1. aClem
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    aClem Active Member

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    ADD? More than one work at a time?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by aClem, Jan 3, 2014.

    There was no such thing (defined) as ADD back when I was in my youth, but I realize I have something akin to that, which is why I tend to multitask even when there's no good reason. For me, I like to have several things I can switch between when I feel frustrated or bored with one particular thing (story) I'm working on. At the moment, I have at least three things I'm working on, which I move among as the mood strikes.

    I find that for me it's good to have "away time" from one particular project when I hit a spot where I don't feel like working on it perhaps due to some issue that needs resolution or possibly just burnt out having my mind run on the same track too long. I doubt I'm the only one who is like this, but I suspect I my "method" is not too common. I end up with a lot of unfinished projects, for sure, but on the other hand, I never lack something to do when I want to play at being a writer.
     
  2. Robert_S
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    Robert_S Contributing Member

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    I have a trilogy screenplay going and sometimes I'll work on #2, but most times I work on #1. My reading, however, is more spread out. I'm reading 3-4 books at once right now.

    One Hundred Years of Solitude
    Building Great Sentences
    Style: an Anti-Textbook
    It was the best of sentences, it was the worst of sentences.

    So, one fiction, three books of analysis.
     
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  3. aClem
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    aClem Active Member

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    I'm like that, maybe more extreme. I am in the process of reading those below right now. None relates to learning how to write, most are fiction, not all. Just to share, I am reading:

    Valis - Philip K. Dick
    Dead Souls - Nicolai Gogol
    A Short History of Nearly Everything - Bill Bryson
    Cadillac Beach - Tim Dorsey
    Travels with my Aunt - Graham Greene
    J by Clifford D. Simak
    Madame Bovary - Gustav Flaubert
    The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
    (plus a few other SF oldies)

    Maybe I need medication? Meditation? Mediation? Intervention? A doughnut?
     
  4. Robert_S
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    Robert_S Contributing Member

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    I should have a book on grammar in there. I have one I started, that I suppose I could put on the list, since I'll take it up, just not as frequently. I'm on a reading kick ever since I got my kindle. The fiction book is paperback, but almost all else is on the kindle. It makes it real easy to switch back and forth.
     
  5. aClem
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    aClem Active Member

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    Yes, if I didn't have a Kindle myself I would maybe have 2 going, but with a Kindle, no limit really. Plus, I never run out of bookmarks!
     
  6. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I have 3 pieces I'm writing at the moment. As far as reading goes, I have 1 fiction book and 1 nonfiction book (not counting reading assignments for homework). I like variety as well.
     
  7. heal41hp
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    heal41hp Contributing Member

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    I simply cannot multitask. I can only have one project of a particular type going at a time. When I'm working on something, whether it be reading a book or writing one or even playing a D&D character, I obsess over that one thing. I just can't split my attention and give anything its due. I can't do it justice. I hyper-focus, and I think that's good in some ways. It may stunt my output, but what I do put out is of higher quality for it, I think.
     
  8. aClem
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    aClem Active Member

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    I envy folks who can really concentrate on something a long time. My lack of that ability caused me to abandon science and math, even though science fascinates me. I just can't do my own. My multitask approach is more out of necessity and lack of concentration than anything I consider a talent. I am just better in short spurts than long marathons.

    There's a T shirt design I saw with a take off on the AC/DC logo, it went "AD/HD" I'm on a Highway to ... LOOK! A SQUIRREL!"
     
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  9. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    While I don't have ADD, I can relate to a degree. Bi polar mania/depression can have all sorts of writing related side effects. Concentrations issues, I get around, by having a large number of scenes half-hewn, so if one can't hold my attention, I move on to another. Better that than wasting time. As long as I keep writing, I feel I'm getting somewhere. Slowly, perhaps, but better than waiting in vain for my muse to come and whisper in my ear. She's not the most reliable creature, it must be said.

    Also, I bounce around my short story collection. If I'm feeling a bit down, I concentrate on a more humourous short, rather than one that is doomed to drama and tragedy. Sometimes doing this will lift my spirits enough that I can then get back into what I really want to be writing. Almost like clearing a blockage in a pipe.

    Also... there is an optimal time to write, and an optimal time to edit. I've noticed that when I am manic, I produce a lots of words that end up saying very little. However, if I decide to edit in this frame of mind, I tend towards being ruthlessly efficient when it comes to spotting redundancies and things of that ilk—stuff I wouldn't necessarily spot ordinarily.

