Does anyone else struggle with ADHD when trying to write? How do you focus?

Started by Galactic Druid, April 10, 2022, 04:33:18 PM

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Galactic Druid

The title says it all, really. My hours shifted and I don't have as much mid day writing time, which means the meds I occasionally take on work days are long worn off by the time I get home. Add an active family and household distractions to the mix and despite my best intentions I've rarely gotten much done lately. I try not to take meds every day and make them last, and never after work hours, as the insurance my job has doesn't cover them and they are expensive (plus I like to kinda be myself when I'm off the clock, frustrated as I get with myself). I'm curious if anyone else here deals with adult ADHD, and what tricks you guys might use to help you stay focused on writing when you settle in to.
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Hrairoo

I have adult ADHD, unmedicated. I find caffeine works pretty well for me as a stimulant(I often drink low sugar/zero sugar energy drinks, tea, coffee, and occasionally, pop a "wide awake" caffeine pill). It gets my head quiet and helps me feel less like I'm all over the place.

I do little bits of "dopamine farming" activities and I have a list of them on the wall organized by "lazy", "least effective" and "most effective". For instance, I have things like "daydreaming while listening to music and playing spider solitaire" on there. That's my go-to feel good activity. I'll do about 20-30 minutes of that, stop, open my document, and start typing out bullet points, dialogue that occurs to me, scene starter sentences, etc. If I need to, I do more dopamine farming to kick start my motivation, taking breaks to sit in the document for a while and either write or think about writing. I'll eat a snack; I'll watch a short funny video; I'll walk my dog. Little things that hit the pleasure center in my brain and get those engines running.

Very often, it helps if I try to bullet point my posts. Either I go through my partner's post and write a gappy outline of everything in their post that I want to react to(either in dialogue, action, or simply having my character briefly think/have an emotion about it). Or, if I already have a clear action plan in mind for the scene, the outline is instead a gappy list of everything my characters are doing(a great bulk of it will be dialogue, things my characters say because I'm a funny cad and can think of funny stuff for my guys to say first). And there will be a lot of empty space between these branches of dialogue that are easier to come in, starting from the top, and fill in the thoughts, narrative, and body language of my characters. I find just having a list to start with helps solidify my thoughts. And it's easier to go in and flesh things out if there's that backbone there, you know?

As far as distraction filled areas and household... I dunno. I'm very noise sensitive. I have a difficult time doing anything useful if I can hear people outside my room with the door closed, just walking by. Usually, I give up on trying to write until a time/day when the house is empty and I have total quiet. If I were in your situation, wanting to write at home after working all day.... I'd either make my bullet point list in a notebook while on the clock so I at least have dialogue and something, some sort of skeleton to look at when I got home(I did this frequently when I worked for a political survey call center). If you cannot write even such bare bone notes while at work, then finding a quiet space at home and making the list then.

Galactic Druid

Quote from: Hrairoo on April 10, 2022, 08:51:36 PM
I have adult ADHD, unmedicated. I find caffeine works pretty well for me as a stimulant(I often drink low sugar/zero sugar energy drinks, tea, coffee, and occasionally, pop a "wide awake" caffeine pill). It gets my head quiet and helps me feel less like I'm all over the place.

I do little bits of "dopamine farming" activities and I have a list of them on the wall organized by "lazy", "least effective" and "most effective". For instance, I have things like "daydreaming while listening to music and playing spider solitaire" on there. That's my go-to feel good activity. I'll do about 20-30 minutes of that, stop, open my document, and start typing out bullet points, dialogue that occurs to me, scene starter sentences, etc. If I need to, I do more dopamine farming to kick start my motivation, taking breaks to sit in the document for a while and either write or think about writing. I'll eat a snack; I'll watch a short funny video; I'll walk my dog. Little things that hit the pleasure center in my brain and get those engines running.

I hate to admit it that my attempts to do the same often lead down a rabbit hole, lol. My just one day in Stardew Valley or similar farming sims turns into two days because my turnips are ready the next day and then it's time to make dinner, etc. I should try and get better about that and setting limits for myself.

I try not to caffine too much in the afternoon, but maybe I should try a small dose when I want to write. Based on what you mentioned, you might like my favorite that I use every morning to start my day and for work: Gfuel. It's one of those 'energy for gamers' kind of marketing things and maybe a little cheesey sometimes, but they have some darn good flavors. My current favorite is this watermelon pineapple strawberry blend they just call "The Juice". Works well in the morning too. I'll try a small swig tomorrow when I sit down and see how I do.

QuoteVery often, it helps if I try to bullet point my posts. Either I go through my partner's post and write a gappy outline of everything in their post that I want to react to(either in dialogue, action, or simply having my character briefly think/have an emotion about it). Or, if I already have a clear action plan in mind for the scene, the outline is instead a gappy list of everything my characters are doing(a great bulk of it will be dialogue, things my characters say because I'm a funny cad and can think of funny stuff for my guys to say first). And there will be a lot of empty space between these branches of dialogue that are easier to come in, starting from the top, and fill in the thoughts, narrative, and body language of my characters. I find just having a list to start with helps solidify my thoughts. And it's easier to go in and flesh things out if there's that backbone there, you know?

As far as distraction filled areas and household... I dunno. I'm very noise sensitive. I have a difficult time doing anything useful if I can hear people outside my room with the door closed, just walking by. Usually, I give up on trying to write until a time/day when the house is empty and I have total quiet. If I were in your situation, wanting to write at home after working all day.... I'd either make my bullet point list in a notebook while on the clock so I at least have dialogue and something, some sort of skeleton to look at when I got home(I did this frequently when I worked for a political survey call center). If you cannot write even such bare bone notes while at work, then finding a quiet space at home and making the list then.

This is honestly genius, especially since while I can't get on electronic devices much at work, my notebook is always available. I actually used to do stuff like this for research papers all the time, I don't know why I never thought to use it for posts as well. As for the quiet time, I think I just need to accept that's never going to happen on my computer, which is right next to the family TV, Xbox, Playstation, etc. Maybe I should clean up my old laptop and find a more quiet spot within the apartment I can use it in...
A/As last updated 11/27 - Halfway past busy season!

Galactic Druid

Gah I forgot to put this in my reply, but I really dug going through your art threads, especially the family Christmas tree! That's such a cool idea!
A/As last updated 11/27 - Halfway past busy season!

Nyxlplyx

Honestly if I'm having trouble focusing I will pull up a music genre called binaural beats (it's all over Youtube).  Basically it plays the right tones to help you focus.  I know some people listen to music/songs they like but I have a habit of singing along so it ends up being more distracting.  Also I have two monitors so if I end up getting sucked down a video rabbit hole, I'll switch to the laptop at the couch and be more focused that way.

EternalStarLight


Thera Regina

Yeah, I struggle with focus when I'm writing. If it's not something I'm interested in, then I'll lose interest pretty quickly. However, there are things that would allow me to keep my interest, but mostly it's finding someone to RP with who is patient and understanding.


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BlueOrange

It could be that the pressure to write feels relentless and that’s stopping you from finding the headspace. Maybe forbid yourself from writing at a specific time when you could theoretically write if your brain was cooperating. With luck, it’ll help your unconscious get some downtime.