Writing With ADHD: How Hard Could it be?
I’ve been asked various versions of the title of my story before, but as soon as it popped into my brain, I knew it was my first mistake. A mistake because it implies it isn’t hard for someone with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder) to write. My second mistake was assuming the average person would automatically know I was wrong. When I’m on my A-game, it’s easier. The rest of the time, it’s like trying to drink coffee while hanging upside down. Well, sort of. It’s just the simplest mental image I can think of at the moment.
How is it more complicated? The answer is multilayered, because of the number of variables. Variables such as a pitchman suggest ideas faster than I can mentally compartmentalize them. It also explains why I jot every thought down yet struggle with organization. Think of it as a reporter with notes stuffed and piled everywhere, and you get how my brain is organized. Scribbling stuff down is the only way for me to keep things functioning instead of looking like a Los Angeles freeway during rush hour.
That isn’t the only part that makes writing harder for me than most people expect with my imagination and determination. It’s more like stubbornness. After all, I still have ideas slow cooking since high school.
The difficulty isn’t just the rate of ideas and organizing them. It’s also compounded with multiple characters in multiple universes, all wanting their two cents toward any project I work on as I am working on it. If not for both nicotine and caffeine, I probably would have gone completely insane long ago. Sleep is scarce. The brain doesn’t exactly come with an off switch. Trying to sleep is like trying to type while my cat continuously tries to get between me and the keyboard. It’s been worse since I started working on a fantasy space opera. Goblin space pirates resembling someone extremely over-caffeinated seemed like a great idea. That is until someone puts on coffee and it screams in your mind, which is how this trip started.
I can only hear a high-pitched male voice saying, “Coffee? Did someone say coffee?”
Excuse me a moment, I say mentally, grabbing a cast iron frying pan.
I start whacking the little green pirate over the head with it internally, saying, “No, it’s not time for coffee yet. You’re just going to wait.”
I knock him out for a while, but I know it’s only temporary as I turn back to the outside world. Now where was my train of thought going? As usual, it had left the station without me. Yes, I know that’s an oxymoron since it is my train of thought, so I should have full control over it. Somehow, though, it never quite works that way.
Oh, right, complications with writing and ADHD. The last part of the answer comes with doing research, research for writing and non-writing projects. I set things that are a distraction aside while researching. This is why there are over a hundred tabs open in my browser, but only a quarter of them are related strictly to writing.
Sorry, I say, excusing myself again. The little green pirate may be small, but his head is hard as a rock, and his friends have joined the party. I mentally toss a concussive flash bang grenade down my mental hallway. I am well aware that I combined two grenades into one there; I muse as I stumble back out of my head.
Now, as I was about to say before I was interrupted, being able to keep most of my characters in their own universes helps with the research. Not so much with keeping me from getting distracted, unfortunately. Even if certain little green men have bled into another project of mine since coming into existence. The problem is focusing on one universe long enough to accomplish anything meaningful. I’m unsure whether that helps explaining how hard writing with ADHD can be, but I see we’re about to turn into the café. Thank you for listening, and if I seem completely insane to you now, I apologize.
As I climb out of the cab, mentally kicking the little green guy and his friends out ahead of me, saying, “Yes, now it is time for coffee. Happy now?”
I pay the driver and tip my hat before walking towards the coffee shop alone, yet with a whole gang simultaneously.