"Write every day" is bad advice
Write every day… is advice for neurotypicals, not us neuro-spicy types. My advice? Stop holding yourself to the same standard as neurotypical writers.
Neurodivergents have brains that are physiologically different than neurotypicals. Let me say that again—physiologically different. Why would you have the expectation that you should be doing the same as a neurotypical writer, knowing that?
We have brains that already tire us out just from all the overthinking, overanalysing, overcomplicating, second guessing, and trying to focus—all with a deficit of dopamine to begin with. And that’s without even mentioning masking. (Which is a topic of its own that I will cover soon.)
Having a deficit of dopamine alone is like starting a 100 metre dash, another 100 metres back from everyone else and then feeling bad that not only did you not win, (you started with a literal handicap,) but also giving yourself a hard time because you’re more out of breath than the other runners. (You ran twice as far.)
The old adage
The advice, “If you want to get good at something, you must do it every day,” is thrown about willy-nilly by neurotypicals and it’s time to realise that it is for them, not us.
We are already running a harder race. Actually, a better analogy is neurotypicals are running a marathon, while we are running a marathon, but with hurdles.
“I don’t understand,” they say, “we’re running the same distance. Why are you struggling?”
Well because I have obstacles you don’t! Just getting to training can be exhausting some days, never mind doing the actual training.
What to do
First and foremost, and I mean this with all sincerity as an actionable to-do: Give yourself a break.
It’s hard enough to do something consistently with ADHD, (using this space to give myself a shout out for completing my daily Russian language lessons on Duolingo for 60 straight days!) when your brain is actively working against you.
“But if you do it every day it becomes a habit,”
That may be true for N-T’s but my brain forgets to do things I already do every day, Most days. Things like packing a lunch, remembering to take my keys/headphones/etc, punching my time card at work or any number of things I do every day. Doing something every day does not necessarily mean it will become a habit, or that I won’t forget to do it one day after successfully doing it for months (and then possibly never do it again,).
On any given day I forget about ten or so things. Sometimes way more, but not often less. Trying to add to that cognitive load with working memory issues is like trying to carry about ten extra things when your hands are already full—something’s going to get dropped.
Just set reminders
And no, we can’t just “set reminders” because either we’ll forget to set them, or else we’ll stop the alarm with every intention of writing or doing the daily thing, and then get distracted by something, like getting asked to do a chore, or seeing something else on our device that sets off a chain of thoughts… and we forget to do the thing.
It’s a no from me
And some days the brain just says no. I have gotten up early sometimes on days off, fully intending to write my fingers down to little nubs, and I find I can’t start. My brain will just not let me begin, the uncooperative mass of jelly.
It’s the most frustrating thing in the world. I want to do the thing. Heck, I enjoy doing the thing, but it’s a flat no from my cranial blancmange. Trying to force myself to do the thing only makes things worse because the ADHD brain automatically rejects anything that even sounds like a demand.
“Oh you demand I do the thing huh? Well now today is a complete write-off. Have fun doomscrolling, loser.”
So. Write when you can. Accept that some days it’s just not going to happen, and celebrate the days when the jelly feels cooperative.
And give yourself a break. You’re not running the same race as neurotypical writers. We have hurdles.