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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Embrace Kindness

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What are your hopes and dreams for 2017? What do you want to accomplish this year? Are you prepared for what needs to be done in order to see those goals realized?

On New Year’s Eve my daughter and I set fire to the things we didn’t want to carry into the coming year. Emotional burdens and hurdles like anger, negativity and past hurts. Some things did seem to evaporate in the smoke from that little garbage pail fire on the back porch, while others are going to take a bit more work – but still – the thought is the same. We no longer need to carry the things from the past that hold us back. We need to shed those things in order to see a brighter future.

At the same time, we wrote down the things we wanted to do more of in the coming year. Some may call them resolutions, I just like to think of them as the things that will help me to become the person I really want to be. My daughter had several wishes for herself in the coming year, but to me, one of the most powerful was the little statement she wrote above.

Embrace people’s kindness.

It sounds simple, doesn’t it? How hard can that be? Truth be told, how many of us are free to embrace the kindness of others in our daily lives? I’ll bet it isn’t as often as you think.

Too many times we refuse the kindness someone tries to show by the gift of their help. We tell them, “Oh, you can’t do that, it’s too much!” Or we see simpler things as something we should be able to do for ourselves. “Oh, no, I can do it, but thanks for asking!”

Sound familiar? It’s hard to accept help, isn’t it? But by offering help, those people are extending kindness.

My daughter knows she has a difficult time accepting acts of kindness. She doesn’t like to be complimented, she doesn’t like to accept help, she doesn’t like for anyone to do anything for her because she then sees herself as a burden.

Accepting kindness is a way to be vulnerable and open yourself up to others. This can be terrifying. Vulnerability is scary. I know. But as humans, without that vulnerability, without opening ourselves up to others, we lose the very connection that makes us human. I’m not so sure I’m ready to give up on that. Are you?

I believe that this very simple thing has the power to transform lives. It can be easy to show kindness to others, but accepting it in return is the the difficult part. Choose to allow kindness in, and I imagine you will start to see the world, and yourself, differently.


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First Draft Euphoria

I love the first draft of a new story when the characters are surprising you with their thoughts and their little quirks. It’s fun to discover who they are, the facial expressions they make, what they can’t stop giggling at, and all the things that make them unique. It’s interesting to learn what makes them angry  and what they fear. I think I love that most about writing – the discovery.

Last night I hit 20,000 words on my NaNoWriMo novel and I’m really excited about that. I feel the story slowing down in my mind now, and I know the words will come a bit slower and that’s okay. There are so many things about ADHD that I would love to portray with this character that I think I’m going to have a very hard time going back and cutting scenes when the time comes. It will be difficult to choose what gets to stay in, as I know I will be tempted to leave scenes in that don’t necessarily propel the plot along, just because I like them. Thankfully, those are decisions I don’t have to make yet. Right now I can just enjoy the sensation of words freely flowing.

It’s been a stressful week personally, and while I always knew writing calmed me, it hit me this week just how much better I feel after a writing session.  I can’t think of anything but my story when I’m writing. It’s my escape. It’s nice to be able to do that for just a while each day, especially when so many things around me seem to be spinning out of control.

So here’s to first drafts and discovery – to quieting that swirl of chaos and getting lost in words. There’s nothing like it.


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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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Short and Sweet. Maybe.

No, I’m not describing myself.

I’ll try to keep this post brief. Yeah, I know, you don’t believe me. You already know I’m hopelessly long winded.

I can’t believe it’s been so long since I last posted. I am happy to say that I resolved the major issues of my book, both print and the Kindle version. (at least I think I did. I’m sure someone will point out glaring errors that I missed.) Putting out this book has been fun, and my local launch party is in the works and coming up fast. I am looking forward to the chance to get together with some people and thanking them for the support.

I’ve not really started any new projects. Well, Okay, I have started some. I’ve taken some notes, written a few random sentences that I didn’t want to forget, did some minor plotting. But my behind has not been in a chair in actual writing mode for a few weeks now. After the launch party is over, I plan to take that break. I plan to read wonderful stories and maybe watch some movies and refuse to allow myself to write. I need to soak in the words of others, bask in strange worlds and learn from them. I need to study so that I can become a better writer. I believe now is a good time for that. I’m sure I won’t really take off for more than a couple of months, but as long as I do that every so often, it will help me to grow as a writer.

