My brain is extremely fatigued but I decided to start another blog post anyway. When fatigued, it's much harder to string sentences together, to be understood. However, my blog is minimally edited and an outlet in between my bigger projects. I also forget what I've just written or typed. Yet, it's all a form of processing.
Writing is more challenging for me, as I have clinicially recognised cognitive impairments. I find it easier to paint. I don't actually need to use much cognition at all to paint. It's just improvised on intuition (I usually listen to music that fits my mood so I can process intense themes plus it stops any overthinking). Painting is energising and calming for me at the same time, like meditation in motion. When my brain is too scrambled for words, and I don't know what I'm feeling, painting is my go to.
slow with a fast mind
I have nothing planned out, just a whole lot of thoughts competing in my head. So, I need to get them out. Writing is more tiring for me, hence why I do it (the challenge of it and to try stay as mentally fit as I can). Blog posts are managable little snippets, mostly stream of consciousness. Fortunately, I still have reasonable touch-typing skills, since I was a teenager.
My books take me years because I spend so long with reorganising information and my perfectionism comes out.
My mind is like an internet brower with too many tabs open at once. My mother said that since a child, I was 'slow with a fast brain.' Now, this might like an insult, but what she meant was that I take a long time to do things, the slowest in my family to get myself organised for anything, yet my mind is going 'a hundred miles an hour'.
My mind also tends to go off on tangents. This is common with creative minds, exaggerated by my disabilities. I don't want to be defined by my disabilities, which still affect me, obviously.
I want to focus on my creative expression and goals. Obviously, I know that I have limitations, such as unable to be productive at commercially viable levels. It took me 7 years to write a novel. I was still working on it when I met Maxwell, who features in the memoir I am working on. Maxwell is what popular culture would call the 'anti-hero'. I am aiming to complete and self-publish this second memoir, Bipolar Courage, this year. (My first memoir was called Bipolar Cringe).
The Bipolar Courage memoir is now at the top of my list of priorities with a goal to self-publish in 2023. I don't work on it everyday but most days I think about it and do some kind of activity towards it. Anything else, like sorting and deleting old files (similar to organising my mind) is secondary now to this goal.
I am currently trying to creatively problem-solve how to take the next step with my manuscript. Currently, it's a semi-organised mess typed onto an open source program with highlighter stuck through the main parts I want to keep, while having a big cull. See, I don't write most things in order. It's back and forth, like doing a painting, building up interacting layers. I know what it's about but I don't know exactly how it will turn out.
I also was revising my chapter outlines (there are a lot of chapters but I am now trying to make them shorter). The chapter outlines (on paper) are to help me to remember which key parts are where. Also to help avoid (hopefully) repeating myself or leaving something out.
I am pondering how to clean the draft manuscript up (it's now in chapters, at least). I am thinking of retyping the main parts to a paid for program, leaving out the parts I don't want. Reorganising the information. Now the open source program was more than adequate for independent publishing but I think I will switch as I now have a paid program that is generally better.
My first two books were written and formated with done with free software. I am hesitant to just save as the the new program, as there could be formatting issues.
A tip for writers: make a copy of the draft manuscript and date it, after any big changes. I feel more freedom to be bold with changes, knowing I could revert back to an earlier draft. I never have reverted back to an earlier draft.
Writing more efficiently
The memoir is mainly about an intense connection with an autistic man, 'Maxwell'. I met him during the advocacy journey. Our first interaction was a fight (we both have passionate personalities underneath the introversion). Yes, we both have disabilities and I will make clear how those impacted the relationship.
I have never said publicly who Maxwell is. I was rather peeved when a former 'friend' broadcasted who Maxwell is on public social media. She's since deleted it but that damage would have been done. Vindictive and I see as an attempt to sabotage someone's creative expression.
I expect there would have been loads of gossip anyway, in social media circles, which is one reason this memoir has been so challenging to write. Some people in some circles might guess, even though good luck with proving anything about who might be in it.
To try overcome this problem (as I believe in keeping people anonymous when writing on a deeper level about them), I decided go further than usual disguise elements such as changing names. I don't want to make the book fiction either, so I have decided to do something I haven't heard of before with storytelling. Be completely vague about every person in the book. Avoid saying anything distinctive, such as family details, which country someone lives, even what people look like. I will also filter out some sensitive information to keep to myself.
Another disguise feature I will do is to paraphrase any distinctive speech. I will state at the beginning of the memoir I have done this. I like to straddle the line between writing memoir and semiautobiographical fiction. This book is still firmly memoir, just lots of filtered elements. It's actually about my vulnerable emotional world, more than anything.
I hope it will be an entertaining story with the bigger picture plus details. Essentially, the book is really about my deeper feelings, that I usually have hidden from others. It's an unconventional love story and the connection and clashes of two complex minds. I like to write about relationships with disabilities and I think Maxwell is an interesting character to write about.
Anyway, one thing Maxwell said to me, was that I should try to write more efficiently (he's a writer too, a gifted one, and not necessarily efficient with words himself, ironically). However, I took this constructive criticism on board. Now, this is actually a massive challenge, as my mind is filled with so much information, leaping from one thing to another, and sometimes hyperfocusing. Hence with writing, I end up writing way too much and cull later.
I want to try prove that I can write more efficiently. Yet, it's obviously not the first take for me but after numerous edits. I have assembled my books from fragments, stitched together, out of order, rewritten until it flows. This is way before bothering with proof-reading etc.
I still have at least 3 other documents apart from the main manuscript that need to be merged. It's a lot of work and effort. I have some short-term memory impairments, yet some of my long term memories are incredible.
Anyway, in defense of tangents, tangents go with creative minds. I do lots of processing on my tangents. Tangents inspire new creative ideas. Paintings have actually been a way to help me sort out what the main themes are. I already have in mind completing a novel, Soar Purpose, after I've published Bipolar Courage. Hence the name of this blog, to keep me on track towards my bigger goals.
Maxwell liked my paintings. He understood why I painted and I will explain in more detail in the memoir. My paintings are actually all visual mind maps in disguise. My books are like painting with words, very different to my blog (which is more thoughts).
The big Cull
So, going off on tangents is necessary for my creative process, with all my symbolism. Of course, I attempt to stick to a theme but I've had a lot to process. The process has resulted in my artworks. I will only mention a few of the key artworks inspired by Maxwell. Cull out anything that isn't directly relevant to the story. Just like how sometimes, I've destroyed my own paintings. Then repurposed some parts while discarding other parts. It takes courage to do this - not be too precious about one's art.
I want the memoir to be as efficient as I can, whilst still communicating what I want to. It's apparently far better to be in a position to have too many words, then tighten it up with culling and condensing. Than to not have enough, then try to fluff it out.
As part of my preparation for another big cull, last night I decided to delete a heap of screenshots and related stuff from a big cyberbullying incident a few years ago. I recently made some of them public on my previous blog. I don't want this kind of toxicity to feature in my memoir. I will avoid political themes as much as possible.
The image is of a painting I did a while back, called Spring. My profile pic when Maxwell first met me, a metaphorical self-portrait. I am writing the memoir as if he were to read it. I usually only write about people if they had an impact on me in some way.
A friend since childhood now has the Spring painting.
Disclaimer: the author of this blog is not an expert by profession and her opinions should not be taken as expert advice.