Wednesday, April 7, 2021

April #IWSG: Risky Writing Adventures, Quarancon, and News

 

Many thanks to founder Alex J. Cavanaugh and the co-hosts for April: PK Hrezo, Pat Garcia, SE White, Lisa Buie Collard, and Diane Burton!

OPTIONAL QUESTION FOR APRIL:
Are you a risk-taker when writing? 
Do you try something radically different in style/POV/etc. or add controversial topics to your work?

I'm going to tackle this question sideways...

As many of you know, I accidentally answered this last month. I'm not sure how I was a month off, but it made me realize how overwhelmed I have felt lately with social media. 

 For the rest of 2021, I'll be posting only twice a month here at my blog, for IWSG and Author Insights Interviews. I'm also cutting back a huge amount on Facebook and some on Instagram.

Where my time is going: Book writing. Editing professionally part-time. Tutoring and teaching homeschool students part-time. Helping my parents with some property management part-time. Teaching a few classes for online events part-time. 
Volunteering. Creating podcasts for my church.
Life.

If you noticed, nearly everything I do is part-time, but all of the transitions between tasks are a little time-consuming. I have lists upon lists, folders cascaded with other folders. It's the only way I can keep it all going. I use an individual song (chosen each day) to give me a re-focus break between tasks. 

I am terrible at doing the same repetitive tasks every day, which is why I have so many different projects going. The same thing every day just sends me to sleep, or sends me into a restless procrastination zone. I may not have an official ADHD diagnosis, but articles I've read on the subject and free online tests seem to indicate the way I function is strongly indicative of ADHD. 

As a kid, I was always struggling with daydreaming. I hyper-focused on reading books in the library and didn't hear the school bell, which is a flip-side indication of ADHD. I either blocked sound out, got distracted by it, or dove into it with singing. I coped in school. I took notes, made up questions in my head, tightened my stomach muscles to "fidget" without getting caught (hence, in trouble), and to this day, I rarely allow myself to read in public spaces where I might get into a hyper-focus zone and lose awareness of my surroundings, which can feel unsettling when I'm startled back into awareness of the world around me. 

There's nothing quite like realizing that you've been writing/reading in a coffee shop for two to three hours, the sun is going down, the baristas want to leave, and someone you know has just waved their hand in front of your face to get your attention...after they've called your name three or four times. You feel slightly dizzy, as if you've come up from a dream, and you don't feel like any time passed since you sat down at your laptop, except your back is cramped. And suddenly, you are hungry/tired/need to use the restroom. 

It's all pretty embarrassing. And yet, there is something special about those hyper-focused moments - I get a lot of writing done and I have a lot of fun doing it. Sometimes, I think I need to record the sounds of a coffee shop on my phone/pc and then replay that when I want to sink into a hyper-focused writing zone at home, where it's more comfortable to have my husband touch my shoulder and bring me back to the real world. 

I never planned to write about neuro-divergent characters, or characters who have physical disabilities or chronic illness, but I have begun to do so because of my own experiences and the experiences of family and friends. I feel like this is a risky area. I want to write about it well, so it's authentic, but I also don't want it to take over the stories I am writing, which are primarily SFF.

What risks to do you take in your writing, if any?

NEWS
Quarancon is coming in April! I'm one of the online panelists for a panel on Disabilities in SFF on April 11th. Quarancon is based in the UK, so times indicated at the website are based there.



Writing Interactive, Vivid Settings is a class I'm teaching on May 15th online via Creative Colloquy. Remember class times for this are for Pacific Daylight Savings Time (Seattle/LA) Zone. So, if it's happening here at 6:30, then that's a NYC time of 9:30, and so on. Find out more at the Creative Colloquy Workshop Series page HERE.

One Hundred Essential Bible Podcasts is a current ministry of One Hope Church, and I'm contributing some of the podcasts. If you want to check it out, you can go to the Summary Page to listen to all of them, or just scroll to find one of mine. I am contributing once every other week. In case you didn't know, I have read the Bible as a whole 10 times, and have read the NT 17 times, so...I'm still learning and I don't take this lightly. 

If you want to hear some slightly different insights, read an author highlight, or get a little free fiction, check out my newsletter HERE.

24 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm not sure I can zone quite that well although my wife might say otherwise.
Congratulations on Quarancon and the other events!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I usually try to stretch or do something like that between tasks, sort of like a signal to my brain and body that we're going to focus on something else now. :)

Nick Wilford said...

Not saying ADHD is desirable but having such a hyper focus sounds like it would be very productive. I think for many, it's hard to zone in on something so completely once you get past being a kid. Like reading, I don't really ever feel I "lose myself" in a book like I did back then.

Jemi Fraser said...