Right now, I’m really just being lazy. I don’t have any major projects going, and I’m trying to curb that antsy feeling that takes over when I’m not in the middle of something. I’m spending lots of time with my daughter, and reading some books that she has enjoyed so we can talk about them. It’s soccer season, so that is keeping us pretty busy too. Practice twice a week and then a game each week is keeping DD occupied, and she is loving every minute of it. I regret not letting her play the last couple years. I really had no idea how much she truly missed it. She’s doing pretty well in school so far for the first quarter. Her grades are steady, I haven’t seen the tons of zeros that I’ve seen in the past from her disorganization and forgetful nature. She’s unfortunately been sick some and already missed four days of school, but not much I can do about that. First it was an ear infection. Then it was an awful cold. Last week she had the hives. Seriously. She’s dealing with some tough issues right now, and keeping her head up, for the most part. I wish she knew how incredibly proud of her that I am for putting up with the crap she has to put up with. Some days I am afraid that the garbage is going to get the best of her, but she always pulls through. She is a fighter. Thank goodness. I wish I had half her spark.

I’ll work on getting back to a regular posting schedule, and I’ll work on some actual interesting topics to write about so I won’t continue to bore you to death. Right now, I think I’m a little burned out. Not sure what I’m burned out on, I just am. But you know what? I can be a fighter too when I need to be, so I’ll be right again in no time.


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Hyperfocus, Crashing, and What’s Next?

Hyperfocus.  That awesome part of being ADHD that allows you to concentrate, REALLY concentrate, on something that you enjoy.  Contrary to popular belief, having attention deficit disorder does NOT mean you cannot concentrate.  Your brain simply shuts down during things you don’t enjoy, or you find tedious, or don’t care about.  (like math. and housework) If the subject interests you, then you can concentrate like nobody’s business.  You are all focus and no play.  You obsess about this thing to the point of not caring about anything else.  You will give up food and sleep (and housework) to do this one thing that consumes you. Writing is my one thing.  I seldom get into hyperfocus mode about anything else.  Immersed in a writing project, I couldn’t care less if my daughter ever again has a homecooked meal.  I do not care, or remember when I last cleaned the bathroom.  If you don’t want to pull something to wear out of the dirty clothes hamper, then you are free to go naked.  Hyperfocus.  I get up in the morning thinking about my project.  I get to work, (lately running about five minutes late because somewhere I lose track of time, and then can’t find my keys, or my purse, or the dogs…) all the while I am thinking about my project.  I leave work, pick up my daughter and come home, telling myself I will just sit down with my writing for an hour and then I will start dinner…a couple hours later my daughter is reminding me that she’s hungry, and then I’m scrounging for something quick to fix, or running for take out, all the while wishing I was writing.  Once my daughter is asleep, I settle down with the quiet to work on my project.  I tell myself, just for a little while and then I have to get some sleep.  I remind myself, when 2:00 a.m. rolls around that I have to be up at 6:30.  I dream about my project and the next morning the whole cycle starts over again.  If my daughter isn’t home then I work relentlessly, not worrying about sleep or whether or not I ate.  I tell myself this is not healthy.  I tell myself that there has to be another way to manage this writing life than by letting the hyperfocus take over.  It’s easy to get addicted to the extreme focus.  It’s an amazing feeling of being in tune with yourself and “in the zone”.  It can also be unhealthy and lead to problems.

I’m a single parent.  I like nothing more than to spend time with my daughter.  Now that I’m writing, she has gotten used to “sharing” me with my other passion.  She knows that I do have to work at night, and she is accepting (most of the time) and is very supportive and proud of my efforts.  I normally handle my new role well.  I cook dinner nightly, which we eat together, and I have a “no work” rule on Sundays, and I also reserve one night during the week for no work where we watch a movie together, or play a game, or even just sit on the couch and read our books.  She’s older now, and is handling her dependency issues quite well, and enjoys some time to herself these days, so if I’m at the computer in the evening, she doesn’t really care.

The reality is, that I’m much more organized in my head than I am in real life.  I like this little picture of having everything happen on schedules, with certain days to do certain things, with the house, laundry and meals all neatly taken care of.  Yeah.  Okay.  I make schedules, I do not keep schedules.  I think about cleaning and laundry, and I even start the tasks, then get sidetracked along the way.  Then when the hyperfocus comes in, and I’m deeply involved in a project, everything gets thrown out the window.  I get irritated at the things that take me away from writing.  I get cranky and moody.  This is the part I don’t like.  Most people would tsk tsk at me, and say it’s all about self control.  They would say it’s a choice, and that all I have to do is put down the writing and take care of business.  Not so easy.

