I’m working on an article on “Endorphins” for a reference book. Here’s a sample of the work so far:
Studies show that animals and humans become less sensitive to painful stimuli while under stress. Humans can sometimes experienced the severe stress of an injury without even being aware of the injury, and without feeling the pain of recognized injuries. For example, soldiers sometimes claim to experience no pain from serious wounds. Similarly, people show decreased pain sensitivity when engaged in the pleasant, but physically stressful, act of sexual intercourse. Much of this effect is mediated by endogenous opioid release in the brain as a response to pain. Drugs that block opioid receptors in the brain generally eliminate the decrease in pain sensitivity brought on by stressful events.
Now, endorphins are fascinating chemicals, often referred to as the body’s natural pain relievers. If people didn’t have endorphins in their brains, then opiate drugs such as morphine and heroin would have no effect on us. Those drugs work through the endorphin system. And…I’m also talking about sexual intercourse here. Who doesn’t find that interesting?
So how come I find myself so bored while laboring over this article this afternoon that I’m taking a break to put up a blog post? The answer is that I already know all this stuff. All I’m really doing is turning something I know into a suitably organized reference article for students at the undergraduate college level. This mostly involves checking my vocabulary and sentence structure, and double checking facts with the reference sources I have handy.
In contrast, when I did the articles on “Fear” and “Transvestism” for the same reference source, I never found myself bored because there was a lot that I was “learning” about those topics.
I’ve learned a lesson for selecting future topics to write on. I thought the endorphin one would be easier than the others because I already knew the topic pretty well. What I’m finding out is that “not knowing” is much more exciting.
Maybe that’s why I love writing fiction so much, and why I don’t do detailed outlines of fiction projects before I start to work on them. Learning what happens next is where the fun is.