We all have challenges due to the way our brains are uniquely ‘wired’. 

There are tendencies common to both ADHD and creative brains, however, so if you tic both boxes, these may be amplified in you. 

They include (but are not limited to): 

  • A need to link productivity to some sort of stimulation, whether that’s kinesthetic, auditory or emotional, and;
  • A tendency to lose track of time due to ‘hyperfocus’ on an activity and;
  • A free associative tendency to pursue and express several trains of  thought at  once. 

To me, these particular mental traits describe a race car: it needs fuel, it can go great distances very fast and manage hairpin turns on a dime. Ergo my favorite analogy for your brain: a highly calibrated Mazzerati (or Ferrari. Take your pick).

These toys need maintenance. While cars are inanimate and we are not, both our brains and their engines need their brakes checked (impulse control), the oil clean (good nutrition and sleep hygiene) as well as other maintenance to keep performing optimally (spark plugs, wires, fluids, doctors appointments, exercise, coaching, therapy etc.)

So what if you, like me, are not inclined towards maintenance of anything?  For example, many is the time I’ve done things like open a box of beloved clothing only to see a moth fly out and holes in everything. It just doesn’t occur to me to air things out once a year, change the mothballs or utilize airtight storage containers. 

When our brain is the precious object in question, this resistance to structure and routine so characteristic of creatives with ADHD can make life harder than it has to be.

So what to do?

Well, we all have things we do regularly because they matter a lot to us, whether that be working our bodies as dancers, or brushing our teeth out of dental phobia. I think we can all identify something we are very disciplined about, and because it comes ‘naturally’, we don’t count such actions as requiring discipline or willpower. 

And yet they do. 

The root of the word ‘willpower’ is will, because when you like the result, willingness to do what it takes to create that result is 95% of the game. 

The same goes for discipline: desire is the key to it in everyone, but especially for the neurodivergent creative. 

In other words, ya gotta want it. Bad. 

Badly enough to keep showing up at the page, the stage, the keyboard, the canvass. If you want community, you have to want it enough to get out of isolation.

The wonderful thing about the creative imagination and the ADHD brain is that once we identify our desire, whether it is to have or avoid something, we become willing to commit to and do WHATEVAH it takes to make it happen (or not. As in the case of the dental phobia)

So here’s the real challenge: What obfuscates our ability to identify true desire are positively legion: an addiction to comfort, concern about what others may think, buying into others opinions about what we want, the costs, the equipment, transgenerational trauma etc etc etc. 

But do not despair. Your innate desire is in there. Have the courage to coax it out through writing, talking, feeling into music. And then do one small thing daily toward fulfilling it. 

Here’s the thing: Those days will pass, whether you cumulatively execute these actions on your own behalf…or not. 

So why not?