One of the tricky things about being “pre-published” (thanks, Julie!) is that there’s no structure to my day. I don’t have deadlines or external structure of any sort. And for someone with ADHD, that can be disastrous.
It’s something I’m constantly re-learning. If I don’t play close attention, I can easily spend all day doing household chores, kitten care, and projects that are pointedly not my writing. Even this blog is a form of procrastination, because I can write whatever I want here. I don’t have to worry about making each post connect in a coherent manner that will also ensure that the story resolves in a satisfying way.
Part of the problem, of course, is that everything else is low stakes. There’s not “succeed or fail” with “do kitten laundry.” The world won’t get to judge my t-shirt quilt when I’m done and my self-worth isn’t tied into it.
So how do I manage to keep writing when the idea is too scary, or baking bread sounds more interesting?
Honestly, sometimes I don’t. (I know! Shocking.) But I get better as time goes on. Taking my Adderall regularly seems to be helping too. I don’t feel very different, but the end results of writing sessions, even the ones where I feel like garbage, are undeniably positive. There are always lots of words in my Scrivener’s word counter.
Another thing that keeps me on track are the knowledge that Kevin believes in me. It’s indescribably helpful to have someone besides me think that I can Do The Thing. Not only is it buoying, it also gives me a fear of letting him down. Stick and carrot.
Then there’s writing down my To Do list. One thing that can paralyze me is the sudden influx of Things To Get Done. Writing them down helps put everything in perspective.
But ultimately, the thing that keeps me going is keeping going. (Tautology!) Just one step at a time, bird by bird, inch by inch, just do it, all those sayings. Like any job, there will be times when it seems pointless or too overwhelming. But if I do it anyway, eventually it will get done. There are a gazillion famous authors that talk about how if you wait for the right moment or your muse, you’ll never get anywhere. Writing is a matter of sitting down and doing it, not following the fairies.
For me, that’s the absolutely truth. Do it and it gets done.
Anyone else struggle with prioritizing your work? Did you find this post extra confusing? Let me know!
P.S. My manuscript is at 70,000! I can’t believe it! Now we’re at “so much editing.”