Do I have to have ADHD to benefit from this resource?
Not at all. All writers struggle with the same set backs of procrastination, troubling sticking to a writing habit, and some level of attention deficiency. So while the challenges of the ADHD writer are not unique, sometimes the approach to overcoming them is. If conventional methods haven't worked for you or you want to try something new then feel free to stick around.
What makes having ADHD different than neuorotypical writers?
That's a good question. As I mentioned above writers universally face the same challenges. Unfortunately those challenges tend to be magnified for those of us with ADHD. Procrastination, getting started, staying focused, and following through are hallmarks of our condition in all areas of our lives, not just writing. While a neurotypical writer might be able to overcome these challenges with sheer will power alone, that isn't the case for us. But that doesn't mean it's hopeless. On the contrary, by understanding your challenges and why they occur we can create strategies to overcome them. It may take longer or with a little more effort but it is far from impossible.
Aren't there already, like, a million writing blogs out there?
Yes, more than that even. And I have looked at nearly all of them but not many blogs dedicated to the ADHD writer. Which is disappointing because the ADHD brain tends to be a highly creative one so it would stand to reason there are a lot of us out there yet very little in the way of resources for our specific needs. Over the years I've struggled with feeling like a failure at writing because nothing seemed to work and I felt like I was getting no where. I started to wonder if maybe writing wasn't for me but I loved it so much that giving it up felt worse than being terrible at it. When I became proactive with managing my ADHD and eventually turn what I was using in my day-to-day life on my writing, I saw immediate improvement. I was so impressed with it that I started to share my tips and tricks with other writers. Than it occurred to me I could create this resource so others wouldn't have to struggle in the dark like I have.
What should I do if I think I have ADD/ADHD?
If you think you do there's a pretty good chance that you do. I had a hunch I had it all my life but laughed it off until I couldn't handle feeling "different" from everyone all the time. I wasted so much time living in denial when I could have been seeking help and gathering tools to make life easier for me. So go get tested. If you don't have it there may be something else at play that is making you feel this way. Many other conditions have symptoms that overlap with those we associate with ADD/ADHD. Knowledge is power and you can only get better once you give what you are dealing with a name and create a treatment plan.
But if I get diagnosed won't I have to go on medication?
Nope, not unless you want to. You are completely in control of your body and how you choose to care for it. My therapist laid out the various treatment plans I could follow and some involved medication and some did not. I tried going it without medication but eventually I gave it a try to see if it made any kind of a difference. Did it ever!
Medication isn't for everyone and that's okay. But don't let the stigma of being on medication hold you back from being the best you can be. Talk to your doctor or therapist about your concerns and expectations and they can help you find what works for you. Sometimes you have to try more than one option (or make little adjustments to what you are using) before you find the right fit. Also be aware that medication isn't meant to be a cure-all. You still have to do a lot of work yourself to stay on top of things, the medication should be thought of as a stepping stool to let you reach where you're trying to go. Sometimes it's temporary until you can get there yourself and sometimes you'll always need it but either way take advantage of all the tools you can get because life is awesome when you're in control instead of just in reaction mode.
I have this amazing idea for a story but I don't know if I'm good enough to write it yet?
Chances are you aren't. Yet. But don't loose hope! Just because you aren't there yet doesn't mean you won't get there. Here's the thing, if you were to start taking piano lessons this week you wouldn't expect to be able to write your own symphony by next month, right? Same with writing. We think because we already know the basics of writing we should be able to jump right up into pro level no problem. But that's not how writing works. Writing is just like any other skill, the more you practice it the better you get. But there's more to it than that. You have to practice ALL the parts of writing, not just the putting words on paper part. You have to practice starting and finishing, developing characters, staying in the correct tense, balancing story arcs. I know that all sounds very daunting but if you take it bit by bit you'll get there in no time. Start small. Write short stories instead of trying to tackle a whole novel. Learn how it feels to have a beginning, middle, and end. Then learn how to edit. Then learn how to edit again. And keep doing that until you have something you can feel pretty good about. The more you do this the easier the process will come to you. Then you can take on the challenge of Big Awesome Idea™with a lot more confidence.
I've done what you said and I still don't feel good enough?
This is what everyone refers to when the say "writing is hard." Writing itself isn't all that hard. And even mastering all the componots of storytelling isn't hard, it's a challenge like anything you learn for the first time is but I wouldn't call it hard. The hard part is learning how to reconcile that what you have in your head will never be what you put down on paper. The more you work at it the closer you'll get but it will still never be exactly the same. And that is really, really hard to accept. The only thing you can do is take comfort in the fact every single writer feels the same way. You, me, Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, Neil Gaiman, everyone. But that's the nature of being an artist. All artists from writers to painters to sculptures to song writers all have to find a way to be at peace with what they've created and how it doesn't live up to their expectations. You just have to make it as close as you can get and appreciate it as a something separate from what is in your mind. The upside is if you do a really good job you will still blow people's minds and they will appreciate all the hard work you put into it.
Well, that stinks, why even write?
Because we can't not write. I've tried walking away from writing. I decided maybe my time would be best spent elsewhere, there are certainly plenty of hobbies and occupations that are easier adn filled with less frustration. But I couldn't stay away. I fill up with stories and characters and plots. I have a theater in my head playing 24/7 of all the stories my mind can dream up and if I don't let them out I get antsy and depressed. My fingers ache to get to a keyboard and get the stories out of me so I can function again. And the thrill of writing, the joy of completing a story, the high of creating a character, or designing a twisty plot are sensations I am hard pressed to find anywhere else. I may never reach my ultimate dream of becoming a full time writer but I will keep at it because not doing it is not an option.
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