Must. Empty. Brain.

Inertia is a tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder in which people have recurring, unwanted thoughts, ideas or sensations (obsessions) that make them feel driven to do something repetitively (compulsions).(Google search definition)

Combine the two and you get me.

This is a stream of consciousness blog, so I will be jumping all over the place. Not necessarily writing it for consumption, but more as therapy.

My OCD is very mild and has only really been evident in the last 10 years of my life. I just recently turned 57, so in the grand scheme, it has not been an issue I have felt the need to address. It is certainly not something I need medication for, and you could even look at it as a good thing. And really, OCD, as described above, is not the best description of my issue. I don’t do things repetitively, like wash my hands or count things. Although, when I am stressed, I have in the past counted silently to myself. Not sure when I started doing that, but I don’t do it so much any more. ADD/ADHD is not really accurate either.

My main problem is one of focus. My brain never shuts down, or more accurately , shuts up. Writing this is an attempt to declutter my brain a bit. I have a constant dialogue running, and it is extremely hard sometimes to focus on one thing. Which is where the inertia comes in. When you have 20 different things you want to do, picking one and actually doing it is hard, at least for me. So I usually just end up not doing anything.

It is currently 8:13 AM on a Sunday morning, and I have been up since 6. I have drank my usual 2 cups of coffee, and have yet to get dressed. Dan, my husband just got up. He is currently laid off work, and keeps different hours than me. I usually get up at 4:15 AM to get to work by 5:30, so 6 AM is “sleeping in”. I am sitting in my recliner as I write this, and we are discussing the things we need to do today. We just bought an aquarium and need to go and get fish. He has building projects to finish, so a supply run to Home Depot is in order. We probably won’t get going til around 10. Once we do, and get our errands run and get back home, it will be time to think about dinner. I go to bed around 9 pm on work nights, and we like to eat early. This is how most of our weekends go. It is a routine that is not productive and needs to change, but will it? Probably not.

I am 57, Dan is 59. We both have bad backs, Dan has neuropathy in his feet, I am prone to headaches and migraines. I also have a thyroid condition that affects my energy levels. And I am lazy. Always have been, always will be. But Dan is not. He likes to do physical things. So bad back and neuropathy do not stop him from doing things. I don’t like pain, and I will always take the path of least resistance. Because of my back, for which I had surgery that did not work completely, I have pain radiating down my legs constantly. The levels fluctuate, depending on what I am doing. So even when I am doing something I really enjoy, like crafting, I can only do it in short bursts. But I have a full time job, standing on concrete,wearing steel toe shoes, in an unairconditioned warehouse. I do my job, albeit with lots of complaining. I am sure my co-workers are sick of it, but I do my job. I live in Texas, and summer is about to get in full swing. We are required to wear masks,(Covid 19) and combined with the heat, I am going to be miserable. Once I get home, and get cooled off, I will not want to do anything but play on the computer and watch TV or read. I know this from experience.

Sounds like a bunch of excuses, right? Of course it does, because that is what it is. I am the queen of self analysis and I know exactly what all my flaws are, and why I have them. Doesn’t mean I will fix them. Why? Because my number one flaw is lack of will power. I will always take the path of least resistance. I am currently 50+ pounds overweight. The extra pounds are one of the causes of my constant back pain. I hate the way I look. I know, I KNOW, how to get the pounds off. I have done it before. But I was miserable. I love food. I hate exercise. Reducing food and upping physical activity requires will power. No one can make me do it but me. Have I mentioned I am stubborn? Dan tries to motivate me, and I love him for it. Thank God he is not one of those people that uses passive aggressive techniques. I know I am fat, he knows I am fat, it is not something that needs to be said out loud. But if he was to be critical of my weight, it would make me less inclined to lose it. Yes, that is messed up. But that is how my mind works. But he doesn’t do that. Instead, anything I mention or try, he is game. He bought me a really nice treadmill several years ago, and now he has fixed it so I can watch TV while on it, because I said I would be more motivated to use it if I could see the TV. I have mentioned diet plans to try and he is always onboard. So it is not like I don’t have positive reinforcement in my life. And I know I would feel so much better with out the extra weight.

Why am I telling you this? What is the point of this post? Because my weekend morning routine is to drink coffee and watch YouTube videos. And one of my favorite channels had a video podcast about blog posts versus YouTube videos. They do both. It reminded me I hadn’t posted anything here lately. I started thinking about what I might write about.My brain being the way it is, a thousand different things came to mind. Then the fact that my brain was doing that presented itself as a topic. So I started writing. And my brain is still trying to focus. I have no idea what all I will end up putting on this post. I doubt anyone will read it all the way through. That is kind of freeing. I can purge all these random but connected thought streams and maybe settle on one project for the day. If no one is reading, it doesn’t matter if it makes sense, right? If you have made it this far, thank you for indulging me.

Self doubt and low self esteem are things I have struggled with my entire life, and still do. It is one of the reasons I post so irregularly here. Who is going to want to read my thoughts and opinions on anything? I will compose long posts in my head during the day at work, but talk myself out of it by the time I get home. Sometimes it is because it is too controversial, or I just decide it is too boring. I don’t do religious or political posts for that reason. And sometimes I just condense it down to a few sentences and post it on Facebook. I get the instant gratification of knowing it will be read by at least one person and if I am lucky, a conversation will take place in the comments. Blog posts are just tossing words into the void and hoping they land somewhere.

