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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Focus, Focus, Focus

That is what I keep telling myself. I think I have AADD (Author Attention Deficit Disorder) and not sure what to do about it. I know writers who can focus on one WIP from beginning to end. Even when they have another story brewing in their mind, they are able to keep it at bay until the first one is complete.

Not me. I am working on a sequel to one story requiring additional research (which I love to do). I need to do a final edit on another book. I also have a trilogy that has been written but needs a lot of work. In truth, it wouldn’t take all that long to make the revisions, send it through my critique group and then I will have something else to submit. And, that is not all. Ever since I began participating in the Paris in July on my own blog, I want to go back to working on my French Revolution Series. Then, this weekend I was distracted from that focus when I put together the blog for the 4th of July. Now I want to go back to my very first story.

Uuugggghhhh (yes, I am pulling my hair out).

On top of it all, there are books stacking up begging to be read. I have gone so far as to begin listening to books on CD while in the car. It helps save time, but I have found myself sitting, with the car running, until I get to a good stopping point in the story. As for the print versions, I would like to put a huge dent in these before the end of July because no doubt I will be bringing back several more from the RWA National Conference in Orlando.

Oh, and speaking of further focus issues. If you are attending the RWA Conference, have you read through all of the workshop opportunities? Oh my goodness, there are some slots where there are sometimes three workshops I can’t decide between. I will change my mind several times before I get to Orlando and if it is anything like past years, my decision will be made right before the session starts.

Whether it be your work desk, home chores, vacation planning, deciding on what WIP to work on, deciding which workshops to go to, which book to read next, do you suffer from ____ (fill in the blank) ADD? If so, what do you do? Do you go without sleep to accomplish everything you want to be doing? Do you have a sure fire way of prioritizing or do you just give up and sit and read blogs all day? Or, do you hop between projects, never quite getting any of them completed.

Also, will you be attending the Romance Writers of America Conference in Orlando? If so, let us know so we can watch of your name. If we don’t see you, but you see one of us, let us know. I would love to put some faces to the names of those who have commented on LadyScribes, and I am sure Lydia, Clarissa, Samantha, and Jerrica feel the same. Have you gone through the workshop offerings and made your decisions. Is there one or two being offered that you don’t want to miss no matter what?

I would love some assistance, thoughts or suggestions on how to control my AADD. If you haven’t noticed, not even this blog stayed focused on one topic.


  1. Amy,
    I have the opposite problem. I tend to focus on one thing and block everything else out. When I went to Africa last month, I learned that I can't just shut everything off for a month and expect it to wait while I finish what I'm doing. I need to work on revisions, work on the new WIP, work on the social networking, and keep up with my critting and reading too. I still haven't figure out how to juggle all those balls at the same time.

  2. Super busy! Hope you find the time to get everything done that you need to. :O)

  3. LOL, Amy. I love how you bounced around, even within your blog topic.

    I once tried to work on more than one writing project at once. It was an utter disaster. I am not one of those people who can split my focus. So I now work on one project at a time. If another story idea comes up and won't go away, then I write down as much as I need to in order to get back to work on the current project. Sometimes it is a couple of sentences--a bare story idea that needs to be fleshed out later. Other times it is a much broader idea, one that will take me a few days to flesh out as much as necessary to be able to set it aside and refocus on the current project.

    But if I don't do that, if I try to write one story while editing another and researching for a third? Nothing gets accomplished. Everything is left in a state where it isn't as good as it could be.

    I wish I could give you more advice than this. But as with so many other things in life and in writing, we each have a process that works for us. That doesn't mean it will work for anyone else. I hope you find a way to attain your focus.

  4. I too suffer from AADD. Usually I'm working on one or three stories and blamo another story idea hits.

    It's nice but I hate it because I've worked on several stories but nothing is finished. My new goal to beat this is to pick one major project. Set a minimum word count. Once I hit the word count on main project I can work on anything else that day.

