Friday, August 24, 2012

Life Lessons—Overcoming Writer’s ADD

by Reba J Hoffman

Writer's ADD is curable
We all suffer from writer’s ADD at some point in our writing career. The good news is that it is entirely curable. The not so great news is that most writers don’t realize they  have it.

You might have writer’s ADD if:
  • Your desk or work area is a mess.
  • You have post-it notes all over the place.
  • You have three or more incomplete manuscripts
  • At the end of the day, you wonder where your time went.
  • Other peoples’ priorities are placed before writing.
  • Everything seems to take precedence over your writing. 

If you can answer yes to two or more of those, you just may be suffering from writer’s ADD. And, the most common cause of writer’s ADD is fear. Yep, plain and simple. And in the complicated world in which we live, we can easily fill our days with legitimate reasons why writing was the last thing on our minds today.

Fortunately, writer’s ADD is completely curable. Here are a few suggestions that may help you overcome:

Recognize and accept the fact that you’re going to fail. It’s guaranteed. No successful person on the face of the planet has ever gone without doing it. Neither will you. Just prepare yourself for what you’ll do when the failure comes to keep moving ahead. Failure is a great part of success. It’s like the flour in cookies. Pretty messy but a necessary ingredient.

Everyone has to start somewhere
Understand that everyone has to start somewhere. Yes, even James Patterson, Brandilyn Collins and Edie Melson were mediocre writers the first time they strung words together. Writing is a craft that has to be developed through practice.

You cannot avoid is your first time. If you plan to be a writer, it’s inevitable. The first time you get feedback. Your first pitch. That first rejection letter. The first bad review. Expect it. Deal with it. File it away and don’t dwell on it.

Don’t suffer from writer’s ADD when it’s a completely treatable condition. Understand it is a journey with ups and downs, ins and outs. It’s frustrating and wildly fulfilling, exciting and frightening. And who said you couldn’t multitask?! 

What writer ADD symptoms do you suffer from? Share it with us.

Reba J Hoffman
Reba J. Hoffman is the founder and president of Magellan Life Coaching ( She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Counseling and is a natural encourager. She serves as Member Care Coach for My Book Therapy and is the author of Dare to Dream, A Writer’s Journal. You can connect with Reba through her motivational blog, Finding True North, or by email at You can also follow her on Twitter at @RebaJHoffman.


  1. Who, me? Squirrel! Squirrel! Squirrel!

  2. There's a SQUIRREL!?!?!?!? WHERE???
    (Kristi Butler is off chasing a one, too)

  3. I've been avoiding failure for a long time. Time to suck it up and go for it!

  4. I assure you I'm the leader of the pack. I finally had to get out of my own way.

  5. Good post, Reba. Fear is something I'm working on or maybe I should say I'm working through. But this fear is different from other fears I've had in my life. This one is mixed with excitement and anticipation. I accept it as a gift from God. He will lead me through...

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  7. I have it, I just didn't know it had a name. The only one on the list that doesn't apply to me is a messy desk and workspace, and that's because I make cleaning a priority over writing. So, there you go. Writer's ADD! From now on, I'll call it by its right name ... fear. Thanks, Reba.

  8. I have Writers' ADD and if I could bold the font,it would be deserving. I didn't recognize my ADD the first couple years as my writing transitioned from hobby to career but today, I not only see it but struggle to eliminate it. There is not a pill to take that will eliminate the distractions but there are two letters that when placed next to each other start to rememdy the affliction, "NO".

    I read somewhere if we don't treat ourselves as writers, then why is anyone else going to take us seriously. I am on the road to recovery with "no" becoming my newest medicine. God called me to write, in order to stay obedient my greatest ADD moment is learning to put my writing for Him first.

    So yes I have writer's ADD and am learning to deal with myself and become the best writer I can. I answered yes to almost all. Ugh...

    Lisa M Buske

  9. I have it too. That is why my book is not done yet. I can attest to the messy desk, putting others first, besides my book having many articles to send off, etc. etc. And now hardly any time to write! ~sigh~ Always get good advice from you and Vonda though.

  10. Well. I don't think I am affected. All my post it notes are in one place ;-)

  11. I'm sorry. I don't believe Reba should have told us that "Writer's ADD" is entirely curable if we overcome our fears. I know this is a post designed to encourage, but there is a risk here that people will ignore an actual condition.

    ADD afflicts--coincidentally--many creative people. It's a blessing and a curse, but it's NOT curable, although one learns strategies to cope with it. Saying that conquering fears can cure "Writer's ADD" masks the actuality of the different wiring of a brain with ADD. It can hide the reality of mental health concerns and the need to actually deal with a condition that impacts so many lives.

    I don't intend to be confrontational, just to point out the folly of using words in the wrong context to make claims that can't be substantiated.

  12. I suffer from "Back Burneritis". It is an inflammation of my brain from over piling all of my projects that could cause stress and disorder because of fear. Thanks for the article. Perhaps I can unload the backup and upload some more constructive information.