Books, Climax (1988), Climax (contemporary), General, Highland Menage, Highland Menage (16th century Scotland), Musings, Research, Writing craft

My home is a mess and I don’t care! (recovering my craziness so I can write)

messy desk

My writing desk pre-medication, in 2015

Those who’ve followed me for a while may remember I was diagnosed with “classic ADHD” and started medication for it in September of 2015.

I haven’t completed a book since.

Right from the start I was worried about medication affecting my creativity. Seems I might have been right.

Those of us with ADHD tend to have messy homes (so are too embarrassed to invite friends over), have trouble finishing those lists we make of Things That Should Be Done, and are just basically overwhelmed by all the things we should be doing.

We have the best intentions and do start but if we get interrupted, by a thought or seeing something that needs attention now, it just doesn’t get done.

scrumpled wires re brain

How my brain works

I was surrounded by logical, methodical people who thought linearly. Like a train, they’d start at the engine, work their way through the thought, car by car, and end up with a final product in the caboose. My brain is Random Access Memory. It works like this jumble of wire, which I found many years ago on the side of the road and immediately grabbed as it perfectly explained how my brain worked.

The heroine in the fourth book in my Climax series, “No Strings Attached”, was like this. Lila Frost, a tall, strong rancher, rarely finished anything because she’d see something else that needed doing and would forget the job and start a new one. Some said she was easily distracted, while others blamed her blonde hair.

Lila finally discovers the pleasure of accomplishment when her dominant husband instructs her to complete a task, every part of it, and then report back to him. Allowing herself to become distracted will lead to a punishment spanking rather than the fun kind.

cover Climax #4

Cover, Lila Frost with Jet and Houston

A few months after Lila’s book was published I realized I was also easily distracted. (Yes, I do think I tend to write my own therapy.)

I checked on the Internet about ADHD symptoms o specific for females (ADDitude Magazine online is a great resource) and checked off a lot of the test boxes. (Males are often physically hyperactive so get noticed. In females, it’s often the brain, rather than the body, which is hyperactive. I blurted things and did random, impulsive things leading to being called stupid, crazy, ditzy, lazy, etc.)

So I went to my family doctor and said I thought I had ADHD, just like the heroine in my latest romance novel.

After various tests (finding and accessing a psychologist took months), in September of 2015, started taking the Vyvanse. Unlike other ADHD drugs (amphetamines), it releases the medication slowly so there is far less chance of addiction than with older medications.

What a difference! The first thing I noticed was that signs and sparkly things I no longer caught my notice when I was driving on the highway. A good thing when driving over 60 mph/ 100 kph. I realized one reason I couldn’t drive a motorcycle is that it takes far more concentration than I could manage.

Left or Right?

While on medication for the last two years I have cleared out and donated so much ‘stuff’ from my life. Stuff that cluttered my life physically and emotionally, as a lot of the things were from my past and had baggage that held me back.

I also had a major operation to repair medical issues I’d been ignoring, recovered the couch I’d been meaning to get to for 15+ years, got the inside of my home painted, moved furniture around, put up new (inexpensive) curtains and, just a few weeks ago, became the servant of a 5 year old rescued cat.

But no matter how much I wrote — and I wrote hundreds of thousands of words — I have not completed a book, or had one published, since August 2015.

My writing didn’t have that ZING! my readers (and I) expect. I did continue to write, read, and plot out future books and characters. I wrote more than 200,000 words toward Climax #5, starting over at least three times, revising as new ideas about the characters’ backstories came to me. (See side panel for a taste.)

All along, I kept wondering if the medication designed to help me get organized, destroyed my creativity in the process.

Dunollie Castle

Dunollie Castle, Clan MacDougal, August 2017

People with ADHD don’t think inside the box. Was taking medication to accomplish what Society said was important, limiting my craziness, also limiting my ability to use what allowed me to create people and plots out of nowhere?

I attended a writer’s conference in July where a few top authors took the time to encourage me to keep writing. They really enjoyed my work, and wanted to see more. This just blew me away — that these women, far more extensively published and famous than I — believed in me.

FaceBook provides my main contact with readers. Even though I’ve not published in two years, wonderful readers continue to encourage me by reading what is already published, and wanting more.

My confidence began to return. In August I headed for Scotland conduct research to complete stories featuring the last six brothers in my historical Highland Ménage series.

Three weeks in Scotland, followed by another three weeks volunteering with a book-related charity event, cleared my head. I bought a sit/stand desk (Ikea) and placed it in my living area rather than upstairs in a bedroom. Couldn’t work in such a dark, enclosed area.

desk

New sit/stand desk, big windows to my left

On September 20th I returned to Ashley Elliott’s story Climax #5. Last week I stopped taking my ADHD medication, replacing it with many cups of good old caffeine (tea).

I’ve completed editing what I had written, cutting it down to 56,000 words. Now, on November 2nd 2017, I’m finally ready to move the story forward.

This is excellent timing as November is NaNaWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. While I won’t be part of that process, I will forge ahead on my own. This requires limited exposure to the Internet, which can suck hours out of my day and send my mind in directions not conducive to completing a novel. Therefore, I will shut down at the wall (denying electricity to the modem which allows the Internet and TV to operate in my home).

My home will be clean, but messy. I won’t be writing Christmas cards again this year, and my major social life will involve Zack the Cat (all 14 pounds of him). I’ve stocked up on tea and dark chocolate, and am forging ahead.

I’ve got all sorts of things planned for Ashley Elliott, Hunter Jones and Dax Smith. They’ll have to face their past, adjust to the present, and decide on their futures. As Ashley and Hunter have few memories of their childhood — for good reason — they will have to lean on each other to heal.

Thank you for your patience. If you visit, mind to lift your feet because I’ve lost the floor again…   And please don’t trip over Zack.

cat lying on floor

Zack in his favorite pose, 17 inches plus tail

 

 

 

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