Friday, November 10, 2023

Learning to Unlock Writing

It's funny. When we're newbie writers wanting to be authors, we get to a stage where we realize we need to learn a few things in order to level up to being authors. Then we shift into a stage where we secretly wonder if there isn't some special sauce thing we could learn that would catapult us to bestsellerdom. Maddeningly, the authors who are best sellers swear there isn't. Yet most of us keep looking. I know I did. Still do, sometimes.

I gather I'm susceptible to classes and training and such because I have a thing that I want that I know intellectually and emotionally is attainable. Yet I'm not attaining it. So I keep squinting at myself through some inverse magnifying glass trying to work out what's getting in my way. Classes have been part of that examination. I believed that if only I took enough writing classes, I'd pass some unknown Rubicon equivalent and suddenly get it together as a writer. The problem was that my issue wasn't with the writing. Necessarily. That can always improve. Maybe the better way to say that is to say that the writing hasn't been the blocker all this time. I have.

Getting a late-in-life autism diagnosis has been a trip and a process. A long involved process. I've had a lot to learn about what it means, how my brain functions, how I function, and what motivates me and what demotivates me. I've had to learn to pay much, much closer attention to what my nervous system tells me when it tells me. So all of my learning for the past two years has been from other autistic people, some of whom have done an amazing job of deconstructing what it means to be neurodivergent in Western society. I've had to learn how to stop masking so I can recover from a lifetime of burnout. That's been messy. I've learned that I'm demand avoidant to a pretty high degree and that impacts writing. I *finally* worked out why I've never won a NaNoWriMo. Write and report every day creates this massive block of pressure in my chest that builds and builds through the month until I just nope straight out and then call myself a failure. And then meltdown, anyway, without ever understanding why I end up hating me. Not super useful or particularly healthy. 

Having learned what I've learned so far, I'm doing NaNo differently this year. If I report daily, I report daily. (Spoiler alert - yeah, no.) I will just report my numbers when I feel like it. And if I don't make 50K? So what. I'll still be farther along than I was. So while I am taking classes and learning from folks - I can't really say that these people are teaching me writing. They aren't. But what they are teaching me is breaking writing free. Finally. Finally. 

Raven and his friend wish you a happy, relaxing Friday.

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