Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I'm weird when I'm writing

My goal this year is to try not to be so odd.

Let me explain. When I'm deep in a writing project, working out the details of a story can be all-consuming. So much so that tasks in the life outside my head get sacrificed. Like errands. And housework. Feeding the dog. And, once, I'm ashamed to admit, picking up the kids. I've stepped into traffic because I was writing dialogue in my thoughts. I've looked directly at people I recognize on the street and never have it register because a plot point was taking up all the space in my brain. Compartmentalizing is not my strong point.

And when I'm forced to interact with anyone after hours of writing? Forget about it. I'm sure there's a sizable contingency of moms in my daughter's class who think I'm brain addled. Conversations frequently go like this:

Normal person: "Hi, Wendy. What's going on?"

Me: (Blank stare.) I really either need to kill that character off or give him more of a purpose. I like him, though. Okay. I'll go with purpose. Wait, someone's giving me a funny look. Wake up. "Oh. What? Hi."

NP: "Um. I said, 'What's going on?' You know. 'How are you?'"

Me: "Yes. Sorry. Er, I'm okay." But what can he do? That's like a whole other subplot, and I'm probably long on subplots anyway. Hello? Why is she still looking at me? I guess I need to say something. "Oh. And how've you been?"

NP: "Fine." (Looks around for polite escape.)

This is not good.

So. I'm focusing on interpersonal skills this fall. You know, that talent that used to come so easily? I was the girl in school who had to be moved all around the classroom for chatting. A teacher once even remarked, "I'd move you next to the wall, but you'd probably talk to that, too."

I joined a writing group (in person!) I'm becoming more involved in community service (with people!) I signed up as a tour guide at my kids' school (45 whole minutes of talking per tour!)

Hopefully I can become a people-person again. At least, when I need to be.

How about you? Do you often live inside your head?


June Kramin said...

I so love you for this post!
*chants* I'm not alone... I'm not alone...

Anonymous said...

hahahaha this is great.

Ladybird World Mother said...

Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes!! Awful, isn't it, when thoughts take over... glad I'm not the only one. xx

Travis Erwin said...

Oh yeah. That is where the action in my life takes place.

WendyCinNYC said...

Glad to hear I'm not alone in my antisocial behavior!

Jennifer Walkup said...

OMG - Love this post. I do the same things! Add to the writer fuzz brain the fact that I have two toddlers and my brain is never ever ever sane. Never.

Sage Ravenwood said...

I've perfected a look. Paul comes home sees that look and steers clear, maybe offers to go for chinese for dinner.

The worst is talking, actually talking about my characters to someone as if they're real. Apparently I don't have that stop gate from brain to mouth. (Hugs)Indigo

Anonymous said...

OMG, I love this post. This is me totally. I sometimes have whole conversations with people without actually processing a word. That can be dangerous, I've discovered.

Melanie Hooyenga said...

This post made me laugh because you totally do not strike me as a person who has social difficulties. :)

Good luck immersing yourself back in the world of real people.

Chandler Craig said...

Oh Wendy, having met you I know you are a wonderful people person! But I totally understand the perils of "book brain." My downfall while deep in a book is the refrigerator v. freezer. I am always distracted when I'm seriously seriously writing and put like my phone in the fridge. Or I put my ice cream in the fridge. Ugh!

L.C. Gant said...

Hmm? What? Oh, sorry... I missed that question at the end because I was busy plotting for my NaNoWriMo novel. Trying to figure out whether I want my two MCs to fall in love or just be friends.

So yeah, I totally have this problem, too ;-)

Allie said...

I tried to go clothes shopping last week while my head was in the middle of story stuff. I was dropping hangers, stammering at sales people - so embarrassing. I just couldn't get out of my head. You are so not alone in this!

Rebecca Laffar-Smith said...

lol I'm sure the parents at my kids school think I'm a total snob because I don't even attempt to socialize with them. I'm usually happily absorbed in the thoughts of my books and characters.

The afternoon school run is at an inconvenient time of day. The morning run is one thing; I'm actually awake and still conscious of the world then. But, after dropping kids to school I go home and settle into work. The early hours are business related and after lunch I get some writing done which means come 3pm I'm well into "book brain" mode.

The kids are used to this mindless bot mother picking them up at school in silence and miles away in the wondrous world of her stories. But the school parents must think I'm either a total ditz, a snob, or an antisocial git.

You're not alone, Wendy. And I say, who needs to be social anyway. ;-) I have my characters, they're the best friends ever!