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Finding your way back, part 1

I've had a pretty rough summer.

Personal relationships, grief, ancient trauma re-emerging, and financial strain. It's fair to say life has not been kind of late.

My plans to finish and pitch the novel have foundered, and I’ve not written anything new since Spring. The list of projects I really want to get into is long, and overwhelming.

This is not a unique tale for the neurodivergent writer, especially in the current global climate. There’s so much going on it’s hard to think straight.

But writing never goes away, not completely.

I have a bottom line, and that’s my morning pages, a daily writing ritual I picked up after reading The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron. If you haven't read this gem already, please do.

For the unfamiliar, the morning pages goes like this: every morning as soon as I am awake I pick up the notebook that sits on my bedside cabinet and write three pages of whatever comes to mind, stream of consciousness style.

Sometimes it’s notes on the messed-up dream I had last night, or how annoyed I am with my partner. Sometimes its observations of the garden outside my window, sometimes it’s my plans and expectations for the day. More often than not its a litany of my fears, anxieties and worries. The grammar and spelling is terrible and sometimes I don't even complete my sentences.

That’s okay. I have learned to let go of perfection where my morning pages are concerned, because that’s not the point of doing it.

The point is to reconnect with myself, and to remember that I am a writer, that this is what I do. It’s an intimate conversation with myself, that allows me to pause before my head (and life) gets in the way. It’s where I can see clearly, if only for fifteen minutes.

For the neurodivergent writer, this is so important.

When life has derailed our writing and our sensitive brains don’t allow us to manage the derailment very well, we need a way back in.

It can be tough to pick up the threads, and for those of us that have ADHD (or traits of), a perpetually spinning mind and poor executive function can make it difficult for us to even decide which thread to pick up first, especially when our inner critics are equipped with a loudhailer.

“It’s too late!” it cries. “You’ve left it too long!”

I’ll just do the morning pages, I answer.

“What if you can’t do it anymore?” it hectors, in a terribly convincing tone.

I’m sure I can just do the morning pages, I say.

That's my way back in.

We have to keep it simple, because we are anything but.

Three pages is enough.

Three pages of scrawled, misspelled, directionless writing is enough.

Because we are enough.

Yes, we are.

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