I started this blog initially to post my fiction writing. But the self discipline and self doubt combo keep me from actually writing any fiction on a regular basis. I love serial fiction and know that if a writer does not deliver on a consistent schedule, the readers disappear, even if they like the story. I go through bouts of really wanting to write. I try , I really do. I look at things others are writing and think, well, my idea isn’t so crazy. Take Rick and Morty for instance. How can something so stupid have so many fans? I know the answer. Teenage boys. Yes, I know there are girls who like that type of humor also. But I like to think that the majority of my sex are more evolved. And that is a TV show, so it will reach many more people than a blog.

Building a blog audience is hard, even with regularly posted content. When I decided to add other things to the blog, I thought I would be able to create content easier and more often. I was wrong. With more choices, came more indecision and inertia won out.

One of my problems is that I like too many things. I have too many projects, thus deciding which one I want to work on is hard. When writing was my only creative outlet, I did it more often and longer. I even started a writing club that met once a week to reinforce my resolve. If I had accountability to a group of people , I would be forced to produce, right? Wrong. It just made me painfully aware of how inadequate my writing was, and thus I did not write. This is my brain folks. Always sabotaging me.

If you ask a group of successful writers for tips, almost all will say “Just write. Doesn’t matter if it is good, just get the words on the page. Edit later.” This is where the OCD part of my brain kicks in. I just went back and edited the first sentence of this paragraph. My brain will not allow me to get too far ahead with out rereading and editing. That is death for the creative process. I am also slightly dyslexic, and the older I get the worse it gets, so I have to fix mis-spelled words and missing words immediately. Red squiggly lines are my enemy. I know I can turn off the filter, but I don’t.

My brain will also not allow me to write nonsense. Vomiting words onto the page and putting them into a cohesive narrative later is not an option for me. Believe me, I have tried. I like to think I am an intelligent person, and I would like to think anyone who is reading my writing is intelligent also, so as I am writing, that is in the back of my mind. Knowing how to write and actually writing are two mutually exclusive things. My writer brain knows that you don’t have to tell the reader everything, but my reader brain wants to know things.When I read a book, I am always thinking ahead, trying to anticipate where the story is going. A good writer IMO, will give you just enough to keep you guessing while advancing the plot. When I am writing, I try to do this, with varying amounts of success. The hardest lesson I have learned is when to leave things out. I like to explain things because I want to know things. As a reader, I have no problem with info dumps as long as they are short and sweet and advance the plot or understanding of the character or scene. Doing this takes talent, though, and I am not quite at the skill level that I can allow myself to do it. So I tend to leave too much out, which creates a new problem. It is a never ending cycle that cripples my writing.

When I get introspective, I try to figure out what it would take for me to actually get my writing project done. For starters, no access to the internet. It is way too easy to get distracted, and I do not have the will power to stay off of it. The second thing is a brainstorming buddy to be my muse/motivator. Preferably someone who likes the majority of things I do, and is not a writer but loves to read. They would have to be willing give to my story their complete attention. That’s a lot to ask of someone. I can multi task and do the same for this mythical person, but not everyone can do that.

I started my writing group with that in the back of my mind. I soon realized that other writers are too obsessed with their own writing, as they should be, to help me with mine. I loved everyone in my group, but sitting around for a couple of hours once a week discussing writing in general was not productive. We eventually disbanded when we all realized we were just socializing and not advancing our writing. Nothing wrong with that, but it wasn’t what any of us wanted or needed. We became friends, and still keep up with each other on social media. I would like to think our time together helped us grow as writers in some way.

I have come to realize that finding such a person is not an attainable goal. I have tried repeatedly online. I have just enough self respect to not go on social media and beg someone to be my “friend with special requirements”. I do have friends, I am not a total introvert. Just not one who “gets me” and shares all the same interests. How do adults make new friends? I am not a party person. Although I am religious to a certain extent, I do not belong to church. The is no “club” for artistic types to meet and mingle.There is a website called Girlfriend Social that I had high hopes for, but alas, no one who matches up with me enough to warrant meeting in person. There needs to be an app for creative types that works like Tinder or Match.com. Speed “dating” events for writers to find their soulmates, so to speak. Meetup.com is close, but I am leery of getting back into that since the Covid thing started. I would love to have a monthly event at my house where like minded artistic types could get together to get to know each other. My dream party would be playing card or board games while we discuss our artistic projects over adult beverages. A creative coffee klatch. Covid has pretty much made that impossible.

It’s been a few hours since I wrote that last paragraph. My mind is a bit more settled so I think I will stop this rambling narrative about nothing here. There was no real purpose other than giving me something to focus on, and it accomplished that. If you made it this far, thanks for reading. Please leave a comment, even if it is just to say I need professional help,lol.

1 thought on “Must. Empty. Brain.

  1. Pingback: Must. Empty. Brain. — Dragon Ramblings | Novel Writing Festival

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