Detoxing a Writer’s Brain and Opening Up New Worlds

I am feeling better than I have in a very long time. No cigarettes. Minimal caffeine. Sparkling water all day. Delicious fresh salads for lunch. Minimal carbs. Feel as if I have detoxed my system.

Most significantly, my head has really opened up. My writing has taken off. I may not get thousands of words a day, but what I am writing is really, really good. Yes, I’m impressed with myself.

Clearing the fog and the crashes has allowed my creativity to blossom. My thoughts are better organized. I have focus, clarity, alertness that simply didn’t exist before.

I’m giving my attention to a suspenseful psycho thriller. My main character, Jillian, has clairvoyant nightmares. There’s a serial killer in her past and another in her present. The dreams from the past are in the victims’ POV. I know, I know, it can be hard to be inside a victim’s head, but it’s working…at least for me, now. I may rethink that later.

It’s limited omniscient POV. There’s a therapist and a Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) liaison. Jillian has an eighteen year old son and a twelve year old daughter. My psych and forensics background makes this writing relatively easy once things gel in my mind.

The dream sequences are written in first person, but the storyline is third. A bit unconventional, but it’s working out so much better than when I had it in all third person. I had to rewrite two chapters.

It’s fast paced and much happens to her that brings everything close to home. I’m excited about how things are coming along.

I still don’t have a title for this new book and it’s killing me!!!

I owe a great big “Thank You” to Sue Coletta, who has posted some very helpful info in the past couple of months. I find myself bookmarking her pages frequently. Pay her a visit, especially if you are looking at mystery/thriller/crime fiction. She’s an awesome thinker and has some really cool contacts who contribute.

I don’t have an outline yet, beyond a fish bones skeleton. I tend to get about half way through, and then need the outline fleshed out to proceed.

I’m also reading and researching much material. So, I’ve had little time online beyond my e-cig forum support group and a bit of FB.

Just thought I should pop in and let you know I am alive and well. I do skim blogs but honestly haven’t done much commenting. I wish I had more time. Don’t know how you folk who work eight hours a day do it. My hat is off to you!

Hoping you all are doing well.

Do you get as excited as I do when you get deep into a new project?

What do you think about first person victims?

36 thoughts on “Detoxing a Writer’s Brain and Opening Up New Worlds

    1. Thanks. I would love the long walks if it wasn’t so hot here, even at night. Ugh! Short swims help 🙂 Thanks for stopping by. I’m 12 days with no cigarette, vaping and doing fine. I appreciate the support.


  1. Good for you Susan! I don’t know how 8 hour a day people do it either! I do work from home and can make my own hours but when work is busy there are not enough hours in the day! That is when writing takes a back seat and I don’t like it one bit! Now that I’ve vented have a wonderful day of writing. You deserve it! ~Elle

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think first person victims sounds pretty interesting. I work 10 hours days, but only four of them. There isn’t much benefit on the writing front. I usually need my “extra” day off to re-calibrate.


    1. They are horrendous crimes, but it is really necessary to see from the victim’s POV. The reader will learn about things that way, things that the authorities don’t know. You get so much accomplished in your downtime, makes me feel fruitless when I’m in a slump…I have no excuses.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So wonderful to hear how great you’re feeling! I’m so impressed by your positive changes. I still need to kick diet soda to the curb. I drink tea for my caffeine since I’m not a coffee drinker, but sometimes I still want a diet soda. I’ll have to use you for inspiration.

    As for first-person victims, I’m not sure. I guess I’d need an example of one in the literature. But regardless, if it works for a story then I say go for it.


    1. I found I didn’t like the taste of diet coke when I let the tobacco go. It was too much nutmeg and aftertaste. I started up with the sparkling, flavored unsweetened waters and got my fizz fix that way. Loving them. On the third and fourth days, I got a mild headache about 4:00 P.M., but I had a half cup of coffee and took a nap. Haven’t had any since. I drink two cups of coffee in the morning. That’s my new limit.

