Distractions and You.

A cell phone next to an open book.

I sit in front of my keyboard in the dark. The keys glow with a neon blue back-light. My fingers drum from semicolon to j—not hard enough to depress a key, though. I’m still trying to divine exactly what I’m trying to say.

Light blinds me from the right. I silenced my phone, but it still lights up when a message comes in. Simple, I’ll ignore it. Easy.

The ideas swirling around are starting to clarify.

My office door slams open.

“DDAADD. Why aren’t you answering your phone?”

The swirling mists scatter back into the ether.

As the parent of a child with ADHD, this is more than a daily occurrence.

Before I knew about the ADHD, I let these little distractions completely derail me. I’d spend the rest of my precious writing time angry and frustrated over losing my train of thought.

Now, I remind her to stop if the door is closed, and promise to listen to her when I’m done. Her behavior is not entirely within her control. Getting angry only makes everything worse for her and for me.

In 2021 I wrote 10,000 words. In the first 5 and half months of 2023, I’ve written 105,000 words: 65,000 words of fiction, 20,000 words of academic writing, and 20,000 words of copy and content. Guess what happened in 2022? My daughter was diagnosed with ADHD.

I’m well on my way to writing 10x the words I did last year with all the same commitments. My daughter hasn’t suddenly become a different kid. Sure, the meds help, but they aren’t a miracle cure. Reframing my emotional responses was the key that improved my output. If you take only one thing, make it this: get out of your own way. Forgive the world for what it is, and do the best you can with the time you have.