Autism, Fantasy fiction, Mental Health, writing

An Autistic Writer’s Problems

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Is it just me? Maybe it’s too much caffeine, or the need to clear other things from my schedule (like the whole rest of my life), but for some reason, the idea that NaNoWriMo begins in less than 2 weeks is really freaking me out right now.

It shouldn’t be. I already have a concrete outline, with several important notes made, and a fair amount of words even typed. That’s impressive in itself!

The whole point — for me — of joining this endeavor was to finally finish the book I’ve been hoping to finish for at least the past year. Giving myself a firm deadline of the next 6 weeks is exciting. I’m going to make it happen.

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This is also why it’s incredibly terrifying. I love writing, I’ve always felt the need to do it, for myself, if nothing else; for the stories that swirl around in my head and brew up into my every waking moment. Okay, not every waking moment — but enough of those that it’s important to release them and let them share themselves.

But the idea of other people engaging in the sharing is wholly anxiety-producing.

For so much of my life, how I looked at things, how I approached the world, was either considered not important, not valid, or downright ridiculous. Opening up myself so honestly to complete strangers almost makes me want to hide in my room and just survive on microwave-able veggie curry, and pretend my characters’ experiences don’t need to be shown to anyone.

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It does not help in the slightest that my husband is very new to the world of fantasy fiction, YA fiction, book blogging, any of it. (His only connection is me.) I really, really need people I trust to discuss all of these nagging misgivings with, and it would be really helpful if I didn’t need to find all of them online at times when very possibly, no one I know is online, because they’re at work or sleeping or taking care of their kids (the selfish apricots).

At least I have found people in the blogisphere who not only are willing to let me ramble on about this type of thing, but they even seem excited about my forthcoming books. (Please give me a moment while this sinks in, and I need to spend about an hour handling emotions that usually I can’t handle at all.)

As I mentioned previously, one of the major things about my series is that there will be a lot of POV of people who don’t fit in with the “average” or the “regular.” But, for these characters, how they live and think about life and see things is normal. The supposed experts claim that “writing what you know” is a good plan. So, I’m writing what I know — even if many other people don’t know it.

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Being autistic and trying to read fiction written by NT (neurotypical) people is similar to reading anything in your third and not-most-fluent language. Trying to navigate some of the emotions and motivations described is similar to attempting to paddle on both sides of the canoe by yourself. Hoping to connect with characters who seem about as relatable to you as the squirrels in the backyard feels intimidating, at best.

After years of being able to find only a handful of authors who always wrote stories I could connect to, I decided it was time to do the unthinkable — write a book the way I would want to read it.

Because of this, I know that my series won’t appeal to everyone. But I’m not sure I care, or that I should care about that. Some of the best writing advice I’ve come across is: “find your voice and stay true to it.” And this is what I’m doing. This is my story…what it’s meant to be.

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5 thoughts on “An Autistic Writer’s Problems”

  1. The hardest part about writing my book is the mental battle. I tell myself at least one a day, “Your book stinks, you are a terrible writer.”. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have you and my other blog buddies. I would have probably quit.

    That said, I believe in you. I think that you have a unique story that the world needs to hear.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I hear you! The idea of Nano being 2 weeks away freaks me out- and I’m just debating whether I should participate in some capacity (aka set some target- not do the whole thing) This was such an interesting post to read! 100% agree with the adage that you should write what you know- and I think that definitely translates more into the characters you write about than the situation. (If everyone wrote about their daily experiences, that would be boring- but take feelings and people we know about and stretch them into a world that is unfamiliar and *that* is how good fiction is formed!) I think writing a book the way you want to read it is the perfect way to do it- it was certainly one of my motivations when I started writing- I wanted to write a story that I would enjoy reading! At least that way you are guaranteed to have at least one reader- anyone else is a bonus 😉 Great post- sorry for the rambly comment!

    Like

    1. You’re always allowed more than a one-line comment around here. 😉

      Thank you so much for your support. It’s been a bit tough to find people who seem to want to gain against the grain, and actually want to get behind someone else who does! (that’d be me)

      Liked by 1 person

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