How to Set Up an ADHD-friendly Writing Schedule

“Just sit down and write.”

“It’s not about having time, it’s about making time.”

“If you really cared about writing, you’d do it.”

The problem with most writing advice is that it assumes what works for neurotypical writers will work for all writers.

But for writers with ADHD, these refrains only serve to make us feel worse.

Wanting to write but, inexplicably, not being able to, is like being trapped in a glass box where you can see the other side—can see other people doing it—but everywhere you turn you’re bumping into an invisible obstacle.

Once I started working with more writers like me—writers with ADHD—I began to realize that these invisible obstacles weren’t laziness or procrastination or lack of motivation.

They were part of the ADHD experience that most writers (and most writing coaches) don’t understand.

What follows are strategies I’ve used to help both myself and other ADHD writers make more consistent progress on a regular basis. Here are some simple steps you can take to create a writing schedule that works with your ADHD—instead of against it.

Continue reading How to Set Up an ADHD-friendly Writing Schedule

10 Dystopian Novels by BIPOC to Blow Your Mind

This is the first post in our monthly series, “Decolonize Your Bookshelf!” Every month features a different genre, providing a curated recommended-reading list of fiction by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color).

Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links—that means we make a small commission when you purchase through them. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, and all affiliate income from this blog post will be donated to the Equal Justice Initiative.


Society is crumbling.

Systemic oppression is unbearable, and civilization as we know it seems to be coming to its end. We’ve gone through disaster after disaster—how much more can we take?

While I could easily be talking about 2020 (it’s been quite a year, hasn’t it?) I’m actually talking about one of my favorite genres of fiction: dystopian literature.

Dystopian literature is considered a sub-genre of speculative fiction, featuring a world in which things have gone (and are going) terribly wrong.

Sometimes the dystopia arises from a literal disaster, while in other works small incremental changes have accrued over time to create a problematic status quo. Either way, protagonists in these stories often question the systems of control (or chaos) at work in their world. 

Dystopian stories allow us to grapple with some of the harsh truths of society and the human condition that can be difficult to address otherwise.

This is part of why so many dystopian novels are taught in schools: 1984, Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451, A Clockwork Orange, and more.

And yet, the gap here is obvious: where are the dystopian stories by authors of color?

The fact is, traditional Western literary canon tends to prioritize straight white male narratives over others.

Even when curriculum includes works by women, like The Handmaid’s Tale and The Giver, the dystopias taught in school tend to be overwhelmingly white, and some truly excellent novels by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) are largely overlooked.

As a community of writers and readers, we have the power to change that.

After all, questioning the status quo is what dystopia is all about!

In no particular order, here are 10 must-read dystopian novels by BIPOC that explore post-apocalyptic worlds, oppressive regimes, and strong characters fighting for good. 

Continue reading 10 Dystopian Novels by BIPOC to Blow Your Mind

Top 10 Reasons People with ADHD Make Great Writers

Before I realized I had ADHD, I thought this was how everyone functioned.

I thought everyone misplaced their wallet multiple times a day, only to find it in the fridge (!) hours later. I thought everyone forgot what they were saying while they were saying it—not just once in a while, but constantly. I thought that my struggle to get out of bed in the morning was just personal laziness, lack of motivation, and a complete moral failing on my part.

Since I began treatment earlier this year, I realized something that seems obvious now: No, not everyone struggles like us.

But you know what?

Not everyone has our superpowers, either.

While it is true that ADHD creates a lot of obstacles other writers may not have to face with the same severity, I know from personal experience (and ongoing research) that ADHD also offers certain advantages when it comes to writing and creativity.

As a professor and writing consultant, I’ve worked with many ADHD writers, and let me tell you: we’re a pretty awesome bunch.

Here are my top ten reasons people with ADHD make great writers!

Continue reading Top 10 Reasons People with ADHD Make Great Writers

Beyond Plotter/Pantser: How to Level-Up Your Writing Practice

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

This question comes up a quite a bit in the online writing community, drawing a distinction between the writers who painstakingly map out their plot before writing (the “plotter”) and those who write “by the seat of their pants” and dive into writing without planning (the “pantser”).

At first glance, this distinction seems useful. And in many ways, it is.

But there is a lot more to this question than people realize—and a huge missed opportunity in the way it’s currently being asked!

Continue reading Beyond Plotter/Pantser: How to Level-Up Your Writing Practice

How to Eliminate Writer’s Block with Freewriting

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We’ve all been there. 

Our fingers freeze above the keyboard. The pen stops scribbling, seemingly of its own accord. The cursor blinks, taunting us.

Maybe we don’t know what happens next in the story. Maybe we feel overwhelmed at how much revision the draft needs, so we avoid opening the document altogether. Maybe we’re frustrated, confused, or just plain bored.

Whether you want to call it writer’s block, losing your mojo, or a creative speed-bump—feeling like you can’t keep writing can really, really suck.

There are a multitude of strategies for busting through blocks, but freewriting might be the simplest of them all. 

Free your pen, free your mind

The concept of freewriting is very straightforward: Set a timer for five to ten minutes and write—typically longhand, with pen and paper—without stopping or worrying about mechanics, grammar, or quality of writing. 

Try to keep your pen moving until the timer goes off, even if all you can write is “I don’t know what to write.” Just keep going.

