Sunday, August 08, 2010

When writers have ADD

Some blogger I am, not posting for three weeks. Lots of writing-related activity has been going on, though, which seems to be an excuse both for not blogging much and for gaining no traction whatsoever on my next novel. In fact, will there ever be another brand-new novel from my keyboard? Certainly not for a while, as one project after another pops up its alluring little head and gives me that come-hither look. A very good writer friend once described himself as a literary roundheels, by which he meant that every appealing idea that occurred to him made him want to stop what he was doing and cavort with something new. It was a self-effacing comment for someone who has published 10 mysteries with St. Martin's Press, but I understand his sentiment. Active projects on my plate include writing book reviews, maintaining the Internet Review of Books (IRB), participating in three writers' groups (president of one, chapbook editor for two, admin for an online group), flirting with writing poetry, finding and working with web development techies to develop a new and improved IRB website, eagerly searching for typos in other people's work, and putting together some short pieces for a writing contest, all while frequently stopping to check email and too infrequently checking other people's blogs. It's all fun at least 90 percent of the time, or I wouldn't do it. The trouble is that novel writing requires a long-term commitment that's inconsistent with this fragmentation of time, this self-imposed ADD.

There will be another novel, but it's already written, sitting on my hard drive since the previous millennium, when an agent was unable to place it. An artist will create a cover, and then off the novel will go to publication, probably through Lulu. It's serious, though, and most of my fiction in the last few years has been fairly light.

What about you? If you're writing a novel, do you clear the decks of distractions? Do you block out time, plunk your butt in the chair, and just write? That's the way to do it. Once upon a time, that used to be me. No longer, but I'm not complaining.


8 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Preparing for the release of my first book in October has sucked up much of my free time, but I am working on a new project.

Patricia Stoltey said...

I'm fickle as well. I have ideas galore and notes here and there. I just finished the first (horrid) draft of a suspense novel and ran out on the revisions and returned to my ex, a historical manuscript that needed a bit or work. I'm also blogging and guest blogging and accepting guest bloggers, working with a couple of writers' organizations and a couple of critique groups, and on and on. It would be nice to just stay focused on one thing for a while.

virginia winters said...

Before I retired I set aside time, kept to the writing schedule and was productive enough to finish three novels. Now, I've joined the ranks of the butterflies. Too much time and to much choice!

The Yard Bard said...

Hah! Come to my house and see the many projects scattered hither and yon. Most of them are yarn-based, but it's still the same oh look! A chicakdee!

Helen Ginger said...

Oh Bob, if I cleared off time and set myself in a chair and focused, I wouldn't be online. I'm a bit like you, too many other things sing their siren call to me.

Helen

Stephen Tremp said...

I sit down and write whenever and wherever I can. At the end of the day I add everything up and hope I've written a few poages od something at least semi-intelligent. Sometimes that's the best I can do.

Stephen Tremp

Amanda Borenstadt said...

No way. I homeschool a pair of nine-year-olds. I write when there's a spare moment.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

What a lot of projects you having going on all at once!

I’ve been easily distracted lately and it’s starting to get to me as I seem to write a little this and that but not really accomplish anything. I hope to get back into the butt in chair daily routine soon.