When I got up today, there was nothing in my head. No song, no remembrance of last night’s dreams, nothing. Which is not only rare but somewhat off-putting because at any given moment I can have about 500 thoughts racing through my brain.
Call it ADD, ADHD, daydreamer, or some undiagnosed syndrome that nobody has discovered yet, but living this way is all I’ve ever known. The thing that sucks about the racing mind is that it can be very difficult to hold onto anything at any given time.
As a kid I guess that didn’t matter as much. As long as I brushed my teeth, did my homework and ate dinner then the rest was pretty much a non-issue.
Back in the stone ages when I was a child it wasn’t a cause for medication when a kid was, uh, let’s just say spirited. Nope. We were called rambunctious or out of control, sent to the principal’s office. Or forced to contain our rowdy minds by hanging out in our bedroom, grounded for something we did “wrong”.
Let’s just say I read and wrote. A lot.
As an adult, however, I have responsibilities both to myself and to others. And I’m not just talking about things grownups have to do like paying bills, cleaning the house, accepting that they’re not 25 anymore by sending all their ironic/now-tragic clothes to the thrift store. No, I mean obligations that it would be ideal to have focus for completing.
For example, the third book in my Shaw McLeary mystery series.
Actually, hold up a second. Let me back up even further.
Because, before I force myself to focus on finishing that book, it might be helpful to remember a few things.
1. I self-publish.
2. Forced writing reads like shit.
What I love about being this way though is the sense of freedom it allows. Because, not only do I work in a creative industry but I’m the only one who dictates terms of my daily workflow.
This is both good and bad.
Good, because I can allow myself breathing room in the creative process. Bad, because I might abandon something for a long time until the merry-go-round in my head comes full circle back to that project again. And if my half-finished stories in my half-filled journals are any indication, that could be a long way’s away.
So, in the past few months I decided to take the good and bad and mash them up into one middle-of-the-road personality trait. What does that mean? Well, it means I have four books in process right now. And you know what? If a fifth idea happens to come to me that feels like a fully fleshed out, solid concept for a full-length book then I’m starting that one too.
I’ve never tried this before. Working on multiple projects at the same time and fully intending to publish all of them. Usually I get inspired for certain characters and try to see it through to the end without further interruption. But now that I’m embracing myself in a more realistic way I’ve come to realize that all those personalities running around my head (as part of the 500 things) might not be me. They might just be my characters.
And that means I can hold onto them long enough to complete their stories, merry-go-round or not. They are the anchored horses. The stable poles I can grab onto in order to break my fall.
If Shaw is speaking to me one day, like yesterday for instance, then I’ll write her 2200 words. Other days I won’t have any voices pointing me in any direction so I’ll have to rely on myself to get words out. Those are the days my essay collections will likely see some love.
There’s something very liberating but terrifying about embracing my creative process. Saying that I’ve grown into a more productive and capable writer because of it isn’t something I ever anticipated but it’s a pleasant side effect and I’ll take it.
Makes me think I might just be able to adult forever. Maybe.
Oh right. Today’s song choice. (See? Squirrel!)
Since I woke up with nothing playing, I planned on taking the first song on Pandora and spinning it into something amazing. But I poured my coffee then opened Facebook and there was my friend Keith doing a Throw Down between Silver Spoons and The Facts of Life.
Come on now. Mrs. Garrett? Jo? Tootie? Up against Ricky Schroeder? Easy choice.
Also, the lyrics to the theme song pretty much say in 108 words what it took me over 1,000 words to blog. Hey, I said I was embracing the good and bad so I could focus on writing as a whole, not that I wouldn’t be loquacious while doing that writing.
So today I’ll leave you with one of my favorite television theme songs of all time. However, just a note for anyone who might be a fan of the show, this is the theme song that everyone knows. The original, season one lyrics were somewhat different and dropped out of favor when the show was given a major overhaul for season two so it wouldn’t get cancelled.
The Facts of Life
(written by Alan Thicke [yup, the very same], Gloria Loring, Al Burton)
You take the good, you take the bad,
you take them both and there you have
The facts of life, the facts of life.
There's a time you got to go and show
You're growin' now you know about
The facts of life, the facts of life.
When the world never seems
to be livin’ up to your dreams
And suddenly you're finding out
the facts of life are all about you, you.
It takes a lot to get 'em right
When you're learning the facts of life. (learning the facts of life)
Learning the facts of life (learning the facts of life)
Learning the facts of life.
• • • • • • • • • • •
In addition to this drivel I also write books, both fiction and non-fiction.
Learn more on my author page.