All These Characters in My Head Won’t Sit Down and Shut Up….
What is writer’s block? Basically, it means that a writer has run out of new ideas. They cease to write for a little while due to lack of idea, inspiration, whatever you want to call it. This could happen in between writing books or it could happen while you’re in the middle of writing a book. It can happen anytime, anywhere, to anyone. To put it simply: it sucks.
What is A.D.D? Attention Deficit Disorder. You may have impulsive actions; you may have a high hyperactivity level, or lack a high attention span.
The difference between writer’s block and A.D.D is that you can be diagnosed with A.D.D and…Let’s face it; writer’s block is all in your head. My point is if you’re a writer, how can you tell what you have? Regardless of being diagnosed with A.D.D or not, we can pretend to diagnose ourselves (if we assume that we have it).
Anyway, writer’s block means that you’re fresh out of ideas, correct? Well, I don’t have that problem. If you read the Writing tab at the top, you would know that I write young adult novels, middle grade novels, children’s books, and I have a few ideas for scripts. Now…if I had writer’s block, would one think that I would have ideas for 7 scripts (5 being movies and 2 being TV shows), 5 children’s books, 10 middle grade novel (but it’s a series, so there will be more planned), and 98 young adult novels? No, I don’t think so.
Now, I self-diagnosed myself with A.D.D a long time ago, but I was never tested for it. I don’t know for certain if I really have it. So, let’s assume that I don’t have it since I was never tested for it…18 out of 120 ideas I listed above have been started. Only 6 of those 18 ideas have actually been completed…two of them are children’s books, two of them are young adult novels, and two of them are movie scripts. The sad part is that one of those children’s books would have never even been thought of if I didn’t have to write a children’s story for my Child Development class in high school.
Now finally on to my point…how do you know if you really have writer’s block or A.D.D when it comes to writing? The answer? You don’t. In one case, you could be in the middle of writing one story, but stop and move onto the next because you may have ran out of ideas on what to do next. Then you would have writer’s block. In the other case, you could be in the middle of writing one story, but stop and move onto the next because you lost interest in the story. The plot is moving too slowly, you hate your characters, or you simply have an idea on what to do next, but you don’t like it. Or you could be writing a scene and from that scene a whole new plot unfolds in your head for a completely different novel. That happens to me a lot and I cannot stress enough when I say a lot. That would probably be A.D.D. Either way, that novel is not getting done.
So, what is it exactly that I’m trying to say? Whether you have writer’s block, A.D.D, or your pen just ran out of ink…that novel is not going to write itself. Ideas or no ideas, new ideas or old ideas, keep that pen flowing or those fingers typing because believe me; once that first draft is done, a huge relief of accomplishment will surge through the veins in your body.
It took me nine months and seven days to complete the first draft of my young adult novel. It was the very first novel I had ever finished (aside from the two children’s books). I felt so relieved that I had actually finished something. Sure, it was just the first draft and it was crap, but now I get to look forward to editing it and then finally kicking it out the door to get published. I have edited it a couple of times and believe me, it still needs a lot of work. The other young adult novel I completed took me two months and three days. That one turned out even worse than the first novel I finished. However, I got it done regardless of if I had ideas or not. My main goal was just getting it done…which is why the first draft is so crappy. Now when I edit it, I will catch errors, plot holes, and come up with new and better ideas for the story. Believe me, it’s a lot easier working with something crappy than it is working with nothing at all.
Now, most people say that some novels can take up to a couple of years to write. I believe that, but even though my first novel didn’t take me a year to write, I found that I felt much more accomplished with the novel I wrote in two months than I did with the novel I wrote in nine months. So, it may be better for some people to write their novel slowly and carefully. But, if you stay in character, keep the plot moving at an okay pace and actually have a beginning, middle, and an end; I think writing a novel as quickly as possible is the best bet. Sure, editing will be harder than actually writing the story, but that’s how it should be. When you write, have fun. Say what’s on your mind and write whatever ideas pop into your head. Then when you edit, you can curse all you want…what better way to take out your frustrations on a novel than to scribble all over it with red ink?
Don’t get frustrated because the novel isn’t finished; get frustrated because the finished novel isn’t polished to a sparkling shine.