On Being a Neurodiverse Creative: Time, Focus, Organization

Time, focus, and organization can be complicated things as an ND creative.

Objectively, I know what I need to do. I know all the steps. I even know that in order to get it done, I have to list out all of those steps, note how long each will take and their dependencies, then reorganize them into a timeline.

Then I stare at the screen, or the piece of paper, and my brain just stops. Says nope. Hits the mental and emotional back button to get the hell out of that mode.

Makes it kind of hard to get anything done.

I’m currently struggling with this exact thing on multiple levels. Why am I blogging about it? Well, I’m hoping that if I talk about the places where I’m stuck, maybe I’ll become unstuck.

Oh, the funny ways we try to trick our minds, yeah?

Big List Things I Need to Do:

  • Publishing stuff with DPP (timeline not under my control)
  • Publishing stuff for independent book (oh hey, a release date would be nice and I’m the one who has to set that)
  • Plotting and outlining the next PHU novel (is it over a year overdue? I’m sure no one noticed…)
  • Plotting and outlining the next 7Lakes novel (because when the first one comes out, “where’s the sequel” will hopefully be the obvious first question)

There are a million other things on my list in various sizes from small through medium and even large, but none quite as unwieldy as all of those.

I’ve been blocked on these timelines—both for publishing and for plotting—for a long, long time. I feel like I’m trying to do too many things at once, or attacking things on too many fronts. I worry about well, what if one thing overlaps with another—are the people who want to read my work going to be like “nah, I can’t buy two books” and just nope out of everything? Am I screwing it all up?

I keep telling myself I need to let go and just Do The Thing.

Seriously.

Do The Thing.

So, let’s break down what needs to be done at the highest of levels for the writing-related things (and ignore all the blog posts, TikToks, video editing, etc that also needs to be done).

For publishing with DPP, there is: 2nd edit on book 2, large revision on book 3 before it goes to first real edit, then 2nd edit on book 3, and final edits on all of that. Plus cover reveals, blog posts, teasers. Pulling out quotes I want to use for stickers. I am pretty sure I’m forgetting things. The nice thing is that all of the big overhead things like planning a campaign has been done for me. YAY Duck Prints (Seriously, they are AWESOME). I think my sticking point here is that I have no realistic expectation for how long each editing round will (or should) take, so I’m not sure how to slot it in. Plus I know it’ll be overlapping with the other book.

For solo (independent) publishing, I have so much more to do. I have to create accounts with both the private and public profile information that’s required on publishing platforms. I need to create a logo and develop a description of my “publishing company” (me, it’s just me) and I need to business work for that company, like buying ISBNs. I need to finish the final book editing, then do the layout so I know what the spine width is. Then I can contract for and get a cover. After that it should get easier, right? Pull out quotes, do blog posts, cover reveal, announcement of the release date (probably not in that order). Get the news out. I can set a release date once I get everything else on a calendar. And if the bulk of the editing is done sooner rather than later, my editing energy can be spent on the DPP books while I’m doing production and marketing for the 7Lakes book.

Okay. This all starts to feel like something I can get my arms around. I’m going to let the high level/low level plotting go for now, and come back to it in another post.

So—why is this a blog post anyway?

I mentioned before that I was trying to unstick my mind. By talking out loud to someone else—even though I can’t see that someone, and who knows, maybe I’m shouting into the abyss—I feel like I’m being held accountable. I’m working through it in public. In plain sight. It means I have to keep putting one foot in front of the other, considering every word. It has to get out of my fingertips and onto the page because I am here, not just trying to make notes privately for myself.

I can’t back button out of it.

Sometimes that’s how I get things done.

Will this translate to me taking the things I’ve said above and moving them into something where I can add timeframes, and schedules, and put it all on a calendar with due dates and start breaking it down into even smaller tasks?

Gods I hope so. It’s a goal, anyway.

Getting back to where we started… time, focus, and organization can be complicated as an ND creative. 

Time—I spent thirty minutes and a thousand words of chatter.

Focus—It’s like body doubling—by talking to you, I got something done.

Organization—I think I have a list. Or a start of one. It’s more than I had!

It’s a complicated way of doing things, but fingers crossed that my next step is getting to cross off the first part of my timelines task.

Comments

  1. I love what you’re up to with sharing this!

    One bit of advice that comes out from professional personal productivity people is the idea of just sharing the ideas with someone else, kinda like you’re doing here, but you bring in context the others usually leave out. Sharing with an audience who is committed to your success is an important part of it for a whole lot of us in the world.

    When I lean into my found family of neurodivergents and allies and share my hopes and goals with them, it can feel different. They can ask helpful questions, they can be a source of ongoing insight into my own interests over time. They can feel more open sharing with me, and I can return the favor to support them. When I’m in a sharing community of people who are committed to our mutual success, then I’m far more likely to get the work done I want to see become real in the world. Dreams are nice, but they don’t put food on the table and they don’t write the story on their own. That’s the work, and an emotional helping hand can be helpful just like an extra pair of hands can be in other situations.

    Thank you for sharing this!

    1. I’m smiling at your comment because my first thought is “Isn’t having a found family of ND folks and allies the best?” because yeah, we speak the same language, and we support each other, and we get the dreams and the frustrations.

      I talk out loud a lot (literally, sometimes). When I write, I talk to myself on paper (I went from this blog post to writing in a notebook before my brain noped again). And thank you for replying; it’s really nice when yelling into the void nets a response!! 😀

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