Sustaining passion for a Writing Project with Autism and suspected ADHD? — Scope | Disability forum
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Sustaining passion for a Writing Project with Autism and suspected ADHD?

nathangeorge99 Community member Posts: 7 Listener
Even this forum post feels exhausting to start writing and is giving me a slight headache, which I guess is one sign of where I’m at. I don’t have an official ADHD Diagnosis. However, I do have Autism, and am on an NHS Waiting List for an ADHD Assessment.

I have lots of passions in my life, but my main life goal is to be a writer. I’m currently developing my own tv sci-fi series about autism, and have got to creating a full treatment and pilot script, which in itself feels like a major achievement considering my passion for writing projects have felt so hard to create and sustain over the years.

However, now I went to develop more detailed episode synopsis and character subplots. Now any tasks to do with the show feel more scary and chore-like. I don’t know if I’m just scared to fail, I’m losing my passion, or a bit of both, but it’s really getting me down. I love creating stories and really want to make tv and theatre that makes a difference, and in the past it was just that sometimes the writing would either be fun, doable, or scary and chore-like, but now all aspects of the show feel like the latter.

At the same time, I also have a huge passion for politics, in particular voting systems and Federalism. I love making my own draft constituencies for the House of Commons and Regional Parliaments. While the amount of work that entails can sometimes be stressful, I can hyperfocus on this far more than my writing and the show. However, if I had the choice between my constituency/federalism ideas being implemented, or my tv show idea getting commissioned, the show wins without contest as that’s really what I feel my purpose and ultimate dream is. I’d give anything to be able to hyperfocus about the show in the same way that I do my political projects. Maybe it’s because there’s no fear in my political things like there is with the show, but I’m almost worried that I’m more passionate about my political projects than the show as deep down developing the show and getting it commissioned is what I really want to achieve.

I’ve also recently lost a job I’ve really liked, so maybe I’m also struggling to adapt to the change. It has felt for a little while anyway that nothing is relaxing and everything feels draining, but now particularly the show is just filled with dread and fear.

My therapist (sadly they don’t deal with ADHD) suggested I break tasks down: Jobhunting, TV Show, Politics. I was hoping this would make me less stressed about the show, and while creating new ideas this way has flickered the passion slightly, it still hasn’t helped me get over the overwhelming feeling of fear and stress while doing it.

I do also feel impatient about creative projects, which may not help me focus towards long we term goals. I’ve also frequently had irrational fears about being too old to enjoy things/gain credit by the time they may happen (I’m 24 for context, I know it’s irrational but I don’t know how to deal with it!)

Does anyone have tips for sustaining the passion for the show, and to not be as scared to not create characters, stories and scripts that I feel are good straight away?


  • Hannah_Scope
    Hannah_Scope Posts: 7,093 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @nathangeorge99

    Welcome to the community! :)

    I hope you hear from the NHS about your ADHD assessment soon and are able to find tools from that to help you more. I'm so sorry to hear you've lost your job. If you need support with the job side, Scope have their own Employment Services. If you live in England or Wales, I'd encourage you to reach out. They can help from interview skills to supporting you in the first few weeks when you find a new job.

    Your passion for writing comes through when reading your post. I don't have autism or ADHD but wanted to suggest something that could help. Apologies if it doesn't. 

    Have you heard of NaNoWriMo? It stands for National Novel Writing Month and I have seen many people progress with their writing projects from it. Taking place during the month on November, the goal is to write a novel. Although I've seen people on YouTube use it to write scripts, write poems, it's evolved to adapt other creative writing. I wonder if having that structure and having the NaNoWriMo community working alongside you would help you?
    Hannah - She / Her

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  • JoeRuSt14
    JoeRuSt14 Community member Posts: 1 Listener
    Hi @nathangeorge99

    I am an aspiring author/screenwriter, and I was recently diagnosed with ADHD. 

    Since my diagnosis (Which was last month) I have been doing a bunch of reading. There are some strategies we can use that trick our ADHD brains into getting on with tasks that can feel like too much.

    The first is called body-doubling. This is when you and someone else work along side you. You both work on different project, but setting a specific time with someone nearby holding you accountable can increase focus and motivation. I find it extremely hard to motivate myself, but when someone is holding me accountable I tend to get things done!

    The second is a time-management strategy called the Pomodoro method. The idea is you do 25 minutes of work, followed by a 5 minute break, and then after 4 25 minute slots, you take a longer 30 minute break. (I hope that made sense.) These two methods can be far more effective if they are done together.

    I hope this helps.

    (The book I have been reading which is AMAZING is ADHD and A-Z by Leanne Maskell Leanne Maskell)
  • Jimm_Scope
    Jimm_Scope Posts: 2,313 Scope online community team
    edited August 2023
    Hi @nathangeorge99, I also have ADHD! I also (would) love to write! I mostly world build and dialogue writing for tabletop roleplaying games. Think Dungeons and Dragons for example.

    What I'd really love to do is get into longer forms of writing, but I struggle so, so much. I have this issue of looking at any creative writing I do and finding it awful, so I avoid doing it. Avoiding doing it means I never practice to get better so I continue to find all my creative writing awful. It's a real loop I've struggled to break out of and it's a challenge to even begin writing for me.

    So when I read your post I was amazed, you should be proud! What you've accomplished is a major achievement. I also understand the struggles of the minute details often becoming chore-like. My therapist very much agreed with yours and structure is important. You have to structure and plan. Something I was terrible at before. In my past mind "planning isn't productive because it has no product". Of course, without a plan the project would never get finished, there would be no end product. It would also take much longer to get to the unfinished "end" as well. I had to work hard to "teach" my mind that planning actually is productive as it saves me future time to work on more.

    I also very much agree with @JoeRuSt14 on reading into methods to help. I have personally used the body-doubling to great effect. I am just so much more productive if there is someone else in the room to hold me accountable. It's not that there's any "punishment" if I don't work, I just tell them what I am going to work on and then show them what I've managed to do at the end of sitting together. I often do it with my partner as we both work from home, we will just be in the same room at different desks. Their presence lends itself an accountability and helps me work.

    Everyone is unique, so if a method does not work for you that is okay, there are many ways to try and improve focus and productivity. We also shouldn't base our worth around our productivity, just remember that.
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