Who Am I? Why Do You Care?

I am a woman on a journey. Where I'll end up is yet to be discovered.


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Big Plans for 2017! The Writing Continues…

While my writing is going a little slower right now than I would have liked, I am making progress, so I’ll take it.

I finished the second draft of my latest novel, Finding Home, and now I need to let it sit a few weeks so I can come back with a fresh eye and a will to fix all the holes and redundancies.

While I wait, I’m working on the final two stories that will complete the book of short stories that I started almost two years ago. The stories still need revision, but once the final two are written I can go back and work on the editing and rewriting. Some are farther along than others. I’m hoping for a mid to late 2017 release date for this one, Thoughts from Chaotic Minds.

I’ve also started roughing out my next novel idea. I’m jotting notes, doing character sketches, and a bit of research. While fiction, the book will center around an ADHD/Anxiety Disorder heroine. I’m really excited to write about her! She’s a lot spunkier than I am, and I like that about her!😉

Summer is coming to a close and school will be back in before I know it. My daughter’s vacation has absolutely flown by and high school awaits her. That will be one more interesting journey for us!

In the meantime I plan to keep writing and to enjoy the few weeks we have left!

 


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Overlap and Cutting Back

So many things in life overlap one another. I’m writing books. I am learning to manage my ADHD and Anxiety. I’m solo parenting my teenage daughter who has ADHD, Anxiety, and Depression.  I’m working. I’m living. I’m dancing to my own tune and finding my own way. The journey is far from over.

I started this blog as I was starting to find myself. I was writing after years of silence and learning to trust myself and learning to live the life I wanted not the life someone else mandated.

Things happen over time. I began another blog to chronicle my journey with ADHD. I wanted to keep this blog mostly for my writing journey, but so often the two overlap. Having ADHD pretty much affects every aspect of my life. I am not one without the other. And that’s okay.

Lately I’ve been spending most of my time over at my other blog. I’m doing a lot of freelance writing about ADHD too. I’m still looking to raise awareness and erase stigma. One day maybe we will live in a world full of acceptance and without ignorance. I can only hope.

For now, it will probably be a bit quiet here. I have a few more irons in the fire than I can handle at the moment, so I’ll be limiting my posting to one site.  I’ll be over at ADHD Kristi & Co. and hope you can stop by and visit!!


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Second Drafts and Details Details Details

Slowly but surely I’m getting the second draft of my novel finished. Mostly what the second draft has shown me is how much work I have yet to do. Two more chapters and I’ll be done, then I can begin adding in all the details I’m lacking, pick up slow moving scenes, delve farther into my character’s personalities, and cut anything unnecessary or redundant. That will be the hard part.

But it’s starting to take shape. All the elements are there, I just have to fine tune and adjust. Add and cut. It’ll be fun. Sure it will. I’m looking forward to it. No I’m not.

Finishing up is always difficult. It’s the point where you just have to put your butt in a chair and do the work. The writing is easy. (mostly) it;s the re-writing and revising that will get ya. Part of me loves it. Part of me hates it. Part of me looks forward to it. Part of me wants to procrastinate. But when you are finished – truly finished once and for all – there is no feeling like it! It’s all worth it when you are looking at your final draft and you know you got it right. You know that it’s the best it can be at this time and you are happy and proud yet sentimental and lost all at the same time.

Writing is emotional. It’s personal. And it’s an amazing journey. The best part is that the journey is always new. It’s different each and every time you have a story to tell. The emotions are different, the feelings are different, and yet somehow familiar. Your art tugs at you and you have to respond. You have to see it through.

Writing is my sanity. It’s my safe place. It’s the best parts of my soul. It’s everything I love and it’s everything I loathe.

Two more chapters, then the real fun begins!


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Independence? I’m Not Ready!

Time. It just keeps moving no matter how much you wish you could slow it all down. And slowing it down is exactly what I want to do right now. Our lives are full of constant hurdles, struggles, victories, joy, pain, work, pride and regret. Sometimes we feel like we are just bouncing and jostling along going through the motions, and other times we get to live – really live – taking in the moment frame by frame and savoring it. I wish I had more days like that.

