Monday, September 17, 2012

What Flips Your Switch?

Sometimes I can eat chocolate to my heart's content and never suffer a bit. Other times, one measly piece can flip the ol' migraine switch and send me careening into the pain dungeon. Trial and error revealed a few key factors:

1) While chocolate alone doesn't always trigger a headache, a combination of two sensitivities stack the odds against me.

2) My brain reacts to drops in the barometric pressure. If a storm is brewing, I'd better stay away from chocolate.

3) Foods I love, like genoa salami and red grapes, are a no-no and promise suffering when mixed with chocolate.

What flips the switch for "writing headaches?"

1) Lack of time with the Lord and sketchy prayer top the list for me. Inspiration dries up and withers like corn stalks in drought-ridden areas.

2) An unbalanced life marked by too much computer and not enough living sap my creativity. After all, I'm writing about people, places, and things. When I cut myself off from social interaction, I have little to draw on for my stories.

3) Minimal exercise, poor nutrition, and sleeplessness can render my brain mushy and sluggish.

Writers:  Your turn. What flips the "writing headache" switch for you?

Readers: What qualities in a book produce a reading "headache?"


Loree Huebner said...

I rarely get headaches. If I do, I know that I'm sick. I get them with the flu, a sinus infection, or severe eye strain from staring at the computer too long.

Stephanie Reed said...

Thanks for diagnosing the cause of my writing headaches. Time for me to act on your prescription. :-)

Jessica Nelson said...

Oh, I'm sorry that happens to you! I'm glad you've identified the issues though.
For writing, being tired definitely turns me off. For reading, a lack of strong, believable conflict.

Karen Lange said...

General stress triggers more writing stress, so I work to stay organized, prayed up, and rested. In theory, anyway :)

Happy Monday,

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Susan .. I guess I'm lucky re switches - I do hate the door being slammed in my face, through lack of courtesy .. actually lack of courtesy ...

Other than that I need to get my act into gear - and may need to wait 24 hours, then normality returns ..

Lucky me! I do count my blessings .. cheers Hilary

I'll add these wretched verification figures .. ?! This is my third try and my eyes are good!!

Nancy said...

I have to watch that the lighting is good and that I'm not too tired when reading. Not much in a book itself gives me a headache unless I misunderstand something and have to go back to previous paragraphs and figure it out.

quietspirit said...

I have to think about these things. Some of your triggers for writing headaches sound close to home for me.

Melanie N. Brasher said...

oh yes, #1 is a big one for me too!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Loree - Headaches are awful. I'm glad you're not prone to them.

Hi Stephanie - Glad the post helped you. :)

Hi Jess - I'm also changing my diet. I wouldn't be surprised if all the additives are having an effect on me.

Hi Karen - I hear you. Just about the time I have all my ducks in a row, they decide to fly away!

Hi Hilary - I'm sorry about the verification. The last time I turned it off I got blasted with SPAM.

Hi Nancy - Yes, having to re-read a sentence or paragraph pulls me out of the story too.

Hi Quiet Spirit - I pray you'll find some answers for your "writing headaches."

Hi Melanie - #1 is the biggie for me. In fact, it affects every area of life not just writing.

Susan :)

Carol J. Garvin said...

I'm not prone to headaches, but when I get physically overtired I have trouble writing. Since I like working late at night, it's easy to forget the clock until my eyes are scratchy and my brain won't generate a useable thought!

It's good that you've identified what triggers your headaches so you can try to avoid the bad combinations.

Sarah Forgrave said...

The unbalanced life, for sure. Sometimes I just need to step away and recharge. It's amazing how my creativity recharges during those times too.

DenaNetherton said...

Susan, when I grow dry it's usually because I'm ignoring God's Word. But spending time with Him is like going to a well and finding it overflowing with freshness.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Carol - I also write better in the morning than late at night.

Hi Sarah - Taking time to recharge is essential. All work and no play...not a good combo.

Hi Dena - Yes, that's #1 on my list for good reason.

Susan :)

Terri Tiffany said...

I need to get plenty of sleep or writing doesn't happen for me. So sorry you suffer from those headaches! ugh--not fun but it's good you watch your triggers.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Terri -

Nice to see you, my friend!

Yes, sleep deprivation puts a damper on creativity. I can't string together a sentence much less a chapter if I'm overtired.

Susan :)

Dorothy said...

What a great set of questions! Real migraines come for me when I eat the wrong stuff. The list grows every year, but as long as I know what to avoid, I'm ok. As for writing, I'm much the same. Keep away from distractions and fuel up on all God's goodness. This post was a timely reminder of that. Thanks, Susan. Xx

Rhonda Schrock said...

I don't suffer from headaches, thankfully. Stress, though, is the worst for writing "headaches." That and sheer exhaustion.

This is a great post, Susan!

Marja Verschoor-Meijers said...

Susan, you're too much :) (I think I have told you this before). what a great post.
I don't suffer from headaches, but then... I don't eat a lot of chocolate :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Dotti - Oh, I'm sorry you get migraines too! I'm looking into a whole foods diet, and hoping no additives will alleviate the pain.

Hi Rhonda - Stress is just as bad as headaches. Workouts/exercise helps neutralize that for me.

Hi Marja - LOL! I don't eat as much chocolate as I did in the past. It's not worth the agony.

Susan :)

Linda O'Connell said...

I get writer headaches when I sit at the computer too long. Reader headaches occur when the author has lonnnnnnnnnnnng, run-on sentences that make me work too hard to decipher. I just read an 87word sentence. It made me cfazy. I closed the book.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Linda -

Whew! An 87-word sentence? That's enough to give anyone a headache!

Susan :)