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Sunday, September 07, 2014

ADWD (Attention Deficit Writer's Disorder)

©Ula Kapala| Dreamstime Stock Photos
My name is Renee, and I suffer from an affliction I’ll call ADWD, or Attention Deficit Writer’s Disorder.

A perfect example of ADWD happened this evening when I sat down to write this post. I couldn’t remember what I had planned to write, even though my to-do list clearly has “write ADWD post for The Muffin.” My list is buried under an old address book on my desk, so “out of sight, out of mind,” I guess. As I was staring blankly at the open document on my screen, I remembered talking to my neighbor out in the yard earlier in the evening. “Oh, yeah, Jonathan said he sent me an e-mail about his new blog and asked me if I had seen it. I should go check and make sure it didn’t land in my spam folder.”

The next thing I know, I’m scanning my e-mail inbox until I find his e-mail, which of course includes a link to his blog. I start reading his new dad blog and find myself chuckling at the latest post.

“Wow, he’s really good,” I say to myself. “This would be perfect for a column in the parenting magazine I edit.” I walk away from my computer, pull up his blog on the iPad, show my husband, and the next thing I know, 30 minutes have passed and I still haven’t written this blog post. Luckily, I somehow remember my proposed topic, ADWD, and scurry back downstairs to work on it.

This is just one example of how easily I get distracted when I’m trying to work. See if this scenario sounds at all familiar to you:

1. You sit down in front of your computer to write an essay/edit an article/write a blog post, etc.
2. You remember there’s some event you’re supposed to attend at school/work/with friends so you log onto Facebook to check the invite. After that, you notice that one of your favorite blogs is holding a book giveaway and spend 10 minutes on the Rafflecopter re-tweeting, reposting, leaving a blog post comment, etc to earn entries.
3. While on Facebook, you also notice in your newsfeed that Celebrity X has passed away so you decide to go to one of your celebrity gossip websites to get all the deets.
4. Then it hits you that your electric bill is due in two days so you switch over to your checking account to schedule the payment.
5. You decide it’s time to check all three or four e-mail accounts you have and begin deleting/responding to messages.
6. An hour has passed when you happen to see the essay/article/blog post still up in a separate window and you remember what you were working on in the first place.
7. The puppy scratches on the back door to be let out so you decide to take a magazine outside with you while she does her business (it’s a writing magazine, and you're researching literary agents, so reading it counts for something, right?)
8. Come back inside and repeat steps 1-7.

Believe it or not, I was able to type up this entire blog post without clicking over to another window on my computer or getting out of my chair once.

That’s progress, right?

Renee Roberson is an award-winning writer and editor who also blogs at Renee’s Pages. Visit her website at and read about a few of the things she’s managed to write and publish in between her bouts of procrastination.


  1. Renee--If only they had ritalin or some other ADHD med that would work with writers...

    Oh, maybe they do--and it's called coffee.

    I have gotten to point where if I have an idea for a writing piece, I immediately begin a file labeled "submission---" (along with a note of where I will send it when it's finished) and then a few lines about what the piece is going to be about.

    Otherwise, the idea vanishes.

    If you ever take your support group on the road and have a meeting in the St. Louis area, let me know...

  2. I'm seriously considering downloading that software (if I could remember what it's called) that doesn't let you get on social media during certain hours or that flashes red and screams at you if you aren't typing on Word. It's the little things that keep us productive as writers. . .

  3. @Sioux--I do find that I focus much better with three or four cups of coffee in the morning, but I use so much cream and sugar in it that I've been trying to cut back!

    @Margo--I need to download that software, too! If only we could remember what it's called . . .

  4. Dear Renee,

    Thank you so much for...
    ...letting me know I am NOT alone!

    ...confirming my decision to go away to write for three days! me something to lovingly wave in front of the person who said, 'Good writers can write anywhere at anytime' after they learned I decided to go away to make progress on my memoir! (By the way, I'll start my wave with "Renee is an AWARD winning writer!")

    ...helping me feel less guilty about not taking my dog to my writing retreat! (She doesn't scratch on the door, but she does stick her head in my lap or in the slightest gap of my crossed legs... or stand at my office door and fuss until I walk away from the computer.)

    ...leaving me with the feeling that scratching for discipline IS part of the writing journey!

    ...reminding me that progress is GOOD medicine for what ails me!

    Great post! Again, THANK YOU!!!
    ~Nisti K Delgroothe


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