ADHD Fantasy Author: My Fantastic Challenge

An Indie author’s journey with ADHD

Image of a roller coaster riding vertically and the words: “ADHD Fantasy Writing Challenge”.
Image by the author

“You can’t have ADHD. You have a PhD.”

Sigh.

The second part is true. I have completed a PhD in philosophy. I also changed study fields three times prior to that, feeling like an incompetent little child who can’t make up her mind. I also learned four foreign languages, but can only listen to a few sentences before my mind starts wandering. I homeschool my three teens toward a twenty-twenty education, but struggle to keep their regular dental check-ups. Even when I do remember, something pops up before I can call the dentist, and I forget again for another month or two.

Decades in, I learned my spacey over-enthusiasm had a name. I also noticed I managed quite a lot despite it, or was it through it? I fail to perform the obvious, but shine in the unique. While others smoothly move from A to B, I lose my way, but get to M, A, G, I and C instead.

Living with ADHD can be a magical wonderland; sometimes charming, sometimes dark. This is the inspiration for the ADHD fantasy I write. Is that even a thing? It is now. It’s fantasy that takes place inside the mind of someone you know. Possibly love. Maybe, yourself. And surely, yes, there’s a whole fantastic world out there, outside of our minds.

I was diagnosed about a decade ago, which means I spent most of my life feeling a weird something was wrong, but could never put my finger on it. Can you imagine this kind of feeling? Here’s how Emma, one of my characters, felt it:

There it was once again; that vague feeling of uncontrol, that something-is-wrongness. Something Emma never could put into words, which led to her understanding there must be something terribly wrong with her. She did her best to conceal it, though she never knew exactly what it was she was trying to hide; but somehow it worked. To her amazement, nobody noticed and all thought she was but a regular girl, though terribly forgetful, somewhat irresponsible and certainly lacking a logical order of priority.

In preparation for an Indie writer’s journey, I spent hundreds of hours learning about writing, publishing and what have you, but something was always missing: how to keep going. How to be consistent in an inconsistent life.

You see, my brain makes its own choices. They rarely coincide with mine. Just knowing how much I want to see that book out there is nowhere near enough. If the task at hand is not novel, challenging, exciting — it will fail to beat the countless novel, challenging and exciting stimuli which some call “distractions”, and I call life. And writing, and mostly editing, is often a repetitive, petty, frustrating task.

“Just concentrate,” said Ant. “Give it your best effort.”

Kay closed her eyes and covered her ears, just concentrating and giving it her best effort. Bubbles flooded her mind. Whenever a bubble popped, it spilled out a thought which spread all over Kay’s head. The muddle became too much to bear. She envisioned guards at her mind’s gates, preventing any unrelated thoughts from entering. Some of these thoughts argued, and wouldn’t be stopped. They pounded on her mind’s gates, making her head ache.

So, can ADHD really coincide with the completion of huge, greatly challenging projects, like a PhD? Absolutely. Does completing one such project with ADHD imply anything about completing another, like writing a novel? Not in the least.

I came to realize I had two options: forever lament what I can’t do, or celebrate who I am, for better and for worse. Despite the difficulties, there always are other times: those of hyper-focusing and breezing through immense projects, endless energies, or daring what others may not even consider. Thus, success is sometimes gained thanks to impulsivity and misjudgment.

Therefore, embracing inconsistency and the quirkiness of my brain, I declare October — ADHD Awareness Month — my Challenge Month: by putting the word out, I will hold myself accountable to… you. Every day I will post an update in my social media accounts, and once a week here, about my ADHD fantasy novel-in-progress. By the end of the month I will post my conclusions here.

Will I make it? Will I fake it? Or will I, on the contrary, become so hyper-fixated with the challenge, that I’ll let it devour me, leaving no space for anything else? A little more than a month, and we’ll know.

I hope you’ll follow my journey!

Follow my writing adventures by joining my readers’ club. Follow me on Instagram, Twitter, or join my Facebook group to read my daily challenge updates.

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