In this post, I’m going to go over how to become a writer when you have A.D.D., or Attention Deficit Disorder. I have this condition so I’ll go over some of my own challenges. This disorder can be seen as a severe disorder because it affects you literally all the time, even when you try to sleep.
The most common symptoms are restlessness, overactive thoughts, forgetfulness and the inability to focus for long periods of time. This can cause issues at home and at work. This is especially true for those of us who would like to have our works published. What can you do if you suffer from A.D.D.? Here’s a breakdown of some ideas that may help.
Small Notebook and Pens
This can be a time saver in the sense that as writers and people with A.D.D., we want to be as far away from electronics as possible (though even our computers can lead to wasting time). Why? Because when we have our phones nearby, we can become distracted every time it goes off. The same with iPads. How many times have you gotten bored with writing and find yourself playing games, losing yourself on Facebook/Twitter or texting? Luckily I don’t get on my phone often. Usually I keep it in my backpack from Wednesday to Sunday night. By then the battery is dead and I have to recharge it for Monday. I’ve never been a phone person.
The paragraph above has a point. With people who have A.D.D., we often think of something that we want to remember and we type it into a program so that we can have a reminder. After we do this, we more than likely will be drawn to something else and our manuscript sits there for hours without being worked on. With a small notebook, we can write our thoughts down when they come to us and then continue with the manuscript. This is because when we write it down, we can temporarily forget about it because we know we have the notebook available.
Another important issue? Losing track of time. There is a thing called Hyper Focus that affect people with A.D.D.. This is when we are so focused on something, such as reading or playing a game, that we lose all track of time. Sometimes it’s so severe that we forget to eat and drink, which is dangerous. I’ve been known to do that, and the result is always suffering a migraine and dizziness. Not fun! But with a timer, we can set the it to go off whenever we want it to. Personally I’m going to experiment with setting the timer to write at the first and last 20 minutes each hour (1:00-1:20, 1:40-2:00, as an example). The 20 minutes in the middle will be dedicated to another activity to break up the monotony.
No matter which type of timer you use, whether it be a timer on your phone or a kitchen timer, make sure you set it on the other side of the room, or at a distance to where you have to stand up and walk over to it. You want to do that in order to break out of your Hyper Focus and do other important things, or even to take a break.
Unfortunately, the A.D.D. person will get bored with writing not long after we start. When we sit down and do anything, we’ll eventually get bored of doing the same thing for long periods of time. This is why the timer works. We can plan out our time before we start writing and decide what could be our reward for sitting down and working. As stated above, this helps with the monotony. The A.D.D. person craves variety, which is why we begin multiple projects and probably haven’t finished even one. Does that sound about right? We need to figure out what we’re in the mood to do, and disperse it throughout the writing schedule.
I hope these few pointers help out everybody and not just those of you with A.D.D.. I’m not an expert on the subject of A.D.D., I just shared what my experiences are with this medical condition. If you feel I have forgotten something or have a comment/question, go ahead and ask in the comments below and I’ll answer to the best of my ability. Til next time!