I’ve always felt terrible for people who have A.D.D. How infuriating it must be to feel overwhelmed by the distractions around you, to panic because you cannot focus on anything long enough to finish it.
My problem has always been the opposite: I focus on things SO HARD that I often have no idea what’s happening around me.
For example, this one time in elementary school, I was playing with a friend on the playground. We were inside the cement tube (yes, we had a cement tube on our playground and it was AMAZEBALLS) and I know for a fact that when we migrated from inside the cement tube to on top of the cement tube, the rest of our classmates were around us, talking and laughing and, naturally, shoving each other off the cement tube.
Ten minutes later, my friend and I looked up to realize we were the only ones on the playground. I don’t mean that we were the only ones from our class still on the playground; I mean we were the ONLY WARM BODIES on the playground.
(No, there weren’t any cold bodies, either. If there had been, this would be a very different story, now wouldn’t it?)
EVERYONE had left. And neither of us had noticed because we were so focused on whatever we were doing. Pretending to be beached mermaids or something, I’m sure.
The point is, I can focus on a task like a CHAMP.
So you can imagine how shocked I was a few days ago when I realized I have Writer’s A.D.D.
Y’all, I cannot focus on any one manuscript for longer than about five minutes. Here’s everything I’ve got going on:
1) PULL is in Query Land. Thankfully, this one is currently out of my hands. Yay.
2) BENEATH THE DARKESS (Creepy Faces) is sitting at about 45,000 words. But there is a PROBLEM, Grasshoppers. I’ve hit a wall and I don’t know what to do about it. I’m missing a super important element to my story, namely why the bad guy is doing what he’s doing, and also why this other girl-thing (yes, girl-thing) is doing what she’s doing.
I can’t even think about it because my head gets all tied up in knots. And I’m already a little knotty in the head. (Not to be confused with “naughty,” for obvious reasons.)
3) UNNAMED YA CONTEMPORARY comes in bits and pieces to me. I want to write it, but I feel A) overwhelmed and B) guilty for starting it when Creepy Faces is sitting there, so close to completion.
4) UNNAMED CREEPTASTIC DYSTOPIAN-BUT-NOT THINGY is wafting about, trying to take shape, but I keep poking holes in it with a stick so it will go away.
5) THE CLEARING is sitting on my hard drive and I keep having this conversation with it:
THE CLEARING: Why did you unpublish me? *sniffle*
ME: Oh, Clearing. Come on now. You know it wasn’t working. I didn’t have time to give you the attention you deserved.
THE CLEARING: But…people liked me! And I was your first book!
ME: I know. I KNOW. I just couldn’t handle it on top of everything else, and plus, I wrote you so long ago. You’re not even a good representation of my writing at this point.
THE CLEARING: Well, why don’t you revise me and publish me again?
THE CLEARING: [sensing hope] It wouldn’t be hard! Just change the cliche part about the dead parents and switch the whole thing from past tense to present tense. Oh, and fix the writing. And change the entire beginning. And, um, you might want to work on the characters. Like…all of them. BUT! After you did those little things, I would be perfect!
ME: [wide-eyed stare] I quit.
Yes. This is the state of my brain at the moment. Do you see why I haven’t written anything in two weeks?
The only thing I can think to do is make a spreadsheet.
And it would have to be a separate spreadsheet for each manuscript, detailing WHAT I will write or edit and WHEN I will do it.
In other words, it will be a schedule and an outline, all in one.
Lord have mercy, I don’t even know myself anymore. *facepalm*