So…I’m writing a book, and some of the Brains have asked me to share my writing process. First of all — I NEVER do outlines first. Here’s why. (thread)
I’ve learned I can organize info into an outline after I lay out all the pieces, but I need all the pieces in front of me first. I often don’t know what the outline should be before I know what I’m trying to say.
Also, when I do the outline first, I get writer’s block when it comes time to write. The outline says to put info about ___ here, and the pressure of having to go find or come up or remember something about that makes me anxious.
Anxiety, it turns out, is not great for creativity. Fear decreases cognitive ability, so my already impaired working memory is now more impaired. I feel “put on the spot” and my normally prolific idea generating ADHD brain goes blank.
And I can never stick to an outline anyway because new ideas keep popping up that are EVEN BETTER than what I’d had before :) …I’m assuming, because sometimes I can’t even remember what my idea was before.
So for my scripts, TED talk, really anything I write, I do outlines *after* brain dumping out *everything I can think I might want to include* — I shape the clay once I *have* all the clay in front of me.
Kind of like deciding on organizational containers after knowing what you need to organize. I brain dump all the info I want to include, THEN outline, THEN write.
And what I write is a sh*tty first draft. So there’s zero pressure on it to be good. Usually at this point I hate what I’ve written *and that is fine.* it’s part of the process.
I look at the pile of crap in front of me, try to make sense of it, outline one more time, then write it again only better this time.

Once I’m convinced it’s not terrible, I send it off for notes, incorporate those notes, THEN & ONLY THEN do I polish it & try to make it “good.”
For my book, I DO have to submit to my publisher a finalized list of chapters before I can write the book. Totally fine. But I explained they’re going to be more like piles than files. Buckets I can toss my ideas into as I go. I’ll only outline each chapter as I write it.
If you’ve made it to the end of this thread, I’m guessing you write too :) what’s your process like?

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More from @HowtoADHD

13 Mar 21
Telling someone they should “take time for themselves,” “learn how to be alone,” “have a life outside work/partner/whatever” doesn’t help if they don’t know what that means. I’ve spent the last few weekends in tears b/c I don’t know what to do when no one needs anything from me.
Like a lot of people with #ADHD, I’ve spent so much of my life just trying to meet everyone’s (neurotypical) expectations or deal with one crisis after another or play catch-up from constantly falling behind that I don’t even know what “down time” MEANS.
My therapist finally explained this to me really well.

We all have this enormous capacity for doing stuff.

But that capacity is (and should be) limited by our values.

We could work all the time (or spend all our free time with our person) if nothing else mattered to us...
Read 7 tweets
10 Jul 20
Why I use person-first language (i.e. “student with ADHD”) and identity-first language (“ADHD student”) interchangeably:

The order of the words isn’t the problem.

The stigma is.

Insisting on person first language perpetuates that stigma.
That said, I will respect personal preferences when speaking to neurodiverse peeps individually :)
Until “ADHD student” and “student with ADHD” can be used as interchangeably as “girl with brown eyes” and “brown-eyed girl,” my work defeating stigma is not done 😜
Read 4 tweets
23 Jun 20
Why reminders don’t work for us — thread:

The more often those of us with #ADHD are reminded to do something we don’t know how to do,

or at a time when we can’t do it,

the more we get used to ignoring those reminders,

until at some point they’re no longer effective.
“Clean your room” might seem like one task but it’s actually many tasks, & those of us w/ executive function challenges may not know where to start. Navigating new systems is even harder. If we didn’t get enough sleep (common w/ADHD) our symptoms are worse & it’s even harder.
On top of that, past failures and shame often create a “wall of awful” so that even “easy” tasks are daunting. (more on the wall of awful here: ) It’s not just the task we’re tackling, it’s the *emotion* that task brings up.
Read 10 tweets
14 Jun 20
In a healthy relationship, during a conflict both people are able to put their stuff (thoughts, feelings, concerns, etc) on the metaphorical table and sort through it with the goal of finding a resolution. There might be anger or tears but there is space for both people to share.
Often in an abusive relationship, one person is either not allowed or too afraid to put their stuff on the table because of how the other person will react. The abuser’s goal is not to find a resolution that works for both people, it’s to maintain control.
If you regularly find yourself being talked out of your needs or feelings and like there isn’t room for your “stuff” on the table, that is a sign that you either are or have been in an abusive relationship. Please seek help.
Read 6 tweets
20 May 20
Confession time. I’ve always felt things like gifts, flowers, romantic dates, and y’know, being treated well in a relationship, were things that other girls got to have. Not me. I had to be low maintanance. A people pleaser. I had to tolerate a lot because...they tolerated me. 😕
This is a perception I’m working hard to change, but it’s deeply rooted. The feeling that other people matter. Not me. Other people deserve things. Not me. On the plus side, I don’t ever think being successful will make me demanding and entitled.
On the down side, a healthy sense of entitlement is kind of key to being in healthy relationships with anyone, including yourself. 💕 This is something I’m working on.
Read 4 tweets
24 Sep 19
One of the hearts wrote this for their wife who was recently diagnosed with ADHD and it made me cry so hard 😭

Hi my name is Lara,

I have ADHD,

My brain just functions differently,

It’s not the same you see,

Sometimes inattentive,

And hyperactive too,
And when I cannot focus,

I don’t know what to do,

A short attention span,

If bored I can’t explain,

But I have just rewritten,

This 4 times again.

My time is from a different zone,

It’s one where I am free,

I feel it is important,

To explain what you can’t see,
External visualisation,

Internal clock is broken,

So though the clock is ticking,

My mind has not awoken,

Don’t judge a fish on climbing trees,

Just put me in the ocean,

Help me be creative,

‘Cause that’s my magic potion,

My thinking has no box,
Read 5 tweets

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