I finally was getting somewhere with writing this post. The freeze inside my writing brain had broken up and words were flowing.
Not for long. Firefox froze. It must be contagious.
I ended up having to do a Force Quit and lost all of my writing. Writing something a second time is doubly difficult.
Ironically, I have not been writing because I am in a year-long Nonfiction Certificate Program at the University of Washington.
We are reading many books on writing. They are great books. But they have filled my head with a jumble of should and should nots. I find the rules difficult to remember and track. They often seem contradictory.
The hard driving critic who sits on my shoulder is more critical than ever – not because she knows more about “correct” writing, but because the reading has increased her surety that I must be doing everything wrong. For instance “-ing” words are a big no-no and I have used 11 so far.
It is amazing to me that anyone from a Jewish or Catholic background ever gets a word published. Of course maybe critical voices are nondenominational when it comes to harassing writers.
Every book I have read on writing talks about the critical voice. It is a comfort to know that this self flagellation is common; that most writers go through this. However, when I tried to use that knowledge to combat my thoughts of failure last night the critic kicked back viciously telling me she “is right” about my ineptitude and furthermore, that the brain injury will make it impossible for me to ever be a successful writer.
I have a black belt in Voice Wrestling. So here I am back at the keyboard again this afternoon bound and determine to get a post onto this blog today. Still, the voice does have a point. Things are different because of the brain injury. Though I do not think it will keep me from becoming a published author, it does make certain aspects of this course challenging.
The more I reengage life and add in more activity the more I begin to understand how the brain damage is effecting me. My Executive Functions are especially impaired.
Executive Functions cover everything that has to do with organizing, planning, sequencing, problem solving, and multitasking. Taking an idea and crafting it into a full fledged piece of writing requires all of those skills.
I feel like I have all sorts of ideas swirling around in my head tethered to nothing. Too many ideas (or idea fragments) – and all of them extremely difficult to corral and marshal towards a coherent goal.
I have both a 700 word and an 800 word assignment looming on the horizon. In part it is the word count that is paralyzing me. The shortest posts I have written on this blog that have actually explored a topic have been in the neighborhood of 1250 – 2500 words. Writing about not writing has taken 504 words so far just in this post.
The thing is, I do have many things I want to write about. As I have mentioned before, my goal is to write a good Time & Life Management book for people like myself – people who are TBI Survivors who want to live a normal life but have to take extra compensatory steps to make up for the missing neurons. I want to use this course to chunk out parts of the book; to explore ways of presenting the information. I plan to post some of the writing here.
Hopefully this entry is a first step back to more frequent blogging. I managed to get a couple of thoughts down into a semi-coherent post. I won’t tell you how long it has taken me. But that is another bit of comfort I have gained from all the course reading. I now understand that all good writers take a great deal of time to produce a piece of writing. My incessant rewriting and word wrestling is normal. Knowing that brings me a bit of solace and a little more faith that I can actually succeed as a writer.