Writers are blessed with hyperactive imaginations.
It is an incredible gift, one that allows readers to dive into our words and immerse themselves in the world we created.
Yet that exact same imagination can sometimes feel like a curse.
Other writers understand this, because we're constantly talking each other off the ledge, all because we have the ability to twist a harmless everyday scenario into something of catastrophic proportions. With record speed. And multiple horrendous outcomes.
It's great that we can use this skill in our writing. To be honest, there isn't a lucrative career path for professional worriers. Raise your hand if you saw a table for that particular job at the latest career fair.
And worrying isn't exactly the most lauded of accomplishments. If it was, we would be called "Worry Wonders". Instead, we're labeled "Worry WARTS". Yeesh.
We're always analyzing, even if we don't mean to. Our brain takes all kinds of detours, preferring the dark corners and crooked paths to the easy, straight-and-narrow one.
For instance, this post was supposed to be something else. I was in the kitchen, checking on the bread pudding in the oven. I was pondering how I'm not a cook, but I really like cookbooks, and I decided to write a post about that.
But somehow my mind meandered into Worryland. You think you're headed for Wonderville, but it's the neighboring town, and the borderline is not clearly delineated. One minute I'm wondering if the oven thermometer is actually set correctly, displaying the right temperature, and the next I'm worrying what will happen if the eggs aren't cooked enough, because I could possibly get sick from undercooked eggs, but if I keep baking it, the bread will get too hard, or burnt, and. . .
The good thing is I got a blog post out of it, a completely unexpected one.
I'm not complaining about the way my writer brain works. Now that I understand how it operates, I actually appreciate its wandering eye and packrat tendencies. It's like Evanelle, the character in Sarah Addison Allen's wonderful book, Garden Spells, who brings people something they'll need down the road. She doesn't know WHY they need it, or WHEN, but she's compelled to bring some oddball thing to them, and of course it's always the perfect solution to their situation later.
My brain does that too. I'm frowning and cogitating and huffing and puffing, fretting over which direction a scene should go, and poof! A great idea bursts open in my brain, and there in the midst of all the smoke and hoopla is just what I needed, something my brain collected and stored while I was busy doing something else.
It may be impossible to determine which came first, the worrying or the writing. They're interconnected, intertwined, evil twins from separate demon mothers. The best part is that writing is a sanctioned form of worrying, and it gives us a chance to wrestle with things that concern or puzzle us, all while we're producing an unputdownable story.
And then we can start worrying about the next story.