Wednesday, July 04, 2007

A Bipolar Manic = Productivity

I've actually been accomplishing things lately. The sort of accomplishments even I notice and that is saying a lot because usually my minor accomplishments are shoved under the rug. Of course, I don't have a rug but that's besides the point. I mean that sometimes I just don't give myself credit for many of the things I do. Mostly, if I haven't been writing then I often feel like I've done nothing at all.

Thankfully, I HAVE been writing. I recently went on the hunt for writers software. I got sick of constantly hunting down notes on my computer or in my notebooks and while the plotboard worked ok with The Dating Game the children swiftly pull it to peices if I don't keep a close enough eye on them. And trust me, 3 year olds and cork board pins DON'T mix.

Anyway, I FOUND ONE! I found a fantastic program that is exactly what I was looking for. I downloaded the trial version to check it out and started by putting what I could of The Flight of Torque into it. Doing so was inspiring me and really getting me thinking about the plot and the characters and how they all interweave. The story is getting strong and stronger and while I still struggle to truly capture Tori and Lucas as solid lead characters I'm coming to know them.

I ended up buying the full version of StoryLines and I love it. I've even put The Tools of Poetry Workshop into it and it really helps to use the plotboard/storyline system to lay out where everything needs to come together. The focal point has helped me find direction and really narrow my sights so that I'm not constantly overwhelmed by EVERYTHING that must be done.

I used to look at The Tools of Poetry Workshop as 40 weeks of lessons. It was hard to even settle into lesson one because the ground work just wasn't there. I remember when I wrote the original version of the workshop I scrounged week by week to come up with a topic. Usually it would be late Tuesday morning before I'd physically FORCE myself to begin and snatched a random topic out of the air. I researched like made, put together a half-assed effort and posted it up for the group.

I remember that every week, all week long I was terrified about writing this short lesson that very few people seem to even read. It was daunting and I felt completely inadequate for the task. I was always filled with dread and experienced this intense breath of relief immediately after posting it up. Then of course, in the next breath the anxiety started again because I'd think on towards NEXT weeks lesson.

Now that I'm reworking the workshop I've got 40 weeks worth of lessons to write. But this time I began with a solid basis. I have a course outline so I know exactly which topic I'll be writing about. I've layed the groundwork with a reference guide and glossary. I plan to put this together as a published book when I've finished trialing and polishing it with the Persevering Poets Present group. The project is finally inspiring me.

The other think I did with StoryLines was used it as my new Poetry Marketing Database. I used to use Microsoft Access which was clunky and I could never get the linking to work the way I wanted and had multiple projects for Australian Paying, non-paying, interantional, contests, submitted, rejected etc. Anyway, now I've got it all together in StoryLines and it's so easy to work with. I even submitted 12 poems yesterday so I now have a total of 22 poems in circulation. I'm hoping one of them will catch a publisher bite.

All of this activity and I've not been sleeping very well. I've come to realise and worry because this is classic Manic. I thought I was balanced because I have melancholy stages throughout my day but if I'm honest with myself, while this productivity is fantastic, I'm barely eating, barely sleeping and I'm talking (and typing) a mile a minute.

I guess all I can do is make the most of the energy for the moment. At least I'm finding focus when normally this sort of manic would have me completely flighty. Yes, I'm still forgetful (duh! Blonde!) but I can settle into one project for hours without feeling trapped or getting distracted. I'm getting things done and if I could run on this kind of energy forever it would be fantastic. Alas, a manic high is ALWAYS followed by it's equal and opposite low.

Still, obviously my cycle is out at the moment. They're lasting longer than usual and I've given up trying to plan around it. Basically I'm just going with the flow. I figure eventually I'll get wherever this stream of emotion is headed. Meanwhile, I'm WRITING! Which is always the most fantastic feeling in the world.

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