I came to the realization a while back that my life was my own and I only had to live it on my terms. I decided to live with joy and gratefulness – free from the people pleaser I had always been and free from the stress that surrounded me. Now this worked to an extent. Of course we always are going to have some stress. There is always going to be worry. For me, most of that worry came from always worrying about my daughter. With anxiety, depression, self harm, and suicidal thoughts, I could never get too comfortable. Even when things were going fairly well, it wasn’t going to be long before a crash of some kind occurred. Still, we had our good times. Lots of them. I have the most amazing daughter ever and I love her with all my heart. We have always been exceptionally close, probably because of what she has gone through. She’s always been attached to my side, sometimes experiencing separation anxiety just going to school. She’s nearly fourteen and we have always done everything together.

Lately she has been working on feeling better. Really working. She’s also working on gaining some independence. I’m proud of her for that. Really I am. We would spend every evening together, either watching a movie or playing a game, or even doing separate things, just sitting side by side while we did them. She never wanted to be far from me, and never even spent time in her own room. Her bedroom is probably the least used room in the house. She was rarely in it. She didn’t even want to sleep alone until fairly recently.

So as she works on independence, she is spending a lot of time on her own, in her own room, doing her own thing. I think it’s great. She draws, she listens to music, she reads. By herself. Every day.

At first, I could only think of all the writing time I was having. Wow! My evenings were so quiet! I could write away for hours! Yay teenagers! But you know what? Deep on the inside I’m not coping very well. I feel like I’ve gained a teenager overnight. Don’t get me wrong, we are still close and probably spend more time together than the average teen spends with a parent, but it’s so different not having her at my side every second. I miss her constant babble while I’m trying to write. I can’t even concentrate with all this quiet!! I’m proud of her, but at the same time – okay I’ll admit it — I MISS her!!  She’s right here…but she seems so far away!

I know this is not a problem. This is actually a very good thing. For seven years, she has suffered extreme anxiety. For several of those years she could not even go in the bathroom by herself. She would not go in a room I was not in. She would panic if I got out of her sight for a second. She had to follow me around the house if I went into another room. She couldn’t go to sleep overs, and she couldn’t have kids over. I worried about what was going to happen as she got older. I knew she would eventually have to branch out on her own. And now that she is, I’m ecstatic. Really I am. But there is that selfish part of me that hates it too. I want so much for her. I want her to be able to go and do and be anything she wants. I want her to follow her dreams and her heart wherever they take her. Yet I sit here tonight having a really hard time. She’s right in her room on the other side of the house – and it seems a million miles away. Silly, huh?

So I have work to do. I have that draft I’m still working on, and some articles that need writing. I have a website I’m supposed to be making for someone, but I’m sitting here like a lump feeling lonely. What’s up with that?

So maybe I want to freeze time just a bit. Maybe I want to enjoy my girl a little longer because I fear she is growing up fast now. She goes to high school in the fall, and I’m afraid time will really start whizzing by then. I’m excited for all that she will accomplish, and a bit sad too. I’ll get over it. I’ll be okay. I know a thousand parents before me have felt the same way.

Writing has been slow lately. I’ve wanted to re-write my novel from somewhere just past the middle, changing the events and the ending, but I’m having a hard time concentrating on getting it done. The story is still a good one, I guess it’s just the effects of life. The busy days, the time spent handling my daughter’s anxiety and depression, the nearing of the end of the school year – lots to do and lots to think about.

So tonight I’m looking at all the work I have to do, but I’m just feeling kind of blah. So I’m going to take a moment and selfishly wallow in my solitude, and then I’ll get a move on.

 


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Doing the Happy Writer Dance!

Dancing is not my forte, so you had better be glad you can’t see me right now!

I love it when you pick up a first draft that you’d given up for lost and that magical moment hits when you realize – Wait! This isn’t as bad as I thought!! Determined to finish the story, I’d picked up the draft that I was going to let simmer. Okay, even calling this a first draft seemed a bit optimistic, and by “simmer,” I really meant that it was going to sit on a shelf collecting dust because I was sure it held no promise whatsoever.

