Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Challenges of Being a Writer with ADD

Some observations on being a writer, and living with ADD... few of these will probably come as much of a surprise to anyone.

I have never (touching wood here!) had an issue with so-called "Writer's Block." My ideas flow pretty liberally at all times, and many of them are pretty creative and insightful ideas.

My problem is that my "execution rate" utterly sucks.

I am primarily an "article writer." Although I have ambitions to write books as well, I feel rather daunted by the prospect of "holding a train of thought" long enough to complete a book... even though I can intellectually convince myself that a book is nothing more than "a collection of chapters," each of which I can call a "short" piece of writing.

That's easier said than done.

So I'll just stick to my troubles with writing articles.

My desk is currently littered with several hundred small notes of paper, on which I have "rough sketched" (by hand-- I actually like writing by hand) basic outlines and ideas for articles I'd like to write.

In addition to this, I have the folder on my hard drive called "Ideas Repository," into which I have placed hundreds of articles in various stages of completion. The vast majority of them range from "basic outline" to "about 50% done." That said, there are also dozens that are nearly complete, and just require proofreading or "researching a couple of facts" in order to be finished.

And yet? There they SIT, most of the time. And rather than work on some of these "old" ideas, I am eternally adding "new notes" to the top of my article hopper.

Sometimes I laugh at myself-- and then get sad-- because I realize that if I'd actually finished and published them all, I'd probably be making about $1500.00 in monthly royalties from them.

That said, I have actually gotten better at managing my "circus." Good management of something like I am facing here revolves around picking my "battles" carefully. I have learned to "sort" my ideas into "hot" (things I really must work on... NOW), "next" (things I need to keep fresh in mind for the next open slot in the "hot" category) and "later," (which are basically the ideas I'm not that attached to).

I've previously written about using a system of "notes" in lieu of an actual to-do list-- and I do that with writing, as well. I "map out" the different steps I need to complete with each of my "hot" article ideas, and then write a "to do note" for each stage. Watching the "visual progress" of the to-do notes getting thrown away seems to actually inspire me to get focused and work. It has allowed me to more than triple my output of finished work that actually gets published somewhere. And that's a good thing, because I have ambitions to eventually "fund" my scattered self largely through passive income in the form of ongoing royalties from web writing.

Of course, "those days" are still a ways off... but I am seeing enough actual progress now that I no longer "reject" focusing, with as much force as I used to.

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