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Conquering Your Neurodivergent Weaknesses to Power Your Writing


The first two parts of this series went through how to use your ADHD Superpowers to power your writing. But what are you supposed to do when your weaknesses take over? How are you supposed to use your Superpowers to conquer things like Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria or Short Term Memory? Here are a few ideas!


Delayed Task Initiation


What is it?

Starting tasks is harder when you have a neurodivergent mind. Task initiation can be defined as the effort it takes to get the ball rolling. So when you suffer from Delayed Task Initiation, it means it takes you more mental energy to get started and in turn leads to procrastination or simply not doing the task at all.


How it can affect your writing:

So you have a story idea and you’ve come up with a plot, characters, and even a timeline, but you can’t start it. The idea of sitting down and actually writing the story seems too daunting, even though you KNOW that once you start you won’t have a problem finishing it. It’s frustrating to say the least.


Personally, the idea for my first novel came to me nearly ten years before I started writing it. So how do you conquer all the excuses and finally get the ball rolling? Here are some tips!


Helpful Tips:

  • Break it down. It might seem obvious, but breaking down big tasks into smaller ones makes it easier to start. The same goes for your story! You have a general idea for your plot and maybe a scene or two. Write those first! If you only have a character in mind, write a short story about that character or even write a small blurb about what your character sees in a mirror to help you picture them.

  • Challenge yourself! Turn your task into a game. Set yourself a timer for 25 minutes, write (can be literally anything), and see how many words you can get down. Challenge yourself to do this again, and beat your word count. The trick is to just start writing. For us, it’s harder to stop doing a task we are focused on than it is to start the task and get focused. So once you get writing, you likely won’t want to stop.

  • Research and talk about your project! If you can’t start the task of writing, start looking up things related to your project. Get your mind solely focused on the premise of the story by looking up facts about the setting, the creatures or types of characters involved, the person your story is about, etc. Get yourself excited about the story. Talking to others about your story also releases dopamine and will get you thinking about the project and excited to start.

  • Take notes first. If staring at the blank page or the screen is daunting, jot down notes on paper or on your phone first so you have a starting point once you’re at your screen.

  • Get a body double! Body doubling is common in people with ADHD. This means that you get yourself a friend who will literally just sit next to you while you write. Someone who knows what you are doing and working on, won’t distract or interrupt you, but instead, be there to help keep you focused and on task.


Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria


What is it?

Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria refers to the fact that neurodivergents tend to be very sensitive about what other people think or say about them. This means we try extra hard to be liked and accepted and in turn, become scared to share our creative works.


How it can affect your writing:

RSD can cause crippling fear of failure. In turn, we struggle with sharing our work because we are too afraid it will be rejected. Too many ND writers have finished projects that are not published because of it. The goal here is to overcome this fear enough to keep sending your story out.


Helpful Tips:

  • Send your story to a friend first. Having a friend or family member read your story before you send it to agents, editors, or publishers can help build your confidence in the piece. Ask them for all the positive feedback and let them give you the negative too. This way you are more prepared for the negative feedback you are likely to get from professionals.

  • Don’t read bad reviews! It’s as simple as that. If you see a bad review, just skip it.

  • Trick your mind! Tell yourself you are putting this piece out there specifically to get the necessary feedback to make it better. Never assume your project is perfect already. Even when you think you are done with all of the edits and tweaks, still convince yourself you’re sending it out in order to make it even better.


Medication


Last, but not least, I want to talk about medication. Medication can be a great thing, but it can also inhibit some of the best parts of our ND brains. The trick is finding the right balance of medication for you. It is different for every individual.


It is important to keep track of how your medications (if you take them) make you feel every day so you can track if and when they change. We can easily build up a tolerance for a lot of the meds prescribed, so make sure you are consistently checking in with your mental and physical health care professionals to ensure you are benefiting from the medications you are prescribed.


Remember! Take some time to really reflect on how beautiful and powerful your brain is. Appreciate all of the amazing things it can do for you, and try to find the silver lining in all of the things society tells you aren’t normal. Because you are not normal. You are a damn superhero!

 

About the Author: Nichole is a PNW native and is an aspiring author and editor. She loves all things nerdy and spends too much time planning her next comic con trips. She is full-time stay-at-home mom of four and a full-time college student at Washington State University. When she isn’t reading or writing, she enjoys spending her free time outdoors with her kids and dog.


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