Help Rebooting My Imagination

Imagine what's behind the curtain

I need to reboot my imagination! My mind is stuck in reality and I must break free so I can return to writing my fantasy and sci-fi books.

How did this happen? Funny you should ask that.

The problem really started in October/November 2014. My wife and I got seriously addicted to the Shark Tank TV show about venture capital investment. It was fun to watch while drinking a cup of coffee and seemed totally innocuous. Besides, I really had a ton of fun watching my wife get spinning mad over how silly some of the inventions were.

Did an hour a day watching a Shark Tank episode ruin my fantasy/sci-fi imagination? Not at all.

The last week of November dumped a pile of work on me that I felt was a bit heavy but within my ability to handle given I had two and a half weeks of vacation scheduled for December. I received some massive feedback I needed for the audio editing of the second book, roughly eighty beta readers of my third book, Thread Skein, finished their pass and sent me their feedback, and my main professional editor (Kitten Jackson) finished her pass around the same time. I had the holiday sales to worry about along with managing the artists dragging tail on the artwork for Thread Skein. I hired an awesome new editor/writing coach to help me master my close third person style while killing my annoying habit of information dumps. I started working through the early draft of the new sci-fi series with the new writing coach, and finally, there was this great six-week writing workshop course I enrolled in that ended the last weekend of November and gave me a lot of great new ideas and skills to apply to my writing.

At the end of November, I was in up to my neck with things needing my attention, none of which involved writing new material. Yet, all of it seemed pleasantly within my reach to wrap up the year nicely with a bow and everything.

The real problem started December. In fact I blame the problem on December 2014, which turned out terribly annoying. The trouble started December 1, 2014 – I’m not exaggerating things blew out of control in the early evening of 12/1/2014.

December rolled in faster than a blink of an eye, and I was too busy juggling everything to notice that I was making zero progress on any front. The evening of December 1st, I sat down and was just starting to make progress on the editing pass for Thread Skein when we got the surprise of our year, a water pipe had frozen in our house and burst, turning our kitchen, laundry and garage into a rain storm. Fire trucks, emergency mitigation contractors and insurance companies all jumped into my life with sirens and loud blowing machines, banging of doors, and much ado.

The first week of December was a blur of activity; none of it remotely involved writing or even looking at my computers or paying as much attention to my day job as I needed to. The second week was a spinning rush of getting everything finished for my day job, so I could take the last two weeks of the year off. The only problem was, I wasn’t feeling good. So, I went to the doctor and found out I had influenza (the real deal). In came all kinds of medications, soups, and codeine heavy cough syrups so I could at least sit still.

I ended up taking the last half of the second week off as sick days to see doctors, drip fluids, and cough so hard I made myself see stars and feel dizzy. I remained a vegetable brain all the way through Christmas day. I didn’t look at a computer. I talked on the phone when needed for contractors who were trying to get my house back together. Of course, Christmas required visits with family and trying not to pass out as I was still pretty under the weather.

It wasn’t until New Year’s Day before my brain kicked back into motion. My house still wasn’t fixed, and all that stuff I had started was still waiting for me to get to it. Honestly, all of December pretty much passed me by in a codeine-induced blur.

But what does this have to do with Shark Tank? Glad you asked.

I wasn’t able to move; I was stuck in a chair; my wife kept a cup of hot tea with honey in my hands; and we tried to talk when I wasn’t coughing. To pass the time, we blitzed through Shark Tank, Dragons Den UK, Dragons Den Canada, and a few seasons of Top Chef (Did I mention she doesn’t like watching sci-fi shows?).

Now that my mind is back online and I am trying to deal with writing, I have worked for two days under an enormous weight. In the last couple of days, I’ve discovered my imagination has been crushed under the weight of business thoughts. I needed to reboot my imagination and get things rolling again. So far, I have gone to see the latest Hobbit movie and re-read some Timothy Zahn books. I’ve also listened to some great inspiring Radio Lab podcast episodes.

I’ve learned a valuable lesson I hope I remember in the future. Even when sick, I need to feed my imagination. I have re-arranged my Netfilx queue so I have the A-Team episodes and as many fantasy series as I can find on it. To be honest, I’m disappointed that the fantasy series are pretty much the campy TV stuff like Hercules The Legendary Journeys and Xena Warrior Princess. At least I have my A-Team, Night Rider, Dr. Who, and Poirot to add to that. I wish there were more to watch that could give me a nice thirty or forty-five minute ride. Movies are nice, but I like having a nice short show to watch while drinking a cup of coffee before going back to working on my books.

If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them! I have Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Hulu-Plus.

Image thanks to Sara and Paul Bica

  • Sarah

    Love your blog thank you it brought your month of December alive for me. Try watching some of the Australia Master Chef progs if you can. I find them fasinating to see how each person changes as the series goes on & that includes the judges. Take care

    • Thanks Sarah, I appreciate the suggestion. I’m trying to limit my Master Chef episodes right now as I need my imagination firmly rooted in fantasy so I can work on getting the third book of my trilogy out.

  • Robin Lythgoe

    What a ghastly way to end the year! I hope everything gets under control again.

    As to TV shows, there is a bumper crop of them lately. There’s The Flash, Gotham, Grimm, Helix, Sleepy Hollow — and 12 Monkeys is starting soon. Orphan Black, The Arrow, Agents of SHIELD, Constantine, The 100, Defiance, The Musketeers (not exactly sci-fi or fantasy, but great fun anyway), Extant, The Strain, Intruders, Under the Dome —and if you haven’t watched White Collar (not sff either), you’re totally missing out.

    Think that’ll get you going? 😀

    • Thanks Robin, fabulous suggestions. I did a little binging on Netflix watching Sliders. I heard good things about that show and found that it was there. Loving it, it is nicely done with mostly reasonable plots. So far there have been a couple of places were I got upset for the cop-out ending where something suddenly worked for no real reason. But, otherwise they seem to be not too bad.

  • Mark

    Another show you might want to try is Galavant….it looks pretty good – a medieval comedy.

    • Ooo I’d love a good medieval comedy. That would be awesome. The last one I watched was the Blackadder (which I loved). Before that was of course Monty Python and the Holy Grail (but that isn’t episodic to be consumed in small doses).