Writing when you have ADHD

Somebody asked me how I decide what to write about each day.

The truth is that… I don’t. I don’t decide what to write about. Because I can’t.

I’m not being falsely modest here – I am genuinely incapable of deciding to write about something and then following through, sticking with that initial thing until completion. Believe me – I’ve tried. Hundreds of times. The experience is hellish, and even if somehow manage to finish something this way, it’s shit.

It’s definitely an ADHD thing. My brain struggles to stay on task with anything it isn’t grabbed by. In every area of life. And what I’ve noticed is that when I try to come up with ideas to write about, none of them grab me. They mean nothing to me. And if I somehow force myself to work on those ideas, it’s like trying to chop down a tree with a butter knife. It’s just a waste of my short, short life.

I was stuck here for years.

But I’ve found – and then forgotten, many times – that if I just let myself start writing, and pay attention to what shows up on the page, before long something always emerges – something that grabs me. It’s almost as though a part of my brain was closed off until I actually started writing. Now I can stay on task quite easily, because of all of a sudden I care. I’m grabbed. All I have to do is try to ride that wave until I have a finished piece of writing.

And that’s… how I decide what to write. I just write, and I see what comes out of me. Sometimes I think it’d be nice to be able to control it a bit more, but that’s just not in the cards for me. All I can do is get over it and write something!

If I could offer one piece of advice today it’s that whatever you want to do, try not to give a shit about how other people are doing it. You have to find a way to do it that works for you, one that you enjoy whilst you’re doing it. It might look conventional, it might look bat-shit crazy… who cares? Because if you love doing it, you’ll keep doing it, and then you get both the journey and the destination.

Try to avoid Google. The only exception is once you’ve done your work for the day, and you fancy a laugh – Google how to do something. Anything. WHATEVER the activity, I GUARANTEE you will find tons of opinionated Americans, each one shouting louder than the last how their way is the only way that works and everybody else is wrong and ‘MURICA. SPORTS. ONE NATION UNDER GOD, WHICH IS FUNNY BECAUSE WE HAVE A CONSTITUTION SEPARATING CHURCH AND STATE.

I only joke about America because it hurts to even think about Britain these days.

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