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Entrepreneurs with ADD
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Tips or Advice?Views: 878
Feb 23, 2006 6:11 pmTips or Advice?#

Danielle Bailey
I posted the following on another network but received no response, so I thought I'd try here :)

Hello all -

Some of you know that I am more of a technical person than a creative person, though some part of me loves both (hence the web design career I had until recently). I've written for pleasure and cash for most of my life. I was an editor for my high school paper etc and now have regular submissions etc around the web. When I find something that sparks my interest, I write.

I've published an ebook novel and it went ok, but recently I've had the dream to go all out. I've been working on a (to me) powerful suspense thriller manuscript that I've just fallen in love with. The ideas and scenes are fast and furious and I have notebooks filled with ideas. The parts I've let friends & family read have been well received.

My observation/question/aggravation is that I also have ADD, and like many, tend to start projects enthusiastically, but then have trouble finishing them. But this one is *really* important to me - I dream about this manuscript. I'm constantly playing with it in my mind. It's almost like a flash from God it's so powerful. I'm so excited about it that sometimes I can barely sit still. I write odd bits and pieces in my head when I'm in the line at the store or at work.

So, is there any sort of software (I'm a techie, remember?) or tips that anyone may have to keep me focused to see this through to the completion of the manuscript? Heck, I'm not even worried about the kazillion rejection letters I'll probably get as I polish it, but I want to finish it. And I know myself, it's going to be tough. So - if you have any tips or advice, I welcome them. I need them :)

Best wishes,
Danielle Bailey

Private Reply to Danielle Bailey

Feb 23, 2006 8:24 pmre: Tips or Advice?#

LaDonna Hankinson
I'm not a techie so I don't know anything about software, but I have a set of tapes by Zig Ziglar called "How to stay motivated" (He also has a set about goals, setting and reaching them).

Anyway, I keep the set of tapes in my van and anytime I'm driving I listen to the tapes. He has a lot of great ideas about prioritizing and keeping yourself on track. He even tells the story of when he decided to write one of his best sellers, "See you at the top" He talks about how he set a goal date to be finished and decided to write 1 3/4 page per day. He also tells about how when he first wanted to publish it no one wanted to publish it for him because they thought it wouldn't sell. He ended up publishing it himself and it turned out to be a best seller.

I got my set on e-bay. I don't know about you, but when I listen to people like Zig, it helps me refocus over and over to get back on track. For me this is so important because I get off track almost before I get started, and every step of the way I have to be re-focussed.

Hope this helps,


Private Reply to LaDonna Hankinson

Feb 23, 2006 9:28 pmre: Tips or Advice?#

Virginia Van Vynckt
Hi, Danielle--

Nice to meet a fellow "creative geek."

I remember years ago reading about a trick that some professional writers use to prevent writer's block: stop your writing for the day in the middle of a sentence. And as an ADD'er, I'd add that you should stop in the middle of a scene that's going well, not one you're struggling with...

If you try to put the manuscript aside for too long, hopefully that unfinished sentence will nag you.

And of course, there are all the other ADD tricks--like setting an alarm and working in short spurts, with breaks. I find this helps when I'm having difficulty with a project. One legendary copywriter used to set his alarm for 33 minutes and 33 seconds. He'd work for that amount of time, stop immediately when the alarm went off, take a break, and then go back to work for 33 mins and 33 seconds. I've also found that listening to lively music helps when I'm "stuck."

Sounds like you're really inspired by this, though. Whenever I find myself in the mindset of "I'll probably not follow through on this," I try to remind myself of the things I *have* followed through on. Did you finish your clients' sites when you were a web designer? Did you finish school? And so on.

Good luck!

Private Reply to Virginia Van Vynckt

Feb 23, 2006 9:42 pmre: re: Tips or Advice?#

Danielle Bailey
*lol* Finish school - I started in 1990, finished in 1997. Does that answer? And I finally finished because my parents - no kidding - took their RV camper up there and set it up and I lived with them. When I was by myself I'd spend days (weeks once) locked in my dorm room.

