Getting Out of My Own Head
I’m a Taurus. If you believe in astrology that’s going to explain everything I’m about to write very succinctly. I have a great deal of trouble letting go of things that happen. I go over them again and again in my head. Sometimes it’s a good thing, but more often than not, it’s something that I found disturbing.
I don’t know why I hang onto things that bothered me when they were happening because I simply get annoyed all over again, and again, and again. Some people go over things that happened and come up with that witty/sarcastic/perfect thing they should have said in the moment. I almost envy people who do that. I don’t. I simply go over and over exactly what happened.
As I analyze it and relive it, I do try to look for ways I can learn from the experience. Ways I can attempt never to get into such a situation again. I don’t know if I’ll be successful at that and sometimes the situation is one that I pray I’ll never get into again (such as when I broke both of my wrists – that one replayed in my mind for weeks!)
But when the event is something that I did have some control over, at first I tend to beat myself up over it (if my husband doesn’t get there first and then I don’t need to do that because it’s been done. Side note: I love my husband very much and I hate it more than anything when he’s right!). After that I move into the ‘what can I learn from this’ phase. And then it just becomes stupid and monotonous because my mind just won’t let go way beyond when it should have.
Immediately after something annoying like this, the only way I can get my thoughts onto a different track is by writing. By getting out of my own head.
When I write, I become the POV character. I speak their words (on paper, not actually out loud). I live their life. And happily when I become that character I’m no longer me, I’m them, and therefore this annoying, horrible, no good thing that happened to me did not happen to them so I can’t think of it. I’ve got to think of whatever is happening to them at that moment in the story.
Getting out of my own head can be such a wonderful, relaxing thing to do. Dealing with someone else’s problems (albeit of my own making) is so much easier than dealing with my own. And because I write historical novels, I get to time-travel as well (sometimes I even put on Mozart, Schubert, and Beethoven, some of the most popular musicians of the Regency period).
Sadly, once I’m back to being me in my own head, the thoughts return, but they are usually less powerful. So all this is to say that even when you don’t think you can write because something has happened and you’re stewing over it (like I do), try anyway. Get out of your head and into your character’s—you don’t know, maybe it will help or maybe it will just be a brief respite. In any case, it will make you feel better and you’ll get your work done.