Writer Body, Writer Heart, Writer Mind

I wish people talked more about the body-heart-mind dynamic going on within each of us. For me, learning to understand the workings of my own body-heart-mind dynamic has been an enormous help in being safe, being brave, understanding what I want and what I’m capable of, and making decisions. Body, Heart, and Mind: each part has its own particular kind of certainty/knowledge — knowledge that sometimes contradicts the knowledge of one of the other parts, which can make things interesting. If you can become conscious of them, they can be the most wonderful guides (yes, while possibly driving you crazy with their arguing). Today I’m thinking of how this relates to the stage I’m in with the thing I’m writing.

Whenever I get near the end of whatever thing I’m writing — be it a first draft, a revision, or just the resolution of a particular plot point — whenever I start to see the light at the end of whatever tunnel I’m in, I’m generally visited by a stunning surge of momentum. If you’ve noticed I’ve been blogging a lot since April began — this is why (these past couple of weeks being the exception. My reserves during these past couple of weeks have been absorbed by the recent Boston events, and I have not wanted to blog about it).

I’ve been doing a lot more of a lot of things lately, more than I usually have the capacity for, because I’m nearing the end of a writing project and am consequently being visited by a special energy: physical, mental, creative, expressive, geared toward output. It’s extremely productive but also uncomfortable and unrestful. To be frank, it can verge on mania, and it’s not without its dangers. Especially since I tend to see the light at the end of the tunnel a good four to six weeks before I’m actually going to reach the end of the tunnel, which means four to six weeks of coping with my own hypermomentum and hypermotivation.

On a recent Tuesday, I had a very long writing day of maybe 12 hours; then on Wednesday, I wrote for about 16 hours, covered 12 pages with ink (a HUGE day for me), and went to bed at 4 AM. On Thursday, when I woke up, the internal conversation went something like this:

BODY: Oh my gods, I’m f***ing exhausted! It doesn’t matter! Fill me up with tea! Let’s write for 16 hours again today, pausing midday to climb Mt Everest!

HEART: No problem. I’m not tired at all.

MIND: I’m kind of tired, but I’m in.

HEART: Are you sure? You’ve got a funny look on our face.

MIND: …I admit something doesn’t feel right.

HEART: Well, while you figure it out, we’re going to get the writing supplies out.

MIND: …No.


MIND: No. This feels like an important incoming message.

HEART: The kind we don’t ever ignore?

MIND: …Possibly.

HEART: …Sigh. Okay. We’ll stand by.

[MIND raises antennae. HEART and BODY try not to create too much interfering noise.]

MIND: Yeah, it’s coming through clearer now: I don’t think we should write today.

BODY: You mean maybe we should only write for eight hours?

MIND: I don’t think we should write at all. We are badly in need of rest. I’m advocating for a day off.

BODY: Wrong. I can write with a claw hand and an aching neck. Please give me some tea now.

HEART: Mind, do you want me to step in? I never tire and I’m self-feeding. I’m soooo strong and everything that touches me makes me stronger. Shall I carry you? I don’t mind. I can carry you both the whole way.

MIND (fondly): Yes, we know you can. But there’s really no need for emergency measures; we’ve got miles to go before we finish this draft. This is the time for Body and me to be smart and careful, rather than go all in. And look at Body. Her teeth are practically chattering.

BODY: If my teeth are chattering I must be cold. Tea is hot. Feed me tea.

MIND (firmly): Your teeth are chattering because you’ve been having too much tea.

HEART: But the momentum. The momentum! If we don’t work today, we’ll have this feeling all day like we should be working. We’ll be rattling around with dissatisfaction. It won’t feel restful.

MIND: That’s very true.

HEART (depressed): But you don’t care?

MIND: I think it’s more important that we disallow creative work today than that we be comfortable.

HEART: You’re sure about this message, aren’t you. It’s the real thing.

MIND: I think it’s been sent as a guide from beyond.

HEART: I’ve learned to trust you on the not-working thing.

MIND: Well, I’ve learned to trust your consummate faith in this book.

HEART: I love you, Mind.

MIND: I love you, Heart.

BODY: Hey, did you guys notice the falafel wagon that just went by the window? I want a roast beef sandwich with horseradish. And a cookie. And a nap in a patch of sun. And a massage. Oh, help. When you stop, you realize everything hurts. WHY ARE YOU GUYS MAKING ME STOP?!

HEART: Because we love you. Let me give you a hug. Mind, get in on this. Group hug!

MIND (muffled by hugging): By the way, while we’ve been having this conversation, I’ve been writing a blog post about it in our head. If we’re taking a day off, are we allowed to blog?

HEART: Hm. You know the momentum is going to spend the whole day trying to trick us into using our creative energy in one way or another. I think that’s why you’re writing a blog post in our head.

MIND: But don’t forget, the momentum is also a guide from beyond.

HEART: But it’s up to us to determine how to follow our guides. Does this blog post feel urgent?

MIND: Yes.

HEART: Yeah, see, that’s a clue. Why would a blog post be urgent? The momentum is trying to ensorcel you.

MIND: Hey, do you notice that we just changed sides?

HEART: Yep. That’s necessary sometimes for balance. I think if you still find yourself wanting to write a blog post about this next week, when we’re on Martha’s Vineyard, that will mean you truly do want to write a blog post about it and it isn’t just the momentum trying to trick you.

MIND: Okay, agreed. Blog post on Martha’s Vineyard or not at all. 

It’s spring in MV.