Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Writing through... Oooh! Shiny!

by Bethany Maines

What do we think?  Alex Trebek – with moustache or without? Why is it that the only “star” I know on “Dancing With the Stars” is Rikki Lake? Did I buy wrapping paper for that wedding present? And speaking of the wedding, what should I wear to that wedding on Saturday? 

I’m having a wee bit of trouble concentrating (in case you didn’t notice). I’m really close to completing my latest mystery manuscript and if I just buckled down I could be done before you know it. Well, at least by the end of the weekend. But I’m having some sort of mental block.

I sit myself down.  I open all my little files and stare at the screen and then thirty seconds later I'm surfing the web, and checking the newsfeed on Facebook for the umpteenth time. It’s not the same as writer’s block. I know what to write and, theoretically, I know how to write it. This is more like attention deficit disorder for writers. Of course, once I had that thought I went to look up the symptoms of ADHD.

  • difficulty paying attention to details and tendency to make careless mistakes in school or other activities; producing work that is often messy and careless
I’m pretty sure my editor thinks this is absolutely true. And since it took me five minutes to realize that I’d left “is” out of one of the sentences of above, I think we can easily say – check.
  • easily distracted by irrelevant stimuli and frequently interrupting ongoing tasks to attend to trivial noises or events that are usually ignored by others
Ok, so I ignore the noises, but my dog never does, and then I want to know what he’s looking at so I get up, and then I go for a snack, and then… Ok. Check.
  • inability to sustain attention on tasks or activities
 Um… yeah, or I’d be done with the damn novel by now.
  • difficulty finishing schoolwork or paperwork or performing tasks that require concentration
Isn’t that the same as the last thing? Didn’t I already… ooh, look at that bird!
  • frequent shifts from one uncompleted activity to another
What are you trying to say?  Have you been talking to my business partner? I told her I would finish the quarterly taxes before the deadline!!
  • Procrastination
Don’t put off till tomorrow what you can put off until next week, I always say.
  • disorganized work habits
Are you implying that working from the couch with notes scattered among the paper tow…napkins from lunch is a bad idea?
  • failure to complete tasks such as homework or chores
Seriously, haven’t we already covered this?
  • frequent shifts in conversation, not listening to others, not keeping one's mind on conversations, and not following details or rules of activities in social situations
They’re not rules – they’re guidelines.  And conversations are what happen when I’m thinking about plot.

  • forgetfulness in daily activities (for example, missing appointments, forgetting to bring lunch)
Oh, whew, I was starting to think I might have this, but since I never forget lunch, I’m out of the woods.


  1. All I can say is that we are...what was I saying? Maggie

  2. Wow. You just summed up my current life perfectly. I, too, am a week from my deadline. I, too, know what to write and how to say it...but everything under the sun (other than my book) has my attention at the moment. Which is why I'm here...instead of writing.


  3. Sounds like you need a work improvement plan or you'll be fired.. from a corporate standpoint...

  4. It's a writer's disease and like a cold, we all get it once in awhile.

  5. Bethany, I feel exactly like that, every time I sit down to write. Ed says I'm like the dog in that "Up" movie, where I'm focused on one thing and then another and then, "Oh, look! A squirrel!" So if you've got Writers' ADHD, I've got it, too. :-)

  6. LOL @girlygirl! My book is totally going to fire me and get a writer who can finish the job if I don't get to work.

  7. I enjoyed your blog. I laughed until I cried. It was so funny and so true on so many levels. I use so way too much. Better watch out your characters could take out a contract on you. LOL

  8. Oh, I attempted to post first thing this morning, but CLEARLY you know how it goes! That's my day... Only it's notes, napkins, layer of dust, six scratched pairs of reading glasses, (just wait, ur not there yet)miscellaneous papers scattered around a desk top! God help me should i ever really need to find the stapler! Fun and true post, Bethany!!