Writing Effectively When You Have ADHD
Dealing with ADHD in all its forms can be a challenge, but when you’re a creative type, it can present its own set of unique and special problems.
And if you keep reading past the effective writing ideas, I’ll share some of my favorite helpful sites, as well as ones which give me inspiration for (mostly) creative writing.
According to, as of 2013, an estimated 11% of school age children are diagnosed with ADHD.
As an adult with ADHD who is extremely fond of writing, I’ve found some effective, and some not-so-effective, ways to cope with the unique way that my brain works. Here are a few of the things that work the best for me.
1. Whenever I have a daunting task, be it a big project, a story I want to work on, an article I want to begin, or whatever, I begin by taking a deliberate break. No, I don’t mean mindlessly checking my Facebook and liking things. Or dusting something that’s collected a layer of dust. I mean doing absolutely nothing. Deliberately. Yes, I mean sit still and wait. Just like you’re at the DMV or the post office, only sitting preferably. Set an alarm if you have to. Watch the clock, but don’t do anything. close all your screens and apps on your computer, put your phone or tablet down. The only thing that I allow myself to do during these deliberate breaks is sip water and vape. I do nothing else. Sounds simple doesn’t it? If it helps, think of it as a sort of Zen exercise. The art of doing nothing. But this is an effective way to get started, give my brain the needed break it needs, and get ready for the upcoming task. Let’s say I look at the clock and it’s 9:50 pm, I am determined to write for 2 hours. I give myself 10 minutes. Saying that I must start at 10 pm, no later. The first time you do this it may be difficult because you feel like you’re wasting time just sitting there doing nothing. But imagine all the ways and times you do nothing, or very little, and are unaware of it.
2. Start when you say you will: No matter what. If the phone rings, ignore it. If the cat jumps up on your desk, put her down, and keep going. Let no distraction daunt you from the task at hand.
Play music. I find that music evokes feelings and emotions and allows my mind to reflect, ruminate, and wander. This is a good effect because it can often stir the creative juices that I need to get myself geared up and ready to work. Although I have those intense moments when I have to pause whatever I’m playing because I’m trying to get phrasing just right or trying to remember something pivotal to my article, story, or plot.
4.Make Lists: Write down lists of ideas, topics, article titles, headlines, business and marketing, etc. I personally use Microsoft OneNote to keep track of (most) of my writing ideas, it’s helpful because I am able to sync it across all my devices (computer, tablet, & phone). Personally I’ve been using a planner since high school, which is, what is fast becoming, a long time ago.
5.Carry some paper with you. Don’t just rely on tech. As a writer, technology isn’t always the most reliable thing, sometimes the phone is slow, or maybe the battery died because you forgot to charge the phone. There’s no replacement for paper and a pen or pencil. You don’t have to recharge a notepad or wait for it to boot up. Sometimes I find that waiting for OneNote to load on my tablet takes so long that I’ve forgotten what I wanted to write down by the time it’s up, running, and ready. I have lost a few ideas that way. Hopefully they’ll come back to me someday...
This could be #6 but it doesn’t really pertain to writing, but more about your taxes and finances. Having any sort of attention problem or executive function disorder means being disorganized, a large amount of the time, so using a free scanner app or scanning receipts and important documents into your computer and saving them in their own folder could be pretty helpful, just in case tax season comes around and you lost something. If you want to know more about how to file taxes as a freelancer, check outand sign up for her free tax course. It’s simple, easy to understand, and inspirational. It takes the fear out of doing taxes.
So if you have, or think you may have ADHD, don’t be discouraged about striving to achieve your dreams. There are plenty ofof women who’ve overcome great odds and achieved their goals and ambitions. There are a few famous men who’ve certainly achieved success, wealth, and abundance despite certain limitations.
Also apparently average people can get a taste of what it’s like to have ADD. According to welcome to my world. Now regular people can, and apparently do, get a taste of what it’s like to be unfocused all the time to varying degrees.“jumping between digital documents impedes understanding”. Well, I hate to be the one to say this, OK maybe a part of me doesn’t, but
Tell me what your techniques are for dealing with things when you’re stressed or when life is simply too much? I’d also love to hear from other creative ADDers. Can’t wait to read your comments!
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