Yes, I'd finish client sites, but usually because I sat down and hyperfocused and finished everything in a matter of a couple of hours. (www.kershawcounty.net - 3 hours - no breaks). If I stopped, it was really difficult to get back into it. I am the epitome of 'strike while the iron is hot' :)

Private Reply to Danielle Bailey

Feb 23, 2006 9:44 pmre: re: Tips or Advice?#

Danielle Bailey
On another note - Virginia, I clicked to visit your page - and it's private. I was going to drop by to learn more about you :) I wanted to learn more about the 'creative geek' :))

Private Reply to Danielle Bailey

Feb 24, 2006 1:18 amre: re: re: Tips or Advice?#

Virginia Van Vynckt
I've reset my privacy settings, but there isn't much of a page to see. I'll probably finish my profile about the time I finish my company site...in 20 years. :-)

I'm a Web developer like you were, but am trying to restructure things so I'm running a real business instead of having another job.

I hyperfocus on some parts of a project, then procrastinate like crazy on things I hate to do (building forms--ugh). That's when I start using timers and music. Even they don't help me keep track of the millions of details that go into a complex job. Sticky notes, anyone?

That Kershaw County site is nice! Did you use Mambo?

Virginia Van Vynckt

Private Reply to Virginia Van Vynckt

Feb 24, 2006 2:31 pmre: re: re: re: Tips or Advice?#

Danielle Bailey
Yup - Mambo is a wonderful tool when you don't want to spend time on building forms :) Though, if you use Macromedia Dreamweaver - that's what I use - there are some really nice form builder plug ins. No need to reinvent the wheel - use the tools available and skip the aggravation.

Other parts of that site use things like the php calendar and business directory. I'm going to be adding another script soon so that local businesses can build free websites with it (a la geocities). It's one of those sites I did for my portfolio, then just kept even after I sold the business because it makes decent money with google adsense and the amazon links. I redesigned it recently because... well... I'm always doing that. ADD kicking in I guess. I'm working on redoing the logo now. I've always said that if a web developer wants to really get their name out locally they should build a local community website. It doesnt pay a lot, but it's highly visible. Plus it's fun to have an excuse to ride around with your kids and a digital camera and take pictures and tell them about when you were growing up or the history of the area. My 6 year old and I had a blast taking pictures of the old quaker cemetary.

I'm going to go visit your page :)


Private Reply to Danielle Bailey

Feb 28, 2006 1:39 amre: Tips or Advice?#

Stephanie Frank

Want to know the *best* way to get yourself motivated? Get the publisher FIRST. They'll set the deadline and then you have to deliver! :-)


P.S. That's exactly how I got my first book done. The second one languished for a while until I decided I would show it at the Book Expo - made myself a deadline and got it done.

Private Reply to Stephanie Frank

Feb 28, 2006 3:51 amre: re: Tips or Advice?#

Virginia Van Vynckt
It helped me to have a co-author who called to nag me every day when we had a book due. I'd get it finished just to shut her up.

Unfortunately, these strategies work better for nonfiction. If you submit a proposal for a novel and the publisher likes it, they'll probably ask for the rest of the book!

Then again, some ADD types work well under really, really tight deadlines...

Private Reply to Virginia Van Vynckt

Feb 28, 2006 4:42 amre: re: re: Tips or Advice?#

Danielle Bailey
I have always worked *extremely* well under the most razor thin deadlines, but I've been told it's a cardinal sin to attract a publisher without a completed manuscript. Is that even possible??

Private Reply to Danielle Bailey

Mar 06, 2006 8:59 amre: re: re: re: Tips or Advice?#

Dawn M. Wentworth
have you tried dictating verbally with a voice recorder or similar?

Friend of mine found sitting long periods of time annoying, he ended up writing 3 books while walking the dog, doing laundry, cooking meals, and during football commercials.

He would dictate the little spurts as they came, then type them into sections that were rearrangeable.

Of course .. his book/manuals are information related - and it may be harder for a novel or story with a timeline.

Just a suggestion from watching my busy friend who found a way.

Private Reply to Dawn M. Wentworth

May 17, 2006 5:03 amre: Tips or Advice?#

Marla Beck, M.F.A.
Hi Danielle,

Your enthusiasm and passion for your project are palpable! What an exciting project for you.

Many of my writer clients share your dilemma of how to stay on-task and focused while working on a big project.

One thing that can be very helpful is an "accountability partner." Find another writer--Ryze is a good place to start--who's also working on a book project. Set goals together, and meet each other weekly to discuss your progress.

Writing time/focus issues can often be connected to overall life balance issues. In that case, a life coach can be an invaluable partner in helping you to simplify your life and focus on your goals.

Hope this helps!

Marla Beck, MFA
Get balanced...and write!

Private Reply to Marla Beck, M.F.A.

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