You know the feeling. One enormous suck of the New Zealand Ice Cream Berry Blast Smoothie and BING! You pinch the top of your nose, blink your eyes a few times – then, when everyone is starting to check their iphones for the nearest stroke specialist – you grin and say; ‘Brain Freeze.’
Well, these days, I don’t need no berry-loaded ice drink. My brain is on permanant freeze. It started about six months ago. When I got off the phone to my editor (magazine not book. Sigh.) who said she was really pleased with my work – by the way, they never say that – an idea started to form in my mind. Maybe, perhaps, possibly I could write a book. Maybe. A romance novel. Possibly. So I did what any self respecting nerd does and researched the pants off the genre.
(My brain freeze is coming, I assure you) I found Romance Writers Associations, Romance Readers Associations, romance bloggers, author websites, author tweets, conferences, books on writing romance and so much more that. I started my own twitter account (jenniferraeromance if you’re interested) and started to write and write and write. I enrolled in a romance writing course, I set up a new email address, I started a blog, I set up an account with Mills and Boon and maxed out the card on every book I could, I got a shiny new library card and read every book I could lay my hands on (I learnt quickly to ignore the horrendous titles – what is up with that anyway? But that’s another blog..) and then – here it comes – my brain froze.
I was sitting at home, watching TV resting from a four hour writing stint and suddenly nothing on the show made sense. Why is that man driving? Why is he leaving? Where did the dog come from? I was confused, so I went to bed.
The next day, I still couldn’t shake it. Why was I packing vegemite sandwhiches? Why does the colour yellow look more green than yellow? Why isn’t everyone wearing a hat? My thoughts got crazier and loopier so I had a Bex and a lie down and I felt better.
Until I went back to the computer and started following tweets of writers and bloggers and reviewers and readers who were talking about HEA’s and MS’s and #amazonkindle and #SYTYCW2012 and my brain freeze came back.
Then I figured it out. When I was young, learning was easy, natural. I could take it all in without batting the proverbial eyelid. But now – when you have to check your iphone and your twitter and your facebook and update your blog and check on harlequin.com and millsandboon.co.uk – things are just too complicated that my poor old brain can’t take it.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m no tech virgin. I was in marketing for 15 years for Hermes-sake. But throwing yourself into something with the plethora of information that is the romance genre is not for the faint-hearted. And I’m afraid my heart is just a little bit faint. So – I am coaching myself to slow-the-freak-down.
I’m keeping my twitter-checking to under 10 times a day, I keep my facebook account romance free, I read only two romance novels a week (and stick to the ones I know and love rather than choosing another exciting genre and another and another…) and I write for just two hours a day. My brain is slowly starting to simmer down and the ice is melting.
And when I feel it starting to ice up with information overload, I’ll do what I did last week and jet off to the gold coast. Surf, Sunshine and Spunks. #thanksmyexcuseandImstickingtoit