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.)