Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Along with this notion of the necessity of writing nearly every day for some length of time should be my confession that, however long I sit at my desk, I am writing during much of the day when I am away from it.

It’s a kind of disease or illness that can certainly lead to trouble for the writer. I’ve got a name for this disease. I call it WADD: Writers' Attention Deficit Disorder. How many of my brother and sister writers out there suffer from it? Very many. Perhaps most.

Here are some signs. You appear to be listening to someone talking to you—friend, spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, family member. You nod your head and smile (somewhat vaguely it’s true if one were to look closely) when you are actually thinking about what your character did that morning when you wrote or will do tomorrow or should do or shouldn’t do. There eventually comes the moment when the person talking to you says, “What do you think?” Naturally, you will be forced to say something broad and indefinite like “I think you should do what you think best” to avoid hurting the person’s feelings. WADD once again has reared its ugly head.

Here’s another example: let’s say you’re driving. You get in the car. You turn on the radio and start thinking about a plot point in your story. Somehow you arrive at your destination with no clear recollection of having driven there. You’ve been so lost in thinking about your work that you haven’t paid any attention to the road. You’re fairly certain you haven’t hit anyone, but you aren’t entirely sure. You take a guilty look at your car for dents or scratches.

I could go on. There’s no real cure for WADD. Writers simply have to live with the fact that their minds will often wander out of the moment. They have to try to control it so that they don’t agree to things they don’t mean to agree to. For example, you might not be listening and someone might ask you to marry them or move to Portugal and you might say, “Sure, whatever, “ when you really mean, “He** no.” We, sufferers of WADD, must be careful given the sometimes devastating consequences of this disease. Still just admitting we have it will help. Knowledge is power.


Sherrie Petersen said...

LOL! I do this all the time. Or else I'm trying to memorize something someone just said so I can write it down as soon as I find a scrap of paper :D

Brian Yansky said...

Yep, do that to. I should carry a little notebook, but I never get around to doing that.