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How Hyper-focusing Works in ADD

For those of you out there who don't have ADD, but may have a child or loved one with it, I'm going to explain hyper-focusing to you. Why? Because I'm about ready to explode with stress. I watched a documentary last night on what stress does to the brain. Yeah, like I needed SCIENCE for that. Hello? Look at me! Have the time I go out with my shirt on backwards, I don't need science to prove that stress will shut the brain down.

We are not meant to live on adrenaline. (I don't know that this is true of ADDers. We LOVE adrenaline.) And the constant stress of fight or flight in you normal folk is taking its toll.

Back to hyper-focusing. When an ADDer has to focus, they will shut everything else out to focus on that task. Meaning, if you talk to them while they're hyperfocusing and you CAN get their attention, they will eventually come out and tear into you. See Jack Nicholson writing scenes in "As Good as it Gets" for an example. I showed my kids that scene so that they could understand what they were doing to Mama when she's writing.

Here's why I don't think writing is the career for me at this point in life: When I'm in a book, I'm IN that book, so it's very hard to pull me out for another. So as an example, I had someone quoting me from my own recent book, and I had no idea I wrote it. I'm done with that book. It's off the brain. No room for that file.

Now,let's look at how the publishing industry works. I am working on "Perfectly Dateless III" but I am doing radio and blog tours for "A Billion Reasons Why" -- which I wrote a BILLION years ago in ADD time. So I have to skim the book before an interview. Promotion for the devotional that's out now, I simply can't focus on, so it's off the table. Yesterday I got word that the promotion is about to start for "Perfectly Invisible -- YA#2) so I have to be careful not to mix that up with Perfectly Dateless 3 and give away something. Then, today I get word my edits are coming back on the Smitten novella, and I'm supposed to be starting on the Fragrance novel. It's due at the end of June.

So do the math. Five books, one hyperfocusing brain. Now add four kids, soccer everyday and dinner/grocery shopping to that mix and I seriously don't know which way I'm coming or going. And being on the ACFW board, which is a lot of organizing work, which takes a LOT of focusing.

ADDers are very creative, but that takes focus. And that focus is what makes us not normal. When you mix up the priorities -- as in yesterday's hamster fiasco, I'm really screwed.

How can you help your ADD loved one? Send them off with a candle and a bathtub. Let their minds be free of outside stimulation and FEED them. When we're hyperfocusing, we forget to eat.

I didn't know I'd become a writer when I started to be a parent. I didn't know Silicon Valley lifestyles mean, you as a mother, are totally on your own -- and I'm thinking a "real" job would free up so much brain power. I used to be pretty smart.

Another example: a friend in Starbucks asked me where I was going in Kansas. I said, "That's September!" Meaning, I have no idea where I'm going. I always read up on what I'm doing on the WAY. On the plane. So you see, hyperfocusing requires us to delete files the rest of you can keep in your brains. It also keeps my blood pressure slightly above dead, because I don't worry about crap I don't have time to worry about. So if you want to know what's for dinner, ask me at 5:30 p.m. -- that's when I'll start to think about it. Capiche?

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