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6 Inspiring Experiences for Writing with ADHD

Writing with ADHD

Writing with ADHD: Navigating Challenges and Harnessing Creativity

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, I must discuss my experience on writing with ADHD.

Writing with ADHD can take you on a crazy journey that’s filled with surprises. But these surprises come with obstacles like procrastination and perfectionism. But there is also a bright side to consider. Writing with ADHD brings creativity, moments of intense concentration (when distraction free), and a unique perspective.

For more info on ADHD, check out the CDC website page, What is ADHD?

Check out the experiences I had dealing with writing challenges and ADHD.

Contents

The Importance of Mental Health Awareness Month

First we must discuss Mental Health Awareness Month which is recognized in May. This is a time dedicated to raising awareness and understanding of mental health issues. It serves as an important reminder that mental health is just as crucial as physical health. We should encourage open conversations about mental health, combat the stigma, and provide resources for support. Mental Health Awareness Month is the perfect time for individuals and communities to connect, share their journeys, and demand better mental health services and policies.

Throughout this month, there are all sorts of campaigns and events to teach people about mental health and how it can affect anyone. It’s a time to highlight the importance of self-care, stress management, and seeking help when needed. Let’s all take action and be proactive about our mental health, support each other, and create safe spaces to talk about our struggles without judgment.

I’d like to emphasize that in the past I was battling with major depressive disorder. It literally is a mood killer. There was no motivation for me to do anything, no matter how much support I was receiving. However, I didn’t give up and went on to beat it after focusing on changing up my lifestyle. It wasn’t easy. But it’s possible to win.

However, I am now facing another battle, and that’s with ADHD. It was about time I got diagnosed and started getting the help I need. I am currently medicated for it and so far it has been helping. I’ve been aware of this problem since childhood, but I never received a proper diagnosis. There was a chance if I got medicated or at least was taken seriously about my disorder, I wouldn’t have such a hard time in school.

Better late than never.

Now, let us discuss my experiences with ADHD as a writer.

Experiences for Writing with ADHD

1. Understanding ADHD and Its Impact on the Writing Process

Understanding ADHD and Its Impact on WritingIf I were to describe how ADHD affects my writing in one word: Debilitating!

I’m suffering with procrastination and it interrupts the writing process horribly. It’s frustrating for me to see others effortlessly finish a book in one go, while I struggle to stay focused on a single page without my mind wandering. It’s maddening. No matter how motivating it is.

There are some specific challenges I face when trying to write with ADHD symptoms. Those challenges are Social media, doomsday scrolling, excessive negative news and politics, loud thoughts speaking random nonsense. But there is one that is worse out of all and that is I want to create everything all in one sitting. I have millions of wonderful ideas, but it’s hard for me to explore them without a bunch more ideas jumping in front of the line.

However, I do notice strengths or unique perspectives that ADHD brought to my writing. I’m definitely imaginative, creative, and I write well. However, I constantly edit and edit and edit. That’s when it gets frustrating. But at least my writing is decent.

RELATED: Mindfulness and Writing

2. Strategies for Managing ADHD Symptoms While Writing

Strategies for Managing ADHD Symptoms While WritingThere are some techniques or strategies I have found to be helpful for staying focused and minimizing distractions while writing. Whenever I’m about to start writing something, I do a routine check.

  • I make sure my dogs are satisfied and relaxed
  • All errands are finished
  • My room is closed, blocking away from internal sound and windows are shut to avoid external sounds
  • Phone is far away from me to avoid randomly grabbing it to scroll

Mainly, I need peace and quiet. No music if I’m writing. I can have music on while working on my website, as long as I’m not reading or writing.

Then I organize my thoughts and ideas before I begin the writing process. I have everything written down in a planner and pinned to a corkboard where it hangs above my desk where I can see it. During the writing process, I take it one step at a time so I don’t lose myself. I make sure things are scheduled properly and organized.

Most importantly to note is creating a conducive writing environment that supports my ADHD management. For me, ADHD is triggered by sound. I have to make sure I am in a very quiet place. My phone stays silent. Not vibrate. SILENT! All the TVs in the house must also be turned off. I make sure everything is so quiet I can hear a mouse two floors down. It’s the only way to get things properly done. At the time of writing this article, it’s after midnight when everyone is asleep and no external sounds are taking place.

RELATED: Begin the Writing Process

3. Harnessing Hyperfocus and Creativity

Harnessing Hyperfocus and CreativityAfter I implemented my strategies, I begin to hyper-focus while writing. It has certainly impact my productivity and creativity. My experience with hyper-focusing helped me get all the writing I need done. As long as the routine is a success. Remember, the only way I can be really focused is when everything is so quiet that I can hear my own heart beat. This has led me to create more than what I thought possible. Many different thoughts I never would have thought start to formulate.

It was wonderful.

Now when I want to tap into my creativity as a writer with ADHD, I’ll have a blank document in front of me. Then I start to type in the first word and automatically, I’ll formulate a sentence and then a paragraph. Next thing you know, I got a page or two done.