I’ve been caught up in my writing lately.  I finished my book, and after putting it aside for a while, I went to work on re-writing.  That went well, I got through the first re-writes without much drama.  When I started the second round, I knew I was close to being done with this book.  The end of last month, I started the edits knowing that when I completed these I would be able to hand it over to the person that is going to edit for me.  It will be out of my hands for a while.  I got caught up in the book, caught up in “completing” it, and wanting it to be exactly the way I wanted.  I went into overdrive mode, thinking only of the book.  I got caught up.  I let everything else go for the sake of working on my book.  Then something happened.  I got to the end.  I was done.  There was nothing more I could do to this work until I’ve had input from someone else.  It was as good as I could make it at this point.  The book was done, but my hyperfocus held on.  Without the book to work on, I was going to crash.  Hard.  So, what do you do when you have all this hyperfocus energy and the project is over?  How do you come out of the fog and find your way back to the land of normalcy?  How do you avoid putting yourself through it in the first place?  I don’t have the answers.  What I have is restlessness, sleeplessness, and a lost feeling.  I have to step back and figure this out.  Although I like the consuming feeling when I write, and am involved in a project that I care about, I have to learn how to keep perspective.

So, that said, I am super excited about my next book, Blessed Light, Cleansing Rain, due out in September.  It has been an interesting process, and I have learned much from this story.  I feel privileged to have known these characters, and will be very sad to see their time in my life come to an end.  My work is far from done on it, but I will get a break from it while it is in someone else’s hands.

What’s next?  I have a few projects I want to work on, but I think the first thing on my agenda is going to be some forced spring cleaning.  Dog hair has infiltrated the entire house, and what little organization I ever had has disappeared.  I’ll set the timer, make a schedule and do some cleaning.  Then I will listen and see what characters want their story told next.  I’ll probably start on one while waiting on the return of Blessed Light. I’m not sure what’s next, but some sleep would be nice.


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All Sorts of Randomness

At some point in the last couple days, I had a coherent idea for a blog post.  I thought about it while driving, while cooking dinner, or doing the dishes.  I knew some topics I wanted to talk about, and what I wanted to say.  I sit down to jot down some notes and realize those ideas are gone.  That often happens to me.  I’m thinking of something, or working on something and before I know it, I’m doing something else without even knowing how I got there.

This morning I had a plan.  I had a list of things I absolutely no- buts- about- it had to accomplish today.  I get up with a raging headache, so I decide to go back to bed for a little while.  I woke up four and a half hours later.  Have I mentioned I’ve been a bit sleep deprived lately??  Not sure if the sleep did me good or made things worse…so anyway, getting an extremely late start I decide to tackle the mound of laundry.  I put in a load, and of course there are some that are still in the dryer from last time I washed, so I take those out and put them on the couch to fold.  Wait, what happened?  I was folding laundry…what am I doing cleaning out from under my bed?  How in the heck did I get here?  I have no clue.  Not one.  I put the clothes on the couch…then BAM, here I am under the bed.  Go figure.  Okay, so I get all the stuff that has gotten lost under the bed out and vacuum up a load of dog hair.  Not that it’s been that long since I vacuumed, but because I have this dog with an intense shedding problem.  Nothing the vet has recommended has worked.  I can vacuum several times a day and then it it still like watching tumbleweeds rolling across the desert.  And if I don’t vacuum for a day or two?  Good heavens you can’t even see the floor.  I can’t hold it against her, poor thing, it isn’t her fault, but boy does it make me look like a bad housekeeper.  I mean, I am a bad housekeeper, so I don’t need any help looking even worse!!  Okay, so where was I?  See how I do that?  Under the bed.  Yeah.  So I’m vacuuming under the bed and throwing stray papers away.  My daughter likes to sit in my bed and draw at night while I work…apparently she tosses her wadded up paper to the side….uh-huh…found the evidence.  So…cleaning up my room, which desperately needs a good sound cleaning and here I am mashing strawberries for jam in the kitchen.  Wait.  What??!!  Strawberries?  Now how did I get HERE?  Sure, I was planning on making jam, but when did I even come into the kitchen?  What is going on around here?  And what happened to the laundry for goodness sake?  (and don’t worry, I know I washed my hands before getting into the berries because I’m fanatical about that sort of thing.) And while I’m in the strawberries, I did promise my BIL that I would bring him some chocolate covered ones tomorrow, so I better get those done while I’m at it…

Just another day in the life of my chaotic mind.  Some days things do get finished.  Other days not so much.  Okay, I did finish the jam because that isn’t really a project you can put on hold once you get to a certain point.  The laundry is partly done and my room is partly clean and yes, if I’m going to admit to the whole truth here, the Christmas decorations are partly put away.  Yep.  Just another day.  And yes, I am fully aware that it is now February.  Don’t judge me.

