Friday, February 19, 2010

Oh Look...A Chicken!

I do not have ADHD. The diagnosis craze came after I was past that age and even if it hadn't, I was not at risk for diagnosis. Since I was a small child, I have been gifted with the ability to sit and do absolutely nothing for hours on end. I will read an entire book in one sitting, watch back to back movies or entertain myself with stories or songs in my head for hours. I can meditate with the best of them. My rear end is evidence enough of my skill at stillness.

I'd always thought that if for whatever reason I ended up in prison (Yes, I think about that. You don't?) I would be perfectly fine. Sure, I'd probably look at somebody wrong and get shived in the yard, but in terms of killing time, I'm an expert.

So why, oh why, is it that when I need to focus on my writing, I'm like an antsy five year old?

Every other toy is shinier. Every other story is better. I want to work on the next big idea instead of following through with the one I need to finish. Like today... I'm supposed to be finishing my Modern Heat proposal. There's nothing wrong with the story or the characters. I like them both and am no where near killing them in a fiery crash. But last night, I started toying with an idea for an Intrigue. A quirky Intrigue. It immediately stole my attention away. My brain is all a twitter with ideas of murder plots and narcoleptics. (Don't ask.) My inner five year old wants to go work on that now. At least until something else new comes along.

At the moment, it's not the worst thing in the world for me to have a couple ideas bouncing around. I'm trying to put together several projects to send out to a variety of places. I'm just doing the partials... waiting to put the effort in after I hear back from an interested editor. I'm tired of completing books that no one wants to see. I know I can finish a book, not a problem, I just need the incentive and reason to do it.

I think learning to finish a book and ignoring the shiny new story is one of the most important things I've learned to do as a writer (Even though I struggle). Take some notes so you don't lose the idea and go back to finish the first one. Otherwise you never finish anything. Today I wrote about a paragraph in my idea file to capture all my thoughts on the new story and tucked it away. It pains me, but I did it.

Are you like this? Is the thing you're not doing (be it a book or some other task) the thing you always want to do?



Instigator said...

Why'd you have to use chicken? :-)

I think everyone suffers from this. The idea that's just starting out is much more appealing - at least to me. We all know I'm a panster and the business side of this crazy career just doesn't allow me to live in that world very well. I have to know what's going to happen in the book before they want to pay me for it. *shrugs* Go figure. So the bright, shiny, new idea that hasn't been figured out yet always calls to me.

What keeps me motivated is my career and money. I'm not ashamed to say it. I mean, if I wasn't worried about getting paid then I could flit to any story that I want without caring. But I like shiny things and my children have this nasty habit of wanting to eat.

You've done the right thing. Trust me, I know just how hard it was to do. But that idea will be there when you finish this proposal. The carrot! :-D Yeah...that doesn't work very well for me either.


Linda Winstead Jones said...

Because playing with ideas is the fun part of this business. Getting that idea down right is work. Sometimes it's hard. Of COURSE you get distracted. So do I. (though I call it a butterfly, not a chicken.) :-)

Maven Linda said...

Yeah. The idea I'm NOT working on is always way more attractive than finishing what I AM working on. This usually hit somewhere in the last third of the current project.

Or I want to go build a house. Now, you think that isn't a distraction???

Smarty Pants said...

Linda plans houses, I plan weddings. The grandest of wedding schemes pop into my head when I don't want to write. Since I just completely reworked my wedding plan a few weeks ago, this time I went for a new story idea.

Playground Monitor said...

At least being distracted by chickens or butterflies or houses is better than being distracted by legal things. ~sigh~

Problem Child said...

It's all about focus, Smaaa---

Oh, look, isn't this cool?

Sorry, what was I saying? Something about focus, right? Or was it fungus? Mushrooms are cool, you know? I like 'em sauteed, but AC doesn't so I always end up eating hers. I shouldn't complain, because she does eat other things. Hm, I wonder what's for dinner tonight...

What were we talking about?

Custom Thesis Writing said...
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PM's Mother said...

Don't feel badly about being distracted -- even St. Theresa of Avila was distracted from her prayers by a mouse in the chapel.

Sherry Werth said...

Whew! I feel better. I am not alone. I've even goggled AADD to see if I had any of the symptoms. :D
I have trouble sitting down doing something I'm not sure of. It's that Virgo perfectionism curse thingy kicking in. If I can't do it perfect the first time, why bother? Yeah, I'm working on that issue.
Anyhoo, my first MS has been doodled with, chucked, dug back out and doodled again so many times it's pathetic. That one story has gathered so much baggage it has turned into a series. Yep, I have characters, places and faces for all three but no where close to finishing the first one. Climbing down now. :-}

Jean said...

I feel your pain.
I never used to get distracted. I was like a laser beam in a clutter free world. But lately.... I don't know. I am too verbose. The stories Steph and I plot turn out too long. I assume because I love detail, everyone does. I hate when a character gets a gift and I don't get to know what it is. I hate it when they are having dinner and I don't get to know what they eat. I also want to know what they think about the gift, the giver, and the box it was in.

So, I have become afraid of writing unnecessary scenes. So I dust part of a table, eat a cracker, and check the weather channel. I don't really fear failure. I don't think you fail until you stop trying.

Kathy said...

Oh, this is so up my ally. ;)

I'm there with you, SP. Angel knows there is a story in my head right now that absolutely beams with appeal. But sadly, I have had to slip the little bugger into a cell and pirate thrust their arms out through the bars and curses are thrown my way, I WILL not work on THAT book.... yet.

Kathy said...

Arrrrrr! That should be 'though pirates thrust their arms through the bars.'

Marilyn Shoemaker said...

Alexandra, I'm exactly like you, read the entire book in one sitting and back to back movies.

I love Modern Heat so I hope you'll follow through with your book.