Writing with ADHD
I have ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder). ADHD is on a spectrum and is consequently different for everyone. My ADHD deals with inattention and executive dysfunction and inhibits me from getting things done regardless of effort. My tips on how to write when you have ADHD are listed below.
Install programs on your computer that will help you focus. For example, there are apps that block all social media outlets to prevent you from accessing them while writing. This is a great antidote to distraction. In addition, apps such as write or die can help you keep track of your writing and keep yourself accountable as a writer. Other apps that I like include self-control, focal filter and forrest.
One of the most effective strategies I use when writing is sprinkling my work with “treats.” A “treat” is an idea or scene that I am excited to write about beforehand. The “treat” is meant to encourage me to keep writing. To create a “treat,” you need to choose a topic that you are excited to write about and outline your piece so that the idea doesn’t come into play until later. This will motivate you to write the earlier portion of your piece quickly so that you can reach the interesting topic. However, once you reach that point, you should stop and come back to it the next day. This will motivate you to start writing that next day. If you continue with this habit, your writing sessions should begin and end with ideas that excite you.
Few things are as important for writing as a schedule! If you schedule a time to write every day your brain will know that it's writing time and it will become easier to work on projects.
Write whatever you want. If you’re writing you’re making progress. Keep writing and if you want to abandon a project or “divorce” yourself from it, do it. You can always come back to it later.
If you have a good idea, never say, “I’ll remember it,” or, “ I’ll write it down later.” This is the ADHD demon speaking. Don't listen to her. She is a liar. I like having my phone on me at all times so that I can use it to take notes when inspiration hits. If I don’t have my phone with me, I make sure to have a pen so that I can write any ideas I have on my arm. I can’t misplace my arm.
Warning: do not use this tip unless absolutely necessary.
Hyperfixation, like hyperfocus, can be useful in writing. When you are fixated on a writing project you will experience a large creative bursts that can last for a few months if you’re lucky. Hyperfixation does have some major downsides though. For example, it isn’t necessarily healthy to become obsessed with something only to suddenly drop it. In addition, this level of obsession can only be sustained for a short period of time. Hyperfixation can be useful if you are dedicated to the project.
Create deadlines for yourself. It truly helps. I normally give myself deadlines for poetry and other forms of writing that range days, weeks, or months.
Accountability, it helps if you have someone to report to. If you don't have someone to report back to there are apps like Beeminder, Stikk, the most dangerous writing app and cold turkey writer.