Weekly Musing: I’ve Got a Secret

I’ve got a secret to share: I think I suffer from Writer’s ADD. I know it’s only a writer’s affliction because I can focus quite well in the outside world. It’s when I’m lost in my writer’s world that the symptoms become apparent.

For reasons I have yet to figure out, when I sit down for the day to work on research or brainstorm ideas or to write, I get ADD. I’m not referring to daydreaming or staring off into space to help me think. Or the actual ADD my spouse has. No, I’m talking about getting massively distracted by outside stimuli like the Internet.

Damn you almost unlimited knowledge resource and high-speed connection! A random thought will pop into my brain like say, ‘Oh, I wonder whatever happened to…?’ Let’s jet off to Wikipedia to look this person up. Oh, and here’s a link to someone else they worked with; let’s see what they are up to! Wait, that person was in that movie or TV show that I loved? Let’s click on that link and read about it. Fast forward and somehow I’ve lost an hour or more of my life. All in order to obtain worthless knowledge that only my spouse will be subjected to yet be utterly unimpressed that I know.

I refer to this phenomenon as the Wikipedia black hole. All those links, all those sources cited, it’s just way too easy to click and explore.

Another black hole I get into at times, and this one truly shames me to admit, is the dribble Yahoo passes off as ‘news.’ The IQ of my whole house goes down a few points when I click on a Yahoo article. Even though I know the article is going to be poorly written and about some idiot no one should ever read about. And yet, my index finger clicks on the mouse button. I am a git. And from the comments, usually the best part of any Yahoo article, I’m not the only one that regrets the decision.

Oddly enough, neither the TV nor the Xbox factor into my ADD. Although I haven’t beaten Bioshock Infinite yet…

But as of late, I am trying to deal with my Writer’s ADD. It isn’t beneficial to me whatsoever. Why waste my precious time with web-based junk food? In order to treat my Writer’s ADD, I’ve decided to set an alarm limiting myself. So far it is working because if I know I have 30 minutes to mess around the Internet, it actually sparks me to spend time on websites that are worthwhile. Like writingforums.org, writersdigest.com, or authormagazine.org to name just a few. Or to listen to interviews of my favorite authors.

I guess I have a fear of getting down to the daunting task of writing and research. I love and enjoy both of these activities but they can also be the ones that inspire the most anxiety in me. Looking up dumb stuff on the Internet is, unfortunately, a good way to not deal with that fear. With the timer system, though, I think it will be a great way to allow me time to soften up my brain before diving into work. Another benefit of setting a timer is I’m using it for research and writing time allotments. It focuses my brain on the one task I should be doing and quiets down the urges to multitask. And multitasking one’s mind rarely works for productivity something this writer is very much interested increasing.

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