The slow Drip of Creativity when you have ADHD
I don’t want to write about pro wrestling.
It’s not that I don’t have ideas. I have plenty! I could probably write for a website again weekly about pro wrestling should I choose to.
(Which I’m not choosing to, which I’m going to get at.)
I don’t want to write about pro wrestling because that seems to be the only thing my ADHD brain is allowing to get through at a drip pace. When I punch finger to key, I have no issue writing thousands of words on pro wrestling in instant messages and tweets and the occasional website post. I have plenty of incomplete drafts of articles I planned to write and didn’t finish. Pro wrestling is often the bare minimum of my brain.
Even as I try to write this I’m being distracted with pro wrestling news where the guy that has a Twitter handle of pro wrestling is trying to feign ignorance over his part in fanning the flames over a conspiracy when Kylie Rae left All Elite Wrestling. There was no conspiracy. It was a mental health issue, as proven from her now departure from Impact Wrestling and subsequent departure from pro wrestling. See how easy it is for me to write that? I might write about it too!
That, however, the problem. My fingers move swift about that. When it comes to anything else I want to write, such as scripts for an upcoming YouTube video series, the novels I’ve dreamed of writing still locked in my head, or articles about any other topic? Suddenly the speed of my fingers attenuate’s and I have trouble even formulating what I want to say.
Everything in that previous sentence was about the things I want to do, but I could only give you basic descriptions of what they are. It’s honestly like my body is fighting with me from expressing myself, even while I’m actively on my medication. The medication was supposed to help get this sort of thing out.
What happened was creative atrophy. I used to be an editor. I used to be a writer. 10 years ago I was looking for journalism work and hoping my diploma meant something other than a piece of paper. Now it’s a piece of paper sitting in my room waiting for me to hang somewhere again. I would like to be one again. I would like to be a lot of things again.
A little background. I stopped editing and writing on a full time basis after changing jobs. I went from a job that just paid the bills and gave me a lot of free time to work on writing and editing to a job where I had to learn new skills on how to be a producer, re-learn a camera for sports, and learn how to edit a sports production. I had to learn how to use a Newtek Tricaster from scratch, something a lot of people go to college for. We didn’t learn video switching in journalism. I had to because I was out of work and needed something new.
I spent a solid two years doing that, and burned myself out on it. Now I was burned out from the new skills I learned due to the place I worked at and had stopped writing regularly so it was hard to pick that up. I found a new job where I didn’t have time to do anything but the work in front of me for 8 hours and it didn’t do much to inspire or encourage me to do work on my off time but I was literally two weeks from possibly declaring bankruptcy.
Now I’ve worked that job for three years and I’m beyond exhausted and burned out from working a job that does nothing to satisfy me and now I’m actually making progress on starting to write again and work towards some new projects. But what happens?
Maybe I should lean into the drip and do write about pro wrestling. Force the rusted gears to move again and hope the wrestling can serve as grease. Pro wrestling is easy to write about. It always has been and probably when I’m losing my grip on sanity when Cyberpunk 2077 releases in the fall of 2078 I’ll still be able to write something about it. It’s like asking a metalhead how they feel about Metallica’s St. Anger. You’re gonna get something out of them.
I just feel like I’m almost making it too easy on myself, or I’m not learning, or I’m not giving myself an opportunity to fail even if I just stick to writing on pro wrestling. The only way that faucet is going to be more than a drip is if I work on it.
I’m obviously talking myself into doing both. But where’s the time? I have to shamefully admit after a lifetime of staying up late, my body is finally getting tired by 11PM and it’s hard to do anything at that point. And I tend to finish work at 9:30 anyway. Even doing some writing this morning/afternoon was a struggle, and I didn’t get started until 11:30, I’m having to finish on my lunch break.
It’s not that I thought being on ADHD medication would be an immediate fix. I know my brain off of it and my brain on it, and the slow drip exists because I’m on it. Without the medication, it’s hard to even formulate what I want to do in my brain. It’s mostly fragments of ideas. The thoughts and fantasies of completion often take precedent over the work that needs to be done. Once I’m level on my medication, the fantasies don’t last and I can actually start work. The work portion is what’s a struggle, and what’s worse is the version of self doubt I get.
A lot of people suffer from impostor syndrome. Mine isn’t so simple. I don’t think I’m a fraud. I don’t read what I write and don’t believe it to ever be good. My impostor syndrome is years upon years of unfinished projects so everything I start? I fear I’ll never finish. And that fear of never finishing is a self fulfilling prophecy. Everything I want to do? I wanted to do 10 years ago. I’m still working at some things that people can just sit down and do.
And I know, trust me I know, that the way to do these things on a regular basis? Is just to do it. To ignore the quality level. To ignore if it looks right. To just get it done, and eventually the work will get better in time. I’ve personally watched the progress of countless YouTube channels or just a person’s writing getting better over time.
But therein lies the problem. Do I just do it with the things I know I can always write about but have a feeling in my head I should do more, or do I force myself to work on doing the things I struggle to express and complete and prove to myself I can complete them? And how do I find the time to do all of that while getting enough sleep, working out, eating, and handling an unfulfilling job?
I either do it or I don’t. And I have a lot of experience not doing it.
I don’t want to write about pro wrestling. There’s a lot of things I don’t want to do. But they have to get done if I want something more.