What it’s Like to Write Every Single Day When You Have ADHD

NaNoWriMo is upon us and we’re 4 days in. I’ve been participating since roughly 2005 and this is the time where I start ‘feeling it’.

“But Des!” You say, “It’s only 4 days in. Surely someone who has been writing books for a number of years can go longer than this.”

I can. I can write every single day for 5 months straight if I have to, but would I want to? No. I get burned out really easily from having dyslexia and ADHD and I need frequent breaks from my manuscripts so I don’t go insane.

With NaNo, I don’t get that luxury.

Yesterday I went on a cleaning spree before I even sat down to get my words in. Even then I had to break up my writing by watching YouTube videos.

See, I have a very difficult time focusing on things like writing when I don’t take frequent breaks to do other things.

If I focused on writing for a full day, I could pull 20,000 words out of my ass, and trust me when I say I’ve done that. I’ve only ever done it once, but I’ve still done it.

But after I did that, I proceeded to not write for nearly 3 weeks. I can’t do that during NaNoWriMo. I would never finish.

So instead, I trick myself by allowing my brain to get all happy from watching a TikTok compilation, a crack video, or maybe even a 20 minute episode of something that I know makes me happy and then I force myself to write for 3-5 minutes.

It’s a huge time suck, but it works out really well for me. I’ve made word count every year I’ve done this. And I know how it must look to the people who are watching me, but trust me when I say I am definitely working. This is just part of my process.

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