It’s a nasty little bugger- WSADHD. Opposite the dreaded writer’s block, WSADHD is just as effective at halting character development and snipping the growing weave of story-knitting. I do not suffer often from writer’s block, but I suffer all-too-often from writer’s specific attention deficit hyperactive disorder. (of course, it helps that I have mild ADHD which, as many know, increases the likelihood of suffering from WSADHD should one suffering from ADHD choose to pursue a career in authorship). Authors suffering from WSADHD may experience a sudden onslaught of ideas that have nothing to do with the current WIP (work in progress) and require an immediate running to paper and jotting down everything from the idea-avalanche. Ultimately, the need to divert attention to new ideas causes authors to ignore current WIP and prolong time to publication.
Recognize the signs of WSADHD: A messy notebook brimming with nonsensical ideas. Dozens of file folders containing dozens of storylines at various stages of the writing process. Inability to concentrate during daily blocked-out periods of writing. Authors suffering from WSADHD can often be observed sitting, staring out into nothingness as they daydream new stories that have nothing to do with WIP. Authors suffering from WSADHD can often be observed standing in the kitchen, downing cups of coffee and physically vibrating from an overactive imagination.
I’ve discovered a full-proof method for fighting off the WSADHD roadblock on the journey to climax and resolution. Read and be enlightened.
1. Stop drinking coffee, sit still for several moments with eyes closed (sans tv, cell phone, and chatty neighbors), and breathe deeply.
2. Force yourself to stop peeking through the brush of lashes curtaining your (almost closed) eyes at everything in the room… searching for that quiet ticking that might lead you to your lost wrist watch (which you’ve been trying to find for months, but the house is never quiet enough to hear the telltale tick-tock).
3. Are your eyes closed now (really closed?). Great!
4. Closing your eyes might cause you to visualize something truly amazing and definitely story-worthy, but stop thinking about that! For goodness sake, do not RUN TO YOUR JOURNAL AND JOT DOWN ANOTHER RANDOM IDEA FOR A BOOK. Instead, turn your mind to your current WIP… imagine the MC of you WIP. What does he or she look like? Do you have a clear picture? Great.
5. Now stop thinking about how the red hair of your heroine reminds you of the delicious smelling cherry crisp siting on the kitchen counter (note: try not to bake anything too tempting before trying this exercise. Sensory distractions such as delectable baked-goods smells are too much for a person afflicted with WSADHD to ignore and will sabotage all efforts to beat the illness that is WSADHD).
6. Admit to yourself that you have no idea where the story should go and ask your MC what he or she thinks. I find that, more often than not, my desires for a story are not in line with the desires of my characters. If I allow them to, my characters will lead me toward climax and resolution.
7. Now that you’ve admitted that you are clueless, become your character- red hair and all (seriously, stop thinking about that cherry crisp; you’re distracting me!)
8. The house is quiet; the coffee you’ve pushed aside is still wafting its dark roast aroma your way (add that to the cherry crisp and you’ve got a post-meal treat to drool over), the baby is napping… oh, the baby.
9. Open your eyes and go check on the baby. Is she fine? Great… wait, shoot. Go back and sit down. Now you have to start all over. You can’t be mommy and fictional MC both at once, after all.
10. Give up, grab your coffee mug, cut a slice of cherry crisp, and go back to your computer. Sit there for an hour flipping between files trying to write anything at all. Ultimately, you add several sentences to four different manuscripts and call it a day. Oh well, maybe WSADHD will give you a writing reprieve tomorrow.