Not true!

Once I got back into the story I realized it had some potential. The work I’d already done had pretty good bone structure. All might not be lost after all, and the story I thought was going to continue to bore me started speaking to me. Turns out the characters had some things to say. So I got to writing. Soon, I found myself swept up and enjoying it. I was having ideas for ways to expand scenes, add new ones, take away old ones, and make the words tighter. I thought of ways to improve the main character’s interactions. So I write and I write into the wee hours of the night. (er…morning.) And I’m enjoying every second.

Finally this work is starting to come together for me. It has a long way to go, but it is showing me the promise of my original idea. That’s pretty exciting stuff when you had believed all was lost!

So I’m in my happy place right now, feeling my story and writing what I’m calling my second first draft! Lots of work ahead but I see it coming together in my mind and I can’t even describe the satisfaction.

And back to writing I go!!


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The (chaotic)Writer’s Life

As an ADHD’er things can get pretty chaotic in my world. Chaos just happens. Like breathing. That doesn’t make me the most organized writer in the world.

I’m fairly new to the world of deadlines, but I’m managing them. Haven’t missed one yet, anyway.😉

I’m learning how to incorporate being a freelance writer into my world with all my other obligations. I’m confident it will get easier. I’m a work in progress, but I always will be.

One thing has definitely changed. I used to have loads of stories I had begun, then discarded as I jumped to another idea. In fact, I still have most of them, a gigantic box full in the closet. It’s comforting to know they are there, you know, for when I need some ideas, or a spark. How many of them will ever get finished or turned into anything, I have no idea. I used to be good at starting, but not finishing. But that was in the years where I was only toying with my writing – the years that I couldn’t actually write, had in fact given it up – just couldn’t completely let it go. Now that I’ve been writing again for a few years, I have found that I can’t just let a story go. I can’t NOT finish.

Recently, I had to pick among several projects. I had a very rough first draft of a new novel, an idea for a new book, half a first draft for another book, and then I had a project that I needed to work on for a specific market. My big idea was to let the rough draft simmer for a while, shelved, take notes for the new book and set it aside for another time, lose the other work in progress altogether because it was boring me, and work on the project that I had a specific market for.

It sounded like a great idea. I went to work on the new project, only to find that I had three different ways I could do it, and I couldn’t decide which way to go. I started working on plot planners for all three to see which would jump out at me as the way to go, only to decide I could turn the project into three distinctly different works. Hm. Sounds fun. But when I picked the path I was going to start on, I started writing away, only to find that I just kept getting ideas for the OTHER two paths. At the same time, I really just couldn’t get into the writing. I’d sit, day after day, manage a few sentences, but it was all so stale.

And all the while, that shelved first draft? It was calling me. Softly at first, then it started steadily getting louder until it was screaming. What I found? I can no longer just abandon a project and hop into another. I have to finish it. I have to see it through to the end. Every time I start to write on the project that I had deemed more pressing, my mind is filled with ideas for what I need to do with that first draft.

So I pulled it out. I started working on it. The world feels normal again. Turns out my writing self is not too fond of chaos. It doesn’t much like running amok, abandoning a project for another one just because I decided one was more pressing than the other.

Who knew that I needed a method to my madness? Who knew I was learning to finish what I start and not give up until I did? Maybe my chaos can be tamed just a bit after all. Maybe if I learn to trust the process, and not get all distracted by the new, shiny idea in my head I can actually get more work done. I’m learning to trust that the new idea will in fact still be there when I’m ready for it. (and that half finished draft that I thought I’d just dump? Nah…I also started getting a few ideas for that one too. You know, for another time. But it’s in line.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Don’t Aspire to be Something. Be it.

Being a writer is awesome. Next to being a mom, I’d say it’s definitely my favorite thing. I love how things changed the day I decided I was no longer an “aspiring” writer. No more dreaming, there was only doing. I’ve learned a lot along the way.

Every writer chooses their own path based on what they want to gain from writing and also from their own personal experiences. Being a writer means different things to different people. Writers are as diverse a group as anyone else.

