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Occupation: Girl

Please close the door and switch on the fun without fail.

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Resurfacing. Again.
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cleolinda
Wow, it's been a while.

So. I think I'm at the tail end of a mild hypomanic/manic episode that's lasted about two weeks. I think. Using my Make Hay While the Sun Shines policy, I sat down to put as much of Black Ribbon together as I could, and write more whenever I thought of something. There are a lot of symptoms that I eventually notice--don't want to eat, have a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep, unexplained itchiness (often a caffeinated sort of tingle), creativity/productivity, and--sometimes--the distinct giddy feeling that I'm in love, even when there's no one around to be in love with. Turns out? Hypergraphia can also be a symptom of mania. BEHOLD: Tuesday.

@cleolinda: Ideas! Oh God, let me not stop having them.

@cleolinda: My new pen is a Pentel RSVP that keeps blobbing out ink and it DISPLEASES ME.

@cleolinda: Now, to type up the day's handwritings.

@cleolinda: Apparently 16 handwritten pages equals 5003 words, and that's what I wrote today. And then typed up. Holy hell.



 



And I wrote all of that between 7:30 am and 11:30 am, when I had to leave for my doctor's appointment--a medicine check, actually. ("Yes... I think you are manic.")


@particle_person: Hee, I appreciate the understatement. And I guess it's better than the opposite.

@cleolinda: That's pretty much my doctor in a nutshell: incredible understatement.

@particle_person: Two articles on hypergraphia, a condition of writing to excess: bit.ly/navw33 nyti.ms/nDt17I 


The reason I think the mania's wearing off is that I look at that picture and all I feel now is tired.

Tuesday, plus 5000+ words I typed up yesterday (from older handwritten notes/drafts) and then another 2000 today (which was much slower, tireder going) means that the zero draft--Crappy Draft--is up to about 38,000 words. (NaNoWriMo has you try for at least 50,000. I think your average novel is about 100,000.)  And, since I write out of order, I've still got more to go through and chuck in. Some of it will have been replaced by different ideas or newer versions of scenes, so it'll get filed away and won't go towards the word count. I'm not so much a size queen about my word count as just trying to figure out where the gaps are. A lot of the hypergraphic episode wasn't so much a compulsion to write as "Oh shit! I know how to do that scene now! Oh! Oh crap! I know how to explain why they do that now! ARRRGH WRITE FASTER, BRAIN IS THINKY." It's more about clarity than compulsion for me--once I had run out of ideas, I was happy to drape myself like Spanish moss over the couch for the rest of the day. I mean, I felt like a slack-ass for doing it, but then I typed everything up and realized I'd written five thousand words in four hours and was like, oh. Yeah. You earned that.


@cleolinda: Part of me really wants to sit down and write more, and part of me is kind of wiped from Hypergraphia Tuesday. That part is my hand.

@cleolinda: "HEY WHY DON'T YOU JUST THINK ABOUT THINGS REAL HARD, YOU LIKE DOING THAT." "But Hand, we still have to type it up eventually." *cries*

@cleolinda: "YEAH WELL AT LEAST THAT LAZY BASTARD ON THE LEFT HAS TO PITCH IN WHEN YOU TYPE." "HEY!!!"

@cleolinda: Can you imagine--a one-person slap fight? RT @bluinkalchemist: @cleolinda Now, now, hands, don't fight. We're all in this together.

@bluinkalchemist: @cleolinda At least after the fight we'd know the sound of one hand slapping.

@queenanthai: You need a voice recorder.

@cleolinda: I think there's one on the iPhone? But then I end up doing terrible British accents for my dialogue, and no one wants that.


(Here's an interesting problem: I type faster than I write by hand, as do many people. But I might even type faster than I think--in sentences, anyway--and so when I type, I end up putting down every little thought that wanders through my head. And thus, a decent idea for a scene drowns in rambling tangents and I forget where I was going with it. When I write by hand, I only have time to get the most important parts out, and thus I actually nail the entire concept down. If I want to elaborate while I'm typing it up, I can.)

I spent much of the hand-writing in the recliner or at the kitchen counter, but this is how I set up Lizzie on weekdays, while I'm watching House of Bark. (You can see Scout by the green tote.) In the evening, we (by which I mean me) haul it all back up to my bedroom.