    I find it difficult to read when I am actively writing. I need to separate one from the other, or the rhythm of my wording starts to become unpleasantly erratic. I tend to read several books at once. I usually pick a genre piece, something comedic, something classic and then I'll take a lucky dip. My 'To Be Read' pile never seems to get any lower. (Okay, so it would help if trawling round musty second hand book stores wasn't my favourite way to shop. Sod the groceries, where's the job lots from the house clearances?)

    The bedtime reading shelf is currently sporting:

    The Cold Commands - Richard Morgan.
    Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov.
    To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
    The Brightonomicon - Ian Rankin

    I've come across several people who work as I do. Truthfully, I'd rather just be able to sit down and concentrate my efforts on one piece, but at this stage, (not having been writing for very long) I'm still feeling my way, and this is what seems to: a) be the most productive means to go about it, and: b) the short stories serve to provide me with a testing/proving ground where I can practice the things I am learning without negatively impacting on the novel itself.

    So, @aClem your 'method' is definitely not unlike my own. I think the important thing is that each writer finds a way that works for them. I have issues, but nothing that can't be worked around, and maybe with a bit more time and experience, I may even come to see more advantages in the compartmental approach I seem to be taking.
     
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  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Every writer, with or without ADD, has an individual process that works best for him or her, whether or not that process has been discovered yet. Part of that is whether to focus solely on one piece of writing at a time, or whether to alternate among multiple stories.

    One size doesn't fit all, even if ADD is thrown into the mix.
     
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  11. Siena
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    Siena Active Member

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    Sometimes you have no choice but to write multiple stories simultaneously.

    But I do find, personally, that i'm more effective if I stick to one at a time.
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    perzackly!

    i don't suffer from any of the conditions listed above, but have always been able to work on multiple projects concurrently... which may be partly due to being a mother of 7, the ultimate example of multi-tasking!
     
  13. Wild Knight
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    Wild Knight Active Member

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    Oh this! I am working on the first of a collection of interconnected novellas on one hand, while I'm sort of stuck on a major novel idea. Which is disappointing, because I only wrote a few pages, even using an outline... and I'm still stuck.

    But still, whenever I'm working on a major project, something that I hadn't done in two years until now, I've found that I've had to work on another story alongside the major project, or I get frustrated and even more stuck. I have to tread carefully this time, or I'm back at square one.
     
  14. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    I'm currently working on three novels, with a fourth in the planning - should be putting the first words on to paper within a month or so. So the answer is yes, multiple works is not a problem. :)
     
  15. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    Look at what happens when I writer dies. frequently there are notes being gathered on one subject, an almost finished manuscript on another, and a work-in-progress on yet another topic. Many writers seem to be able to do that, but so far, I cannot. There's a guy at work who used to red the way I read. More than one book at once. Now I can't do even that anymore. I have to read through ONE or stop, abandon it entirely and forever, and move on.
     
  16. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    Now that I think about it, I edit the previous book, while writing the next. I can't go two books ahead or back because then I get confused.
    "Why don't they just use the... oh yeah. They haven't found that yet." And that kind of thing can cause conversations that are completely out of order, with characters who haven't been introduced yet, but you forgot that, when you added the little snippet of dialogue.

    Or someone accidentally comes back from the dead. Oopsies.
     
  17. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    I'm "ring of fire" ADD and I find I focus on one project to the exclusion of all others. This is the case if I get seized by an idea in the middle of a project. I'll abandon it and move on to something new.

    To be quite honest though, if you were really ADD and unmedicated sitting down to write at all would be an exercise in advanced futility.

    When you take a normal person and put them under a SPECT scan reading a book their occipital lights up, as well as the prefrontal cortex and the Corpus Colosum, where visual data is interpreted. In an ADD person these are the exact areas that shut down. In other words the very act of concentration causes different parts of the brain to become active, other than the ones that you want.
     
  18. aClem
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    aClem Active Member

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    Honestly I can't claim to be diagnosed ADD, but I do know I have trouble staying on the same line of thought for a long time. Whatever I happen to be, I am most efficient juggling more than one project at once.
     
  19. Albirich
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    Albirich Active Member

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    I'm working on two different novels in the same universe ( a fantasy world ) and both got a nice red line going through both of them that connects both fairly well, which I think will work well.
    I'm also working on small background stories to some characters I deem important but might not have the amount of time in the "spotlight"
     

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