Potters, painters and photographers all have tangible elements to work with. Writers work in a sphere of the unseen. What an ethereal realm we are engaged in…weaving the fabric of our stories from little more than imagination and inspiration. Sometimes I feel like one of the weavers from ‘the emperor’s new clothes’, spinning my story from invisible thread and inviting my readers to believe in the fantasy I’ve created. Or, perish the thought, am I the foolish king, unfit for this position?
What elements compose the substance of this elusive calling? Just what are the raw materials of our craft? As you might have already noticed, the only visible materials we have are pen and paper. It’s our brains that do all the heavy lifting. Here’s a look inside the brain of a writer at work.
What else goes on inside a writer’s mind?
- A writer is abnormally consumed by the desire of putting ideas into words. Subcategories can include the love of actually writing with pen on paper (even if you use a laptop most of the time), scribbling notes about the most inkling-est of ideas in the most unlikely of places (think showers); and a penchant for writing implements, which can often lead to pen fetishes and petty thievery.
- A writer will have an overactive right brain that gets really cranky if it kept too long in the box of left brain constraints of making a living.
- A writer is often overly mental — not able to shut the internal dialogue off. Writing creates an outlet to focus all that cerebral energy and direct it into something hopefully positive, entertaining and inspiring.
- A writer must have an overactive imagination which stops just short of getting hopelessly lost and going stark raving mad. A healthy dose of reality checks with the outside world is necessary to stay sane.
When in a highly creative state I envision my brain neurons exploding like a bunch of fireworks. In my never-ending thirst for knowledge, Google turned up a new word for me to ponder in searching exploding brain synapses. Synaptogenesis.
Since I’m no neurosurgeon I can only report my Wikipedia find on this matter. “Synaptogenesis is the formation of synapses between neurons in the nervous system. Although it occurs throughout a healthy person’s lifespan, an explosion of synapse formation occurs during early brain development, known as exuberant synaptogenesis.
Exuberant. I love that word. I’ll take my overactive, exuberant brain as a good sign.