Brain fog

It could be due to a string of minor physical ailments – blurred vision, poor sleep, lots of coughing and sniffling, leaving me tired all the time. Or the stress of making the final decisions about where and how to downsize and where we’ll live as we seem likely to need more and more support in our last years. Or (and this is, of course, the one my mind always goes to: You’re seventy-five! You’re past it! You’ll never write again!)


Immediately after finishing Shadow of the Crescent I was all excited about starting a third Din Eidyn Regency fantasy, but after two months something happened. It’s as if somebody bored a hole in my brain and all the energy drained out. I have hardly written anything since January. I’m barely even poking at the Turkish lessons which I was enjoying so much last year. And I’m spending so much time napping that the cat is envious.

I can still read, though, so if anybody wants some copyediting/proofreading done, email me at margaret ball seven at gmail dot com.

18 thoughts on “Brain fog

  1. (1) see your doctor to check Iron and Thyroid, possibly a sleep apnea test.
    (2) What OTC things are you taking? Antihistamines & decongestants turn off the words, for me.
    (3) Diet. Too many carbs, diet soft drinks . . .

    Good Luck! Sometimes I never figure it out. But (cross fingers) it always comes back.

  2. I feel that. My current Work in (not) Progress has been in slow motion since late last year.

    What I finally realized was I was having trouble with the characters. I’ve ended up listening to a bunch of talks on the enneatype personality models by this guy:

    And it has been helping unstuck the log jam, slowly.

    Basic problem is the male lead is a compliant personality type (Type 9w1 peacemaker/dreamer, survival type). He just wants to be left alone. And getting into that headspace, especially in the beginning when he is intentionally asleep is hard.

    And on the flip side the female lead is this incredibly agressive high energy character (8w7, social) who will grab any scene she’s in by the scruff of the neck and drag it where she wants it to go. But most of her stuff happens in the second half of the story, so first I have to get through Mr Inertia to get there.

    I’m probably going to have to just plough through until contact then rewrite the first third of the book so it doesn’t kill the reader.

    1. Always be wary when your character has a negative motivation — that is, a motive to NOT do something. Needs to be made positive somehow.

      1. In this case, it is more his temptation than his motivation. It’s just at the start he is so deep in it that it’s hard to get any cracks through that shield to a real motivation.

      2. Thought more about it, and you’re right part of the problem has been he is acting from a negative goal. Found a fix for that, that puts him in conflict with the negative motivation too. Sure he suspects he’s going crazy, but that just adds to the fun. 🙂

  3. I still have some brain fog and memory issues, but it’s getting better. Though I can trace mine back to the chemo/anesthesia.

    One thing I’ve noticed is that my motivation has crashed since the cancer diagnosis and hasn’t come back. I really just don’t want to do anything (even reading) that requires any amount of energy other than that which absolutely needs to be done. This is starting to become a problem as things are piling up around the house and my wife has been dealing with her own issues.

    Best of luck with your own issues. Hopefully it’s something easy to rectify.

    1. My chemo-induced brain fog has been slowly rolling back, just in time for my family-based worries about Alzheimers to start waving their hands in glee. And here I thought major weight loss would pay the piper adequately. Sigh…

      It’s not the writing I’m worried about per se — it’s the ability to cope with all the other things I used to be able to sail through… Can’t track book sales? No problem — make a complicated pivot table spreadsheet to handle it! Ah, how did I put that together again? What did I do to make sense of Bibliolabs sales “reports”? Exactly how do I turn Quicken into something more useful now that Quickbooks has hosed the non-subscriber market? What happened to that tool on my website? Etc., etc., etc.

      I had never before realized how various parts of the brain worked behind the scenes, but now that short term memory seems to be imperiled it’s become all too obvious exactly what part it plays — the ability to hold two or many mental objects in a cluster without some of them escaping through the new sieve. If I don’t write something down, it’s gone. I can still burrow down into all-things-writing, but items in my surface attention are too erodable by distraction for less important tasks.

      Like everything else, what choice do we have, eh? I can only hope it’s stable at this level (family history notwithstanding). I have lots of books to write…

      1. That’s interesting. I hadn’t thought about short-term memory issues, but they could certainly be part of the mix. Inability to keep the details of a particular scene in mind while simultaneously being aware of how it fits into the story arc… yeah, that certainly makes things harder.

  4. Long distance hugs. Wish I could do more.

    I might have a Little Mermaid retelling that needs copyediting soon. I still need to hear from the last beta reader, but if that comes back soon, I’ll send it along.

  5. Minor physical ailments and major life decisions mixed together, and you can’t write? A dreadful feeling, but it seems very understandable from the outside. I’m pretty sure your writing will come roaring back when one or the other of those stressors is gone. I hope it’s not wrong to point out that you were struggling like this before you suddenly finished writing Shadow of the Crescent. So take heart.

  6. Take care. I have been a fan of yours for several decades. I don’t even remember what the first work of yours was that I read.

  7. There are some foods that are high in energy but not high in calories (and not fast glucose), and that might help. Or maybe stuff you eat when you are under the weather, like broth or soup.

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