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Tools Neurodiverse Authors Can Use to Make Creative Work Easier ft. Jack Ori

In this episode, we’re talking to Jack Ori who shares his insights and experiences working with other neurodiverse writers and shares his tips on how to work with your brain not against it.

If you ever find yourself struggling with overwhelm and hyperfocus, that impact your creative flow, or identify as neurodiverse, then don’t miss this episode.

Click Play to listen here while you read along with my takeaways, or listen on Apple or Spotify.

Jack Ori wrote his first story when he was six years old, using an old typewriter his grandmother donated to him. He is a Licensed Master Social Worker, author, and advocate for trauma survivors and transgender youth. Jack loves showing other neurodiverse authors that they CAN write books and guiding them to get their stories finished and out into the world. His debut novel, Reinventing Hannah (April 2020), has helped readers feel less alone while dealing with the aftermath of sexual assault.

Connect with Jack on his website, Facebook, Instagram, or his free Facebook Group for neurodiverse authors.

Are you a neurodiverse author struggling to find your groove when it comes to writing? You’re not alone. Many creatives and writers who think a little differently face unique challenges in the writing process. But the good news is, there are some amazing tools and strategies you can use to work with your unique perspectives and strengths to become a more productive and successful writer.

What is Neurodiversity?

First, let’s talk about what we mean by neurodiverse author.

Neurodiversity refers to the natural variations in the human brain and cognitive functioning. According to Harvard Medical School, “Neurodiversity describes the idea that people experience and interact with the world around them in many different ways; there is no one “right” way of thinking, learning, and behaving.”

It includes things like autism, ADHD, dyslexia, synesthesia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and more.

As a neurodiverse author, your brain may process information, focus, and approach the writing process in ways that differ from neurotypical individuals.

And that’s not a bad thing!

In fact, those unique traits can be a real superpower when it comes to writing books. Your ability to hyper-focus, see things from a different angle, or think outside the box can lend itself to incredibly creative and impactful storytelling. The key is finding the right tools and strategies to support your individual needs and working style.

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Writer’s Block for Neurodiverse Authors

I am not an expert on neurodiversity (which is why I invited Jack on!). At the time we recorded our conversation, I didn’t know that Obsessive Compulsive Disorder was grouped under neurodiversity. But I have known firsthand the struggles that can come with the writing process when you’re thoughts aren’t… well, following directions (in my case).

Things like staying focused, managing time and priorities, and battling the inner critic can be especially difficult.

For example, I used to try to force myself to write every single day, regardless of how I was feeling. But that rigid schedule just didn’t work for me. I’d end up feeling guilty and frustrated when I couldn’t stick to it, which only made the writing even harder.

And then there’s the dreaded “writer’s block.”

For neurotypical authors, taking a walk or freewriting might do the trick. But for neurodiverse folks, that mental block can feel insurmountable. It’s like your brain is stuck in quicksand, no matter how hard you try to get it unstuck.

Tools and Strategies for Neurodiverse Writers

One of the most important things for neurodiverse authors is finding a writing process that aligns with how your brain works best. That means ditching the one-size-fits-all advice and getting creative with your approach.

1. Embrace the Power of Time Blocking

As a neurodiverse author, it’s crucial to have a structured schedule, but with the flexibility to adapt as needed. That’s where time blocking comes in.

Instead of trying to write every single day, block off specific windows of time on your calendar for writing. Maybe it’s two hours on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, or four hours on Saturday mornings. The key is being intentional about when you’re going to write, so your brain knows exactly what to expect.

And don’t be afraid to adjust that schedule as needed. Some days, you may find yourself in a state of hyper-focus and want to write for hours on end. Other days, you might need to take more breaks or shift your writing time around. The beauty of time blocking is that it gives you that structure while still allowing for flexibility.

2. Harness the Pomodoro Technique

Another powerful tool for neurodiverse writers is the Pomodoro Technique. This method involves working in short, focused bursts of 25 minutes, followed by a 5-minute break. The timer keeps you on track and prevents you from getting distracted, while the breaks give your brain a chance to recharge.

I love using the Pomodoro Technique because it allows me to really dive into my writing without feeling overwhelmed or burnt out.

And the sense of accomplishment I get from completing each 25-minute “Pomodoro” is super motivating.

3. Create a Distraction-Free Environment

As a neurodiverse author, it’s crucial to minimize distractions when you’re in your writing zone. That might mean turning off your phone, closing unnecessary browser tabs, or even using an app blocker to restrict access to social media and other time-sinks.

I also find it helpful to have a dedicated writing space that’s free from clutter and other visual distractions. Whether it’s a cozy corner of your home or a quiet spot at the local coffee shop, having a consistent environment can really help your brain focus.

Check Out: Ep. 10: How to Gently Rebel Against Overwhelm & Take Up Space ft. Heidi Marke

4. Embrace the Power of Lists

For neurodiverse authors who tend to have a million ideas swirling around in our heads, making lists can be a game-changer. Instead of trying to hold everything in your memory, get those thoughts out of your brain and onto paper (or a digital document).

