Back to the Forest – Hyper focusing

You’ve heard the expression “can’t see the forest for the trees“. Well when I’m writing, my (AD/HD) hyper-focusing “gift” sometimes causes me to miss the entire forest, trees too, and spend oodles of time on the leaves of every branch, of every tree, in the forest.

Earlier this month I met with my writing buddy Joe to compare notes on our respective writing projects. I vented a little about my inability to move forward on my “Tin Man” (TM) story, even though I was spending hours every week on it. After I showed him all the detailed info I had been working on, he gently pointed out that I had strayed away from “the forest”, from the bigger picture. He was right. It happens more often than I care to admit. 🙁

Now understand that hyperfocusing is not all bad. It has it’s place. It is tremendously useful for getting me into the writing “zone” and keeping me on the write track (pun intended). During NaNoWriMo I spent hours at a time banging away at the keyboard, oblivious to the distractions around me. The cat could have run past me on fire and I would not have noticed. I was a writing machine.

The problem happens when I spend hours fine tuning small, not so critical, scenes or details … researching every iota of dialog or element … and it’s not even a certainty that the info will be in the final draft. That uber attention to detail, at the expense of the overall story, is not good.

So after a brief chat with Joe I have set a new course back to the forest that I had forsaken. I will focus first on updating my overall outline for TM and then slowly move into the forest, one tree at a time. And I shall resist the urge to climb a tree. 🙂


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