Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Challenges of a Writer Who’s ADHD (Always Diving Heavily into Detail)

by DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

A 12-step program for writers who struggle with
ADHD (Always Diving Heavily into Detail).
Are you an ADHD writer?

Are you Always Diving Heavily into Detail and seldom adding word count to a manuscript?

Has research has become a priority instead of the goal of powerful written communication?

Extra research is a necessity for accurate content, but continuous fact-finding doesn’t get a manuscript into submission form. While the writer is opening one more research book and one more website, the project awaits a distinct voice, technique, and treatment. Our readers are forced to wait for just the right piece to entertain, inspire, and encourage them.

Good news! There is a 12-step program for ADHD writers who are determined to beat their addiction. These writers are tired of being labeled ADD and have accepted the challenge of gathering just enough information to create a professional manuscript.

12-step Program for ADHD Writers
1.  My name is ______ and I’m an ADHD writer. I’m here because I need help. I’ve been called to write, but . . . I might be afraid to start.

2.  Kick the habit of procrastinating and fear from your creative self. Lock the door and never look back.

3.  Give yourself a time limit to research. Then write.

4.  Establish if your details are helping the reader understand the manuscript or are they destroying the pace and chasing away potential readers? Is the information redundant?

5.  Request the help of another writer or reader whom you trust to provide honest feedback.

6.  Examine the manuscript for length. Will it lose readers?

7.  Does the manuscript read like an information dump, thus inviting author intrusion? Does it feel like, “See what I know” rather than keeping the reader glued to the pages? For fiction, the tendency is to tell the story instead of showing it.

8.  Read bestsellers that are similar to what you are writing. How do they handle details?

9.  Practice: less is always more.

10. Weigh the details. Use only the ones that make the manuscript more evocative and enhance the reading experience. 

11. Edit. Edit. Edit. Fix what’s not making the manuscript reader-worthy.

12. Relax. This is not the end of your writing career. It’s the dawn of professionalism.

Every writer needs to choose when research has provided enough information to write a quality manuscript. If you’re concerned you’ve included too much detail, chances are you need a 12-step program.

Do you have a tip for the writer who has problems knowing when to curb on the details?

Challenges of a Writer Who's ADHD (Always Diving Heavily into Detail) @DiAnnMills (Click to Tweet)

A 12-step program for the ADHD writer who's Always Diving Heavily into Detail - @DiAnnMills (Click to Tweet)

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Firewall, the first book in her Houston: FBI series, was listed by Library Journal as one of the best Christian Fiction books of 2014.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Suspense Sister, and International Thriller Writers. She is co-director of The Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference and The Author Roadmap with social media specialist Edie Melson. She teaches writing workshops around the country.

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on Facebook:, Twitter: or any of the social media platforms listed at


  1. Great information. Love the 12 steps to realize when we've gone too far.

  2. HI DiAnn, I first thought your article was about Attention Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder, which I have. Focus is key to those of us who chase squirrels. I also love research, this article describes me. The first draft of my first book was all facts with short stores sprinkled in for good measure. My editor returned the manuscript and asked me to redo it. Thank you for reminding me to be balanced. See you at Blue Ridge.

  3. DiAnn, thanks so much for this helpful list of how to know when enough research is enough. Because I write historicals, I want to make sure I have the info I need, but as you pointed out, I need to weigh the details, and choose when research has provided enough information to write a quality manuscript.

  4. This is a wonderful blog that I definitely needed to read.I am ready to write:)

  5. I'm writing historical this time around and I do chase (research) some mundane abstract factoids but [I hope] I insert them in such a way that it's not showy or drags the story down. Thanks for a great post, DiAnn!

  6. Thank you! A fabulous post. Pinned, shared, & saved. :)

  7. Thanks DiAnn. Love the 12 steps. :)