Mind the Gaps

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Wilde at Birkhill Depot

From the beginning this blog has not been intended to be anything but a fun place for me to put things I have wanted to say, share things I found interesting and in general keep a loose record of things I do. To that end it may be very spotty and inconsistent which is endemic of me and my time in this life.

Already it can be noted with this blog how spotty it can be. I struggle with writing. Many times any single article I write can be the end result of hours of work. I find it very difficult to sit down and write an entire piece in one go and even when I do get ‘inspired’ to do such it can take a long time figuring out just the right words to explain my thoughts. Almost every article I write represents hours of work. Each one, even the smallest, takes an hour or more just for me to get my raw thoughts out on ‘paper’.

From the rough draft of even the smallest piece I then spend an hour or two editing and reshaping the piece to convey exactly the intent and meaning of the articles initial idea. After the piece is written I then look for images I would like to add and spend another hour or two finding my rough cut of images that would work with the article. I then narrow down the image choices to the few I really think fit the article.

A Work in Progress

Next I begin the process of applying the work to the final piece. I layout the article in WordPress and break it into smaller pieces with headlines and highlights. Then I begin stitching in the images. I try to make them flow with the piece as if they are an extension of the writing itself filling in an idea or adding to the idea with a visual cue. This can take another hour to three depending on image editing and whether I feel I need to re-shoot an image or find an altogether new image to fit the work I’m doing.

Finally I spend at least one more hour after all is set in place to ensure the piece works the way I want it to and to check word flow and general writing mechanics i.e. grammar and spelling which I am terrible with. To put this into perspective an article I have previously written, Tastey, is very short but took me nearly 3 hours to produce.

I don’t know if this is normal for others that blog or write pieces for work but for me it represents a significant time investment. That being said I love it. Each and every article I write I am thoroughly happy with and enjoy writing and sharing them.

So how does that all fit in with where I have been and why there are such gaps in the works I put up on my site?

On Being Me

To answer that I need to refer back to a small line in my about page “I am also Autistic”. This more than anything drives much about how I operate and interact with everything. I never really intended to write anything about it and was quite happy to leave it as a mere notation in my about page but I feel with this piece I need to share more about how autism presents within me and my life.

First I must say there is no me and my autism. They are not separate things with individually describable parts. I am an individual. I live and operate in life in a particular way and autism, to me, is a term used to describe certain aspects of how I interact with life. That may be a bit vague so I will try to explain.

I do not feel autism. Nor do I see it in the mirror or hear it the way I speak or see the world around me. For me just like everyone else I simply am and for many, many years I did not even perceive a deficit of any kind what so ever. Deficit, hrmf, I don’t like the word but it has relevance here.

So if I don’t generally perceive it how does it impact my life and those around me? I suppose the largest impact comes from how I process the world. In general I process some things a bit slower than most people I know. I need people to slow down a little on what they say. To cope with this I have basically learned to guess at the parts of conversations that I am missing as I speak with people. For the most part I feel I am pretty good at it but some say I am rubbish and often get what they are saying wrong.

Part of this slower processing is also seen in my reading and writing. They are both skills that are mutually exclusive with my ability to hear what people are saying. When I read I do so very slowly and often have to re-read a section to ensure I read it right. Whether I’m reading or writing I am unable to process what people are saying. Speech becomes more of a generalized background noise that I am just vaguely aware of. If I stop reading or writing to hear what is being said I will lose my place or forget what I was writing and if I continue reading or writing I will miss everything that was being said.

If you want to learn more about autism please follow this link to the National Autistic Society.

An Imperfect Lense

I also have a very strong ability to focus. When I do so I will intently work on whatever it is I am doing till it is done to my satisfaction. This generally displays in things that I am very keen on like video games, my fascination with how electro-mechanical devices work and things I take interest in and desire to learn.

Toki Time-Tinker

This focus can and often does come at the detriment of other things needing my attention and is known as executive function or an ability to organize and regulate myself. I can focus quite readily in one thing for months on end but I will lose out on keeping everything else in focus. In this I lose touch with friends and family. I don’t get certain projects done like my blog, housework or even things I would really enjoy learning like 3D modelling. Any education I do is task oriented. I tend to focus on what I need to know to accomplish the goal the rest I breeze over and only note the idea should I need to return and learn for another task. I even miss taking my medications and often leave the oven on. I need routines, schedules and verbal reminders else I will focus on the one thing at hand almost exclusively.

