Hello, my name is Randi, and I have NADD.
NADD, or Novel Attention Deficit Disorder, inhibits the mind’s ability to process one long, stretched out, continuing train of thought, leaving the infected individual unable to complete a novel-length piece of work.
This serious but not in any way fatal illness affects thousands of writers each year, inhibiting their ability to progress in the field of professional pros. Symptoms of NADD include:
Writing a 15,000 word outline and then completing less than 10,000 words of a WIP (work in progress).
Staring blankly at an empty word document for hours on end.
Throwing crumpled, half sheets of paper across your living room or study.
Playing Words With Friends religiously because it is a distraction from the fact that you can’t focus on one linear train of thought, and
Cursing other writers because they can do the thing you cannot do.
Recently, my NADD has been affecting me more than not. Instead of writing, I find myself doing one of the following things: staring at my monitor until my eyes feel sore; surfing forums such as www.absolutewrite.com and www.mywriterscircle.com (both wonderfully insightful places to hang out, by the way); texting all of my friends obsessively until they finally update our game of Words With Friends; pacing the house, looking for any nook or cranny I haven’t dusted yet; or feeding my alpacas in Harvest Moon: A Tale of Two Towns.
This behavior of mine is seriously ticking me off. I know that if I complete a novel, even if I am not satisfied with my end result, there is a much higher chance of me breaking this frustrating cycle and doing it again, and that can lead to producing something I am truly happy with.
So I decided to put a list together of things I can do to stop my attention from floating off in ten different directions. I’d like to share that list with you in the hopes that some (or all) of it will help you overcome your own NADD.
1.)Write anyway! One of the things that I have seen recommended is writing for the sake of writing itself. And I agree. if you are having trouble focusing or concentrating, a great way to beat these habits is to face them head on. Continue to write even if you are having a hard time focusing on what you are doing; you might end up with a good product or a bad product. Either way, you end up with a product.
2.)Put the devices away. I have far too many gadgets and all of them suck the attention and creativity out of me like leeches. If you have a handheld gaming device or gaming console, if you tend to app hunt on your Nook or Kindle a bit too much, or if you’re constantly making new playlists on iTunes, try ignoring your gadgets as much as possible during the writing process. Store them in a box in your closet if you have to.
3.)Change your display settings. Switch fonts and page views to something different. Having a new look or perspective might help foster your creativity and keep you focused longer.
4.)Write long hand. I don’t know if it’s the same for you, but something about having a pen in hand feels right and makes me inclined to write more.
5.) Don’t waste your creative energy on 15,000 word outlines! A lot of times if I do this I find my mind is spent and I’m already bored with the story by the time I’m finished. Try using that creative energy to write before doing anything else with it. You may find you’re duly rewarded.
If you’re anything like me then you’re already bored with this post so I’ll refrain from adding more at this time. These are a few of the tips I’ve picked up on my road to overcoming my NADD. I find that some of them are already helping; with any luck, they may help you overcome yours, too!
Here’s to actually finishing a WIP, and remember: whether your end result is a good product or a bad product, the important thing is that you were able to do the thing you could not do before.