    The other idea was to have a M-F project and then a weekend project but that didn't work so well. I'm hoping the word count goal will work to keep focus and finish something.

    (I'll be at Nationals. Ask Lydia...she can point me out.)

  5. I am one of those who has trouble focusing Amy. I wish I could give some advice but sometimes just some good old fashioned willpower is what you need. That's what forced me to finish this latest story and while I don't like the ending to it, it's done. I can always go back and edit/ rewrite it to make it better. You can't polish a blank sheet of paper or so the saying goes.

    Good luck girl!

  6. LOL! Amy, you are so not alone. I mean, I tend to only be able to work on one WIP at a time, but my focus is pulled in about a hundred other directions anyway. Facebook is a horrible distraction! And email too. And now that Starbucks has free wifi, I'm screwed. That used to be my go-to place when I really needed to bang out 2,000+ words in a short period of time. But I was there this morning and couldn't break away from the internet. Instead of 2,000 words, I wrote 726. Ugh. But someone asked me to write a guest blog in the middle of it all and I knew if I didn't bang it out immediately, I would forget about it. Oh, and did I mention that my baby projectile vomited this morning for the first time ever? So of course that had me distracted. Oh, and then you posted that this blog was up, so here I am! LOL!

    Yeah, I am definitely the wrong person to ask about keeping focus! LOL!

  7. Oh I live right near Orlando and the more I hear about people I know going, the more I wish I could attend! Have fun!!

  8. don't worry about it, some people are just multi-taskers and can work on several projects at a time. my hubby can do ONE and ONLY ONE at a time. But I work circles around him. enjoy your excess of energy but give yourself some deadlines.

  9. So glad I'm not the only one who struggles with the balancing act. And yes, today is my day to catch up on all things bloggy! I did make time for laundry, pets and dishes, but I also posted my blog entry and am attempting to catch up with some of the blogs I follow! Enjoy the conference!! God bless!

  10. Clarissa, I would love having just one day of being able to block out everything but one story. I cant' imagine how much I would get done.

    Diane, Thanks. Eventually the stuff that needs done gets done. it just tends to require lack of sleep on occasion.

    Beth, good suggestion on the word count. I may have to try that out, once I decide which WIP I am going to work on.

    Catherine, I envy that you are able to work on one thing at a time.

    Melissa, you are right, the main goal should be to get it done. Fixes can always be done.

    Jerrica, thanks for the help, not that it was very helpful - LOL.

  11. Terri, You should at least go the the Literacy Signing. That is Wednesday night at open to the public. You could have a chance to meet some authors, have some books signed. All funds raised go to Literacy and the flood in Nashville, I believe. The conference was originally supposed to be in Nashville but it got moved when the venue was 8 feet under water in May. If you do go to the Literacy signing, let me know. I would love to meet you face to face.

  12. Lin, I don't think I really could work on only one thing, but you are right, I need to enforce deadlines.

  13. Maria, Congrats on getting stuff done today. I haven't visited a blog yet, but I will head on over to yours.

  14. Amy,

    I'm probably more like Clarissa. I get on one thing and don't want to do anything else. Unfortunately, life keeps demanding my attention, loudly demanding at times.

    When I get overwhelmed with everything I need to do, it helps me a great deal to break it down in steps or tasks. Then I set a reasonable goal for the day and work my way through the list.

    When I work on multiple wips, I usually set goals for each one. For example, edit one chapter of such-and-such, write 1,000 new words on new wip, send out three queries. That helps me the most, but not every technique works for everyone.

  15. Amy, I don't know how to help you with with your AADD. But I'd like to remind you that there's plenty of room on my keeper shelf for your next publications. One story at a time. :o)

  16. I'm a list person. That, and goal oriented (which, of course, can be found listed out precisely!). That's the only way I can stay focused. I force it, because if I let my mind wander, I feel like I'm running around never getting anything done and end up frustrated and cranky!

    Lists. Love em.

    Hope to see you in Orlando! I'll be getting in the Saturday before, so should have plenty of time to catch up.