Why this #dearthofADHDwritingguides ?



  1. Talking shop about writing is almost as much fun as talking shop about ADHD.
  2. The ADHD-Unfriendly Illuminati are clearly the driving force behind our nation’s writing curricula.
  3. Googling “ADHD writing guide” turns up some stuff for kids, but nothing for/by ADHD adults who might be in college, or freelancing, or blogging, or just having a bunch of cool ideas and wanting to get them out there.
  4. Yet I know so many ADHD adults who are great writers, and who I know are harboring great shop talk.
  5. This is a fixable problem! I’m lowkey wanting to fix it.

Question: Does anyone else have fun writing strategies and/or weird writing snags that the Curricula Illuminati are not going to help them solve?

(Ex. for me: I have an elaaaborate system built out of visual organization, task-batching, and tiny goals that I developed after I went through my writing-intensive undergrad program and realized… this program was not designed with me in mind! I’m always in the market for new tips. Right now, my biggest problem is: I’m really bad at estimating time, so I’m really bad at setting myself deadlines-- and yet, if I’m working without deadlines, I’m working indefinitely!)

1 Like


Sadly, I feel whatever system a brain figures out for themselves is what allows those ADHD brains to thrive as writers. They aren’t transferable as per as system or guide, just more of “these are tips that help me succeed” and whatever makes sense to another brain to adapt is what they should do.



That’s a really good point: all writing systems are idiosyncratic, and ADHD guarantees that they’ll be more idiosyncratic! I wonder, though, if there’s a basic set of tools for thinking through idiosyncratic problems. Ex.: I used to think I “just didn’t want to start papers.” Then I realized that my idea of “starting” was to sequence, prioritize, and initiate all at once… Solving this problem would have happened a lot quicker if I’d known the words “sequence”, “prioritize”, or “initiate”, and if I’d known that they all were common ADHD sandtraps! Writing guides will talk about waiting for inspiration to strike, but they won’t think to ask, “Do you really know what your first step is? REALLY?”



I can write a lot so long as there is no deadline attached to it! Starting to write can take a while (just like anything else) but once I get going I can write a bunch but I am not very organized. The key thing for me to remember is to resist the temptation to fix mistakes or reorganize.

At present I am reading a book on “How to take smart notes” by Sönke Ahrens, which basically talks about Luhmann’s zettelkasten system. See my response in this thread: A research paper in a week? Easy as pie!

As he puts it, a final version is relatively easy to prepare if you already have a rough draft. A rough draft would be easier to do if you already have everything you needed in front of you: ideas, references, arguments, etc and already in order sorted by chapters. If you already had your notes and references etc. reordering them in some logical structure is relatively well defined task. Reordering would be easy if you already had linked your notes to other related notes as well as you tagged notes belonging to some category. And this is easy to do if you start by writing out brief notes as you do your research and reading and develop your ideas. What’s more by linking notes you may begin to see new connections.

I am trying this system as I read and it is slowing me down quite a bit but now I can go back and read my notes. Previously I would read pretty much anything non-technical a page a minute but my retention was not great.

Hope this is of some help.



Yes! No matter what I’m doing, word choice can always lure me away and like, leave me to die in a swamp. I finally just built a drafting system that puts word choice last. For me, fear of forgetting plays a big part in wanting to do 20 different edits at once, so I’m digging the mega-compartmentalized drafts approach: right now I’m on the structure draft; next I’m on the words draft; hush amygdala, hush hush hush.

Really looking forward to watching this talk- thanks for the link! I’m glad there are other Notes Nerds around :books:

1 Like


I have, off and on, been a professional writer of various sorts. I have always hated it, and yet have always wanted to be a successful creative writer. I consider the two – writing for my boss (or client, or the paying project, or what-not); or, writing what I think is good literature – to inevitably conflict to the point of being nearly mutually exclusive. Furthermore, the former (getting money for writing by writing for my boss) wears out my writing muscles to the point that I’m unable to do my own writing of good literature during off-work time. Double-bind, love that capitalism thang I tell ya …

But I cannot claim to be utterly without fault in these damning circumstances. When I have no major job responsibilities, mainly of the writing kind, I should be free to write my literature … but, I also have ADHD. So, I don’t do it. I get distracted. I clean the house. I look at the funny squirrel. I can’t manage to be a self-starter on the subject.

My dream in life is to learn to hyperfocus on writing my creative literature projects. If I could just make it turn ON to the RIGHT project … dang it all …

1 Like


I just came across an online writing program/service called draft that has an mode called Hemingway mode – which turns off your ability to delete anything! You can only add new text at the end. Based on a quote attributed to Ernest Hemingway: “Write drunk; edit sober”!

1 Like


That’s hilarious, and also probably pretty effective…:joy: Force split the tasks.:+1:

1 Like


Oh my god that’s Genius



YUUUUP RELATABLE. On the bright side, squirrels and their little mummy hands are a glorious natural phenomenon, the built environment would be a sadder place without them.



I love it, ALTHOUGH or BECAUSE it always makes this scene run across my forehead:::: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=DfGs2Y5WJ14

1 Like