• What is the biggest hurdle you have to overcome when it comes to writing?

  • james-mcgill

    August 17, 2021 at 11:27 pm

    Please note: I am writing this because I need to do something. I am not doing this to try make anyone feel sympathy for me. I am not doing this because I wish to educate anyone. I am doing this because I am trying to write. As someone with ADHD, sitting down to do something can be a struggle sometimes. Until last year, I use to think the reason I hadn’t finished more stories was because of a lack of inspiration, time, attention or drive. But I have been learning more and more about how my disability works. So, why am I writing this? Because right now, as I am writing this, I am feeling a lack of all those things in my head. So to get past it, I am sitting down and writing the struggle I am dealing with in my head as I try to actually write the stories I want to write.

    In the last 20 minutes, I have written three paragraphs and deleted two. This is the third attempt at the second paragraph. I have gotten up 3 times, cleaned my dining room table, taken laundry out of the dryer and placed laundry in the dryer. I have not put any of the clothes away. They are sitting in a pile on my desk and they will probably stay there until this evening. Even as I write this, my mind is already wanting to go see if there is a new episode of some anime on-line, even though I know nothing will be released until tomorrow. I have a bottle of soda in my fridge and I really want to go drink it. But that is not what I need to do. What I need to do is write out this post.

    This is what it is like in my head every day, even if I take medication. My brain will not stay on what I want to work on. Even now, I am feeling a twinge in my brain that is quite annoying saying “this is not stimulating, go find something that is.” Oh and I just spent the last hour between writing the first sentence of this paragraph and this one, watching Youtube videos and registering two twitch accounts.

    This what it is like for me to try and get things done. The only way I can overcome this is if I do something called hyperfocus. It’s one of the symptoms of ADHD that is considered both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because if I can get it going when I want too, I will stay in one place for the whole day and actually get a lot of writing done. If it activates at the wrong time, I will learn everything there is to know about Fate/stay Night. BTW, if you watch that series and get confused. All you have to know is that it’s based off a visual novel for windows from 2004. There were three story paths you could take and the three different series (Fate/stay Night, Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks, and Fate/Stay night Heaven sent) are each based on the three different story paths.

    So, that is the reason I am writing this. I am trying to activate my hyperfocus by working on something I know and trying to develop a habit of writing instead of watching TV. Television for me is like projecting a laser pointer in front of a cat. I will sit, watch and fixate, very easily. TV gives me dopamine.

    So now I have a question for anyone who reads this. This is my daily struggle. What do you have to overcome in order to do what you want to do?

  • buddyscalera

    August 21, 2021 at 8:01 pm
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    My biggest challenge is finding the time to sit down and complete things. The only way for me to actually be successful in completing things is to set an actual deadline.

    The anthology was helpful to me, since it gave me deadlines.

  • aesthetic-derelict

    August 21, 2021 at 8:28 pm
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    My biggest challenge is the tendency to second guess myself. I deal with a fair share of anxiety and constantly worry about doing something wrong or making something that won’t be up to snuff.

    I tend to create this idea that I’m letting something down if I do anything less than perfect, despite the fact that I know that I’m imperfect to begin with. This tends to lead to a cycle of self-doubt, which in turn leads me to freeze at the writing table.

    That said, the best thing to do for me in this situation is to just go ahead and do it, as it is much easier to refine than it is to stare at an empty page.

    In my case, this usually extends to my writing then my thumbnails and then my pencils.

    By the inking stage, I’m more or less committed to things and I can actually relax a bit.

    Also James, I do know of Fate/Stay Night and its myriad complexities, so yeah, you had quite a lot to dig into on that tangent.

  • philipspace

    August 21, 2021 at 10:14 pm
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    My biggest challenge is setting consistent times to do things, and then sticking to that schedule. I’m finding that if I do things at the same times each day, it becomes a lot easier to repeat that process, but once that schedule becomes interrupted I find it difficult to re-incorporate that habit. Life is already chaotic enough.

    I started reading a book called “Atomic Habits” by James Clear that basically discusses the process of giving yourself little rewards for things you wish to do regularly. Very process oriented, less goal oriented. You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” (which I have just learned is a variation of Archilochus <b style=”font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit;”>“We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.<b style=”font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit;”>” Thanks Google!).

    Anyhow, the idea is to reinforce the dopamine association with certain activities so that you crave doing them regularly, which we already do to some extent with our creative actions, eg. drawing, writing, whatever.

    Incremental improvements are the goal; if you can write for five minutes today, shoot for six minutes tomorrow. Repeat. Reward yourself somehow, maybe 15 minutes on a video game, or youtube, or whatever your thing is (give yourself parameters). A 1% improvement today over yesterday is still an improvement. The upshot is that the sky’s the limit as to how far you can go.

  • thesurrealari

    August 26, 2021 at 5:58 am
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    My biggest challenge is time as well. For example, my son has gotten off his schedule this summer, and apparently midnight is his new bedtime. My wife leaves for work at 6am. I have to be ready for the kids from that point forward, so I’m feeling the time squeeze a bit right now.

    One thing I try to do when this happens is to submit more. It takes less time to submit a story than to write it, and if I get interrupted by a kid waking up, for example, I can come back to it later without too much frustration, and not be worried about the lack of continuity. At least I’m doing something, then, to advance my career as a writer.

    I also want to echo @buddyscalera about getting things done and needing deadlines. I am a multitasker by nature, and usually have 10-12 open projects. (I also read 6 books or so at a time). Deadlines are key. I end up entering a lot of contests, even if there is only a small chance of winning, as at least they help me finish stories which I can then submit elsewhere.

  • thesurrealari

    August 26, 2021 at 6:00 am
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    Also @james-mcgill : if you haven’t checked out @mywritinghero ’s workshops, you should. They are specifically geared toward writers with ADHD.

  • writeshiek

    October 24, 2021 at 10:42 pm
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    hi , i have dyslexia and ADD symtoms. getting thing down but i am getting done slowly. i am constantly writing so it helps i go through loads of edits and rewrites

    • james-mcgill

      October 27, 2021 at 9:48 pm


      you sir are doing better than I am. I love to write but I can’t seem to get writing done unless certain unknown circumstances occur and I unlock that ability. So I am jealous of you good sir that you are able to write consistently. Remind yourself of that accomplishment every now again. It might get your brain to give you a hit of Seratonin when you need it.

      James McGill

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