      I wrote the dream sequences in third person POV initially and it seemed too emotionally distant. I wanted a way to carry the reader into what the victim was experiencing and this worked well. I’m loving it and the RS, what little he’s read, really likes it. I’m trying to go this one on my own without consulting.


      1. I agree–I think a dream sequence in first person POV is the way to go.

        I love flavored sparkling water too. Is nice to get the carbonation without the calories or soda.


  4. I’m speechless. Thank you for the shout-out. That’s very kind of you! 12 days without a cigarette is awesome. I can’t do it. Well, actually, I don’t want to, which is the problem. I do walk every day to clear my head. It’s getting hot here too, and muggy. Ugh! Don’t know how you Floridians do it. I absolutely love your idea of having the visions in first person. With my first novel (I told you about recently) I had written the MC in first, so it was hard to distinguish the visions from reality. Your ways sounds perfect, nice and clear. You sound happy, like you’re really enjoying this project. I find it makes all the difference in the writing, don’t you? Reminds me of Robert Frost’s quote: “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.” Thanks again, Sue. You rock!


    1. I didn’t want to quit for a long time, because I had tried every method known to mankind, some three times, and feared failure…plus, I like my caterpillar on the mushroom time. It wasn’t until I came across vaping that my interest really peaked. I thought, “I can do this!” It took some research, the right gear, and some wonderful support from the ecf group…but I think I’ve got this thing. I’ll probably always be a nic addict, but vaping cuts out over 4400 other chemicals and is much less harmful.

      I am enjoying this writing. It has been a slower process than expected as so much has been sitting around in my head for so long. But really applying some learned techniques has resulted in a need for more patience. I’m loving the results, and thank you again.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Well done – healthy body, healthy mind as they say! Your new book sounds very intriguing. I’m sure you’ll get a title soon. I find mine pop into my head when I’m doing the most mundane things like the washing up!


    1. I like to have a tentative title while I’m working. I think because this story has some factual basis, in that her nightmares from the past are about a real serial killer, the Night Stalker from the 1980s, it’s been hard for me to think of it any other way…but I don’t want to copycat his title.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. It sounds like you are doing wonderfully with all of that detoxing. Hats off to you! 🙂

    I think a switch to first person POV for the victim is fine. I have a WIP that switches to present tense italics for flashbacks. Sounds weird but the offset works, just as I think your change will too. Thrillers are always fascinating reading. Good luck!


    1. Thanks Mae. That sounds like an interesting way to go , also. I’ve not written much in present tense. I have trouble reading it, too. My mind wants to change the sentence structure. I’m sure snippets of flashbacks would be workable, even for me.


  7. I’ll chime in with my own “Good for you, Susan!” I’m nearing the end of my first memoir writing course, and it’s been tough sledding, blogging twice a week and then putting out thousands of words in memoir style, which I have discovered requires a different mindset from other writing I’ve done. My neck and shoulders ache, but I do have something to show for it. About 1/3 of the way through my first draft.

    Maybe subsequent writing will flow more easily. Like you, I can’t imagine tacking on writing in depth after a full day at work. Brava, M’lady!


  8. So glad to hear you’re feeling so well! I’ve been wondering about you. Your book sounds great. If switching POV works, then go with it. I’ve read books like that–sometimes something like your dream sequences are written in italics to distinguish them from the other viewpoint in the book. Since I work from home, my hours and schedule are flexible, but it’s still difficult for me to keep up with too many blogs or post more than once or rarely twice a week.
    Wishing you all best, Susan!


  9. I can’t wait to read your book once it’s written. It sounds like something right up my alley.

    It’s very hard to write, blog, and read other blogs after working 8 hours (plus add in the commute time). I struggle daily to keep my writing ‘toe in the water.’ I’m pretty resigned to the fact that I probably won’t do much in the way of lengthy story writing (novels) until after I stop working (in two years, hallelujah! *grin*).

    Having said that, however, I am a masochist, and am seriously thinking about trying the November novel writing thingy. (Thingy? What writer uses words like ‘thingy’??? Can I plead the fact that it is almost 11:30 PM and I’m tired?)

    Congrats on detoxing, Susan, from one of your biggest fans. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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