ADD and the Copyeditor

Why on god’s green earth would a person who has just been diagnosed with ADD chose to be in a field that encourages analness, meticulous attention to detail, and a prodigious memory? This is my question of the week following a not terribly surprising diagnosis.

I know, as usual, you don’t give a fuck about my mental health unless it suddenly makes me a happy, well-adjusted human being and you stop reading my blog in boredom and disgust. Never fear, faithful reader, I am still a raging storm of profanity and intellectual ire. No power in the ‘verse can stop me. (I love every one of you who knows that quote.)

So how do you cope with a raging torrent of consciousness and get the job done? With systems, my friends. First, download a copy of Freedom (and no I don’t get paid for that plug). For ten measly American dollars you can download an application that will allow you turn off your internet for any amount of time from 1 minute to 8 hours. And because the man who designed Freedom knows how bad you are, you can’t turn the program off until your time is done. This is forced productivity, people!

Know what you need to copyedit. Keep your Chicago Manual of Style, your house style guide, your dictionary, and your pencils on one shelf near your desk. Do not separate any of these items from each other for any longer than 5 minutes or your carefully designed system will come crashing to the ground. Those of you who understand, I know will understand.

WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN IN ONE NOTEBOOK AND KEEP IT WITH YOUR OTHER EDITORIAL TOOLS. Write down your hours, your invoices, your style decisions. Don’t ever think “Oh, I’ll remember that.” Because you won’t.

When sitting in the chair for one more second will make you go postal and start writing all sorts of shit in your blog, go for a walk instead. Exercise helps focus the ADDEr, even if it makes your blog suffer.

Online banking. Use it.

Schedules. Make them.

Therapy? If necessary.

Am I the only ADD copyeditor out there? How do the rest of you cope?


6 responses to “ADD and the Copyeditor

  1. Actually ADDers can have incredibly intense focus on many things as long as they are able to hold their attention in the way their brains require. A good example is video games.

    I have subclinical ADHD, not enough for a true diagnosis but just enough to make me highly distracted and I have a knack for interrupting people inappropriately. I cope by relying on the admonishment of others.

  2. I don’t have ADD, but I do have a raging torrent of consciousness. That’s why I am an author, not a copy-editor. I can spew stuff on the page, get up and pull a weed out of the garden, go back and write two sentences, then eat.

    I think I read somewhere that one of the screening tools they have for ADD is that they give you pages of unformatted text and ask you to copy-edit it. If you can’t focus, then, voila. I also think I read that ADD is a shortened form of the acronym AiDD, which stands for author-induced-distractive-disorder. I’d be distracted too, if I had to read my crap!

  3. Pingback: Medication and the Copyeditor | Fangs and Clause

  4. Pingback: Hello, ADHD, make yourself at home in my brain* | Fangs and Clause

  5. Pingback: Helping the ADD Copyeditor | Fangs and Clause

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