The Consistency of Inconsistency

An ADHD-indie author’s journey: A real-life ADHD fantasy, chapter one

The author resting her hand on papers, a cat resting on her hand, both looking aside through a window.
Myself with Timon, plotting (a novel). Image by the author

A new author’s quest to unravel the secrets of success

My ventures into the Indie world, writing ADHD fantasy while living ADHD reality, are told here through the fictional Ondine Spark, whose name is a literal translation of my own, Hebrew one.
A true story of determination (some would say, stubbornness), self-belief (sometimes called delusions), and success. Well, that last bit is still fiction, of the fantasy sort.

A sudden chill killed Ondine’s smile, filling her mind with flashbacks of times she preferred to forget. Her interrogator persisted, repeating their question.

“So, how is your novel-writing going?”

She cleared her throat and faked a renewed smile. “it’s, uh, you know. It’s going.”

“Nice! When do you plan to finish?”

“Oh, look, it’s twelve already! Gosh, I’m so late. Gotta run.”

Back home, in front of the empty screen, Ondine came up with a dozen fitting answers. Why would she care, anyway? They probably meant well, and any of these answers would have shut them up. But the real culprit was still tormenting her. What answer could she give herself?

The first day of the new year marked two years since she began writing her novel. Covid-19 has conquered the world in these two years; four pets have conquered her family’s home and hearts during this time. But the novel? Ondine sighed. Those flashbacks from writing her PhD dissertation, those years long gone, flickered again. When will you finish? How long has it been already? HOW long?

Plan to finish, indeed. She mocked them in her mind, twisting her lips and swinging her shoulders as she formed the words silently. She planned to finish last year, thank you very much. She also planned to have the house shiny and fully organized, not once in her life but constantly, and to find the time each day — each and every day of her life — to workout, dance, practice foreign languages, dedicate a separate alone-time to each of her kids and even pets, read both fiction and non-fiction, learn something and maybe also bake something nice. Time permitting. She only knew this: she will finish this novel.

Her hand stroked Shoco without her feeling it, but this wasn’t the dog’s goal. He persistently pushed the toy at her, until she pulled it from his mouth and threw it. While waiting for him to bring it back, she opened another tab — number twenty-three — and, in between toy-throwings, resumed learning that highly-graded online writing course. Last time she had to write a logline — one sentence describing her idea. That seemed plausible enough; she came up with:

A mom and her three teens, all four ADHDers, rebel against society’s expectations and find themselves in a fantastic ADHD wonderland, turning their own and others’ worlds upside down.

Encouraged, she clicked “next”. This course was worth her time, even if she could have been writing now; learning was just as important. Getting into grips with everything marketing-related was crucial, too, as an aspiring Indie-author — and who would have thought this could be fun! She threw the toy one last time, and settled into the video.

“Consistency,” said the lecturer, “is key in long-term projects like novels.”

Something itched in Ondine’s back. And shoulder.

“From now on and until the end of this course, you will write each day exactly five hundred words.”

She paused the video, got up and scratched her whole back, bit by bit. Shoco was immediately there, thrusting the toy at her feet. Never letting go of the toy she now pulled at, he reached the kitchen with her.

Back at her desk, she sipped from the coffee in front of the paused video. Surely, a consistent writer knows when they’ll finish writing their novel. Someone who wasn’t her; someone who probably only has one browser tab open at a time, knows where their stuff is and always remembers what they were in the middle of doing. Someone with a consistent life.

She finished her coffee and unenrolled from the course. Those flashbacks returned, hours, days and weeks of fighting herself to get some inconsistent writing done. It had been difficult, no doubt about that. But she finished. She had days of super-powers and days of utter desperation, and not much in between, because she wasn’t an in-between type. Inconsistently, unsteadily, erratically, she has finished her PhD, just like she will finish her novel, at some point in the future.

There was still so much to learn; writing, publishing, advertising, marketing — each posed their own mysteries to be solved, but a first, crucial clue clearly formed in her mind: other people’s advice may be devastating, just as it may be helpful.

At least she had that logline.



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