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  • Eva Aldea

Mapping the Writing Process Together

Caroline Pedler’s ‘Mapping the Writing Process: The life and opinions of an ADHD creative’ is a deeply personal and bravely honest reflection on how a late diagnosis of neurodivergence shifts one’s perspective on many things, including creative work. It’s been a privilege to edit this article with Caroline, as I recognise myself in her writing process; we were both diagnosed with ADHD aged 47.

Caroline’s article and her wonderful illustrations vividly identify some of the challenges and strengths of neurodivergent minds. It gave me pause for thought about my own practice.

I never considered my academic writing to be about anything else than mastery of the subject, but reading Caroline’s account made me realise that the often torturous process of fitting my unruly mind into a strict logical format was a way of aligning inner and outer realities. As Caroline succinctly puts it: “The established constraints, objectivity and critical thinking of academic writing helped me make sense of my world personally and creatively.”

Reading and editing 'Mapping the Writing Process' I became aware of how my critical work has strengthened the belief in my own ability deal with the sense of overwhelm and inertia that I inevitably encounter when writing. I now know that my process does not start with any kind of planning, but with a scary, messy jumble of ideas, perspectives and fragments. What my brain is good at is to tease out connections and weave threads through chaos, if I give it time and space to do so. Help from editors, readers and other writers widens that space.

I am sure Caroline’s words will resonate with many writers and other creatives that have navigated anxiety, paralysis, and a sense of never quite measuring up. I am so pleased that she has used Dx: Diagnosis and Writing as a site to map out her path from diagnosis, via many hard-won insights, to a powerful affirmation of her writing process.

If you are someone who writes – reflectively, creatively, academically, professionally – and want to consider , in a formally unrestricted way, how a diagnosis has affected your writing, drop Dx: Diagnosis and Writing a line, or have a look at our open call for collaborators.


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