As I mentioned in my “What Am I Reading” post, reading “Your Brain at Work” has made me take a second look at a story I started years ago. I was fourteen years old and reading stories on Quizilla, Mibba, Wattpad, and Fanfiction on top of the YA novels and classics I was into at the time. Back then, I was writing crappy poetry and a couple of fanfiction one-shots. My first multi-chapter original work never had a consistent title and was full of cheesy cliches and high school life the way my freshman brain dramatized it and replicated it from movies and TV. In college, I went back and made it look more professional with manuscript formatting and updated vocabulary, but the plot was still the same because I was so busy with other writing assignments for classes.
Now, at twenty-three, I’ve come across a book that’s in a completely different genre and has nothing to do with teenage drama. The experience of reading “Your Brain at Work” by David Rock has been the closest I’ve come to finding enjoyment while reading about the brain over the years. Maybe it’s the way Rock sets up the novel in acts and scenes like a play. Or how he incorporated characters into a book filled with research and studies on how the brain works in regards to productivity and focus.
Somehow after reading the first few pages, an idea struck me. This concept had me thinking back on that old story and seeing a new plot that I could build on. A plot that didn’t feel cheesy and I could see an ending for. I was already beginning to contemplate taking a step back from my current WIP because of real-world events that made writing not fun; it’s based in a post-nuclear war society and I wasn’t sure how I wanted to handle race in a novel where humans had another way to be connected, grouped, and judged. The threat of nuclear war and the current climate in society and the YA community’s on race made me really think hard about my work.
I think the biggest things I’ve taken from this experience is that the smallest idea or exposure to something can completely change how a writer views their work. Also, just because you put a work on pause or hate it doesn’t mean you’ll never pick it back up or find the inspiration to revamp it. One fact about the brain and its behavior gave me a way to revamp a seven-year-old story that I had put away almost completely for three years. Reading is fundamental to growing as a writer not only to see what others are doing style wise and to see what’s being published, but also because inspiration can be in the pages of someone else’s labor of love, in someone else’s words.
What have you read that inspires you? What work have you put aside that could now have a new beginning?