All it takes is to just start.

4. Overcoming Procrastination and Perfectionism

Overcoming Procrastination and PerfectionismProcrastination and perfectionism are common struggles for writers with ADHD. There are strategies I use to overcome procrastination. Like I said before, I make sure I have my morning routine completed. What I did not mention are the details such as to have a good nutritional breakfast with my coffee. From there, I’ll collect my thoughts before I open my laptop and begin to work.

Then comes the challenge of perfectionism. To manage perfectionism and the pressure to produce polished work requires more brain power with ADHD. Perfectionism is a nightmare to go through. There were moments I was nonstop editing the first paragraph because I was taught that in order to get my story read, the first few paragraphs must be perfect. I felt pressured and kept on editing and editing the first and second paragraphs only for me to go back to its original way. I try my best to avoid over editing and make sure that I am presenting something that is unique.

Remember, nothing in the world is perfect.

Here’s an example of a time when I pushed through procrastination and/or perfectionism to achieve a writing goal. There was a time I wanted to challenge myself: Don’t stop writing until the story is done. But by doing that, I needed to come up with a good concept with a beginning, middle, and end.

No need for a word count.

As long as the writing feels natural, I’ll hit those goals. It wouldn’t matter how long it took for me to write it, it needed to be done in less than 8 hours. The results were a 9,000 word short story that spanned over 30 pages double spaced. But I won’t life, I did feel burned out but I was satisfied.

It was the high of finishing a story I was chasing.

RELATED: Overcome Procrastination

5. Seeking Support

Seeking Support and Celebrating SuccessesI did sought support to help manage my ADHD symptoms while writing. It as only getting worse for me the more I prolonged not taking care of it. I went to see a therapist and psychiatrist. They properly diagnosed me and then I got medicated. Seeking therapy was one of the best decision I have ever made in my life. To regulate mental health is extremely important. I was able to talk and think out loud without judgement. The mental stress was leaving my body and I was able to write properly.

It was relieving.

Everyone is going through a battle no one knows about. But never go alone and seek help. You won’t regret it.

6. Celebrating Successes and Progress

Celebrating Successes and ProgressAs a writer with ADHD it is vital to celebrate success and progress even if its small steps. At least there is improvement. My celebration for each milestone was going out with my family for a big dinner or buying myself a light dessert. I also received validation from many of my peers and it was very motivating. My friends, whether they’re close or not, have motivated me to push further. It was a blessing to see, especially after publishing my first book Deadly Sins.

Publishing Deadly Sins is one of my greatest accomplishments in my writing journey. It was 5 years in the making and it was the biggest relief. However, in those five years, if I was properly diagnosed with ADHD, I would’ve completed it in 3 or 2 years.

Maybe.

Then I went on to publish three story prompts workbooks in different genres such as Romance, Comedy, and Horror.

I also have a shop where you can purchase products such as shirts, mugs, and framed posters all with graphics made by me.

If I were to give some advice to those who are facing the same challenges: Take it easy. Be kind to yourself. Being patient is also hard to advise because we are not patient people. But we are kind and the first thing we should do is to be kind to ourselves. Take a breath, relax. If you cannot continue the writing, that’s okay. Organize and be ready for the next time you tackle the project.

I cannot stress enough the importance of therapy as a recommendation. Even if you think you’re fine. Talk therapy is great. When I saw success, I felt I finally accomplished something in my life. You will too, as long as you take it easy, meditate if you need, go to the gym, and refocus.

You’ll have your success, it’s there.

Check out my Shop!

Recommended Books and Media on ADHD

Books

ADHD 2.0 by Edward M. Hallowell M.D. and John J. Ratey M.D.: This book provides a comprehensive and updated look at Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), offering fresh insights and practical strategies to manage and thrive with ADHD in the modern world.

Succeeding With Adult ADHD by Abigail L. Levrini PhD: A practical guide for adults living with ADHD, this book offers evidence-based techniques and strategies to enhance productivity, manage symptoms, and achieve personal and professional success.

Scattered Minds by Gabor Maté M.D.: An in-depth exploration of ADHD from a compassionate perspective, this book examines the condition’s emotional and psychological roots, offering insight and guidance on how to heal and thrive with ADHD.

YouTube

MedCircle – Adult ADHD | Inattentive

Final Thoughts

Although writing with ADHD can be difficult, it can also be a catalyst for personal growth, creativity, and self-exploration. Once you know your strengths and weaknesses and figure out ways to handle your symptoms, you’ll be a pro in the writing process.

Don’t forget, writing is all about the journey, not the end result. Embrace the process, including the ups and downs. Remember, setbacks can lead to even bigger achievements. Building resilience and adaptability not only helps with managing ADHD symptoms, but also makes your writing journey more fulfilling. When you turn challenges into opportunities, your unique voice can shine and obstacles become stepping stones to success. Remember, your story matters, and the world is waiting to hear it.

So let’s celebrate mental health awareness month by being kind to yourself. Take it one step at a time, and celebrate every success along the way.