So, this is what it means to be on the spectrum and have a blog: You have a lot of stuff you want to discuss, but getting it onto the webpage/forum in a coherent and timely manner may be the death of you. Partly it’s because, depending on where you are on said spectrum, your mind goes a million miles an hour anyway, or maybe you get easily distracted — or, maybe both.
And then there’s the chance of external stimuli coming in and ruining your whole blogging thing — maybe someone will burn something in the kitchen and the smoke alarm goes off while you’re composing a post; or there’s a news broadcast they claim you have to see this instant, or the cat jumps up on the keyboard, and for you that means you cannot continue until you have cleared said cat and cat hair from your sacred blogging space.
Sometimes blogging is just plain a hassle. There’s the need for finding gifs, pics, uploading links, downloading links, changing design or format now and then, researching the exact publication date of that book or who that actor was in that movie from whenever. It takes time. And when you’re ASD, time is not your friend.
It can so easily slip through your fingers because you may be very bad at managing it. (Oh, to have a Time Lord gene…) It may get away from you because you simply become so overwhelmed by something in your environment that you just can’t remember what you wanted to post about. Or you physically have to take a break.
Or your brain is doing this: “The topic today — why wombats are so cute. Nope, that’s rubbish. But what about all those wombat pics I saved? Could I use them another… Hey, what’s that image of a girl playing soccer doing in… Oh, that’s an idea for a post, girls’ education in third world countries! Hey, what about girls playing soccer with wombats? Trained soccer-match wombats… Hang on a minute, let’s get back on topic — did I make tea yet?”
Trust me, the struggle is real.
Most people worry that they spend too much time on sites like Pinterest or Instagram, but they’re aware of it. They very consciously check the clock on their laptop or tablet and go, “It’s been 50 minutes since I decided to look up spaghetti marinara recipes, I really need to get my butt in gear.” Here’s what the autistic brain does: “Look at that gorgeous Scottish castle. I’ll just check out its Wikipedia article…”
5 hours later… “I now know everything about the Jacobite Rebellion, the first printing of the King James Bible, how castles were built post-the Norman conquest, and approximately how many bricks sacrificed themselves to become that fabulous ruin where Connor and Heather live in Highlander. And while I was learning all of this, I also memorized the lyrics to every song on Coldplay’s latest album and Tweeted 17 times. But, I may have forgotten to get my laundry out of the dryer, empty the dishwasher, or check the status of the cat’s food and water. Or, eat anything since this morning.”
The struggle is real.
Any blogger (NT or otherwise) knows that this is a pursuit that simply takes time, anyway. We don’t always know what we want to write about this week, the right visuals aren’t coming to us, and what if we honestly can’t remember the author of that book we just returned to the library? Visiting websites and uploading and downloading and all the other kerfuffles are necessary to ensure an accurate, thought-provoking, and eye-catching post. After all, what’s the point of posting if no one reads it? If no one reads it, that means we are probably not producing decent content, which leads to our stats going on, and then we have to question our self-worth — but who would place all their self-worth on how many people subscribe to their blog, that’s just ridiculous…
Sometimes while you’re blogging (the ASD you), you have to stop and rein your mind in. This is not always what it says on the tin. It is harder than it sounds. Getting us to focus on one thing for longer than it takes to, well, inhale and exhale may be such a challenge that the post just doesn’t get put up that day.
Perfect example: Recently I had a great idea for a blog post, and I was going to work on it the next day, and as I sat there typing away, a song came up on the playlist that I don’t like, so I had to switch it to something that I do like, and by the time that process was done: “Wait, where was I going with this?”
I finished the post later (some point the next week, I think?). And it was not time-sensitive material, so it could have been published in 2018, even. But there are days when this situation really, really irks me.
There are mornings when I get my post completed in record time, and it gets 23 views in the first hour it’s live. Then there are days (or weeks) when I just sit and stare at Google Images until my eyes are pleading for mercy, and the “edit post” page remains blank. And while that’s happening, here’s what going on inside my mind: “What was the title of that Suzanne Vega song that Fall Out Boy sampled for Centuries? What’s the 5th book in the Dawn of the Clans series? Did I ever make my tea? Is the dryer done? Was I supposed to look something up for White Fang today? I think I hear the UPS truck — did we order anything?”
And then while you’re rescuing aforementioned laundry from impending wrinkles, Muffin gets to your computer and tries to code his own program on how to combine dinosaurs with flying chocolate cloaks and…well, it isn’t pretty.
So, the next time you read a blog post of mine, please take a moment to appreciate just what went into getting it out there for your enjoyment.