Finally I eventually burn out. Sometimes I may even have meltdowns where my brain just gets all confused and unable to process anymore. Everything just becomes noise. There are other things that contribute to burn out and meltdowns like general noises, lights, physical sensations and stress. I am keenly aware of noise around me like the incessant hum of the motorway and the city in general. I am also easily confused and frustrated by things I do not understand. Much of what I do understand is quite black and white and I struggle a lot with the idea of grey morality so much so that it alone can lead to meltdowns. Hence I do not watch television and very carefully choose what and how often I read or listen to world news online.

So what happened and where have I been?

Overload

When Battle for Azeroth launched I slowed my game down a lot from what I previously had done. I also really was keen to keep my blog going and keep touch with other bloggers in the community and therein I set myself too much to handle. Playing the World of Warcraft, trying to balance it with my blog, keeping up on all the wonderful things people were writing and then raiding began.

Normal G'huun Kill

I think that it became just too much for me and I stressed out a bit. People began seeing the flaws in Battle for Azeroth which I feel shadowed the game in an unfair light and news started taking a turn to the bad points. I was pushing myself to maintain my blog whilst trying to read and respond to everyone else’s. I also started raiding but it wasn’t the best experience as it had been with for me in Legion, I was playing probably too much and I simply burnt out.

When I do burn out or have a meltdown I shut down for a little bit and go quiet. I often reset my focus and that can lead to me going off in another direction for a time as it did this last time where I played ARK: Survival Evolved for a while. When I shut down I try to keep loose tabs on things that mean a lot to me like family and friends but I generally stay quite. I don’t shut myself out completely and always respond to people when they get my attention. Those that have known me the longest know they can spam my email, discord or my chat in games to get my attention and I do not mind as I often miss a message or two but five in a row will always get my attention.
Eventually the nagging feelings to return to things I enjoy a lot brings me around and I continue on. I have actually quietly been playing World of Warcraft for about a month now and started following blogs a bit again but trying to do it slower. Reading Alunaria’s blog spurred me on once again to begin writing and this time offer a deeper look into why I stop. Time and management is a long learning process for me I think and it is one skill set that I don’t know if I will ever truly master.

On the Road Again

Very soon I will write a few things on what I have been doing since I returned to Battle for Azeroth and the mind-set I am really trying to keep with. A little spoiler… it is a struggle but I at least am starting to see it when it happens, sort of… Well in the least I’m beginning to understand it is happening. There will probably be more gaps in the future despite any best efforts.

I love this blog and what I have started to create here and it will always be something I return to and expand upon. If ever you feel I am gone to long send me a message or five. I will always endeavour to respond. <3

Till next time adventurer’s

Travel Form Stormwind

Shanna melor’ne adala fal

12 COMMENTS

  1. What a joy to see you return. 🙂 Welcome back!

    I appreciate the insight behind the scenes.

    Though I do not have autism, I can recognise a lot of the traits you describe. The world is not easy for the introverts either – I imagine you are one?

    Im sorry to hear of your struggles, in and outside the game. I think you might be surprised how many can relate to what you describe. It’s not helping, but maybe it can still bring you a kind of comfort knowing, that people can relate. *hugs*

    As for blogging and time, it varies for me, but no doubt that each blog post takes several hours to set up, screenshot editing, text settings, grammar and perfectionism. 😉

    It’s important always to remember to blog for yourself most of all, to find joy in it for yourself, especially in this expansion, where so many bloggers are either inactive or prefers to not comment and get involved in debates. It can make blogging feel unrewarding, if one loses track of why they do it.

    Myself, I love seeing a piece come together, I love to connect and discuss, and it helps me stay sharp and get better in English too.

    This expansion has been tough on me, I have lacked inspiration. As much as I like the zones, the story of the overall expansion drove me away from the start and it still does. It just does not work for me in a time gated game. It works as a novel.

    I somehow also sense big changes going on and coming in the future for the game and it is unsettling, for me. All this uncertainty and “Wait for it” just isn’t my cup of tea.

    As a result I blog far less on my own blog, but I continue following and participating in others. I trust that inspiration will come once again and I won’t force it.

    Look out for yourself, Wildeheart, try not to go 110% unless you get joy out of it, and select where to spend your resources and energy. 🙂 Perhaps a few small posts will help, where you get into a rhythm and cut down on the necessary work involved for a certain standard of blog post?

    Though I really like your set up and blog, a few screenshots and thoughts will do fine too, believe me 🙂

    That last quote, what does it mean? Shandris Feathermoon, is it?

