The Mental Game Of The Mental Game Of Writing

So this is funny. I’ve been a bit tough getting going today so in a huff I eventually just went to my library, spent ten minutes agonizing over what to read, then picked up “The Mental Game Of Writing” by James Scott Bell. It’s a little volume, ’bout a quarter inch thick.

It falls into this strange category of “I’ve no memory of reading this but…I’ve got a good feeling about it” which USUALLY means I’ve read it entirely. That used to happen to me a lot with programming books. I’d be standing in a Barnes & Noble in Manhattan (don’t get me started about the shitty selections in the ones down here in Tennessee. I swear one day I’m just going to spend 4 days in New York JUST to spend them in the flagship store in Union Square and the uptown one with all the great financial programming books) and I’d pick up some arcane programming tome and I’d immediately “have a great feeling about it” only to buy it, bring it home, and put it…right next to the copy I’d bought a few months earlier. Ah well.

I had a 3×5 card tucked in as a bookmark at about page 35 or so, but as I’d no memory of the thing I just pulled it, stuffed it in the back of the book and started from the beginning.

It’s a gorgeous day out and it was raining. Perfect reading weather (he writes.)

I cracked the book open and got a few pages in before realizing that I had…underlines and margin notes in the first few pages. Huh. Well, okay. I guess that bookmark was actually in there for a reason.

By the time I was a couple dozen pages in I was getting nine kinds of fired up and was frustrated that I’d sat down to read, feeling instead that I should get to the task of putting SOMEthing down on “paper.”

I don’t want to do a treatment of the book here. Maybe I’ll do a book-report post on it at some point. It’s pretty helpful, on point, and information dense. But that wasn’t my point. I just thought it was hilarious that, at page 35 or so, I took the 3×5 card out of the back, slid it in and…before closing it I thumbed through the rest.

Yeah I’d scribbled notes and underlines throughout the whole thing. But the most recent time I’d gotten inspired by the reading and abandoned it a few dozen pages in to go actually PUT some words down.

At the exact same point in the book that I did just now. (And no, THIS doesn’t count. This was just a twitter thread that was getting a bit windy so I decided to write it all out and post it instead.)

Things are funny.

EDIT: 20 minutes later. I’ve forgotten ENTIRELY what I was fired up about, what I was going to write about and everything about it, and I’ve gotten sucked back in to the memosphere, posting goofy pictures of inspirational quotes on backgrounds of people drinking, because that shit is hilarious.

BUT, unwilling to accept defeat I’m taking that damned book and marching BACK outside and I’m going to start from the beginning again…and take some notes.