Freewriting is not a new concept. William Butler Yeats, Dorothea Brande, and Jack Kerouac all used freewriting in one form or another. Natalie Goldberg and Julia Cameron both advocate for freewriting as an important developmental practice for writers and artists alike.

The goal is not to produce “good” writing; rather, the ultimate goal of freewriting is to free up your mind to put words on the page, stretch your imagination, and get the creative juices flowing.

Here are 10 different ways you can use freewriting to overcome writer’s block.

Continue reading How to Eliminate Writer’s Block with Freewriting

How to Nurture Your Creativity In Times of Crisis

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In the world of the current pandemic crisis, I’ve seen something pretty disturbing—and I’m not talking about the disease itself.

Over and over online, I’ve seen folks promoting the idea that if you’re not using this time to better yourself or write a bestseller or create beautiful art, you’re lazy, unmotivated, or undisciplined. 

I call B.S.

People react to crisis in different ways. Some need to increase activity and be productive, and some need to decrease activity and rest.

Neither of these responses is better than the other, and it’s unfair to shame anyone for their legitimate crisis response.

And if you’re feeling blocked creatively right now, guess what? That’s completely normal.

Your brain is undergoing a prolonged stress response, and a part of this response involves diverting the brain’s ability to solve new problems and juggle complex activities to one central task: survive

So if you’re writing a ton or not writing at all, working diligently on your work-in-progress or scribbling inconsistently, that’s perfectly okay. There are other ways to feed your creativity even when you’re not working on your WIP. 

Here are 10 simple things you can do to nurture your creativity even during uncertain times.

Continue reading How to Nurture Your Creativity In Times of Crisis

How to Stick to Your Writing Resolutions All Year Long

There’s nothing magical about the New Year.

Nothing supernatural happens when the clocks click midnight on January 1st.

But New Year’s can (and does) still hold the potential to be incredibly powerful. This is something that every writer knows: narrative, and our sense of a shift in narrative, can be hugely impactful. 

That’s why we set New Year’s resolutions—and why many of us feel a renewed energy at the beginning of the year.

But with almost a month of 2020 behind us, the strength of conviction we felt when we set our resolutions may be starting to dwindle. In fact, 80% of people who make New Year’s resolutions will abandon them by the second week of February!

Let’s not be part of that statistic this year. Here are three simple strategies to help you stick to your New Year’s writing resolutions—not just for a month or two, but all year long:

Continue reading How to Stick to Your Writing Resolutions All Year Long

NaNoWriMo: What You Need to Know Before Committing

The flurry of clacking laptop keys. Coffee rings staining our notebooks. Refrains of “I can’t! I’m writing!” filling every cafe, library, and living room.

It’s here. November and National Novel Writing Month. What we affectionately call “NaNoWriMo” challenges writers to complete a novel of at least fifty thousand words in the month of November.

This can be intimidating, especially if you’ve never finished a novel, or if you’ve never written that much in that short of a time frame, or simply if you’re not used to maintaining such a rapid writing pace. For some, even thinking about keeping up makes the palms sweat.

So… is it worth it?  Continue reading NaNoWriMo: What You Need to Know Before Committing

10 Perfect Gifts for the Writer Who Already Has Enough Mugs

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Every holiday season, I see the same listicles: Ultimate holiday gift guide! Best gifts for women under 30 (whatever that means)! Sparkly gift ideas for the unicorn lover/Star Wars fan/scuba instructor in your life!

Since I’m a writer (as are many of my friends) I often find myself Googling “gifts for writers” around holidays and birthdays. And every list—every single one—has some kitschy mug with a snarky phrase: “Don’t bother me, I’m writing.” “I’m a writer; what’s your superpower?” “Don’t disturb the writer, or she’ll put you in her story and then kill you.”

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good kitschy mug. The proof: my shelves are full of them! But the truth is, I don’t need another. And most of my writer friends don’t either. (For the record, we’re also fully stocked on notebooks.)

So here’s your “ultimate holiday gift guide” for the writer in your life—sans mug. Continue reading 10 Perfect Gifts for the Writer Who Already Has Enough Mugs

5 Easy Ways to Write More While Traveling

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As a writer, I love to travel.

I differentiate this travel-love from the spark of wanderlust most everyone carries—this travel-love is about getting inspired, stealing tidbits from experiences I never would have had otherwise, and slipping them between pages in a story.

I’m a bit of a creeper, to be honest.

I’ll eavesdrop on conversations in coffee shops, even if I don’t understand the language, just to get a sense of the rhythm of emotional exchange. I’ll watch the local woman haggle for a better price on oranges while her kids weave around her varicose legs. I’ll write down every detail I can soak in—from the smell of the trees that only grow on this island, to the shape of the clouds over the sun at noon, to the insults drivers shout at one another in rush-hour traffic.

This is a kind of travel-love I think a lot of writers share.

But traveling for writers comes with its own share of challenges. How do we maintain our practice while on the road? How do we keep a routine when the very nature of travel disrupts the routines we spent so much time and energy cultivating?

And how do we maintain a balance between experiencing the place we’re in and holding space for our work?

It may sound crazy, but I find I’m often more productive while on vacation. This is because I know I’ll have a limited amount of time, and so I go in with a plan that is realistic for me to execute but still leaves space for what I want to accomplish.

Here are 5 things to think about as you get ready for your writing/traveling adventure so you can write more while still enjoying your vacation. Continue reading 5 Easy Ways to Write More While Traveling