Dealing with Writer's ADD

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Dealing with Writer's ADD

Post by Leonidas » September 14th, 2010, 9:46 pm


I'm Hannah.

And I believe that I suffer from Writer's Attention Deficit Disorder, rather than Writer's Block. I currently have three ideas that could manifest themselves into three serious stories. They're all in completely different genres, with totally different plot lines and characters. One of them is the story that's been my main WiP since at least last November, but I've fallen on and fallen off working with it over the last year. It's the story that I think has the most potential, but it's also the hardest story I've ever written and the one that's the most research intensive. While I love the research, sometimes I feel I use that as an excuse to avoid writing it. I think that I'm still working towards writing it by researching, which is true, but if I keep researching then it'll never be written.

The other two are ideas that I never thought could become a larger work until recently. I have an outline and characters for one of them, and just a main character for the other. The one that I've already outlined is the story that I never thought would go anywhere. It's the story that I've tried to write without worrying about publishing. So I think that maybe I should write it, just for the hell of writing it, to see what will happen. The other I could work on, and I would definitely enjoy plotting, as the MC is one of my favorite characters. However, I'm worried that once NaNoWriMo passes (National Novel Writing Month, for those of you who don't know about it) that I'll never pick them up again.

So this is why I say I suffer from Writer's ADD. I think most writers do. It isn't so much a creative block as it is not knowing where to focus my creativity. With the one story that I wrote last November, I've been living with those characters in my head for at least two years. That's a damn long time for me to have an idea and still consider it worth writing. How do you guys deal with working on multiple WiPs at once? How do you know when to focus on one story and drop another? I've never been good at multitasking, and once an idea takes my brain over it's hard to switch gears. Do you just write what you feel like on a given day?
Last edited by Leonidas on September 16th, 2010, 7:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Dealing with Writer's ADD

Post by Aimée » September 15th, 2010, 12:04 pm

Oh boy do I feel your pain.

I have about four WIPs, and I've been going back and forth between all of them for about two years. I just recently finished one, but it's only novella-length and needs a lot of work. The one that I think has a the most potential is written completely in my mind, but I just can't seem to get it down on paper (or the screen).

I write what I have an idea for at the time. This is why I have so many partially written novels, but they are all progressing, albeit slowly. It will probably take the amount of time that it would take a writer to write four novels, so I guess it's okay. They'll all be finished probably around the same time, then I'll have the opportunity to choose which one is the best to query first. I say "opportunity" because I want to be optimistic. I know it will be a difficult choice.

But it's easy for me to organize in my mind which novel is which. I don't get confused with so many story lines going on all at once. I'm not one of those sit-down-and-write-every-day type of people; I write when I know the idea is worth writing, and I also edit as I go. I wouldn't call it writer's block, nor would I call it ADD (though that is definitely a possibility). :) I would call it being a perfectionist. And an indecisive one. Not a good combo for pumping out a novel in a year, but a good combo for getting a really great novel in five years.

Hope I helped. Glad to know I'm not the only one with Writer's ADD (and/or Writer's OCD). :)

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Re: Dealing with Writer's ADD

Post by JadePhoenix » September 15th, 2010, 3:34 pm

I have a file on my computer (and many backups) that lists all my story ideas. Any time a new idea pops in my head I'll open the file and write down a summary, major characters that pop in my head, whatever. If I have a plot I'll write that down as well in as much detail as I feel like (you could even have a separate file for each idea or whatever, it's on a computer file so you can write as much as you want without worry of wasting paper or losing it in your room or whatever). Then I only allow myself to work on up to two ideas at a time. This way I get Writer's Block or whatever on idea one and I can switch to Idea 2 until things clear up wtih Idea 1. Then I also know I have all my notes and things saved in file form so I don't have to worry about forgetting anything.

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Re: Dealing with Writer's ADD

Post by ninafromnorway » September 16th, 2010, 3:34 am

I have ADD, and am struggling not to write that new exciting idea. I do have two WIP at the moment, one in English, and one in Norwegian.
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Re: Dealing with Writer's ADD

Post by sierramcconnell » September 16th, 2010, 10:28 am

At one time, I had fifteen I think.

But as I got better, a lot of those have been pushed into the journal library on my old tv stand (that I doubt can be called that as I don't have a tv, but it's what Wal-Mart called it).

Here's what's left that I'd like to use:

-There's the one about a fish-boy come to the world to escape a pollution driven monster, who's in search of a person to activate one specific artifact that only he can hold. He fails to mention he's a sacrifice for the item to work until nearer to the end of the book. Oops.

-There's the story that sort of got absorbed into the book I'm working on, because Serenius -the character that should have just been a cameo- decided to be a bigger part. I would still like to write that just because a fallen angel incubi with amnesia in hell is fun to write.

-There's the one about the boy songbird under a spell that is woke up by a prince, who thought him a princess. But when he is brought back to the kingdom, everyone sees him as a curse because he is the Siren who spelled so many to their death over a hundred years ago. It causes a war and he ends up dead, but is reincarnated as the son of the prince's enemy. I had almost had this finished when my friend tore it apart with her words.

-There's the one about the High Mountain Academy of Arts and of yet not fleshed out...but it involves a series of magical circus people, one called by God after an accident kills a bunch of people and s/he think s/he's the cause of it. (Yes, it's a boy that has been raised as a girl.)

-There's this year's Nano about the Angelic Undead, a group of people who were mercilessly killed by the Highborn Nephilim. They are reanimated back to life by the Watchers who seek to kill every one of their offspring in the hopes that it will appease God and they will be able to finally rest.

-And, there's of course the Chasing Series.

I stay pretty much booked up with fantasy. It's so hard to focus on the one book sometimes.
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Re: Dealing with Writer's ADD

Post by Claudie » September 16th, 2010, 3:22 pm

Oooh, I SO have that problem too.

There's always something like 5-6 ideas bubbling in my mind, forming into storylines with great characters and plot. It's hard to pick which to focus on, although admittedly in the planning stage that tends to be "whichever my mind drifts to". When I start writing, though, I put the others aside. But I write the first draft really fast.

I noticed many mentioned NaNoWriMo. It's my safeguard against this problem. I can punch out a lot of words in that silly month, and it lets me get through two or three stories, depending on the length. I spend September and October planning for it, mulling over the ideas, and NaNoWriMo allows me to let off the steam in good company.

Then I spend a whole year editing the WiPs. Since 2009 I've touched five different novels (I do roleplaying too, which means some of my ideas are never written as novels). This year I swore I would stick to the two novels I'll be writing during NaNoWriMo. It's hard to get published if all you ever write are first drafts!
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