View Full Version : Does Anyone Else Have Writing Difficulties?

05-12-14, 10:05 PM
I'm putting together a research proposal for my final on a topic that is also close to home and I would love to know if I am the only one who has this struggle. My question is...

Do you have ADD or ADHD (please specify) and struggle with writing. If so would you be willing to describe your struggle in as much detail as your willing to express. I am determined to figure out why writing is so difficult for me in order to can come up with more effective strategies for overcoming this problem. Part of me wonders if I just have an additional learning disability but I know I've read that other AD/HD individuals have difficulties with writing as well. Thanks for your help

05-12-14, 10:13 PM
When you talk about "writing", what exactly do you mean? Composing paragraphs? Having good handwriting? or what?

05-13-14, 12:30 AM
Wouldn't it be better to focus on your paper rather than chasing why you are having trouble writing your paper?

Adult diagnosed ADHDpi.

05-13-14, 01:27 AM
Nick, I'm trying to formulate a theory for a research proposal having to do with writing impairment in individuals with ADHD. My motivation for choosing this topic spawned from my own inability to find any research to answer this question. Thus, I am working on possibly proposing a theory of my own.

dvdnvwls, hmmm I'm definitely not referring to handwriting. I'm referring mainly to composition or even more specifically organization on all levels (sentence, paragraph, overall). At least I think organization is the problem.....

So for example, I can tell you what the symptoms seem to be but I'm not sure I can adequately describe the problem. So for example, major difficulties categorizing and ordering concrete details and commentary in the best way to answer the writing prompt. Trouble summarizing the knowledge you have. In other words, its insanely difficult to determine what points are most important and efficient in summarizing your paper. This problem breaks down all the way to a sentence level for example writing a thesis that includes all the main points of your argument. Another major struggle with writing, remembering your thoughts long enough to get them from your head to your paper, and finding the correct word to express your thoughts. Often, you know the word you want to use but you cannot seem to remember it ("its on the tip of your tongue"). There seems to be a problem with processing speed but I'm not sure if that is just because of working memory issues or if its some sort of language impairment.
Does this give you a better idea of what I mean?

05-13-14, 02:09 AM
Definitely a problem for me and my son was diagnosed with a learning disability in written output expression long before we figured out the adhd.

Sandra Rief has a good post on the topic here

05-13-14, 03:28 AM
Research proposal....I feel for you.. :rolleyes:

My biggest problems in descending order:


1. Procrastination: Writing is boring so I struggle to start. Once I've got at least a structure, an index, or a list of contents, it becomes slightly easier.

2. Distractibility: Even after starting, my mind continues wandering and I get so restless that I feel the need to do something else.

3. Writing too much and being too wordy: I can never stick to the word limit. I don't know how to express myself briefly and concisely. It's an art. I'm also always tempted to include ALL of my thoughts, all my results and just everything I've done or anything that is remotely related.

4. Sort of perfectionism. Sometimes I spend ages on a single sentence that I want to get exactly right though I'm getting much better at moving on and going back to that sentence later. Sometimes the same happens with formatting issues.

5. Changing track. I keep restructuring what I've written or I keep changing my structure. A few times is probably good because as you are writing, it becomes clearer what a good structure might be but I just do it way too often.

05-13-14, 03:49 AM
What Fuzzywuzzyness said. I'm especially bad at #3. Need a 5,000 word essay?'s a 15,000 word essay! :p

I'm also okay at writing essays that are based on my own personal opinions...that are more informal. I'm not so good when I have to write technical papers like research projects.

In college I'd usually wait till the night before a paper was due before I'd start on it. I was the same way in high school.
Funny enough...that's where my best work comes from. That's where my A's come from. Those papers I stay up all night the night they're due for.
I once had to do a research paper on a serial killer for one of my classes. 5,000+ word. He gave us several months to work on the paper. And we needed to include a lot of facts and have a works cited page and everything.
I did a tiny amount of research before working on the paper...but really almost nothing.
Then I hit it the night before it was due. I didn't even have a rough draft or any notes or anything to build off of. I just winged it and wrote a really long winded paper filled with a ton of facts (google = love) I got from newspaper clippings, books, video interviews and documentaries, etc. It was 11 or 12 pages, 12 point font, single spaced. Don't remember how many words but it was way beyond the 5,000 needed.

I did make some typos through the professor picked up on those and had them all circled in red. That's perhaps the biggest issue with me leaving my papers till they're due. I don't have the time to read through them a billion times making adjustments.
But he did end up giving me a 98% on the paper. He really liked how I was able to start the paper out as a research paper with all the boring facts...but then I broke off and turned it into a personal opinion piece. did I mention I'm bad at #3? :p :p...I find I'm too wordy on these forums (like with this post) a lot too.

05-13-14, 06:40 AM
I have massive trouble... writing...

