I struggle to finish things. Anything. It’s been that way since I was a child, mystifying my parents. My mother was a well-educated teacher, artistic, multi-talented, her projects stayed under control. If one didn’t get finished, it was because she was a single mother struggling to keep our little family going. My dad, with his left-brained organized and meticulous, could make something out of nothing. He dropped out of Louisiana Tech and engineering, but for decades made a lucrative career out of pipe welding.
Everywhere I went in our little bungalow I left chaos. It took quite a bit of my mother’s effort to keep it contained to my room. Piles of toys, clothing, books littered one of my twin beds, driving her blood pressure into the stratosphere. From time to time she did a sweep through and we had a battle royale about neatness and order.
School work was lost, piano and trumpet practice never completed, my grades were never great. And I was terribly depressed. During my junior year in high school, I told my mother how depressed I was and I needed help. She told me it would be embarrassing if anyone knew I went to therapy. It wasn’t until I was married with a household of my own I finally got treatment for the big D, but there was something underneath keeping me from happiness. Attention Deficit Disorder was new back then. No one brought it up to me or suggested it was the root of my problems.
Now I’m nearing my sixties, my past and present perplexion with order make sense. It’s a wonder my two sons managed to get through their childhood sane considering how haphazardly I parented. I still had dozens of unfinished projects abandoned in boxes or in storage, writing I started years ago wasn’t finished or had gotten lost.
Which brings me to now. I’ve got dozens of stories started and abandoned, three novels unfinished despite being edited and critiqued as works in progress. Finishing writing projects is a real struggle. I admit to jealousy towards former critique group members for having finished and published their WIP’s. Why does finishing even a short story seem like a Herculean task?
In my series on Writing with ADD, I’ll share some tips passed onto me and would love to hear what works for others. Please feel free to leave suggestions in the remarks.
For those of you who struggle with ADD, please be kind to yourself, listen to what makes you happy, find a way to filter out as much of your life’s negativity as you can. Genuinely celebrate your successes, small or big. Hugs.
As part of a reading assignment in a writers’ group, I bought a paperback copy of The Silver Linings Playbook with the expectation of someone who’d already gone to the movie. While I thought the movie was sweet and heartbreaking, the book is so much more than the screen version. The hero, Pat, is the most unreliable narrator I’ve ever experienced, viewing life from memory loss and mental illness. While he has a heightened sense of his family’s emotions, he also has an almost childlike personality towards them.
Pat is broken. Heartbreakingly, disturbingly broken. If you’ve ever had a mentally ill person in your life, you know how difficult their life is, and how the illness affects everyone around them. You want them to be safe, be whole, be happy, be loved. You experience the ups and downs, sometimes at catastrophic lows and highs, of their illness. The fear for their safety, their future.
Pat’s journey is not an easy read. The author gives you just enough as you read to know more than Pat can process or knows. Your heart breaks for him. His Don Quixote works out, building himself into a new man, instead of tilting at windmills. Instead of Dulcinea, we have Nikki, the absent wife.
The Silver Linings Playbook is probably the best novel I’ve read in a great while, and I have a feeling that it will stay with me. Not a happy, light read, but the view into a troubled mind filled with hope, love, despair, and determination.