Saturday, January 21, 2012

Like Rockets Pulling My Brain Apart

Many somethings on my mind
I had a nice chat with a friend from Israel the other day. His life was on the up. He had a (well deserved) promotion at work. He also had a new addition to his family that pleased him and his wife to no end. He was busy and successful, and yet he was frustrated. He didn't have time to write anymore, and when he did have time, he couldn't stick to one idea.
I believe a lot of people have this very same problem. Their heads are filled with ideas, and when it comes time to actually realize these ideas, they flounder. Which idea is best? Which will capture their interest until the end? 
I recently encountered this myself as I tried to think of what I should be working on this moment. It's a new year and I'm ready to commit to writing again. Ready to blog. Ready to write. Ready to live.
But what project should occupy my time? Should I tackle the rewrite of my novel? Should I begin a new novel? Is now the perfect time to write that winning entry for Writers of the Future? Maybe I should work on that middle grade detective idea I had, with each story being a short one listed for sale as an ebook, with a larger story slowly unfolding over the various stories. That idea has been niggling at the back of my mind a lot. Then there's that mushroom anthology looking for entries. They're paying only 1¢ a word, but you know how badly I like to write dark fantasy about mushrooms.

How ADHD affects me in this situation is that there is a pressure in the mind when decisions are complex and difficult. It's an uncomfortable sensation. Without realizing it (and this is the magical ADHD part) my mind is off thinking about something else, as if decision making is Teflon coated and impervious to ADHD focus. Since I need to come to a decision eventually, I decided to analyze the process so that I could describe it better. I believe the problem has to do with feeling things too intensely.

When I have a handful of choices to select from, each one gives me a burst of emotion—as if each idea has a rocket strapped to it pulling me at full force in different directions. I want to do them all but can't do them all, so I get stuck in a loop waffling from one idea to the next or I avoid the decision altogether. It can be overwhelming.

The solution for my problem may be the same solution for yours, however. We simply need time—dedicated time to give the problem its full due attention. Not every decision is easy to make. And some options are so close to each other it is hard to see which is better. Sometimes there is no better decision. We just simply have to pick one and move forward.

I've decided to work on the kid detective short story and give myself until February 9th to complete it. Then I will finish the rewrite of my novel. Then I will begin a new one. See? Wasn't that easy? And it only took me four weeks to do it.