    Happy blogging! ❤

    • Thank you, and thank you for the thoughts and advice. As to introvert, I do find some similarities that could be attributable but that is to be expectected in all continuums and spectrums. 🙂

      I have really been enjoying this expansion including it’s overall story but for me, I suppose, it is kind of core to what I recall from the beggining of it all.

      “Four years have passed since the mortal races banded together and stood united against the might of the Burning Legion. Though Azeroth was saved, the tenuous pact between the Horde and the Alliance has all but evaporated. The drums of war thunder once again.” – Maiev Shadowsong, World of Warcraft Opening Cinematic.

      Much of what we have played through over the years has included this raising and lowering of factional and racial tensions.

      I completely agree though that the way the stories are served to us at the moment are more like one would expect from a novel. Especially when you begin adding in the perspectives as viewed across both factions. This may, in part, be due to hiring on of Kirsty Golden who would be more inclined to think in that method of story development.

      This is sheer conjecture on my part but maybe part of the purpose in hiring Sebastian Stepien is more in line with helping to adapt and direct great story writers like Golden and Alyssa Wong (hired for Overwatch) to ensure this deeper story direction they have been taking translates better in the video game space which Stepien is proven capable in with his history in CD Projekt Red.

      The final line ‘Shanna melor’ne adala fal’ means The truth is a guiding light. I get many of these from the Darnassian wikipedia. 😀

      • Thank you for your response, too 🙂

        You are right, things often overlap. No need to label everything.

        Uh, it´s fascinating, just reading the start of “Four years have passed” gives me chills. Awww, WoW, what you mean to me.

        Oh, I see, that is a good way of thinking about it. There is no doubt that story telling is under major changes currently.

        Aah, right, okay. +1 Darnassian skills then 😀

      • I now went back and looked at that first cinematic, which I have seen so many times. Still the most moving for me. For the first time I noticed the Forsaken warlock has what looks like prayer beads in his hands. Do anyone have that in game? And why should a warlock have prayer beads? Sorry for segway, but a most curious detail.

        • Well spotted. I looked at it again and I think its a representation of soul shards. Notice how he rubs one of the stones, that are a deep ruby/purple in colour, as he summons the Infernal,

          The string of stones is very long in the cinematic and that may have been Blizzards idea for having warlocks need so many of them in their bags but no way to represent that easily in the UI at the time. 🙂

          • It sounds plausible. I would never have come up with that, though I’ve played warlock most of all. 🙂
            Having a soul shard bag was one of the “perks”. When I pvpd regularly in vanilla I used to fly down to Burning steps to kill (green lvl) ogres to get shards with cloth as bonus. Usually managed to fill bag before bg popped. There was more preparation for all classes in vanilla.

  2. Welcome back, Wildeheart! 🙂
    You’ve been missed!

    So much work you put into your blog (and any project, I assume). My ambitions with my wow blog is so very much smaller. But I still have not produced much there lately. I have no excuses…

    Thank you giving insight to your autism. It sounds like a rather exhausting way to be? When I was younger I was often a perfectionist, or just let go of stuff. Not much middle ground there. Burnout I have personal experience of. I recognise myself in parts, even if I do not have autism. These days I am fatigued and brainfogged so much I can’t really aim for perfection. A sort of relief in its irony haha. Hope you find balance, and the blog is for your own enjoyment 🙂

    Your blog is great and I hope more will discover it!

    The first image with Wildeheart waiting for train is masterful in its simplicity. Makes me wonder. “Is she waiting for someone?” “Is she going somewhere?” etc. She looks like she is at home at a/the train station, like it is part of her regular world. Maybe she is just going to town to shop? There is very strong sense of normality in the image, despite it is a druid on a train platform. Like a glance into a rather curious world. An elven druid in a village in the English country side? 🙂

    • Aww, thank you! <3

      Thank you for the kind words. It can be exhausting in the moment when everything becomes overwhelming but after the moment passes the following down time and shifting of interest seems to help. I guess I don't think much about it till I realise I have left something behind or undone. Then it is more a frustrastion with myself and a bit exaspirating but I just continue on.

      I think my main purpose in talking about it is to give others a glimpse into what is going on behind the scene so the gaps can be seen for the down time they are and not me casting it aside.

      As to the image, the background is of the Birkhill railway station in Scotland. I took the photo when we were out travelling the country side one weekend. I'm really glad you enjoyed the composition. 🙂

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