Can The Artists's Way work for ADHD?

Not sure if this is the right tag to use but not sure this fits anywhere else.
I recently found out about The Artist’s Way and how it’s helped so many people have more creative fullfilling lives and I impulsively picked up the book without fully looking into what it was.
There’s a lot of people who have talked about it online but I haven’t been able to find a lot of information on if it works for someone with ADHD and if any adjustments need to be made ect or if like a lot of other self help type books it just doesn’t work for us.
Given how popular this book is and how we brains are often creative people I was surprised to find almost no information/reviews on how this book works for ADHD brains and thought I’d ask here if anyone has heard about it or tried it for themselves, has it worked for you? How did you find the process? If it didn’t work what did you struggle with?
I think I’ll be giving it a go myself anyway and if I remember I may post an update here in a few weeks, I just wish I knew more about it as it’s really frustrating that I haven’t found any useful information.

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Welcome to the HowToADHD forums @Mazza05 !

I remembered that someone on this forum had mentioned “The Artist’s Way” before, so I searched the site and found the conversation where it was mentioned at 365 A Daily Journal Reflection - #3 by annamaria

(By the way, I’m JD, and I work in tech support, so I’m adept at and driven to help people like this. :grin: )

The forum member who posted about it goes by the username @annamaria , and praised the book and it’s journaling technique.

Just the very act of journaling can be helpful to people with ADHD. Journaling is also helpful for people with anxiety, or depression, or who are dealing with past/present trauma. Since the majority of people with ADHD also have comorbidities such as these, journaling would likely be doubly beneficial to many ADHD Brains.

The chapter headings for “The Artist’s Way” look like topics that can really, really benefit a person who has had struggles due to ADHD or comorbidities.


In a week and a half, when my life calms down, I’m planning to make some changes to my habits. I know that journaling will help. I was planning to start a Bullet Journal, but I think I may augment it with some steam of consciousness writing, since I aspire to be a writer (and also process my feelings from my recent divorce, plug my ex-wife and our youngest kids moving away next week). So, your post is timely for me!

I managed to find the e-book listed at my local library. They have 3 copies, all wait-listed. I tried to get on the wait-list myself, but discovered that my library card expired a little while ago. I have to call the library to renew my card, but they don’t open for 3 hours. (I must’ve missed the email notification to renew it. I think my ADHD is showing :joy: ) - I’ve got a busy day ahead, so I’m setting a reminder on my phone to call the library.

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Welcome . . .

Interesting concept. In my retirement I took up painting (acrylics). If I tried to create a painting to look at all like that something (NO MATTER WHAT: an apple; an ocean scene; wildlife; people) . . . the results would come out looking like an abstract painting . . . not at all like the subject of the painting . . . So . . . I stick to abstract painting!

Does it help me with my ADHD?

Don’t know!

But it is helpful to me . . . as an escape from any chaos going on in my life at the moment . . .

fwiw

:sunglasses:

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Didn’t work for me. I bought it when I was already aware of my symptoms (& partially to deal with them) but before I knew they were ADHD Related. I couldn’t put in practice things like writing three pages every morning. Later I found out the 12 step program described in the book is based on a similar 12 step program of recovery by Alcoholics Anonymous, which further lessened my interest in it. We are not suffering from “blocked creativity”; we usually suffer from channeling it in the right direction, no sticking to anything long term, getting distracted as we find everything interesting and are not good at prioritizing. We need to somehow make things work without suppressing our innate nature of chaos and creativity! just my opinion. You should find out for yourself what works for you!

And welcome to the community!

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So then, it does help you to paint.

In my earlier years of college, I took a few art classes. Until that point in my life, I was never satisfied with my drawing skills, because I could never make things look the way I wanted to, no matter how many revisions I made.
… Then I took a sculpting class, and I realized that I was never satisfied with my 2-D drawings simply because I think in 3-D! I was always more satisfied with my sculptures.

In that art class, I became friends for a while with a classmate. Head had similar skills, but he admired my ability to capture the model realistically, while I admired his ability to create realistic looking works from his imagination. He was half Hawaiian, and one thing he made was a bust of a Hawaiian warrior with a fierce look in his eyes and a goatee. The next time I crossed paths with my classmate, it was over a year later. He had grown a goatee and had filled out just a bit more in his face, so he looked like the bust he had made, but with his usual genial eyes.

(From the similarities he and I had, I suspect my classmate is another Brain!)

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welcome!

it’s too bad there’s not much information. on the plus side, that gives you a chance to go in unbiased. we’re all so different that what works for me and my adhd might be a disaster for you – and vice versa. here’s your chance to figure out what works for Mazza05 and modify as you need. i always take what works for me and leave the rest.

i’ve never read this book but i did hear about the morning pages exercise. i used to have a regular journal practice and i did morning pages. three pages was too much for me so i just just a page. that was beneficial.

i hope you find some value in this book! if not, well, you know what doesn’t work and that’s valuable too.

