The Struggle to Discover the Voice of My Muse, ADD, and Medium Gurus.
During elementary school I attended six different schools between 3rd grade and 5th grade. My dad was a civil engineer for the state highway department, and interstates were being constructed. We had to relocate several times, so I became the “new kid” 5 times during 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades.
I was always the kid staring out the window, instigating spit-wad fights, and the first to hit the playground during recess. Once distracted, I struggled to re-focus and get back on task. I often lost or misplaced homework that was half finished. I also had to reinvent myself on a regular basis with little self-awareness for making that happen.
After struggling with these symptoms of easy distraction, disorganization, and some degree of impulse control well into adulthood, I finally realized I have and have always had Attention Deficit Disorder.
Benefits of ADD?
One of the benefits I discovered long before I’d ever heard of ADD was a calm and quick reaction during a crisis. I also possess a quick wit that makes people laugh, at least most of the time. A rapid rejoinder is often ladled with sarcasm to comments or platitudes I hear those I know speak.
Sometimes those fast comebacks are aimed at those I don’t know, or some talking head on T.V. I watch a lot less T.V. than I used to. Fake news and the minutia of what some politician or famous person tweeted about another tweet are nothing less than annoying.
So I have taken medicine and worked diligently to focus, pay attention, and develop skills over the past 10 years, and I have improved in many areas. Still, I have room to grow.
Seeking my Muse
The 52 week writing challenge has helped me enhance some of those skills, while challenging me in ways I had not imagined. I have to do most of my writing in the morning after being up for about 45 minutes and getting ready for my day. On days I work my day job (4–5 days a week) I put in 1.5–2 hours toward writing. On most of my days off I spend 3–4 hours writing. So I average 15–20 hours a week. This includes reading several posts on Medium or offering suggestions on articles others have placed in the drafts channel. All these efforts put me more in touch with my creative voice, my muse.
There is such a thing as too much…
What I do not have time for is the self-promotion marketing work to “make it” on Medium. I have checked out some of the free content offered by the likes of Todd Brison, John Westenberg, and Dave Goins. They are all talented, bright and demonstrate acute entrepreneurial skills. However, I simply don’t have the inclination, and energy to follow their ideas for accumulating 1000 followers or more on Medium. It feels a bit like I did back in grade school changing school almost every semester. I wind up overwhelmed, feeling like I don’t fit in.
If I read a guru’s stuff and try to plug it in on a regular basis, my writing time would diminish a lot. Instead, their emails with great ideas pile up in my inbox. No offense to the wise sages on Medium, or even the WC, but some of your stuff is not working for me. I try to plug it in and then that detracts from my writing time. I become frustrated with myself for not managing my time in a more effective manner. It is my responsibility for discovering filters and tools that help me develop as a writer. So I am unsubscribing to most of the daily or weekly emails from the gurus.
I have designed a plan of:
- Writing first: Get words on paper or the screen. Period. (500 word minimum).
- Editing in the evening
- Establishing a writing goal I put in my writers notebook each evening before I go to bed.
- Reading that goal and accomplishing it the next morning.
- One day a week (Saturday) I devote 30–45 minutes to reading a couple of pieces the gurus have written that I have the greatest interest in. I will seek these out rather than watch my inbox get more cluttered.
As a Creative — Know thyself!
I will do this for a month (I just started this adjustment yesterday) and because writing something each week for the 52 week challenge is not always what I feel I must write, I may not hit 52 out of 52 posts. To this point of 27 weeks I have been 27 of 27. If for example I submit 49 out of 52 that’s 94% participation. I will be more consistent than I was prior to beginning the challenge. I hopefully grow in a healthier way as a result, know myself and my muse in a deeper way, and avoid the stress of distraction and disorganization. I can’t wait to see what happens!