I think it's patience and some sort of invisible hoop... my english teacher read my poetry and thought i was cheating...

Strucutred assays and alike are almost impossible for me... it's the key point... the bouncing to and fro... these jump to mind.... the rest is..... .. confusing, styfling... ambiguois...

Only poetry or brief things... i can do... if they are close to my heart... the rest is..... like being asked to complete a jigsaw puzle that has 20% of the pieces... it's a 3000 peice puzzle.... that shows a doorknob...

When i've managed to spill lots of words... they tend to be
"airy" and gut generated...... so.... the whole structure thing and evidence thing seems to cause the biggest issues....

Scientific stuff... where it's broken up.... and each section has a particular purpose.... I think I could do...

05-13-14, 01:22 PM

Writing is a life-long struggle for me, too. I had a horrible time learning how to write out individual letters in kindergarten, then I struggled mightily with cursive, then the 5-paragraph essay, and so on.

- I have problems with handwriting, holding a pencil comfortably (handwriting hurts my wrist), and generally putting to paper the letters and numbers in a way my brain knows they are supposed to look like. My handwriting is like a doctor's.

- I've never been able to wrap my head around any of the formal conventions taught in any English class. The only reason I can use proper grammar, spelling, sentence structure, and punctuation is from years of repetition. I learned how to write mainly emulating what I saw in books, newpapers, or the internet.

- Keeping thoughts queued up in my short-term memory, so as to write them out in some sort of sequence that makes sense, is probably my biggest problem. Sometimes I have "windows" where this isn't a problem and I'm quite eloquent. Those windows are, you guessed it, almost always when on caffeine or some other stimulant.

My biggest problems in descending order...

Me too, and I even agree with that order.

05-13-14, 02:44 PM
I have trouble deciding what to focus on. It takes a lot of thought beforehand. Once I get started, I have problems organizing...I'll write the bits that I want to write about and then save the rest for the end which usually takes a while because I have trouble connecting all the dots. I also have a terrible memory so I write notes down as I think of them to elaborate on later. Sometimes I'll have a thought that I forget to write down, and it floats off into the night, never to be seen again. The process is usually a huge disorderly mess...not even sure how I end up with a coherent finished product.

If I'm inspired to write instead of having a subject forced on me, THAT'S a totally different story. Then it's easy...the words just flow and it'll take me no time at all. In those cases my only problem is not rambling and figuring how to wrap it all up.

I've always envied my ex...he's as NT as they come. He'll sit down, decide what direction his paper is taking and write the damn thing from start to finish in the time it would have taken me to sit down, get up, get a drink, sit back down, wonder what that annoying ticking sound is, stand up to investigate but forget about it because I have to go to the bathroom and hey, did I eat lunch today?? You know how it goes...:)

05-13-14, 03:52 PM
You're trying to illucidate your/our inability to illucidate in written form. It is hard enough to think straight let alone write/type straight.

It sounds like you're are wanting to do a paper on executive function!

That is a big squirrel my friend. Good luck!

05-13-14, 09:55 PM
That is a big squirrel my friend. Good luck!

I mean...he's not THAT big.
Besides...most of it is muscle!


05-14-14, 08:26 PM
Well actually, I have great difficulty expressing my thoughts or emotions in person, but in writing literally the words just flow. I have a journal and it helps me so much because it allows me to get my deep emotions out that I could never possibly express in public. Though, I only enjoy writing about things that I like to write about, and I usually only last about 20 minutes until I start to get antsy and fidgety. And if it's something I DONT want to write about (boring essay for school), it's straight up torture, and the writing is usually not as good because I get so bored, every few minutes I start fiddling with my pen or looking around the room trying to find something else to do. My mind is so stubborn when it comes to school essays... Lol.

05-15-14, 04:58 AM
I have trouble putting my thoughts together to make sense in a paper. I have trouble with the executive function of sticking to the structure of how a paper is written. I usually get that my paper is "awkward" when it's graded. I also go on and on and sometimes a clear point isn't being made when I do yea... I hate writing papers.

05-15-14, 05:13 AM
The trouble I have found with me writing essays in the past, or task for others at work now, is my thoughts are racing to fast and I can't get them on paper fast enough and it just becomes a jumbled mess in the end

05-15-14, 02:01 PM
Interesting topic.

I've always been very good at research and taking notes, either from sources or lectures. The trouble hits when I have to organize it all into a comprehend-able paper. I'll have pages and pages of notes but no idea how to form sentences, paragraphs etc.

Can't make an outline, I just don't get it.

I have spent hours just to write a few sentences, stayed up all night to write a page. Incredibly frustrating and a huge waste of time. Gave up on school because of this, and just generally avoid writing.

However, I do have to write maintenance procedures and documentation manuals for my projects at work. I actually enjoy it. One of my favorite courses in college was a technical writing course. This writing has a clear purpose, is step by step, and is directly related to my own work and experience. I'm somehow able to organize that.

