your talent and your skill are just as much a part of you as they ever were. Through my stumbles and struggles, I’ve discovered that we can write through our brain fog. We just have to be clever about it. We have to sneak up on it from behind or edge in from the side. We have to catch it unawares.
How to Use Writing through the Fog
With foggy brains, we tend to require more encouragement than the average writer, and we need approaches and suggestions that are tailored to our specific struggles. That’s where this book comes in. Each idea is inspired by my own blunderings and stumblings through the minefield of brain fog-induced writer’s block. The book is divided into four main sections:
Helpful Attitudes – Because our brains are prone to distraction and forgetfulness, and because finding the right word isn’t as easy as it once was, we must change the way we approach writing, and we must shift how we see our writing selves. This section suggests six ways we can do just that.
Uncovering Inspiration – Though inspiration is everywhere, sometimes the fog feels almost impenetrable, and we simply can’t see through it. For that reason, those of us with brain fog are less likely to experience inspiration as often as we once were – unless we focus on being open and ready. Learn how to become available to inspiration’s possibilities, how to nurture your sense of wonder and how to uncover inspiration when it seems to have disappeared.
Getting Ready to Write – Writing takes more preparation these days, from creating routines to dealing with distractions to planning out plotlines. This section will show you how to get ready to write while anticipating any problems that might arise.
Writing – Discover the methods and techniques that keep a foggy mind focused and producing. From first encountering the blank page to putting down the final word, this section will help you stay on track and create the best writing you possibly can.
Each section is brimming with ideas, suggestions, tricks and exercises to help you reclaim your writing life and is punctuated by witty quotes from authors of various temperaments. At the end is a list of writing activities designed to spur your creativity, hone your focus and get your pen moving on the page.