Even though I think the mania is winding down, I'm still trying to press forward. (And now that it is, hopefully I can get back to LJ posts.) I just really, really want to have a Crappy Draft that you (by which I mean me. ONLY ME) can read from A to Z by Halloween. I don't know how doable that actually is, but Halloween is when I had originally wanted to finish putting it out as a quick, melodramatic serial... eight years ago. Instead, I created a LiveJournal. THIS NOVEL IS OLDER THAN MY LJ. It's almost kind of my white whale at this point. I would like to have a Crappy But Readable Draft done by my birthday in December, when I turn 33. And at that point, I'll put on my editorial hat. Just having a full manuscript to work with would, in itself, be a huge achievement for me, so I don't care how bad it is; I just want something done by Halloween. One of the reasons I'm trying to be so public about this is because I'm trying to embarrass myself into not giving up or wandering away again. I HAVE GOT TO MOVE ON WITH MY LIFE and the sequels shut up.

And, of course, then we have to start trying to sell it to someone. Victorian London and vampires (WAIT, COME BACK!) and vampire hunters (SEE?) and lady doctors and inventors and magicians and orphans and opium dens and alienists and blackmail and apothecaries and costermongers and secret libraries and revenge and cross-dressing and the Paris World's Fair. Also, a heroine who reads books they didn't assign in school and actually cares about other people. Yeah, I went there. I guess this is considered steampunk? Probably horror? There is romance but it's not the primary focus? Someone else gets to decide what shelf to stock it on, I guess. I hope someone wants to put it on a shelf. OH GOD PLEASE LET ME FINISH IT.



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A lot slower to twig than I'd like. The problem is, when you feel terrible about yourself, you go, "Well, that's because I'm a terrible person," not "because I'm not feeling well." I try to watch for specific symptoms--there's a very particular sort of Utter Despair that sets in for a couple of days right before my period starts (TMI, sorry). It still takes me a while to realize that I'm manic or hypomanic--it used to not matter if I realized it at the time, because it was always a positive, happy, productive thing... until the last year or so, when I started to see anger issues and irritability showing up, and the itchy/tingly/caffeinated sensation started to be physically unpleasant, and the not eating/sleeping was worse. So I think I've been escalating from "mild hypomania" to "actual mania" in the last year or so, probably just as I get older.

Depression... it's hard to tell. Again, because it's easy to mistake illness for a value judgment of yourself, since they feel the same. I just have people very close to me on the watch, and they'll tell me, "You just sound so sad and tired." Which is important, because I can have certain insecurities or emotional issues all the time (everyone does), but other people will start to notice that I'm acting differently, or less able to cope with them than usual.

The thing I just try to get myself to do is keep working whether I feel like I'll ever be "good enough" (insert variety of depressive bullshit here, etc.). So when I get pitiful, I try to go back to reading and researching and taking notes, some kind of work that doesn't involve a value judgment of whether I'm "good" at something (like writing) or not. And I just try to trudge on, hoping that I'll get to a point where I can cope with myself again. Mostly it manifests as feeling tired for no reason.

I've written a good bit about medication (the comments are also helpful)--

http://cleolinda.livejournal.com/tag/medication

--but the one most important thing I could possibly say is, do not be afraid to tell your doctor that you do not feel good and that a particular dose may not be working for you. I've had to go in and say, "We are increasing the Lamictal way too fast, I'm having really bad side effects and I want to go slower," or "I have never been so depressed in my life, and I think it's because we changed the dosage, we have got to go back to more/less Zoloft." And because she's a good (if understated) doctor, she listens to me, and we work through that.

"I try to watch for specific symptoms--there's a very particular sort of Utter Despair that sets in for a couple of days right before my period starts (TMI, sorry)."

It makes me feel so much better to know I am not the only one who gets the Utter Despair right before that lovely time. (Well, not 'better' per se because no one should have to deal with the despair and woe, but that's the best word I can think of.) Particularly when trying to figure out if antidepressants are/are not working, the sudden onset of EVERYTHING SUCKS FOREVER MORE THAN IT HAS EVER SUCKED BEFORE always sends me spiraling for a few days.

Whenever I hit Utter Despair (No Really This Time), I tell myself just to wait a week and still see if I have lost my will to live, and if I still feel awful, then maybe I really will die alone need to go see the doctor. Amazingly, I usually regain it within two or three days.

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Unfortunately, Yasmin was what kicked me into a pit of cyclical Utter Despair about 8 years ago, and I've run into a *lot* of people for whom drospirenone-based birth control does more harm than good. It works great for the people it works great for, but the rest of us, not so much.

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