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I quit everything I start.
And not just good things to quit, like bad habits. I quit things with upside and potential: blogs, journals, websites, jobs, businesses…
So when the desire to create content (once again) started tickling my creative ambitions 18 months ago, I knew I had to try something different.
Everything I tried in the past failed.
I got bored.
I lost focus.
I gave up and moved on.
When I was diagnosed with ADHD 11 months ago, all the “quitting” started making sense. Turns out many of my tendencies were thanks to my newly-diagnosed but long-held neurodiversity.
People with ADHD have a high tendency to exhibit Shiny Object Syndrome, according to Amen Clinics: “[those with ADHD] rush into new ideas without properly thinking them through or in order to avoid the less exciting work of tending to the business at hand.” So when the going gets tough, the tough get goin’ — unless you’re one of us. Us ADHDers just move on to something more exciting and novel.
I had no idea about any of this before my diagnosis. One morning, I was browsing YouTube procrastinating from the work I was supposed to be doing, and I stumbled upon on YouTube about what it’s like to live with ADHD.
And then another one. I went down the rabbit hole.
I was nearly in tears. These videos described me to a tee. I phoned my doctor’s office and made an appointment.
After the appointment and assessment, I was “officially” diagnosed. All the quitting made so much more sense now.
What didn’t make sense was the streak I had been building:
→ I had published over 25 straight weeks of my Growth Currency newsletter. And I wasn’t quitting.
I kept showing up.
Here’s why I believe it worked.
Why is a newsletter so good for those with ADHD? It might not be perfect for all ADHDers, but here’s how & why it works well for me.
It’s hard for me to stay interested in one topic. That’s why I didn’t focus on ONE topic at the beginning of my newsletter journey. I wrote and curated content on a broader scale. It worked, especially at the beginning.
For example, I wrote about and curated things I was interested in. Things related to personal finance, marketing, productivity, and writing. That gave me the momentum I needed to push through the first 6 months of publishing while I was still trying to figure out what to write about.
Once I figured out a clear focus, I was able to refine my focus and still write about something that I found interesting. Even with a refined focus, I still find novelty in different corners and areas of that niche.
This was the biggest factor of success: the forcing function of publishing. A newsletter has (or should have) a publishing deadline. A regular edition keeps readers engaged and invested in your newsletter.
I have ZERO issues letting myself down. When I quit my past blogs and websites, I was only letting myself down. I had no audience or readership.
With a newsletter, I started amassing subscribers. And a funny thing happened — I didn’t want to let other people down. So I showed up every week.
The obvious struggle here: most start newsletters with very few subscribers — if any. It’s easy to let zero people down. So add some friends and family to your email list and ask them to hold you accountable to publish.
Some are incentivized by money. Others by creativity. Some by opportunity.
I used to think I was only incentivized by money. Turns out that’s not true. I’m incentivized by a mix of all 3. And this wasn’t an overnight discovery — the realization came to me after realizing that no amount of money could keep me motivated in a job I didn’t enjoy. I need novelty, incentive, and creative license to stay engaged.
A newsletter offers the possibility of an uncapped earning potential. I’ve written about how I started monetizing my own newsletter. But it also offers opportunities for collaborations, projects, contract work, and consultation.
And an added bonus: I can be creative with it. It’s mine, not subject to a corporate agenda. A newsletter is a triple-threat of incentives that keep me engaged and motivated.
Rhythm is important as it helps provide the structure. And for me, structure is important for my ADHD brain.
We are prone to be poor planners. Without a dedicated newsletter “send day”, I wouldn’t care if I didn’t publish in time. Without a newsletter template (ie. structure), I would be starting from scratch every time.
The structure of a weekly rhythm and template keep me from falling off the wagon and getting lost in the weeds.
The constraints of a newsletter are a blessing for the way my brain works.
I don’t have to overthink the format, length, design, or topic. I have the constraint of writing a newsletter, on a specific topic, with a minimalist design. I’m not burdened with analysis paralysis like I was in the past:
“Should I post on IG? Should I turn this blog post into a podcast? Should I just start a podcast? What about YouTube? Is this blog post SEO optimized? Will this post work for LinkedIn?”
Instead it’s simple: draft newsletter, edit newsletter, publish newsletter. Anything above that is just icing on the cake.
I’ve written and published 66 out of 68 weeks beginning January 19th, 2021 (I took two weeks “off” after my 52nd edition).
I had this quote in my head the whole time:
While publishing a weekly newsletter hasn’t completely changed my life, it’s made it more interesting, exciting, financially rewarding, and fulfilling.
I see the life-changing potential. And that’s wildly motivating.
Writing a newsletter could be the thing that sticks for you — ADHD or not. If the power of the 5 elements listed above resonated with you, you should definitely try.
At worst, you’ll learn that it’s not.
At best… you fill in the blank.
Growth Currency⚡ is on track to earn over $10k in 2022—all while I've been working a full-time job. Here's how I did it.
I've been neglecting this for too long—and it's costing me. Don't make the same mistake.