For Me - Variety is Key

When I saw this poster I felt like jumping up and down and shouting YES!  I didn't realize until I had kids in elementary school that my brain functioned differently. I thought everyone thought about multiple things at the same time and that it was normal for thoughts to race down random pathways unexpectedly.  In fact, when I was young I thought other people were doing the slow thinking thing to piss me off. Yes I did.  

Somewhere in my 20's, one of the women I worked with said you need to tell me that in steps - ABCD. What you are giving me is leaps - ACFM - and I can't follow that. You need to slow down and walk me through your stream of thoughts in order.  Being in my 20's I found that strange but still didn't clue in.  I loved the adrenalin when my mind raced. It was like a high.  And I really didn't connect the crash after from adrenalin fatigue to what I was doing. I just thought I didn't sleep well. In fact, I didn't figure that one out until in my 50's. 

I blame it partially on the fact we honestly knew nothing about brain function differences - now called neural divergency.  When I began to hear about ADHD, it was focused more on the hyperactive body than the mind, so I didn't connect the dots. Fortunately, while doing a lot of volunteering in elementary school my eyes begin to open. Although I realize they no longer use the term ADD, that still feels like the best description. My body can be quiet, while at the same time my mind can be on fire. First I was ashamed and felt like a freak. Then when I starting interviewing, I began to embrace that it held a gift as well. I could listen, process, think ahead and more, all while being fully present.  Today I simply accept I am exactly who I am meant to be.  It's not always easy, and not everyone appreciates the way my mind works, but it's my path.

One side effect I do struggle to deal with is boredom.  Some routine can be comforting, but too many days that are exactly the same and I start to vibrate. I love my alone time. I love my time out socializing. I love total quiet. I love music.  I love to curl up for hours reading. I love to dance joyously.  I am filled with a love of opposites and love swinging between the two. Think roller coaster - that's me.  I love new experiences of all kinds - a new craft, a new bit of knowledge, travel in a new place, trying a new physical activity, walking in a new area.  I like to mix things up.  

Love this as it shows the joy of a racing mind. 

That leads me full circle back to the quote above. Over the last few years, as I have found myself unable to begin new books, I started to read up on subjects I felt might help.  I read titles on the science of habits, on creativity as magic, on potential and collaboration. I took zoom writing classes, and explored writing poetry and fiction.  Slowly, slowly I made progress. I am reaching daily word counts I am happy with and, while I am still not working on the book I really want to write, I am building material for a different one. 

Through it all, what has become clear for me personally, is that while developing a daily writing habit is crucial for me to succeed as a writer, I can't be rigid and inflexible in my daily goals. When I feel stuck, mixing it up helps to oil the creative gears.  This week I even helped write a short 365 word blurb a friend needed. I thought I had lost the touch of capturing someone's life creatively, but I was so proud of this piece. Her response, "You captured my life better than I could have," made my day and gave me confidence.  So taking time out to step away from the pressure was the perfect choice in that moment. Sometimes I also need to let my writing just be uncontrolled and messy. If anything worthwhile appears, it can always be cleaned in editing. 

Let go at times and let your work get messy!

To reach our goals we do need to be focused on the end game - the touch down. But if you've ever watch sports you know the plays are always a jumble. They don't do play one, play two, play three in order. They mix it up. They try to catch the other team with something unexpected. We have to do the same in our own work.  Procrastination, self doubt, and outside distractions have your number. Some days you need to catch them with an unusual twist in a direction that leaves them in the dust. 

Whatever you are trying to achieve, whatever goal you strive to reach, find a way to combine positive habits that lead toward it, along with creative ways to keep the work from becoming boring. Hopefully you chose this because goal/career because of it is a passion your hold dear. So honor that by stoking your creative fire on a regular basis. It will help keep your enthusiasm high, your energy intact and help what you create to be the most authentic it can be.