I have ADHD and Bipolar 1. So I adore novel, creative pursuits, and my projects can send me into the stratosphere from which I may or may not surface.
Writing memoirs (well, starting the first book anyway) tumbles me smack bang into the middle of my eager mind. It seems like mushy quicksand that will take me eons to find footing in.
This rush often results in unwise decisions and sleepless nights. It doesn’t matter if I do not know what I am doing, I just barrel in. And, the more information I can delve into, the more wound up I become.
But, running off half-cocked and at high speed can lead to a crash as I start working on fumes. At that point, I need to put the brakes on, sifting through the pile, set things aside, and focus on what is most important for now.
FIRST, LET’S SEE WHERE I JUMPED – or as I call it, the holy grail for cluttered minds
It is June 30th, 2020, and I have over two-thousand essays marked to read on Medium, an information hoarder’s dream. There are essays on writing blogs and books, editing and publication, photography, mental health, current events, and social issues, with varying levels of professionalism. Each day in my Yahoo Mail inbox I receive a newsletter of suggestions and mark a few more for consideration. I have read less than twenty since March. But at least I know the rest are at the tip of my fingers, and that brings me comfort.
Collaborating with leading companies and universities, Coursera offers course specializations, professional certificates, and degrees. And, if you, like me, are not interested in the trappings, audit many courses for free. At first, I enrolled in over fifteen courses, most lasting between four and eight weeks. Now really, when was I going to write my book or even essays for my writing classes? I quickly learned that I overextended and pulled out of thirteen of them. Then I missed deadlines for the other two.
Concentrating on developing creative skills, I am finding some really excellent offering through this website. Once again, I signed up for too many to handle. But my first class – Creative Nonfiction: Write Truth with Style by Susan Orlean was very good. Poco y Poco is going to have to be my mantra for pursuing the others.
I like the blog and learning portion of their site. It is another maze to get into, but it is not as large as some of the other sites.
I am noticing that I must use the correct browser in order to be able to copy and paste from these websites and applications. A bit of trial and error was needed and I kind of mix and match as are similar yet different. Each has a strength and cost.
I have mixed feelings about ProWriting Aid. Sometimes it does what it is supposed to, but oftentimes it is incorrect. I like the reports it offers – style, grammar, structure, readability, etc.
With Fictionary, you can focus on plot, character, and setting. You can evaluate on a scene-by-scene basis or on an overall novel structure. You can import manuscripts. I think it is set up for rewrites, but that didn’t stop me from plunging in with my first draft wannabe. More information, another application, why not try them all.
When you want to put it all together. Great for outlining, keeping track of notes, characters, scenes, comments, etc. My favorite part, being able to keep track of previous versions of my essays by using snapshots.
Of course, as a new writer, I want feedback! But, I am finding out that maybe I should write a bit more of the first draft before I embark on this path.
I was intrigued when I found out about Scribophile. Joining some of their groups sounded like a great idea. In order to get the most out of the site members must critique others and gain karma points. With 5 karma points, you can post one of your chapters, essays, or stories. Not all posts offer the same number of karma points for your review. And, gaining karma points can be time-consuming. Keep in mind the groups are not vetted, meaning anyone can start a group, and many can fall to the side by having little member participation. It might be worth checking out. But join with caution.