My Brain Never Takes A Holiday

My Brain Never Takes A Holiday | The Return of the Modern Philosopher Let’s discuss the writing process, Modern Philosophers.

If you ask me, talking about writing is almost as fun as putting words to paper, especially when the conversation leads to new story ideas.

I’m often asked how I manage to produce a new blog post every day.  I honestly don’t think that it’s that big of a deal, but since enough people are raising the question, I figured it was time to share some Deep Thoughts on the subject.

The honest answer to my prolific writing rate is that my brain never takes a holiday.

My gray matter is constantly in action.  Story ideas are forever colliding into one another as my mind juggles concepts for blog posts, monologue jokes, screenplays, novels, short stories, and witty conversation.

At the moment, a new screenplay idea is percolating in my brain.  That means that a character name, plot point, scene setting, or bit of dialogue will flash into my mind without warning, and I have to decide if it’s a keeper or gets discarded.

A new screenplay idea will simmer for months before I ever open the screenwriting software and type “FADE IN:”.

I don’t have that same luxury with a blog post.  A new story has to be written every day because I’ve set this goal for myself and I refuse to divert from it.  A writer writes, and that is my motivation to produce a new post daily.

My Brain Never Takes A Holiday | The Return of the Modern PhilosopherOf course, blog posts don’t grow on trees, which would allow me to just send the interns out into the yard to pick one off the blog tree every day.

Luckily for me, though, the voices in my head are constantly shouting out story ideas.

I know that sounds like a joke, Modern Philosophers, but I assure you that it is the truth.

I have no idea how my brain actually works, but I will just look at something or hear something, and suddenly, a seed for a story is planted.

The next step is to take that kernel of an idea, and see if I can expand it into something good enough for this blog.  Trust me, despite some of the odd stories you’ve read, there is definitely a quality control process.

A lot of times, the title of a post comes to me first.  I learned very quickly that a great headline is necessary to grab the attention of readers who have thousands of blog posts at their disposal, and a minimal amount of time to decide which one is worth the read.

I will write down the title in one of the notebooks I keep handy around the house, or on a post-it note if I’m at work.  Then, when I can focus my mind long enough, I’ll go back to that headline and see what ideas pop into my head.

And ideas always pop.  The voices in my head already have a suggestion.  Multiple ones, in fact, and the trick is to separate the rare gem from the rest of the worthless pebbles.

My Brain Never Takes A Holiday | The Return of the Modern PhilosopherMy environment greatly influences the creative process.  When the weather is cold, snowy, and harsh, the ideas seem to flow the best.

The challenge is to find a new way to entertain you with the fact that it is snowing, I’m miserable, and I hate driving in it.

My personal life gets my brain working overtime.  When I was giving up on dating, it inspired a series of hilarious Dating Tips posts.  When I fell in love with Melissa, it opened up a whole new world for the blog to explore.

I find that I do my most creative thinking when I’m trying to fall asleep.  For the first time all day, my brain slows down a little.  I think it has something to do with the dark, or the fact that it is distracted as it prepares to fire up the dream projector for the evening.

When I’m in bed, and The House on the Hill is quiet, I am best able to focus the voices and control the creative process.  The ideas bouncing around inside my brain move at a decreased speed, which allows me to sort through them faster and lock on a winner that will grow into the next day’s blog post.

When I started this blog, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.  While I have a better understanding of it now, the blog is still constantly evolving.  At the moment, I’m very interested in Melissa, Star Wars, politics, creating awesome graphics on Canva, and how the world around me affects me as a person.  As a result, you’re getting more blog posts on those topics, and less on the “Mythology of The House on the Hill”.

My Brain Never Takes A Holiday | The Return of the Modern PhilosopherHowever, I always can fall back on the characters I created to populate the version of Maine I present in this blog.  Sometimes, I’ll decide I haven’t used a certain character in a while, and will challenge myself to write a new post for that Otherworldly Being.

Last Sunday’s post about Snow Miser is an example.  It was snowing, so it made sense to thaw out one of the blog’s most popular characters for a comeback.

I have regular features such as The Monday Morning Coffee Club, The Friday Night Think Tank, and the Sundays With Satan Short Story Series.  Because of this, I always know what I’m going to write on those days.

Sure, I still have to come up with an actual topic for those features, but by having some things set in stone, it reduces the pressure of figuring out what I’m going to write to keep my daily streak alive.

This morning, the voices in my head shouted that I needed to write a new Devil story tonight.  I focused for a moment, thought about something silly that happened to me yesterday, and that caused a short story title to form in my brain.

Now that the title is locked, I can relax and improvise 500 words after dinner.

