Lacking Focus: It’s Not That I Have ADD, It’s Just…Wait, Where Was I?

Coming up in a few weeks I have a week’s vacation scheduled. A glorious nine day period (including weekends) of NOT WORKING.

Taking my vacation during the fall started kind of at random, but has become a tradition five years strong. The week of Veteran’s Day I take the entire week off.

Last year my wife and I went to our home away from home, beautiful Las Vegas, but this year’s trip is up in the air – at this point it’s starting to look like we won’t be making it, which presents a different set of circumstances.


A week of doing anything I want, anytime I want. Stay up ’til 4am drinking coffee and watching Japanese cereal commercials on Youtube? Go for it. Cook a steak at 9 in the morning then take a 3 hour nap? Done. Although, there is something more productive I need to be doing with my downtime…

I need to sit my ass down and write.

That’s what I want to do, for the most part. I’m working on a rough draft I’d love to get finished, and I have enough editing to do to last me until the next Ice Age, as well as some other writing-related endeavors. But there’s a problem…

I lack focus.

Most of my writing gets done in bursts, much of the time no more than 30-40 minutes, either before work or on my lunch break. If I’m really on fire I can spit out around 600-700 words in that amount of time.

There have been times when I’ve managed to get the afternoon off work, and I drive home thinking Hell yeah! I’m gonna go home and write my ever-lovin’ ass off! I go home, get comfortable in my chair, turn on the computer and…

Well, I probably should check my email before I start writing, just to see if I heard back from any publishers who want to print one of my short stories. Ooh, someone favorited one of my tweets! Who is that? I better jump on Twitter and see who this person is, maybe I want to follow them. Since I’m already on Twitter I might as well read my newsfeed…heh, look at that cat chasing the laser pointer. I wonder if my friend on Facebook has seen this…I should put a link on Facebook. Now that I’m on Facebook I guess I should look at my wall, there could be something important on there. Cool, my friend posted a fight scene from a martial arts movie! It’s only 8 minutes long…wow, have I really been sitting here two and a half hours?

And that’s just sitting at my computer. If I get up for some reason, chances are I’ll find myself sitting in front of the TV with the iPad in front of me. So, how do I focus and get some work done?

I’ve read that other writers like to go somewhere that limits their access to the internet, like a coffee shop with no WiFi or something like that – problem is, I do all my writing on a desktop; no laptops here.

I know there are programs you can install that will block your access to the internet for whatever time period you choose in an attempt to force you to do what you need to be doing, but I would imagine there are ways around that stuff. That doesn’t sound like a real solution.

Somebody help me here. Not just writers, anybody. How do you ignore distractions and get things done when you have the chance? The vacation/staycation will be a great way for me to recharge my batteries no matter what, but if I piss it away without getting a lot of writing done, I’m really going to beat myself up over it.

In the meantime, I’m going to try and get a little writing done before work, because – wait, what? Ben Affleck’s going to play Batman? That’s a hoax, right? Let me just click on this link…

Published by Kenneth Jobe

Kenneth Jobe is a writer, photographer, musician, and Native Californian living in the Midwest with his wife and son. His fiction has been published in Jitter, The Rusty Nail, Ghostlight: The Magazine of Terror, and the horror anthology Robbed of Sleep, Volume 2.

12 thoughts on “Lacking Focus: It’s Not That I Have ADD, It’s Just…Wait, Where Was I?

  1. I have found that the more that I have to do the more I actually get done. It’s like when somebody calls and says they are coming right over. Suddenly I have super powers and can clean the whole house in ten minutes. If I have lots of time just forget it. Might as well go to the zoo….

    1. I know what you mean. I think that’s why I get the most writing done in little bursts of limited time. I have a deadline and have to get as much done as I can.

  2. I really haven’t got a clue; I lost my focus as well 😦 I haven’t worked on LLFF in almost a month, and I don’t feel like I should either. It seems like I just don’t care anymore or something, while I really want to finish this project deep down inside… I think we just have to try and make the best of it. And hope that the concentration and motivation returns… Good luck with the editing and writing during your upcoming staycation! =)

  3. I’m like you and justme792; it’s so easy to get completely distracted. Like right now, I should be writing, but instead I’m reading your blog, and I need to get started in the kitchen and finish up the laundry. If anyone out there has the secret to self-discipline, I’d sure like to hear about it! I WILL write today.

  4. My best time to write is in the evenings, after the kids have gone to bed and no chance of impromptu visitors stoping by. However, I do also have an issue with procrastination. I had a “staycation” that I scheduled the last week of June in order to finish the first draft of a project. I had to come up with a reward system for myself to stick with it. If I wrote one chapter or a set block of words, then that gave me a 15 minute break to peruse the interwebs. You have to stick with it though and myself, being an avid procrastinator only found it really difficult for the first day. After that it became a routine of sorts. Good luck!

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