I think I have to accept the fact that I have had attention deficit disorder most of my life, but was never diagnosed and still not diagnosed, this is the analysis that a couple of friends of mine have of me as I do seem to be disorganised and easily distracted – look there are butterflies outside my window right now hovering and ducking each other in and out of the lilacs!
You see, that wasn’t a mock of people who are diagnosed, it is merely an example of exactly who I am and how I think. Yes sure, I can sit down and write but I really struggle to stay here for more than 15 to 25 minutes at a time; I struggle to do anything longer than 30 minutes. Watching TV is great if it is a varied show like Gardeners world or sketchy comedy (I think that’s what they are called, where they have mini 5 minute scenes?) I love movies, but I tend to need an intermission every 45 minutes for toilet breaks, getting a drink, or just generally not sitting there doing nothing and for me it doesn’t really matter how riveting the movie or anything else is, I just have this urge to move on for a few minutes and I will get back to that.
When I write I can write 750 words in 15 to 20 minutes, this is not revised and unplanned pantsing style work. What irritates me is when I start to write a story then go into prose or poetry mode at the same time about the same thing, no I don’t want that to be my thing, but my brain starts to make songs and poetry of my stories a lot, this is usually a sign for me to stop – because I generally start ruining the story by letting it flow like that. Though I suppose I should just edit those things out after I have done the book? I don’t want all of my books to be musicals.
So I tend to write in 15 to 25 minute bursts, on days I try to write a set word goal, I need to break this down to 15 to 25 minutes an hour or every two hours until the word goal is completed. For NaNoWriMo that goal is usually completed in about two hours but spread into three most days because of mental irritation. This is not three hours of solid writing, please understand that. I will start writing generally around 9am and by 9:25 I am going for a toilet or drink break and maybe checking social media or a game; then I am writing again around 10:15 till 10:35ish and getting a snack or thinking about checking on the wildlife in the garden. Then around 11:30 I am writing again and at 11:55 I might start thinking ok, should this be it for the day? It’s not that I don’t love writing it’s just I tend to overwork and I burn myself out and people usually have to remind me not to overwork! Because you see there are certain types of animal in this world which have a feast or famine mentality and that is very much like me regarding my writing.
What you saw above was me struggling to write the same story without deviating throughout that whole day and throughout that whole month in NaNoWriMo, so basically it is a normal NaNoWriMo month for me. A usual day to day writing habit is a little different in that every time I go back to writing it is poetry, writing down intense ideas because I don’t tend to like pantsing everything, then there are diary entries, blog entries which happen rarely to be honest, more ideas flow into my head and I would say around two thousand words a week are honestly going towards just one novel. Well, I agree with my ADD friends, this can’t go on. I have to accept the fact I am one of them and learn to cope with it and learn a way in tricking myself into doing more work without so many breaks!
By accepting the fact that the reason why I have so many brainstorms for new ideas is because my brain is easily bored with old ideas, so I need to either learn to write short stories quickly or learn to write several novels at once. You see, I used to do this before 2010, before writing became difficult – I used to write around seven books at once skipping merrily every half hour from one project to the next, but then I was advised by so many people not to do that as I will be killing my creativity and not putting enough love into just the one I should be working on. Well, to be honest, I know now, the opposite is true, because since taking on those ideas for a decade now, I barely write and I barely enjoy writing as much as I used to. In fact I remember last year telling Paul how I think my love for writing has died and that my new love for creating art is becoming more of a thing. Well, I do with my art what I used to do with my writing; I have/had several art projects on the go at the same time, flitting from picture to picture as the whim took me. But I realise now, I know me, the people who advised me not to write like that, didn’t know me that well and still don’t.
So I have decided, as from today, I am going back to the old me.
This worries Paul slightly because I get tired when I try to write more than two thousand words a day lately and back in the old days of my writing I used to throw out double that and sometimes even the occasional 10k a day spout. But I think I won’t wear myself out if I go back to my old style of writing, flitting from one idea to the other because I am not easily confused with my stories. I know categorically my ghost story to my vampire story, my mermaid story to my pirate story, my other vampire story to my werewolf story and my deity story to my leprechaun story. Yes I write many stories at once with the vampire theme, but I know my vampires so intimately I don’t confuse plots, it is difficult because they are so different, the characters are so different. I know the difference, even if my friends and advisers think I am toying too much with my own mind, the thing is that it builds up slowly for me and so I get to know them intimately like real people or books that already exist if you understand me?
It is like knowing a Fred and an Alice in real life, I know that Fred won’t like Alice because he doesn’t like eco warrior vegans and Alice won’t like Fred because Alice hates people who hunt for sport and wafts bacon in front of her nose. Fred might be a big business man living in a rural setting at the weekend and lives a party life as a bachelor, whilst Alice is constantly researching climate change and the latest protests, living in suburban Greater London and seeking new vegan recipe ideas; it is as simple as that for me.
Now this isn’t bad, I have written this in forty minutes without vacating the area, but now I really have to stop. So bearing this in mind, starting my new/old way of writing again, I could be producing more stuff quickly again, which would be amazing!
No more forcing through the same novel day in and day out, I have to do what my brain needs me to do.
P.S throughout all of this writing today, I had also had two conversations with Paul and four conversations with my rabbit.