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September 25, 2013

            In my last article, I talked about getting started. Some of you need that kick to get going. However, there’s another aspect that seems to be growing with each generation. Maybe it’s been there all along but is just now becoming more recognizable. ADHD or even just AD. More and more people seem to have it. I’m sure many people do, but for some, especially in their thirties and forties, I think in part, it’s helped along by the MTV thirty-second attention span format.

            I just wrote an article about amateur astronomy for my The Good Old Days of Amateur Astronomy page where I lament my lifelong passion. I see so many people dive headlong into amateur astronomy, sink thousands of dollars into equipment, know it all in a short time, then get bored and shelve the whole thing in a few years (or even months). Then they move on to something else. All due to a short attention span.

Some of this can be attributed to the increasing numbers of people with AD and ADHD. I haven’t spelled out those acronyms because I’m pretty sure I don’t have to. If by chance you don’t know what they mean, please e-mail me and I’ll be glad to tell you.

I’d also like to include those of you that get bored easily, those of you that simply have that MTV-bred thirty-second attention span mentality about things. Even excluding the MTV thing, there are those of you that just don’t have much (or any) patience. Impatience has been around since the beginning of time, so it has a place right alongside the other issues. It’s not something I’m here to condemn, however, to be a successful writer, or to be serious about it, these issues are something you need to conquer.

For many of you, I’m guessing you go through phases where you have bursts of inspiration and energy, then you reach that cliff, dive over the edge, fall to the bottom and lay there. What to do next?

While you lay at the bottom of that cliff with your inspiration smashed to bits, this is where your progress is blocked, where you can’t move forward because you are bored with writing. You’ve reached that point where you see no point in moving forward. Your ADHD, AD, MTV-bred 30-second attention span, or just plain boredom is keeping you from moving forward. Or, you’re too impatient to wait it out, to wait for the moment to hit again. Instead, you move on to something else.

You’ve started a great detective story, for instance. Your protagonist is hot on the trail of the killer, you’ve reached an exciting cat-and-mouse point halfway through the book, then everything just fizzles. You may have been using the seat-of-the-pants method like me, where you only know the beginning and the end, and everything in the middle is a surprise. Or, you may have already outlined the whole story, so half the work is already done. You’re just filling in the blanks. However, the blanks remain blank. On the other hand, you may be in the outline stage and become stuck at some critical point.

Some of you may throw it all down and walk away, find another passion and forget about
writing altogether. If you’re really serious, you won’t let it go. You’ll take a breather for a day, a week, a month. Let it brew a bit. If impatience wins out, you stab at it, maybe get frustrated and make things worse. You’ll start to doubt your ability, maybe develop a complex. Or, instead, you just give up and never write again instead of trying again with a clear head.

I’ve never suffered from either ADHD, AD, or boredom. Though I liked watching MTV when they actually had music on, I hated their format and what it did to a whole generation of kids. However, they were just pandering to a growing issue in our culture. Attention span.

Writing takes more than a short attention span. I know of plenty of authors that have true ADHD,AD, boredom issues and impatience, yet they still write, and write well. Does it cause them issues? Sure. Can they be successful? Sure they can. Can you? Absolutely!

Don’t let a thing like boredom, whatever the cause, kill your inspiration or stop your writing. If you’re serious about writing, are meant to be a writer, find a way!

I don’t have all the answers. All I know is you started it. Finish it. Take that breather, but don’t walk away altogether. Don’t give up. Don’t let AD, ADHD, the MTV influence, boredom or impatience win. There are too many great writers, published and unpublished that have completed great works because they conquered their issues. You can too!

Happy writing.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. rogerivester permalink
    October 9, 2013 1:34 am

    Well said…

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