Ants in the Pants Syndrome

Thursday January 31, 2013 | By Hieronymus Hawkes | Uncategorized

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Title: Street Tap

Are any of you what I call kinetic writers? I find that I have trouble sitting still for more than ten or fifteen minutes at a stretch, then as soon as I finish a particular passage I have to get up and walk around.  I’ll go down the hall and use the bathroom or look out the window for a minute or just get up and walk around the room for a minute before I sit back down and jump back into the writing. I haven’t figured out yet whether this is slowing me down or helping the neurons to fire. Obviously, there is time lost in all this moving about, but it’s like sitting and writing builds up a static charge and I have to get up and release it. I don’t have a choice.  The charge builds faster if I am doing a more intense part of the story, like somehow the prose are loaded with their own electrical potential and it courses back through the keyboard and into my body as the words flow out…conservation of energy or something.  It causes me to have to get up more frequently when the story is really hopping or getting more spirited.

The Ants-in-the-Pants syndrome.  It’s a good sign for me though, that I am doing impassioned work. Something is clicking in the story and I am on a roll, so I really don’t mind, and the interruption is brief, just a quick burst of energy blown off, like letting your gun barrel cool off after firing several magazine loads. I don’t know any other way, if I am in a place where I can’t get up frequently the charge builds up and creates a buffer of sorts that slows down the words coming out. I have to stop and do something else for a few minutes until the buffer clears.

I’m envious of you people than can sit and churn out a thousand words an hour. Maybe someday I’ll get where I can do that regularly. But I don’t type that well to start with and I have the attention span of a gnat. I’ve hit that baseline a few times, but it’s probably more common to do half that amount.

I’ve also gotten in the practice of writing down ideas and even leaving verbal notes to myself on my iPhone, because I know I’ll forget otherwise and my colander-like brain will drop that nugget of info right out and no matter how hard I try I won’t be able to dredge it up from the recesses of the trash compactor in my head.

In the meantime, I’ll just get a little extra exercise every quarter hour I reckon, and keep churning out words like a turtle after a caterpillar.

Clear Ether!


11 Responses

  1. Good to see you, Richard! I seem to think better when I'm moving, that must be why I get up during scene breaks or when I've hit a point where I'm not sure which direction to go. Thanks for the comment!

  2. I do something similar. Every now and then when I'm doing hardcore writing I gotta get up and move around. For some reason, it helps me focus and process better. It starts to stress me out when I can't move around and do what needs to be done to keep my mind working.

  3. I like to get up and go outside. If it's nice I head to the golf course when I get home I forgot what I was doing and start over. Or maybe that's the, just retired from my other job syndrome.I find it much easier to leave when I am editing, not so much when I am writing.

  4. That sounds like a longer break than I want. I just need to shed the excess energy so I can sit back down and get back at it. Thanks for coming by and leaving a comment!

  5. I have a tendency to get very excited when it seems to me that a song I'm writing is really \”clicking,\” and I express my excitement by compulsively pacing around the room. I see it as a form of harmless celebration and don't worry about it.

  6. When it comes to writing, it seems to depend on whether I've invested to much of my mental energy in my day job. I'm a little ahead of the game when it comes to SHU deadlines, so I have some wiggle room. Thank goodness! Write well! 🙂

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