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Takes one to know one . . . Absolutely been true in my experience!

Thanks for replying :slight_smile: I was worried about the morning pages as it seems like a lot, so I’m going into it knowing that I won’t be able to fill 3 pages every single day, and instead I’m going to just write as much as I can as often as I can in an A5 notebook, so far I’ve written 1-2 pages everyday and it’s been good, putting less pressure on myself to do so much and just doing what I can manage is really helping so far, and if I skip a day here and there it won’t be the end of the world. I don’t think I’m going to follow to course stricly but I’m going to try and work aspects of it into my life and see what happens :slight_smile: I’ve been struggling with my creativity lately so I’m hoping it’ll help me figure something out at least.

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Yeah I am doing a bullet journal and it is hugely helpful. However, mine does not look like the ones on instagram or pinterest. It is not overwhelming to me because I went back to the source of the bullet journal trend and I am taking only what doesn’t overwhelm me. It’s a great system if you know yourself and what you can and cannot do. :slight_smile:
Good luck!

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Thank you for your reply ^^ I was a bit stuck down a research rabbithole when I posted this and was getting frustrated with the lack of information, but I’m still going to give it a go with an open mind and see what happens :slight_smile: 3 pages everyday is definitely too much for me too so I have a little A5 notebook and I’m just writing as much as I can manage, which so far has been 1-2 pages, if does feel good to dump out some of the thoughts in my brain each morning before my meds kick in. This is some good advice so thanks!

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Thank you for replying, this is really helpful :blush:

I’ve never really tried journaling before but I’ve heard a lot of good things about it, the amount the book says to write everyday it too much for me so I’m only doing what I can manage each day so hopefully I might be able to make it a regular habit (even if it’s not every single day cos lets be real here I doubt I’ll be that consistent :joy:).
I don’t know if I’ll do the ‘course’ as it’s written but I am enjoying reading the book and I’m hoping I’ll be able to pick up a few helpful things from it that will work for me ^^

And good luck to you too! I hope you find it helpful :grin:

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I’ve thought about trying a bullet journal before too but they always seemed like a lot of work to put together/maintain, but I do want to try one at some point as I like the idea of them if I can make it work :slight_smile:

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I would advise looking up Ryder Carrol’s youttube channel about bullet journals. He’s the one who codified the system. He has ADHD too so he understands a lot of what we go through. :smiley:

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That’s a very smart way to go about it, doing what you know you can. I thinki read that the book says 3 pages of journaling per day, but honestly, I don’t think a lot of neurotypical people would give it that much effort. If a person is already inclined to write that much, sure. I don’t think that there should be a set length or a set amount of time (as I’ve seen elsewhere about journaling).

I want to write some books, and I follow the YouTube channel of a self-published author. He has been consistently posting how many pages he writes per day. The other day, it was zero. Most days, it’s in the hundreds. Every once in a while, it can be several hundred pages in a day. That astounds me! But his honesty that sometimes you can’t get anything put down, for whatever reason, is refreshing coming from a published author with many novels and even a few nonfiction books to his name.

Do what you can do. It’s okay to challenge yourself a little, but the main thing is to develop the habit, not to overwhelm yourself.

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I think Julia Cameron’s advice for 3 pages a day was probably for writers who have a writer’s block. A regular stream of consciousness writing exercise may help them unblock! The only time I had writer’s block was when (as a student) an assignment was due :slight_smile: Now the problem is more getting my writing organized in some sort of cohesive whole.

May be we shouldn’t take what she says too literally and try something else on a regular basis, like meditation or yoga or going for a walk or something. At least when I was writing in a bullet journal I put in a page or so: morning routine, thoughts, reading, tasks, ending with evening reflections.

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I like that . . .

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As writer I can say that most times I think I have writer’s block it’s because I am trying to get characters to do something they wouldn’t do or I am not serving the plot. :grin:

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As a programmer I have very few days when everything I write (code) just works. Mostly it is halting progress where I am blocked with no clear idea of how to proceed further, and some time reversals, when I have to throw away a bunch and start again. I think it has a few things in common with writing fiction but it is much simpler. In contrast as a writer you have to paint a 3 dimensional picture in your readers’ mind by giving your characters a personality, while moving the story along.

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My husband is a programmer and a author. If one looks up ‘The Collapse’ in the sci-fi section of Amazon, you will find some of his books. He’s published through a small publishing house that puts the books up in electronic form on Amazon as well as makes audiobook from them. It is a very similar, complimentary kind of thing we do. :slight_smile: I like to think of myself as a creator of realities and what do programmers do but build new worlds within our computerized devises?

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I’ll look them up, thanks :blush: