I’m having new adventures in writing. I am! How? When I was diagnosed with ADD after my breakdown, I discovered I had to relearn all the things I had been able to do before– like sitting and writing for long stretches at a time, reading for long periods, even focusing minutely without letting other outside noises interfere. This hasn’t be easy, especially since I’ve always been able to do it before– so why not now? Yeah– sometimes the blondeness shows!
As I’ve been trying to learn to write– because sitting and writing just doesn’t make it as easy as it once was– I’ve been learning to play games. I can hear the gasps now. There are very few games I’ve ever played online or otherwise because I have certain requirements for the games I play. My family says I’m picky. They don’t know better. *snickers* In turn, the games have helped me with my focus. I’m still not anywhere near what I used to be and I probably won’t ever be that person– but I’m learning to accept that. But I’m at least 75-80% there at least with that respect. Yet, sitting down and pouring out the stories is a lot harder than it used to be.
Before, I could sit, put on music and let it go. Hours would fly by and worlds would come alive under my fingertips. I’d cramp up, forget to eat, end up with swollen feet and ankles– but come out of it with some serious wordage. Now, I sit, look at the screen and wonder, “How is my email? What is my game doing? What kind of research can I do now?” It’s frustrating and more importantly, it showed me that part of my problem was accessing the area where the story resided inside me. Can we say that hurt this pantster something fierce? Well, I’m not a true dyed-in-the-wool pantster. I do plot a bit- not much, but enough of a framework from boring me to death. Yet now, now I realized I had to do something else. Something to stimulate the pouring of words from brain to paper, or in this case, computer.
Which is when a friend of mine reminded me of my Dragon Naturally Speaking and my propensity for talking. (Like I really have a clue what she is talking about when we talk for HOURS on the phone!) There’s a special feature in Dragon that allows you to transcribe what you have digitally recorded, not just what you dictate to the program yourself. My friends encouraged me to give it a try, saying perhaps walking my Shango and talking the story out would be just the thing to get me over this hurdle of sitting and staring at the evil cursor of death. Funny thing– it worked. Now, the transcribing process is still crappy– and I’m working on fixing that with help, but here’s the thing- I found a way around my major dysfunction. I couldn’t believe it. It’s still hard for me to take my recorder and go out and talk. Sometimes I sit in bed and lay down to dictate. It’s relaxing sometimes to do that. Pretend like I’m some really famous author with my own dictation assistant. LOL But the fact that I’m working not only with, but around my disability is helping. Stories are coming back to me. They’re coming into focus on the screen in my head again. That was something I NEVER thought I’d see again.
I don’t mind the editing, because for some reason, my brain doesn’t mind as much the sitting with a screen with words on the page. It’s not the most perfect thing and I still have to get up and do other stuff. I still can’t focus for huge periods like I used to do. Yet, it’s better than starting fresh and new. For me, that’s a huge miracle within itself. It means one part of this writer core never got damaged in this breakdown. Go me! You have to learn to really cheer on the small victories like this because you don’t know when they might come again. Or if they will in this manner. Do I hope that I can sit and write normally? Yes, in fact I’ve got a couple of programs for that purpose. To allow me to write scene by scene, in order, out of order, whatever it takes to be productive. The goal– to get books completed and to get them to my publishers and out to the readers. To get the nagging characters out of my head so they’ll leave room for other things– like cooking shows and television shows like Arrow!
Sometimes, you have to rethink the whole concept of Butt In Chair, Hands on Keyboard. You need to write, but how you write is up to you. Write by hand– I do. It helps sometimes. It gets me over some tough spots when sitting at the computer sucks. Dictate to a digital recorder. There is some great software out there to help transcribe or maybe a friend will do it. Or maybe once you listen to yourself telling the story, it won’t be so bad typing it up. Use programs like WriteWay Pro, Scrivener, or other programs that allow you to write scene by scene, in any order. It may free you up so you don’t feel you need to write linearly, if you don’t think that way. The thing is– write. Write in the way you can. Find the success in the writing– not the failure. It’s what happened to me for too long. Only now can I see the future of writing as something happy and wonderful again.