Start with a “brain dump” where you jot down every single idea, no matter how big or small. Then, you can organize them into to-do lists, project plans, or even story outlines. Having that visual representation can help you prioritize, stay on track, and avoid getting sidetracked by shiny new ideas.

5. Leverage the Power of Community

As a neurodiverse author, it’s so important to have a supportive community around you. Whether it’s a writing group, a coaching program, or even an online forum, surrounding yourself with like-minded creatives can make all the difference.

Not only can your peers provide valuable feedback and accountability, but they can also offer empathy, encouragement, and strategies that have worked for them. Knowing that you’re not alone in your struggles can be a game-changer for your writing journey.

Embracing Your Strengths as a Neurodiverse Author

Neurodiversity isn’t a weakness — it’s a superpower. The very traits that may have challenged you in the past can be the keys to unlocking your full potential as a writer.

So embrace your unique perspective, lean into your areas of strength, and don’t be afraid to try new approaches until you find what works best for you. With the right tools and strategies in your arsenal, you can become the book writing rockstar you were always meant to be.

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My Top 3 Takeaways from this Conversation

The 3 things I found most insightful in this conversation with Jack were:

  1. The importance of finding a writing process that aligns with how your neurodiverse brain works, rather than trying to force yourself into a one-size-fits-all approach. As Jack said, “don’t try to run Mac software on a Windows computer.” Embracing my unique strengths and needs is key.
  2. The power of leveraging tools like time blocking, the Pomodoro Technique, and distraction-free environments to boost my productivity and focus as a neurodiverse author. These strategies can help me work with my brain, not against it.
  3. The value of surrounding myself with a supportive community of fellow neurodiverse writers. Knowing I’m not alone in my struggles and being able to learn from others’ experiences is so important. I’m excited to check out Jack’s new Neurodiverse Writers Lab group.

Let’s change some lives,

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PS — 🩵 When it feels right, here are 3 ways I can help you turn the page:

  1. The Book Map. Imagine having a GPS for your book-writing journey, guiding you from “I think I have an idea!” all the way to “OMG, I did it! I wrote a book!” That’s what the Book Map can do for you. It’s a supercharged roadmap for your writing journey. It’s not just about outlining chapters; it’s about diving deep into what you want to say and the best way to say it, ensuring every word pulls its weight. You’re not just writing a book; you’re crafting a masterpiece that feels as if it almost writes itself. Ready to make your book dream a reality? Let’s Book Map it!
  2. One-to-One Book Coaching. I have a vision of changing the world one book at a time, by teaching world-changers to create a book in a gentler, more effective way. A way that takes both you and your reader on a profound journey. I see a future where we build trust in our words, worlds, and work with our books, and where the world becomes a better place because of the books we write. My commitment is to bring to life books—fiction and nonfiction—founded on integrity. I’ll bring the map, and you’ll take us on the journey. If you’re ready to change the world with your book, your quest awaits. Apply for a free discovery call here. It takes 3 minutes.
  3. Listen to the Podcast. The Book Coach Chronicles: A podcast for writers of books, people who want to be writers of books, and y’all in the back who’ve been thinking about it but don’t yet consider yourself a writer. Listen on AppleSpotify, or Everywhere Else.

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Holly Ostrout is a book coach with a vision of changing the world one book at a time, by teaching big-idea entrepreneurs, coaches, speakers, and authors to create a book in a gentler, more effective way. A way that takes both you and your reader on a profound journey.
Holly Ostrout

Hi I’m Holly. If you’re going to change the world with your book, fiction or nonfiction, I can help you do it.

I'm a book coach for high-achieving, creative coaches, consultants, service providers, speakers, and authors who want to build a sustainable business around their book—whether that’s fiction or nonfiction.

I help you share your wisdom, ideas, and gifts by writing & publishing a life-changing book that helps you streamline your business, bring in more money, and change more lives.

I believe books are the most important human invention. And yours can change the world.

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Joyful, Easy Writing Can Be Yours​

Find that magical zone when the words flow like honey + everything you want to say comes across in perfect harmony. Write your book joyfully + easily with this Writing Ritual Tracker & keep the flow with my helpful newsletter.

Mockup of The Writing Ritual Creator from Holly Ostrout

Joyful, Easy Writing Can Be Yours

Writing Ritual Tracker from Books & Alchemy

Find that magical zone when the words flow like honey + everything you want to say comes across in perfect harmony. Write your book joyfully + easily with this Writing Ritual Tracker & keep the flow with my helpful newsletter.

Mockup of The Writing Ritual Creator from Holly Ostrout
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If You Want to Change the World with Your Book, You've Got to Write It.

Find that magical zone when the words flow like honey + everything you want to say comes across in perfect harmony. Write your book joyfully + easily with this Writing Ritual Creator & keep the flow with my helpful newsletter.