Why Writing Feels So Difficult Lately
The writing tab…
So, for starters, I’m not sure if this is going to be of any use to anyone. If I’m real, I’m writing this for myself and sharing it to hold myself accountable. Yes, you, as a reader, are now part of my experiment in keeping on track. Thank you.
Could this hold valuable information to a would be or current self published writer? Maybe. It might be difficult to relate to me even though it’s the familiar topic. I’m, uh, unique. The whole autism, adhd, disability, enby, choosing to write taboo erotica for a living thing. On some level, this is about overcoming adversity, I suppose, but really, it’s far more mundane. It’s about holding myself accountable even though things feel difficult.
I guess that’s rather universal.
Getting to the point
So I started Sunday sitting down and writing about what it takes for me to get back into the habit of writing. There’s a fair bit of irony there because I’m not actually back in the habit since writing my last book the beginning of 2020. I’m working on it, remembering what it’s like. Had about five real writing sessions once I got my computer screen less caustic to my eyes between updating the website. One session was super easy, the others not.
It is not like riding a bike again. It is not the most natural thing ever. It’s not fun and exciting and full of promise. It’s a slog to get my brain to focus and twist into the patterns it needs to twist into to get back into the flow.
That’s not new for me; I’m horrible at task switching. I’m someone who specializes… I don’t know if that’s the term for this, but it suits my purpose. I metaphorically hit my head against a wall repeatedly on a task until I win. That ability for the twists in my brain to get real deep with enough repetitiveness can make me pretty good at most anything with enough time. But it also means that I can be slow to learn. My brain is gathering all the information — far more than it really needs — forming connections around it, organizing it, squirreling it away with certain associations (many visual and spacial and movement related).
I’m just around for the ride, doing the repetition again and again until the ability is fully formed. Then I get bored and want to learn something new — because I hate myself — but that’s a different problem. The main thing is, my working memory might fail me, but whatever is being stored in my movements is always there, that neural pattern waiting to activate. As a result, I don’t do change well. I don’t get to fully access how I task switch. And I also don’t get to decide why it sometimes feels like moving a mountain and other times just a flip of a switch. This is just who I am.
Writing this has been easy. The words flow. I know what I’m saying and why I’m saying it. Writing fiction isn’t always so simple, but it doesn’t matter. The ability is there, waiting to activate, even after years of illness. Just… I’m not showing up consistently.
Not because it’s hard — I’m used to things being difficult. Not because my eyes hurt or I have a shit work ethic. I spent Sunday writing about 5,000 words on what I do to do this job consistently, and the raw truth of it is… Working to live sucks, and I don’t like being alone all day.
I know, it’s so fucking mundane
Oh, I could talk about all the things I do to prepare my space. How I juggle and compromise and lose to distraction, and how I get back after and focus. How I use routine to keep me focused, little movement and sensation cues to keep me in the moment, doing what needs to be done. I have a lot of them — my ADHD isn’t new, yet I wrote a lot of books. I know how to do this. I know how to trick my brain into focusing long enough to get things done, and my brain is better now. Clearer without the mold and allergies flaring things up, or the low cortisol stealing my thoughts.
None of that changes the truth that I want to write, but being home alone while everyone else is at work is so fucking boring that I sleep through the morning so that someone will be home sooner to when I wake up. Being sick has been so isolating, and I just miss being a person around other people — not all the time. Not even most of the time; people are fucking difficult on me. But I miss basic human interaction.
That’s what I’m seeing as I return to writing, return to building back up a pattern of behavior one would call a career. Writing is isolating. It’s not something I can do with others around me. I can’t have the TV on or the radio or a podcast. I can listen to classical music, and that’s about it, otherwise I can’t focus. I won’t go into the health issues of sitting in front of a computer screen for hours on end, but it’s pretty undeniable in regards to the negative impact it has on my eyesight.
I am someone who is very okay with being alone for long stretches of time. Yet this job is too isolating, and it’s one of those gigs that doesn’t lead to changing that. I just got my health back, and this job wants me to be stuck in my head for 8 hours + a day. As much as I enjoy the characters I’ve created, that’s not me spending time with friends.
I’ve done this; I have spent years upon years focused on work, not building social connections, and no, it doesn’t get better. This is an essential aspect of humanity that needs feeding, and repeating the same unhealthy behavior isn’t going to fix the issue.
So that’s where I am at the moment, after a week of having my family home because we all had to quarantine together cuz my brother got covid again. I’m going to wake up late on Monday, and do my Monday Maintenance, which is basically a routine of taking stock of the house, work, and life. I’m going to plan everything out for the week, clear away any distractions I can to get ready to write for the following 4 days, and just feel lonely. Left to wonder if I even know how to write a concept of a person when I only speak to the same two most days.
I’m going to have to get the fuck out of the house. That’s the only answer. Doesn’t matter if my eyes make driving difficult; this is not sustainable. The thing currently getting in my way isn’t poor focus or some personal failure of behavior/willpower. I’m just too alone all the damn time to enjoy what I do. The humanity well is empty.
Is this where the trope of writers hanging out in coffee shops came from? Because people actually want to be around each other? *sigh* Somehow, I’ve become everything my teen self hated…