Creativity and ADHD

Home Welcome to the ADDitude Forums For Women & Girls Creativity and ADHD

Viewing 4 reply threads
  • Author
    • #49453

      Hi there!

      I am a poet with ADHD. Right now, I have a bunch of deadlines for a master’s class. Because I usually write what comes to mind with poetry, I’m really struggling to take criticism, or more specifically edit my work. Like I would rather completely delete my own work after getting a critique on it than rewrite it. I would rather give up writing all together than craft something that I think is imperfect. And everything looks imperfect.

      I embrace the idea that ADHD is a source of my creativity, but it also seems like my most devious saboteur. Rather than setting myself realistic deadlines, I’m oversleeping, then cramming in my work in short bursts. This system is making me physically ill.

      Does anyone know a way to structure your creativity? Or in general, to set a healthier structure for yourself when there’s no strict structure imposed on you on a day to day basis?

      I was reading about Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria as well and wondered if anyone had advice on working through that? I’m getting in my own way over and over again.

      It’s frustrating to know that I have so many good ideas and concepts for projects but cannot pull them off because of my own stress and fear.

    • #49492
      Penny Williams

      Receiving critiques without taking it personally is hard for most people, I think.

      I find perfectionism to often be a part of anxiety. I also find it to be a curse. 😉 I’ve found that consistently reminding myself that nothing can ever be perfect over the years has softened it just slightly (which is better than nothing).

      Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) could be a good fit for you to address this issue, as it’s often used to change patterns of thinking.

      How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Works

      As for structuring creativity, that’s it’s own beast. Who knows when inspiration will strike? What I know many writers do is to block off a period of time every day, or certain days of the week, and make writing a little more routine. They force themselves to use the time to write, even if not wholly inspired. It’s about being consistent and making progress. Maybe creating a routine like this will help you.

      Free Resource: Get Control of Your Life and Schedule

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #51180


      I know this is off topic, but I was wondering if anyone else (or knows of anyone) writes with the page of paper turned upside down? I am left-handed and I know that it’s common for lefties to turn their page but I have no idea how I came to write in the extreme version of this. I began turning my page slowly as I noticed that ink from my pen would rub against my hand or I would smudge my work with my pencil in nursery and it just stuck and became more pronounced.

      I really love handwriting, love to read and can write pretty neatly. Although 99% of the time, there will be lots of missing letters in words! I have been tested for dyslexia though and I don’t have it.

      I have seen some people write like me (two left-handed girls). Just wondering if anyone does it, can you explain if there is a link with ADD and maybe the way my brain is wired for images?

      Thank you everyone!

    • #51181

      Hi Genbee,

      My kid is a lefty and I assume she will eventually turn the page, because while writing the hand covers the letter in progress. That explains why all the left-handed people I met have rougher hand-writing. You might want to start a new thread about ADHD and left-handedness — I know I will be interested, and you will probably get more responses.

      Hi Kelley,

      I assume you are familiar with Julia Cameron’s creativity writing (“Artist’s Way” and many others). If not, you will appreciate it. I found here morning pages to be the most effective tool in getting the emotional effects of criticism out of my head so I can get a fresh perspective. Over time I put a lot of work in stamping down my excessive perfectionist tendencies, and my new mantras are “Done imperfectly is better than not done at all” and “Quantity leads to quality” (which may not be true for others but it’s true for me).

    • #69291

      Hi Kelley,
      I completed an MFA in creative writing many years before I was diagnosed with Inattentive ADHD. I struggled terribly with both of the problems you describe. I was so sensitive to criticism that I’d go home and cry after every workshop. I’m still very sensitive to critical feedback, even though it’s necessary for writers. I’ve found that just knowing that Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria is a real thing has been enormously helpful. Now I don’t feel like there’s anything wrong with me. It’s just who I am.
      There’s so much “baggage” related to creative work. It helps to journal to get to the root of how you feel about your work. We all worry about failure, but there is a lot to fear about success as well. Try to remember that your work is part of you, but not entirely you. When your writing doesn’t work as well as you’d like, or you are criticized, it is the work that has failed, not you. Try to picture it as something small and entirely separate from yourself. I write in 15-30 minute increments. Sitting down for only 15 minutes doesn’t feel threatening or difficult. Once I’m in front of the computer I often I lose track of time and end up writing for an hour or more.
      Good luck!

Viewing 4 reply threads

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.