ADHD Willpower Drain

There’s a theory that every choice we make in a day uses up a portion of our supply of willpower. It gets replenished while we sleep, and drained over the course of the day the more decisions we have to make. That’s part of why habits and routines are so helpful, if you can form them, because ideally they each take one or more choices out of the day by making those actions automatic.

I think that that kind of incremental willpower drain is extra hard on people with ADHD, because every time my brain goes “I wonder how hard it would be to build a miniature beach in an aquarium complete with real tiny fish and crustaceans” I have to use a little bit of energy to stop myself from immediately googling the best sources for Thai micro crabs and corkscrew vallisneria. I have to use some willpower every time I think of a cool thing to draw, which happens multiple times a day. I have to use it to decide that I’ll go out in the garden later because I’m currently writing my blog post. And then I have to decide that again fifteen minutes later when the dogs get excited and bark at a squirrel outside the window. And again when I hear the birds outside on our bird feeder. And again when I remember that I meant to move our tomato seedlings back inside so they won’t get sunburned.

Eventually, I usually get derailed. Maybe it’s because I just run out of willpower juice after ignoring every random suggestion my brain makes while I’m trying to just do one damn thing at a time.

I have no proposed solution at the moment. I’ve just been observing how many times a day I have to decide not to do a random thing and how tired that eventually makes me feel. It also, unfortunately, makes me sort of averse to doing creative stuff on a whim even when I do have the free time for it. I get into the habit of telling myself I’ll do that stuff later, even when I totally could just do it now.

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One of the trees in my yard that unexpectedly makes flowers. They are white and pretty and I have no idea what kind they are.
Little white tree flowers on the deck. They’ve been falling like snow, in part because the local birds seem to find them delicious. It’s pretty, but they stick to your shoes if you walk around on them.

I Did an Art

It’s easy to get distracted by various projects, so I’ve been trying to focus on writing-related stuff, but this past week I really needed to draw. I spent a couple of days in my pajamas making a mess with colored pencils and eventually produced a cool picture of some carnivorous plants. This was my first serious attempt at drawing any that I can remember, so it was very fun.

I like the size of this paper. Gonna do more projects on it in the future for sure. Image: a desk covered in colored pencils, with a laptop and a drawing of some brightly colored pitcher plants.
Image: Two different red Nepenthes pitcher plants above two Sarracenia pitcher plants, one red and one green with red streaks. A regular sundew plant on the left bottom corner, and several dwarf sundews in the right corner.

Beach Pictures

I visited discovery park with a friend today and got to enjoy the beautiful beach at low tide. There was a serious shortage of crabs, but a surplus of pretty anemones, so I guess it balanced out.

A pretty pink and yellow anemone on sand
A pinkish purple anemone in very shallow water on sand
A large multi-colored anemone on sand
A closed anemone on sand
A bunch of anemones on rocks
Multi-colored anemone on a rock
Three pinkish purple anemones on sand

I’ve decided to stop sharing my writing day count here. I’m not sure it was helpful in the long term, but it was worth trying. I’m always experimenting with different ways to motivate myself. It keeps things interesting.

Balancing Creative Attachment

I’ve been struggling with some mounting anxiety about writing choices lately. I tend to get into worry spirals about my plot decisions and characters and how different people I know, and lots of people I don’t know, might react to them. Sometimes I can cope with creative anxiety by emotionally pulling back from my work, especially when processing professional feedback, but I think I’ve actually done that too much. I’ve kind of lost track of my affection for Orane and my emotional involvement in her journey. Some distance is definitely good, because a writer who is afraid to make bad things happen to their good people is generally not going to tell a very compelling story.

On the other hand, though, staying that emotionally detached from the story has left me much more subject to the pressure of other people’s opinions. I can’t really feel comfortable with any of my choices because I’m not trusting my own judgement and creative intuition anymore. There’s no point writing a book entirely driven by what I think other people might think. There’s nothing wrong with writing to a particular market, but that’s not my goal at the moment and it’s definitely not what I’ve been doing. I’ve just been scared of judgement. My instinct is to escape the judgement by not writing anything anyone could possibly judge, but that really means not writing anything at all.

That anxiety reached an unpleasant peak this week, where I couldn’t even think about my work without my head just filling up with a whirlpool of worries. I literally can’t function under that much external influence, since every single thing will ultimately be judged negatively by some people and positively by others. There’s no way to please everyone, so for now I’m trying to focus inward and reconnect with my own judgement and creative preferences.

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Image: A pussy willow in late afternoon sunlight.

Writing days this past week: 1

Much Revelry

I turned thirty on Wednesday. I got to spend a wonderful birthday evening with my sweetie, and had a fun couple of weeks leading up to it with my family.

My sleep schedule got a wee bit messed up during and after all that, unfortunately. I got a decent amount of work done while my siblings were here, but after a few too many late nights and early mornings to say goodbye before flights, I wound up sleep deprived and let my decent sleep habits slip. As a result. I’ve been kind of spacey for a few days and while I didn’t really feel like going to bed early on my birthday, I definitely need to fix it now. It’s hard for me to believe how much it really affects my mental state, sometimes.

I feel sort of fine for a while when I’m sleeping badly, but it’s incredibly hard to keep any intentions in mind long enough to act on them. I notice at the end of the day that I haven’t done any of what I meant to do, so I stay up late and tell myself I’ll catch up. It’s a bad cycle. To circumvent this, I’m writing a very short post and then heading to bed even though I feel guilty about not having done this yesterday.

My orchid decided to bloom again in time for my birthday 🙂 Image: some orangey pink orchid blooms.

Writing days this past week: 2

My House is Full of Family and I Love It

I’m turning thirty next week, and my three siblings are visiting me for my birthday which is so great! They’re all incredibly cool people, so while they’re here they’ve been helping me organize and unpack the last things left over from our move. We also hit the zoo and Pike Place Market, of course. It’s nice to know that I’ll be leaving my twenties with lots of fun family times and a much tidier house.

I usually post pictures of pretty stuff I find outside, but my White’s tree frog was being extra friendly recently, so I guess he wanted to be included. His name is Merlin. He eats everything he can fit in his mouth, and some things that he technically can’t (like my fingers,) and sometimes croaks very quietly to himself, but only when I’m not watching him. One of my sisters is experiencing reptile withdrawals because she’s not allowed to have them in her apartment, so she’s been playing with him a lot. It’s more attention than he’s used to, but he takes everything with a permanent goofy smile.

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Image: A fat turquoise tree frog with white spots sitting on my wrist in front of my desk.

Writing days this past week: 4

Not Really a Valentine’s Day Post

I actually don’t have any Valentine’s Day type content to share, but I like this picture a lot and it seemed like a good time for it. It’s never a bad time for pretty pink hearts, in my opinion. Teenage me would be very annoyed that I’m saying this, but she was lying to herself. Pink hearts are cool.

I’ve been mostly focused on work and staying warm this week, although on Tuesday I did make myself hilariously sick by trying a cannabis edible that usually helps people relax and sleep. Turns out, I respond to pot even more poorly than I respond to alcohol. I did not sleep well, but at least if I ever need to write a character who’s been poisoned, I’ll have some extremely vivid material to work from.

I’m gonna call that part a win, because writers do need to gather experiences and being sorta poisoned is an experience, even if it’s totally self-inflicted and non-lethal.

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Image: Pink rose petals that have fallen onto mossy concrete among autumn leaves. The petals are all vaguely heart-shaped.

Writing days this past week: 4