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It's Hard to Write When It's Hard to Concentrate

Writing is labor intensive, besides my scattered brain chemistry.

By Eileen DavisPublished 3 months ago 4 min read
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My oldest son complains that I don't finish sentences when I am talking, which is sadly true. I get distracted midthought, or my thought isn't complete so I lose what I was saying. My husband and son will wait until I form the words for the thought. Sometimes it never comes. I often ask for "whatchamacallit" and can describe the item, where it is located, and so on. If my husband is on the same wavelength, he will bring me the "whatchamacallit". (I googled a long question which resulted in tip-of-the-tongue, anomia, and aphasia--not "apraxia" which first came to mind.) Sometimes it will take hours, weeks, or months before I remember the word I want to use. Ironically, I have an excellent memory of faces--sometimes their names.

Such is my writing. I have a short time period where my mind can concentrate enough to write, which stinks since I love to write. I have that bug in me to create with another bug to be distracted by the next shiny idea. I know I have written about this once, or twice, or thrice upon a time. Many writers face this too if I believe the many memes on Twitter's #WritingCommunity. But I am a special case. J/K. I often feel like a special case when I compare myself to others' finished products.

My bipolar causes me to have scattered thoughts and to be easily distracted before I add many connecting words to a paragraph. Thus, my writing often appears choppy and has holes in the thought process. I lose motivation for a project rather quickly if I can't put it down in less than an hour or two. Thus, I have dozens of first rough drafts, including in my Vocal story or blog queue. After so many months--or years--I delete them since the motivation isn't there anymore. I have dozens of story ideas and first chapters floating in the internet cloud too. Many of the ideas aren't fully developed anyway. Or I have mom stuff do. Medication helps for the most part. Still, I miss hypomania.

When I experienced sustained hypomania/mania, I had the energy to stick to a project for a period of time. I could spend hours and hours until I finished it. But once I lost energy or interest, that rough draft never finished itself. The hypomania isn't worth it because of the crash after or its effect on the rest of my life.

My first drafts are absolute trash. They make very little sense, which is why some of my posts aren't very coherent. One time my friend partnered with me to write a paper. I generally received full marks, so it seemed a good combination. However, she just took my first draft and typed it with some of her comments. It lacked coherence because when I concentrate for hours I can produce a better product. Suddenly, magic floats when I revise a draft. I know the next word without great thought. But it takes a lot of effort to achieve those bursts.

This is comparable to making meals, eating right, and exercising only when motivated. That it is hit-and-miss because it takes effort. I only want to make a meal or exercise when I feel motivated. During my coaching, the group talked about the myth of motivation--that motivation isn't consistent. Willpower isn't magic. Instead, start small and understand that motivation won't always come.

Over the years, I've seen that writing takes consistent practice and takes time. And the ability to write well can be lost. I had to practice for a few years blogging and prepping for the GRE before my writing improved again. Also, here's a shoutout for Grammarly or other editing tools for the minutiae (psst, the suggestions can still be wrong).

So my lesson about writing is revision. It takes reworking a piece to get it better. And it will never be perfect. Just improve the writing as much as you can before a deadline others make or you decide for yourself.

This post took me three hours to write, so why not tip or pledge $3? I know you're rich. Well, probably not. Anyway, you can follow me for free with the Vocal subscribe button, or on Facebook, Twitter, Medium, or my personal blog.

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About the Creator

Eileen Davis

Wannabe linguist. Wannabe novelist. Blogger. Poet. Avid reader. Boy mom. Have bipolar 2. Experience bisexual attraction. Love America. Love China. English language BA from BYU.

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