I’m working on the first round of re-writes for my novel, Blessed Light, Cleansing Rain.  I am happy with this project, and as anyone with ADHD knows, I have been in that hyper focus zone.  That nothing can stop me come hell or high water mode.  That I don’t have time for sleep because I have to do this while I know what I want to do with it.  The I love this story and I can’t wait to watch it grow up and take flight.  I’d been running on very little sleep and all the chaos, and I knew I was very near the crashing point.  I could feel it prickling just under the skin, warning me.  Usually I don’t heed the warning, I just continue full speed ahead until I hit the inevitable wall.  I was given a friendly piece of advice.  Take a few days off.  Do something fun.  Find something enlightening.  So, I put my notes in a nice, neat stack (we ADHDers are excellent stack makers, are we not??) and walked away from it for a couple days.  Now in all fairness I did not leave the project, because it was on my mind constantly.  Scenes I wanted to include, bits of dialogue I needed to jot down.  Things I remembered I wanted to take away because they were redundant.  I worked on cover art until my eyes spun in crazy circles.  But I didn’t write.  Not a word.  I think the break did me good, but I can’t stand it for one more day.  I’ll be back at the keyboard tomorrow.

I’m planning to have a book launch party when my baby is all done.  I’m really excited to be able to share the moment, and I think it will be a fun time.  I didn’t have a book launch with my last book, but I want this one to be something special.  I have too many people that have supported me through thick and thin that I want to thank and to share the moment with.  What better way than a party??

Damn.  I just realized something.  All that gorgeous jam in the kitchen and not a single slice of bread in the house.Image


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I think NaNoWriMo Claimed Another Victim

Here it is, almost to the end of Nov. 13th.  I joined the ranks of those trying NaNoWriMo, a bit wary, a bit excited and a bit awed by the whole thing.  Furiously did I start to write on the first, hoping to even come somewhere close to goal by the end of the month.  I wanted the discipline, I wanted to show myself that I COULD learn to put my writing first, and in these past 13 days I have done just that.  I have learned that I can in fact, make time to write.  I have learned that even when the words don’t want to come, or they aren’t coming out the way I want them to, that I still need to sit myself down and write.  Or stare at a blank screen or paper, whatever.  What I am not allowed to do is to let an entire day go by without writing something.  Anything.  (and no, grocery lists don’t count)

I am focused on my project with a focus that may not be entirely healthy.  With ADHD, hyperfocus can be a problem for me.  (Nice blog on hyperfocus and the ADHD mind by The Adult ADHD Blog by the way) I  can zone in on something that I want to do and single it out to the exclusion of anything else around, even things that are important.  Luckily, I live with an eleven year old who will not let me forget to feed her, even if I forget to do any laundry or pay the electric bill.  Still, in the past thirteen days I became obsessed with word count.  I’ve been enjoying watching the number steadily climb, and when it reached the 30,000 mark I was ecstatic!  In a few short days I have become a firm believer in NaNoWriMo and what it stands for.  I have enjoyed the exuberance of the participants, the good will shared, and the encouragement offered by everyone has been refreshing to see. I thought today that even though I know I will continue to write with enthusiasm, I will be sad to see November and NaNo come to an end.

I know my project will need much work when November is over.  For now, getting the words on the page is enough.  As I struggled today wondering if I could in fact make it, if I could possibly make something out of this mess I’m writing, and if in fact my voice is still in me somewhere waiting to be discovered, I was reminded that as long as I believe in my work, and believe in my characters, then just write.  Just throw the fear and the worry and the doubt to the side and just write.

So, at the end of day thirteen, I thank NaNoWriMo for pushing me to succeed.  I thank you for showing me that I have it in me to find the time to write every day.  I thank you for reminding me of what is important, and I even thank the part of me that can hyperfocus.  I needed that part of myself to remind me that there ARE things in this life I am passionate about, I just need to find balance.