Saturday, November 19, 2016

Too ManyDead Brain Cells Are Not Conducive To Good Writing

Wow this is hard..

It's 10:00 am on Saturday morning. I'm starting to put together my first blog post in two years and I'm sitting here with a brain feeling like it's filled with molasses. Thoughts that should flow, or at least dribble out are only coming out in slow sticky drips.

This is not new by any means. For years now I've struggled during the process of writing.
Losing thoughts or my entire train of thought as soon as I encounter the next descriptive word that's playing hide-and-seek with my brain, or being unable to remember how the punctuation or grammar should go.

Part of the process to deal with this has been going into the thesaurus and searching through sometimes multiple (here's a good example of struggling for a word that should take seconds to decide on but may take 5-20 minutes now, and may lead to me forgetting what I was originally trying to say. "tangents" is the only word that came to me but I'm sure that there's another word that's much better, that fits what I'm describing. What I need is an app where I can describe what I'm trying to say and have it produce some choices for me. I seem to recall something like that where you could type in some words and it would kind of distill your input, hopefully providing the word or phrase you were looking for.). See what I did there? In the process of trying to explain, one thing led to another, and the next thing you know 30+ minutes have passed. 
Tangents was an appropriate word. I want to go from A to B but along that path I end up taking multiple side trips, and when searching for words in a thesaurus the words are all hyperlinked so I might open up multiple browser tabs from the original word, then the same thing can happen from any one of those other words. To make it more distracting, sometimes I just get interested in some of the other words I encounter!

Now many writers will not worry about fine tuning things in the first draft and just concentrate on getting their thoughts down without restricting the flow. In my case I would likely never get back to finish them because I can't follow any structured, organized schedule. I've learned that the way I get things done (when possible) is to complete them in one shot, and if that means working on a blog post all day & into the night that's what I have to do. The times I do end up working into the night have a way of ending sloppily though. Fatigue sets in and that's that. It would be so nice to be able to pick up where I left off the next day or even have multiple projects going but these days I consider myself fortunate to even feel like writing (at least more than 140 characters at a time).

Writing, in part, has been a way for me and so many others to achieve a small level of control during stressful times. My need for things to be correct, lined up and in order detract from that control because I realize that my writing skills, specifically my grammar and punctuation (and likely other areas that I'm not even aware of) are sloppy and are much lower than I would like them to be.
I simply have lost the ability to learn anything new (and retain it) unless it's something I can apply on a daily basis, and since there are very few things I do regularly these days learning new skills is rare.
It would be so helpful if I had someone to proofread and edit my writing, however ever since my father, then mother died within a short time of each other, I have lived a very solitary life and do everything alone. The whole technology revolution (at least since the desktop computer & Internet) has been something I've tried to learn on my own (not having any 'tech' friends that I could ask questions or collaborate with). I did fairly well keeping up with most of the advances and even authored a consumer-level security (alerts & advice) blog in a section of my local paper the Concord Monitor. But things like recurring depression and family matters started eroding my memory and intellectual abilities to the point that I wasn't able to do all the work necessary to keep up with all the news.
Without having someone 'live' to ask questions to about punctuation or grammar (as opposed to websites like "Grammar Girl"), or someone to check/correct things, I kind of just ended up doing what I can with what I've got.

I almost completely stopped writing anything for a while during the time of their deaths. I was diagnosed with Diabetes, Sleep Apnea and a few other things. Those things, combined with pre-existing mental health and neurological problems, all the medications and their side-effects, along with the physical effects of disorders like apnea, high cholesterol and diabetes have had over the years, conspired to starve my brain cells of oxygen. 
Lately, while my diabetes and cholesterol is under better control than it has been in years, the Sleep Apnea has increased to a scary level. My brain (and other organs) is being starved of oxygen at night and the daytime starts out with me being very spaced out, not getting much clearer over the day.
It's now 1:41 pm and as I was writing that last sentence my mind just took another trip into the void for a few seconds..

Despite all that I somehow wrote these 955 words in the last four hours..

I will try to do better than one post every two years. Next will be a new post over at The Chesterfield Dispatch (with lots of photos and possibly video in the future!).

Thanks for reading.

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