Beabe Thompson

The ADD Writer: Part Two, The Social Media Sinkhole

office-new-crSocial Media can be a theft of attention and time to ADD writers. Its siren song is limitlessly powerful and destructive.

With the best of intentions, we promise ourselves to just spend a few minutes responding to friends’ jokes, memes, and messages. Hours later chores aren’t done, blocks of writing time are gone, and chances to accomplish something have evaporated.

What can we possibly do? Sometimes I have to go cold turkey, which worked until accepting an admin role in a Facebook group. If I uninstall Facebook on my computer and phone huge swaths of time open up. As writers, we’re told constantly to have a presence online using all kinds of platforms, and each one has the potential to gorge on our precious time.

Here’s an article from Jocelyn K. Glei with 10 online tools to try, including one with the Pomodoro Technique. 10 Online Tools for Better Attention & Focus . What’s the Pomodoro Technique? THE POMODORO TECHNIQUE premise is to focus on one task for 25 minutes. That’s doable if I set a timer and shut all those online windows to Twitter, Facebook, email, LinkedIn, the list goes on.

There are apps that will lock you out of websites that soak up your time and distract you from your tasks. It’s like quitting smoking if you’re as addicted to Socal Media as I am. ADD kicks in and my hands are twitching to see what my friends are up to at that moment.

If those are too constraining or you don’t want to mess with apps, try alloting 25 minutes to reading emails, scanning Facebook, or reading tweets. I suggest using your phone timer or an egg timer if you’ve got one. Egg timers tend to send me through the ceiling when they go off, so I like using my phone. Once the time goes off, I have to finish what I’m doing and quit the page. Close the tab and get offline if possible.

If you need time to interact with readers, editors, publishers, etc., allocate time and stick to it as much as possible. Make appointments with a beginning and an end, then stop. In the business world, professionals know meetings have structure and an end. If you’re paying an editor for time over the phone or IM, it’s in your best interest to know when to stop.

Notification settings from Social Media, calendars, email, IM, and the like are like a red flag flapping towards a bull. Turn off as many as you can, especially those for Facebook and Twitter. If it’s not a message about your family’s welfare or an intruder alert, do you really need it? Can you read unnecessary messages and refocus? I can’t. It’s a rabbit hole and I’m gone, totally distracted from my task.

What do you do to avoid spending too much time with Social Media?

The ADD Writer: Part 1

journey

I struggle to finish things. Anything. It’s been that way since I was a child, mystifying my parents. My mother was a well-educated teacher, artistic, multi-talented, her projects stayed under control. If one didn’t get finished, it was because she was a single mother struggling to keep our little family going. My dad, with his left-brained organized and meticulous, could make something out of nothing. He dropped out of Louisiana Tech and engineering, but for decades made a lucrative career out of pipe welding.

Everywhere I went in our little bungalow I left chaos. It took quite a bit of my mother’s effort to keep it contained to my room. Piles of toys, clothing, books littered one of my twin beds, driving her blood pressure into the stratosphere. From time to time she did a sweep through and we had a battle royale about neatness and order.

School work was lost, piano and trumpet practice never completed, my grades were never great. And I was terribly depressed. During my junior year in high school, I told my mother how depressed I was and I needed help. She told me it would be embarrassing if anyone knew I went to therapy. It wasn’t until I was married with a household of my own  I finally got treatment for the big D, but there was something underneath keeping me from happiness. Attention Deficit Disorder was new back then. No one brought it up to me or suggested it was the root of my problems.

Now I’m nearing my sixties, my past and present perplexion with order make sense. It’s a wonder my two sons managed to get through their childhood sane considering how haphazardly I parented. I still had dozens of unfinished projects abandoned in boxes or in storage, writing  I started years ago wasn’t finished or had gotten lost.

Which brings me to now. I’ve got dozens of stories started and abandoned, three novels unfinished despite being edited and critiqued as works in progress. Finishing writing projects is a real struggle. I admit to jealousy towards former critique group members for having finished and published their WIP’s. Why does finishing even a short story seem like a Herculean task?

In my series on Writing with ADD, I’ll share some tips passed onto me and would love to hear what works for others. Please feel free to leave suggestions in the remarks.

 

For those of you who struggle with ADD, please be kind to yourself, listen to what makes you happy, find a way to filter out as much of your life’s negativity as you can. Genuinely celebrate your successes, small or big. Hugs.

Beabe

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