top of page
  • Writer's pictureBritt

Writing with ADHD

This category of my blog is going to be totally different from the mental health and sexual abuse side of things. This is another big passion of mine: reading and writing. Someday, I am hoping to be a published author, but for now, I'm content writing this blog and working on my book(s).

This category is going to include book reviews, book lists, writing tips, and writing struggles (because we know we all have them).

In this first post, I want to talk about writing and ADHD (okay so maybe some parts of the writing struggles are going to align with my mental health category). People with ADHD, especially inattentive ADHD are incredibly imaginative and creative (probably because we spend a lot of time in our heads overthinking and daydreaming). This is a useful part of ADHD because it helps us writers come up with story ideas, plots, characters, and witty dialogue. It can also be a bit of a pain because our brains come up with new story ideas every other day so sticking to one is the toughest job. As soon as a new story idea pops up, our brain likes to think that we need to start writing that story RIGHT NOW. Our brain gives out new story ideas like Oprah giving out cars—you get a story, and you get a story, everyone gets a story!

Sticking to writing one book at a time is so, so hard. At least for me. I can't tell you how many story ideas I have saved on my phone (60 and counting) or the number of stories I have started in my Google Docs (32 and most have over 20+ pages) all while I really want to focus on one so that I can get that published before starting a new one. Like I said, my ADHD tries to convince me that every new story is the greatest story and one of a kind (like Wonka trying to convince everyone that they've never had chocolate like this).

I've gotten pretty good at forcing myself to work on that one story and sometimes my brain fixates on it. When it does that, I get a decent amount of work done. However, most of the time when I force myself to work on it, absolutely nothing comes to my brain and I write and rewrite a sentence over and over before giving up.

See, ADHD likes to see immediate results or the brain gets bored because it isn't getting enough dopamine to keep it happy. As soon as I'm forced to do something (even if I really want to), the dopamine is gone and all motivation disappears. I am happy to report, however, that I have finished writing the first book of the series. Now, all I have to do is edit it and rewrite some parts (this might be the hardest task if I'm being honest). This means that I have to read through it, again and again, to make sure spelling errors and plot holes are fixed, that it's enjoyable to read, and that it makes sense—the only problem is the way my brain works: I am not the type of person to reread. Once I know the ending, the dopamine I get from reading is pretty much gone. It's a little different when creating your own story, but it does get tedious since you can pretty much recite it.

I'm sure every author goes through this themselves—we start to question whether or not our book is even interesting, and we forget that this is our 100th time reading through it so of course it isn't going to be as interesting to us on our 365th day of reading it over again. We forget that we aren't looking at a new book with fresh eyes. This is why beta readers are important because they can truly tell us on their first read whether or not the book is interesting. We authors don't count in this matter.

I have a feeling I have such a hard time finishing a book because my brain doesn't want it to end. I have an issue ending things whether it's a TV series or a book series. It's like if I don't finish it, then it doesn't come to an end and I can live in it whenever I want for however long I want. Maybe my brain is afraid to let things end because it's scared to learn the ending. What if it doesn't go the way I want it to? What if something bad happens? What if I love these characters so much that I don't want to let them go?

Every author knows their characters have minds of their own and no matter how much force we put into making the story go our way, the characters always take over and do their own thing. For me, writing a story is a rollercoaster of emotions because I don't plan much of it out. The story goes how the story goes and that's that. I never know what's going to happen next until I write it.

Rollercoaster of emotions

Anyway, I guess the things that have helped me stick to one story are writing other story ideas down on my phone for later and setting short timers where I force myself to sit down and write or edit. I set the timer for twenty or thirty minutes and during that time I am not allowed to look at my phone or do anything other than write/edit. What I do write/edit might not be great, but I can always fix that later. As long as I stick to my plan of strictly writing during that time, I have a sense of accomplishment and I get a boost of dopamine. Usually, after forcing myself once or twice, I get into a role and can keep writing for a while.

Have any of you struggled with this? And if so, what helpful things do you do to get yourself writing and sticking to that one story?

For the suicide and crisis lifeline, dial 988.

— Live well and laugh often, Ravens. Signing off for now, Hyperactive Raven <3


bottom of page