I'm also good at writing about myself, my problems, self reflection that sort of thing. That is when the words actually flow.

05-15-14, 03:31 PM
My problem is I type and write slow. At work I have to write recipes and instructions. My trick is I take old ones and change I few word and I have the new mc'coy.

Colledge was absolutely painful. I never could get motivated and would always have brain farts. I carried around the handbook for writers because I used to be so OCD with proper grammer. If what I wrote didn't seem to flow I'd do it over.

When our my daughter's adopted down syndrom son Walter passed she asked my husband to give talk about him. She want him to speak cause Walter and Jim were close. He wrote his speach and show it to me. The grammer and puntuation were hideous. I rewrote it. My daughter refused to use it. She said it sounded like it was a political speech which meant fake. she went with the other on cuase it came from the heart.

By they way I'm ADHD combined.

05-15-14, 04:32 PM
Fuzzy12's reasons except number 4 for me. Plus brain working too fast and can't catch everything too like someone else mentioned.

I believe (though don't quote me) it boils down to executive function deficiencies? That's what creates the reasons fuzzy listed?

If I'm right then Nicksgonefishing is right - you are wanting to write an executive function deficiency paper (which has been written about before though I assume that doesn't matter).

I actually can write technical reports very well though. I'm used to using bullets at work and that helps a lot when it comes to keeping my writing more concise and on point. Doing an outline helps too for some(just the headings of each report section).

Plus, my first draft may wander but I go back and reread what I wrote and then edit things. My personal emails (and obviously my forum posts) are long winded cause I don't take the time to reread/edit them. Well, I edit them too but not to the extent I do at work.

05-15-14, 07:01 PM
In high school and college, I would cheerfully have cut my head off to avoid writing an essay. I flunked English two years in high school, due to not completing assignments (essays!).

Since receiving ADD medications, my problem is I'd RATHER write than do other work... My business partner has looked at the output, and wishes I WOULD take over more of the tasks related to writing and generating website content for our business.

Take away the meds and I still choke before putting down one word.

05-15-14, 11:17 PM
I've always been a good writer. But when I've had to write for school or a job, it's hell. It comes out good, but the energy involved is tremendous. I'm a visual thinker so to go from the free flowing of pictures to the rigidness of words and sentences and paragraphs.... I fell into writing screenplays and other entertainment writing, and it was cool, I wrote a lot of good stuff and bad stuff, but I always hated the process....

To relate it to ADD.... I think it's about bad work habits, never really learning the rules, or only some rules, others were confusing. I don't know if anyone has heard of the Hero's Journey, it's excellent, but really hard to comprehend for me. I could watch a movie, deconstruct it, and attempt to relate it to the Hero's Journey, which is the standard for most stories....fictional stories.....but to make the connection with what I knew on an intuitive level to a set of rules was very difficult. And the rules themselves had all kinds of variations. And to be able to summon enough energy to proof read and edit, to keep detailed notes of your edits so you stay consistent, daunting. In this case, the subject material is fun, it might just be the exhausting factor that made it hard.

Opinion writing is easy.

Writing informative stuff like an book report or research paper is easier if it's interesting, but for me, dreadful when not interesting. The analysis part is fun though.

Again, I think for me, it's the method of communicating the idea, ie writing, and the means of transportation from where the idea originates to where it ends up. From the brain to the page. From wide open thoughts to tiny, rigid words and sentences.....and stuff.....

05-19-14, 11:37 PM
Usually takes me ten minutes to write a sentence, I have to go over everything again and again just to make sure I make some sort of sense as I don't feel capable of putting a sentence together. If I am responding directly to someone I have to reply to each point they make in detail just so I do not miss anything out and seem rude.. But at the same time writing anything more than a paragraph and I get bored and it takes me ages to reply.

05-20-14, 01:02 AM
I do. Also reading, typing. I use a headset and mp3 player and that helps me a lot!. All the articles say to remove all distractions. But removing all distractions makes it worse for me. However, I found that it was easier to write and similar with background noise. Sometimes I sing out loud and that helps also!

05-20-14, 08:06 AM
I think it always comes down to one thing; motivation. If someone asks me to write about a boring subject to save the world from extinction, I would still have a hard time finishing it. I do enjoy writing though, when I have some interesting concept in my mind which I'd like to work out in a story. Composition and structure are very important for nearly every work of writing, but it's a complex and sometimes boring part of the job, although when the writing stimulates me intellectually, I'm able to put more energy in those areas.

Of course, even when I'm intellectually motivated to write something, I have to shut down the computer and use a notepad and a pencil; a blank piece of paper doesn't allow me to surf the web while trying to write. Sometimes I'm not even aware of myself starting to surf the web, while I'm trying to write something using my computer. It's like; hey, wasn't I supposed to write something, and I'm now looking at some random youtube video!?