I’m trying to maintain a copyediting career and have just been diagnosed with ADHD. Now what?
A few people have recommended that I change careers. I understand where they are coming from: who wants to balance a lack of executive function with the exquisitely regimented copyediting process on a daily basis? It turns out that I do.
And so I went the route of pharmacology and therapy. This means every working day I take a pill that hopefully will allow me to stay at my desk, work, and focus on the minutiae of the task before me. The medication is straight out amphetamines, which makes me nervous. It’s as if someone prescribed me cocaine to get my work done. But Andy Warhol, James Tiptree, Jr., and countless other famous and productive people, couldn’t all have been wrong. And my therapist assures me that as long as I’m taking it as prescribed and not selling it to sixteen year olds, that I’m probably OK.
And having ADHD has its benefits. One of the things that I love about editing (and I loved this about being a bookseller as well) is that every single piece of information I have in my beleaguered brain can be called into service. I may be editing a book about crocheting pink doilies, but there could be a reference to an Emily Dickinson poem and the rusty cogs of my memory creak to life and I can deliver an authoritative author query about dashes in Dickinson’s poem. This need for wide-ranging thought is something a copyeditor can get behind. Also, I have a high tolerance for contradictions, such as my driving need to set college departments such as “history” lower case combined with a house style that capitalizes everything. Thank you, ADHD.
Just don’t expect me to turn in my invoices on time.