You're a busy lady and have figured out what works best for you - love it!
I remember the first time I "emerged" from the zone - when I was reading Anne of Green Gables in the corner chair of my living room when I was maybe 8. I was SO disoriented. I've gotten more used to it, but it is a jolt!
Congrats on all the goodies going on!

Ellen Jacobson said...

I love the idea of a song to refocus you - very clever!

I used to get into the "zone" more frequently when I was younger. Nowadays, it seems like it's harder for me to concentrate on anything for very long. Sigh.

You amaze me with how much you take on and how much you accomplish. Quaranacon sounds awesome.

Lee Lowery said...

I love the idea of having a song for the day! That is a great way to keep focus.

Writing about neuro-divergent characters, or those who have physical disabilities or chronic illness is fascinating. I think you'll provide a lot of depth to the characters and give readers some interesting take-aways.

PK HREZO said...

Hi Tyrean! Wow 6 times all the way thru the Bible is impressive. You must have so much insight--I know mine grows with each time I read thru (mostly focusing on NT) but I learn something new each time.
I love that you're writing neuro-diversity. There is a big call for it in in traditional publishing right now. It's risky putting yourself out there, but so many others crave to see that rep. I myself have experienced ADD most of my life (undiagnosed). But like you say, it makes for fully zoned-out storytelling. :)

Patricia Josephine aka Patricia Lynne said...

I've had moments where I've gotten in the zone, but never zone out quite like you do. It is great being in those moments with writing because the story flows so well.

M.J. Fifield said...

I find I need some background noise of some kind to help me focus, but the exact type of noise depends on what it is I'm trying to do.

There are sites where you can create mixes of ambient sounds to listen/have as background noise while you work. One of my writer friends creates mixes based on where her WIP is taking place. Maybe you can make a coffee shop one?

cleemckenzie said...

I've had to cut way back in my social media. There has been so much to attend to, and now that I'm on my own, I have to do it all. Like you, I started making mistakes, and when I realized it was because I couldn't do everything and do it well, I started saying "Nope. Sorry. Can't." Here's a supportive hand from me to you.

Diane Burton said...

You have a lot on your plate. Good to cut back on some things. Take care of yourself.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Sometimes, we need to take a backseat from social media and from other distractions and just focus on writing. Good luck!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Sounds like you've got a lot of good projects that you're working on. It's okay to step back from social media a bit if you don't have time for it. And my daughter struggles with ADHD. It makes it hard for her to focus and she constantly loses things. She's on medication because it got too hard for her to focus in grad school and at her job. She's doing a lot better.

Chrys Fey said...

I am also cutting back in some places. I don't go on Facebook much. Or Twitter. On my blog, right now, I only plan to post for IWSG Day. There may be a second post some months when necessary. I'd love to get back in to blogging and do more again like I used to, but something's gotta give.

Thanks for sharing your story with us. I am definitely interested in the stories you write with neuro-divergent or disabled characters. <3

H.R. Sinclair said...

I break my day up into parts, each focused on a different thing -- art, writing, behind the scene maintenance, etc. It helps me with motivation, and creativity too, I think.

Tyrean Martinson said...

A huge thank you to all who commented today!
I did visit your blogs, but was unable to interact more here, due to a really cool family vacay for the next few days.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

You just defined my life! Every day is different and I have so many things I juggle - my chaos has become my routine.

Jenni said...

The ability to hyper focus is a gift. I think it's cool that you're being more authentic and writing about your own experiences. The world needs more books with neurodivergent characters.

Damyanti said...

Love the idea of a song for focus!

Liza said...

I admit to zoning out while reading and writing. In fact, I stopped doing either on the subway, afraid I'd miss my stop, or worse, become a target for someone with bad motives...

S.A. Larsenッ said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. I really admire you. You're stepping back, re-evaluating your time and talents, and letting God lead the way. <3 I'm on a similar path. Since Covid shed light (by the grace of God) on the erosion that is social media and its all encompassing poison, I felt the gentle nudge that it was time to evolve yet again as a writer, mom, daughter, business owner, and pretty much human being in general. The only tough part is that embracing this change also distances me from all you cyber-writer friends. I'm sure we'll always be here for each other in one way or another. Take care . . . Peace <3

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tyrean - what a really interesting post ... and am so pleased you've really worked it out - or what does best for you. I prefer to be busy ... but you're hyper busy! Excellent supportive comments too - all the best - Hilary

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Wow, you are busy and organized. I don't think I have any ADHD symptoms, but I do hyperfocus at times and notice nothing. I can completely shut out everything around me when I'm reading or writing or even doing a puzzle.
So glad there are people like you to write diverse characters.

Chemist Ken said...

These hyper-focused moments you refer to sound like when I'm in the zone with writing. I can ignore anything and everything when that happens. I guess it's not just writing though. I remember listening to a podcast on my phone at work while I was working on some project, and didn't even notice the fire alarm going off in the lab, complete with flashing lights. Whoops!