For a long time I thought of myself as an aspiring author, because I wasn’t quite “there,” wherever “there” actually is. With the help of others (many of them being amazing writers I’ve had the good fortune to get to know, either in person or online), I learned that I wasn’t “aspiring” to be anything, I already WAS.

My writing has changed along the way. I’ve changed along the way. My goals have changed along the way. That’s a good thing. With any career you reach forks in the road and you have to pick one. You don’t get to see what will happen down each of them, you just trust your instincts and choose. You keep going til you reach another fork then you make another choice. It’s the journey.

I’m lucky to have had some articles published recently. It was something I applied for on a whim, and it’s been an incredible part of my journey. I get to write about something near and dear to my heart (ADHD), and I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. I’m always reluctant to reach out for opportunities like this, always that little part of me that still feels like I’m learning, and so have no business applying. Another great choice I made once I got rid of the “aspiring” author kind of thinking.

I reached a point last month where I just felt stuck. I wanted to write – had so many ideas for things I needed to write – and yet it was all becoming difficult. I’d changed my priorities, reshuffled my projects, and yet something was still off. I needed to get to work on a project that had once had potential and had garnered some interest, but now I wasn’t so sure. I needed to shake things up, separate my work life from the stresses that were in my personal life that I thought was causing this lack of inspiration. So I signed up for a writing course.

I love writing courses. I’ve taken a few over the years, whenever I could. I love learning about writing, gaining new insights, seeing things in a new light and becoming better at my chosen craft. There is always something you can learn from someone else. Always.

I obviously love to read. But let’s be completely honest. A single parent with ADHD and Anxiety, parenting a child with ADHD, Anxiety, OCD, and Depression, while trying to shuffle a day job and a freelance writing career- it now takes me forever to finish a book where I used to go through them like water. One of the first tasks I was given in this writing course was to read roughly twenty books in different sub-genres of the genre I was interested in. There is also a reading form to be filled out for each book. It was just questions to be filled out on the plot, the characters, ect.

At first I just thought, twenty books? It will take me a year. I’ll never manage it. I knew the reason for reading the books. I knew filling out the forms for each was a learning experience. You study literature to create literature. You learn all you can.

Then the craziest thing happened. I picked up the first book and read it in three days. As I took notes on my form along the way, then sat with it when I was done and filled it all in, I couldn’t wait to reach for the second book. By the third book, that form was my best friend. I knew that dissecting these books was helping me to become not just a better writer, but a better reader. I was reading differently. I was a more active participant in the book. I had definite opinions. I was enjoying them more.

Funny how a writing class and a reading questionnaire have transformed how I read. I believe I’m getting more out of the books, just because I’m looking at them differently. I’s hard to explain, but I’m enjoying becoming a better reader. I’m enjoying learning what other authors can show me through their work. I always thought I was an active reader. I always noticed things, would copy down bits I especially liked as well as bits I didn’t. I’d try to look at the work from several different ways. Maybe I just wasn’t asking myself the right questions while I was reading. Maybe I just wasn’t asking enough. Either way, something has kind of clicked with the way I’m reading. Maybe it’s just because I’m more mindful, knowing I will have specific questions to answer when I’m done.

I have a few projects of my own still on hold. They may be there for quite some time, but I’m okay with that. When the time is right I will be able to work on them. I’m trying hard to concentrate on one specific goal right now and work toward it. Even if it doesn’t work this time around, doesn’t mean I’ll quit trying. Writing is my life. It’s part of me. And it’s my job.

It’s Sunday. It’s my one day off from my day job. I used to spend it cleaning and doing laundry and all the other things that got pushed aside during the week. Then I decided no more. Sunday wasn’t made to play catch up. And today? Today is a gorgeous, warm, breezy, bright sunshiny kind of day. I haven’t scrubbed my porches yet; haven’t tackled those spring cleaning chores, but that’s okay. I spent an hour this morning cleaning out the garage, and now, I’m sitting on my front porch, getting ready to tackle some studying, and then some reading. It’s a beautiful day and I can’t think of a nicer way to spend it.

 

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