Reply To: I am a writer and researcher with ADD. Any advice on how to organize my thoughts

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#196591
kmcw
Participant

Hi,
I am 60 with moderate to severe adhd and still struggle with organizing my thoughts. My dad showed me something when I was struggling to write a really long paper when I was in college. This was before computers but I still like the old fashion paper and pencil way. The first step, get a stack of index cards, stick notes or small pieces of scrape paper best if they are the same or close to the same size. Then write each thought/idea on one piece of paper, only one thought/idea per piece of paper. Just a couple key words the shorter the better. The second step, set them all out on a large table, lots of room to be see them all. The third step is arranging and rearranging into groups. It will sorta look like a mind map or flow chart. Arranging and rearranging is kinda the cool part. Trying different groupings can help with organizing but also help determine the focus if it is not clear. As the groups change the focus can change. Keep rearranging until it feels right. It takes me a number of tries to see what the best arrangement is. I start to see different patterns like arranging and rearranging letters when playing scrabble. If I like an arrangement I take a picture and also write a quick note why I liked it so I don’t forget. Then I am free to arrange again to find a different pattern. Arranging and rearranging helps me determine the main “chapters” and to see where the rest of the ideas fall in place. After I arranging all the pieces of paper I am able to write an outline. Then it was easy to write the paper. Congratulations if you read all the way to the end. I hope this is helpful or gives you some ideas of your own. Good luck. K