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Old August 14 2010, 06:23 PM   #14
J. Allen
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Re: What do you do...

Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
Sarek of Vulcan wrote: View Post
Kestra wrote: View Post
A note about writing. It's very hard work, and you're unlikely to be successful. This isn't specific to you, it's just the way it goes. I don't know what type of writing you're interested in, but it's very difficult to make a career out of any sort of creative writing. If you're serious about it, you need to get to work. Seriously, I can't stress how much work it is.
Which means I'll have to focus and concentrate just on that effort. Actually, writing comes naturally to me. I can write all day about anything, but it's getting one topic down without straying off on a hundred other topics.

My mind wanders so much, I'm starting to think I have ADD.
As someone who actually does have ADD, I'd like to clarify a few things.

ADD doesn't mean you can't pay attention or that you can only pay attention for a very short period of time. In my experience, it means you have wider attention "bandwidth" and it can be easily polluted or distracted away from whatever it is you want to focus on. Normally, I help myself focus by filling that bandwidth with background noise--music, TV shows, whatever. I'm not really paying attention to them, but having them fill out the edges of my attention span lets me focus on what's right in front of me. This doesn't necessarily work for everyone, but it works for me. I am a born multi-tasker as a result.

As for writing--putting words down is easy. Making something good out of it is hard. It's a discipline as much as an art. Too many people think that good writing is something you just crank out and it's there. While it may be true for a small number of very gifted writers, the vast majority have to write, revise, rewrite, revise again, and rewrite some more. It's like sculpting in that sense--very gradually do you produce the final vision of your work, it doesn't come right off the bat.

It's fine to write without any kind of established direction, just don't expect to get anything coherent or good out of it. It's better to start with some idea of where you want to go and see where it takes you. Having a plan is good--just be flexible about it. If you have a better idea along the way, toss the plan and go with the new direction. Just give yourself some structure to start with, or it will be very hard to produce anything that makes any sense or that other people will be interested in.
Well, the ADD comment was tongue in cheek (), but I understand what you're saying. Structure is difficult, and I'm going to have to train myself to follow it. I'm sure you've noticed, but I don't really move in a set pattern, I tend to move more like a...well, like a cloud. Although I do get very focused when I'm under pressure to get something done. I'm just not good with putting myself under deadlines. I'm that guy who says "No later than 3 PM! I MUST have this done by 3 PM today!" and then 2:30 comes around and I say "You know, that's a little unfair, let's make it 4:30".
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