It definitely helps that I’m willing to write about anything, and I don’t limit myself to a certain format.  There are articles, poems, short stories, and diary entries.

I’ll stay in character as The Modern Philosopher, or change things up and write about myself.  I’ve got running, The Nite Show, and my screenwriting career to write about whenever I want to be real.

My Brain Never Takes A Holiday | The Return of the Modern PhilosopherThe one philosophy that this Modern Philosopher always uses, though, is “Write something that’s going to impress Melissa”.  I know that My Sweet Irish Girlfriend reads every post, and that is always on my mind.

Nothing make me smiles brighter than having her tell me that she enjoyed a post, or that it made her laugh, or that she was touched that I mentioned her.

By knowing my audience, I am better able to block out the ideas that wouldn’t be a good fit for my blog, and hone in on the ones that will make a certain someone smile.

There aren’t enough hours in the day for me to write all the stories that have taken residence in my brain.  I write every day to clear some space up there, and to make sure that the voices know who’s boss.

I’m not sure what writer’s block is, but if it’s something to silence the voices for a few hours every day, I’d love to get some information about it…

My Brain Never Takes A Holiday | The Return of the Modern PhilosopherWhat’s your writing process, Modern Philosophers?  Do ideas for new blog posts come to you easily?  What tips do you have for other bloggers who might have difficulty knowing what to write about next?

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About Austin

Native New Yorker who's fled to the quiet life in Maine. I write movies, root for the Yankees, and shovel lots of snow.
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20 Responses to My Brain Never Takes A Holiday

  1. I’m much the same as you, there’s always somethin rattling about in my head I deem worthy of posting or writing about for future posts.

  2. stuckinscared says:

    My brain never sits still either, but I’d struggle to knock out the quality you do on daily basis. The images alone take a lot of prep.

    Your images are getting better and better by the way… much, much more pinnable than they once were. Which reminds me… *heads to pin-it button* 😉

    • Austin says:

      Thank you for all your input on the images. I finally figured out that whole Alt Title thing. Melissa was just complimenting me on the images, and I told her there was no way I could do that all week. I only have the time for that on weekends. 🙂

      • stuckinscared says:

        You can get away with just one long (pinnable) image per post if time’s short, you don’t have to optimize every image. People will just select the long one when they click through to pin. 🙂

      • Austin says:

        I know that. I just enjoy making the extra ones so I’m not pinning the same image in the writing boards I’ve been invited to join. 🙂

      • stuckinscared says:

        Ah, I misunderstood. I thought you were saying you didn’t have time to make images unless it was a Weekend. Yes. I do the same, I like to have more than one pinnable per post too. 🙂

      • Austin says:

        It’s fun to be creative.

  3. Kristina Farrow says:

    I struggle with what to write about, but I’m encouraged by your blog. I write best when I don’t care what other people think! I like what you write about jotting down titles. I come up with great titles, but often wait to title my posts. I need to get those on paper first! 🙂

    • Austin says:

      It definitely helps me. A great title can inspire an entire post. And if I can come up with a great graphic to convey that title, I am really in business!

  4. The writing process is endlessly fascinating to writers. I’m always reading about writing,and my blog often features posts about writing, or not writing as the case may be. I struggle with titles, although my husband sometimes can offer a suggestion. I post every day, too. In fact I was about to write today’s post when I was distracted by your title, so good one.

  5. Amanda Lyle says:

    Aaaa, the writing process. I’m more of a “lightbulb moment” sort of writer… Ideas will come to be out of the blue. but unlike you, my brain sometimes packs it’s suitcase and takes long holidays…and I’m just left thinking, “Oh crap! What am I going to write?”

    Swapsies?

  6. tunisiajolyn84 says:

    I never thought about my writing process. I guess what has helped me stay on my 5 posts a week schedule is the fact that I try to plan posts a week ahead of time so that I don’t even get stuck right before a post is due. I have writer’s block a lot but fortunately, I have saved some old material that I wrote on previous blogs that comes in handy whenever these moments become too hard to overcome. They’ve been lifesavers at times. All I do is edit the old posts and voila, I got a new post for my current blog. I also get inspired by conversations with family and friends and in the middle of the convo, I’ll say “that’ll make a good blog post, let me write that down” and I type it on my phone’s notes. I’ve also had ideas come up right when I wake up in the morning too and I type those on my phone’s notes as well. And lastly, I’ve commented on others’ blogs and realized that my comment could be used for a blog post too.

  7. herheadache says:

    I can’t quiet the voices in my head. Or the feelings in my heart. I love to read and talk about writing.

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