Communication and Juggling

I started making a few notes for the two writing projects I am most excited about last night before bed. It was late, of course, because I had to see how the Raptors game turned out! And I was super tired as it was, but wanted to get a couple of things down so I wouldn’t forget them once real life started back up again this morning.

Even as I made my notes, though, I could already feel myself talking myself out of trying to work on either one. The spec script for the old TV series I love was the first to back away, followed closely by the screenplay for my first novel. I could sense how much work either one would take just to do at all, let alone do well, and as tired as I was/am, I’m not sure I have the energy I’d need to bother. My mind was still asking questions and coming up with answers, but my excitement was already waning. Part of me wondered if it was really just that I was so tired, but another part of me knew the problem had more to it than that.

I’m just not good at communicating.

I have always been more of a writer than a speaker. I’m aware that, when I talk, I either can’t get my point across at all, or I take forever to get around to it. I never liked speaking as a kid, and I guess I still don’t, but now it’s more because I am just so painfully certain I am not being understood. Or I’m boring. Or I have nothing useful to say so I babble. Or I struggle to sort out what I should say versus what should be held back. I always think about it before I say it out loud, and when I then screw that up, I wonder how I managed to suck so much that I couldn’t have anticipated such suckage.

Writing has always been easier in a way, because even though I can’t write as fast as my brain processes things, I can at least go back and correct something, or read over it again to ensure it makes some kind of sense, prior to sharing it. I mean, there are reasons why this is a blog and not a vlog, you know? Still, I am also painfully aware that even all of that preparation for thought-sharing doesn’t make much difference when I can’t string together the words I need to in order for another individual to absorb and understand whatever it is I’ve written. And when I share it and get any kind of feedback, it usually lets me know that I was not successful in expressing myself with the written word, either.

I mean, there are some things – I think I do slightly better with one-on-one conversations, because when the person is right in front of me, I can gauge whether or not we are understanding one another by how the conversation goes. I can take my time, and alter my wording to say the same thing a different way. My therapist usually repeats back to me what she’s heard, but in her own words, so that we can both check to make sure we are on the same page before we move on. I don’t really expect conversations with others to go that way, of course – therapy is pretty one-sided, after all – but you can still tell if the basics are being received on both sides of the conversation.

Adding even one more person to the scenario, though, increases the chances that I won’t feel understood. It’s hard enough checking in with one person to see if we are still connecting, let alone two or more. Everyone’s focus is split that much more when more voices and minds are included, too.

Which makes trying to get something across via a blog kind of difficult, too, really, because I can’t even look a reader in the face to see if what I’m saying is being received the way I want it to be. I mean, I know it’s never exactly as I intend, because we all come from different places with different experiences under our belts. But it’s very one-sided, as well, in that you put something out there, and either get no feedback, or feedback that let’s you know your efforts didn’t work. Sometimes you spark a longer conversation, which helps, but essentially, it’s just throwing things at a wall to see what sticks, and whether it does or doesn’t, you only find out after the fact. You’ve already posted it, so if it’s misunderstood or misinterpreted, it’s already done, and can’t really be redone with any sort of effectiveness. You can go back and say, “I meant blah dee bloo” but it’s ridiculous to think you can have one-on-one written comments with everyone who read the initial post. You have to accept that putting something out into the world in writing does not in any way guarantee that everyone – or anyone – will understand what you were trying to say. It’s just not possible.

Same with writing in general. Like, I think a couple of people have read my short film script, but I haven’t requested any feedback, and for the most part, the whole thing exists in my head. I guarantee that no one who has read it can see it the way I do, because there’s much more in my head than was written down, and I don’t have the words to make that all apparent. I felt a visual medium would be a better way for me to communicate, and while it’s early yet, it may well be better, but that doesn’t make it great. It doesn’t mean I’m even capable of being an effective communicator; not to my own satisfaction, at least.

Which is also part of the problem, I’m sure. If I don’t really feel like I am being heard or understood, I get frustrated, and end up closing myself off all the more. I live inside my head, and when I occasionally try to communicate and fail, back in I go. Maybe practice makes perfect, so this blog might help, and writing might help, and talking might help. It might not, but it can’t hurt to try.

Okay, it can hurt to try, and often does hurt to try, but there’s no real point in not trying. Because as frustrating as it is when other people don’t quite get what I’m trying to say, I recognize that the issue is really just with me. The frustration is with myself, really, and I definitely can’t expect to be more effective at communicating by not communicating, so I write to be less frustrated with myself in general.

Still, I already have a lot on my plate, and I am not sure adding two more is a great idea.

Maybe one more, though. I may yet focus on the screenplay adaptation of my novel and see if I can get around to giving those characters a better story than the one they currently have. Not that anyone else needs to think it’s better, but I definitely want to. It’s still on my mind all these years later, so at some point I do need to address it.

The spec script would maybe be fun to write and post online as I do so – it could be kind of a cool exercise. No idea when I’d have the time, but you never know. I’ve never really gotten a lot of feedback while writing. It’s usually after the fact. It might be interesting to see what would happen if people were weighing in throughout the whole first draft process. It might make it feel less like it exists solely in my own head, at least. I don’t know. We’ll see.

When you’re already juggling a billion things, does one more really make much of a difference?

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