The Power of Writing: What it Means for You

We’re bringing you a Shimmer x Letters to Strangers blog post, where we discuss the power of writing and how it can empower YOU.

Published on
October 25, 2022

Individuals with ADHD may sometimes find it difficult to focus on a particular task, whether at school, work or at home. By extension, this may also influence their ability to sit and process their emotions, as holding space for one's feelings for greater periods of time might seem to be an insurmountable task.

Fortunately, it has been noted that the act of writing may help individuals with processing their emotions and experiences. For writing is a highly dynamic and yet, introspective endeavour. In some ways, it may be said that it could serve as a re-iteration of the therapeutic alliance between a therapist and a client. Only, this time it occurs between an individual and all the parts of their inner worlds.

However, sometimes it can be hard for people with ADHD to sit down and write. Getting started, getting distracted, getting lost in one’s thoughts, getting overwhelmed, or getting frustrated are just a few feelings that may come up. Here are some tips to help combat ADHD writers block and maximize your chance for success:

  • Commit to one step. Commit to writing that first sentence. Nothing more. Oftentimes, the whole task can seem daunting and making it more palatable can make all the difference. Once you write that first sentence, you may find the words flowing
  • Set up your space. It doesn’t need to be super neat (although it helps), you don’t need to clean your whole room. But make it intentional. Maybe it’s a specific table, or chair, or coffee shop. Your brain will associate this location and set up with “writing” over time
  • Start a distraction log. Put a blank piece of paper or a sticky note next to you. If something comes up that isn’t part of your writing task, simply write it down as the thought pops up. Now you know you won’t lose it. Maybe even save 10 minutes near the end of your session to address those things!
  • Plan for risks. Before you start, brainstorm a few big hurdles that may come your way. Maybe a nosy roommate? Put a sign on your door. Maybe a notification you didn’t need to see? Put your phone on focus mode. You know yourself best, and plan in advance!
  • Find your motivation. Know why you’re writing. Is it for reflection? Maybe recall the last time you wrote and the impact it had on you. Maybe it’s for that dream of yours. If you have a greater reason, put it in front of you to act as a compass
  • Take breaks. Maybe you’re blocked today. Instead of getting frustrated at yourself and trying to power through, sometimes changing the scenery gives you the energy dose you need. A quick walk around the block does us wonders
  • Be kind. Sometimes you’ll write, and other times you won’t. That’s okay. Be kind with yourself, like you would to a friend or loved one
  • Celebrate! Because you deserve it.

A note from our friends at Letters to Strangers

Letters to Strangers, the world's biggest youth-run mental health NGO, pioneered their wildly used letter writing intervention.

Its premise is simple – a group of people are brought into a room and tasked with writing a letter to a stranger. They are given a mental health-related theme and a set of guiding questions to accompany them on this journey and, above all, are encouraged to be vulnerable, supportive and loving in their writing.

As James Baldwin once said:

“Love takes off the masks we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.”

Ever since its inception in 2013, the letter writing intervention has spread throughout the six continents and has been impacting countless individuals on a daily basis.

For we believe that (letter) writing can facilitate the process of uncovering and accepting one’s own true self, at both ends of the letter.

If this sounds interesting to you and would like to know more, please do reach out to Dan Kanceljak (Chief Outreach Officer) at Likewise, Letters to Strangers are currently looking for ambassadors for their first-ever mental health study. If you would like to join and contribute to helping more people, please click here. For the other exciting opportunities with Letters to Strangers, please click here.

At the end of the day, both Shimmer and Letters to Strangers await to help you navigate your inner worlds. They are both aware that it is not easy to reach out but urge you to know that you are not alone.

They are here to help.

This post was a collaboration between Shimmer (Molisha Shah, Shimmer, Founders Associate Intern) & Letters to Strangers (Dan Kanceljak, Letters to Strangers, Chief Outreach Officer)

Dan is the Chief Outreach Officer at Letters to Strangers, where he is committed to raising awareness regarding the importance of mental health as well as improving access to quality mental health treatments. Recently, Dan has earned a Masters degree in Psychology of Mental Health, which has only further strengthened his ability and resolve to ameliorate the lives of those around him.

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