Hello, writers! Welcome back to our author interview series. We are thrilled to have Bree Moore with us to talk about her class, “Hack Your Brain: Writing With ADHD.” Bree is an amazing author with over 17 publications. She is also a presenter here at the Author Capital Conference, and we can’t wait to hear more about her course!
Author Capital: We’re so excited about your class, Bree, and to have you here with us today! Go ahead and tell us a bit about yourself and what you write.
Bree Moore: I’ve been writing fantasy books since I was in fourth grade. I’ve been published for about five years now and I mainly like to write urban fantasy. I’m also a stay-at-home mom and I homeschool my six kids. It’s a lot of fun. Oh - I also have two cats.
AC: That’s amazing! And, on top of all that, you recorded a class for the Author Capital Conference. Can you tell us more about your course and how you discovered and fell in love with this topic?
Bree: My class is for writers with ADHD and anyone who feels like their brain works differently or that the typical writing advice they hear doesn’t seem to fit or work for them. In my class, I’ve got a lot of tips and tricks that I’ve learned and picked up in my years of being a writer with ADHD.
I really fell in love with this topic when I got diagnosed with ADHD last year. I did not grow up knowing that I had this challenge. I would run into these unique struggles and other writers would say, “It’s not like that for me, but try this or that.” None of their suggestions worked for me because, as it turns out, my brain doesn’t work the way theirs does! I realized that I need to help other writers like me figure out how to work through these struggles and reach their publishing dreams. That’s why I put this class together. I have successfully published, so I want other writers with ADHD out there to know you can do this too!
AC: What would you say is one of the biggest misconceptions writers with ADHD they struggle with right now?
Bree: I hear a lot of writers with ADHD say they struggle with getting projects done. We also tend to start new projects frequently. It can be difficult to cope with the various elements of ADHD, and actually completing a project is probably number one. I’ve heard people say, “I’m never going to finish this! How am I going to get this done? What can I do to make myself focus?” I’ve heard it said that we put so much emphasis on getting people with ADHD to “focus” on things, and really the issue is not whether we can focus or not; it’s what we’re focusing on. We get excited about so many things. So, not only do we have to learn the unique way our brain works, but how to make it work for us! That’s why, in this course, I go over a lot of different tools and resources, because I know that ADHD shows up in different ways for everyone.
AC: I love that you’re already touching on that point, because ADHD is a category with lots of boxes in it; there are so many variants within this diagnosis. When it comes to learning how to direct your focus and attention to any particular project, is there a certain tool or technique you can recommend?
Bree: My favorite tool to use when I know I need to double down - maybe I have a deadline or I really want to focus on a certain publishing project - is “body doubling.” I’ve found that it’s a lot easier for me to focus when I have somebody next to me. They can be on a video call or physically in the room with you. Either way, it creates accountability. If your brain wanders, every time you notice that your body double is there, your attention is brought back to what you need to be doing. It also creates dopamine, to be around somebody who’s encouraging and supporting you. Dopamine is a useful tool during tasks, because individuals with ADHD tend to have a dopamine deficit. Any way we can create extra dopamine is going to reward our brains for focusing. I love having a buddy with me writing with me and doing writing sprints. Having my husband in the room can help, even if he’s doing something totally unrelated. So, I highly recommend body doubling.
AC: That’s a super cool tactic. I’ve never thought of that before, of having someone physically in the room to help keep you accountable. That’s such a great idea.
So, you touched earlier on how writing can be frustrating for writers with ADHD because they sometimes get stuck in this mentality of “can I do it?” instead of “how can I do it?” and that causes a lot of feelings of frustration or hopelessness. How can watching your Author Capital course help writers who are struggling with those problems?
Bree: There is an enormous amount of power in gaining knowledge about yourself and how you work - or don’t work. When I got diagnosed, it opened up this new world for me because I realized that I’m not broken. I’m not weird. I actually have a condition that I need to work with. You have to do it differently and you have to work with what abilities you have.
It totally opened up my mind. The doubt and the negative self-talk I was experiencing suddenly went away - or reduced significantly - because I could tell myself, “It’s not me. I just need to find a way to work with my ADHD.” It was really empowering to work with it and move forward. So, whether somebody suspects they have ADHD or whether they have a diagnosis, I really think this class is going to help them narrow down what tips and methods are going to work for them. And it’s going to bring more positivity into their life to acknowledge that they do things differently and that’s OK.
AC: My son also has ADHD so, as a parent, I’m really excited to come, listen, and learn from you so that I can help apply it to my kid. Now, I would love to know: what is the breakdown of your course? What can students expect to learn from you?
Bree: I tried to pack as much as I could into the time that I had. What I really wanted to focus on was providing tips for focusing so you can accomplish that dream of publishing your book. Because I’ve been there; I know what it feels like. I’ve wanted to be published since I was a preteen, so I’ve been chasing that dream for a long time. But when there are so many other things coming at you, it feels like you’re never going to get there. So, we’re going to really talk about what you can do to work with your “scattered brain” and focus on getting to that finish line.
One of the biggest things we deal with as people with ADHD is that we get writer's block more often than other people, so we’re going to talk about the myths of writer's block and the unique way our brains work.
Then we’re going to talk about how to work on multiple projects. We are kings and queens of “shiny object syndrome,” so when you’re a creative person who’s coming up with characters and plots and all these amazing worlds, you tend to go down plot holes and get caught up in your side characters, so I want to talk about how we can balance all those projects.
Next, we’re going to talk about meeting deadlines, because this is something we all struggle with and, if you’re in traditional publishing, you’re going to be working with people who expect you to meet deadlines. So, how do we train our brains so we can meet other people's expectations? Or even our own expectations? I’ve definitely run into this problem as an independent author myself.
Lastly, I wanted to touch on what publishing options are available for writers and, as a person with ADHD, how you can fit your own career goals into those options, and which one you want to pursue. Personally, I’ve tried both. I’ve done some traditional publishing and some self-publishing and, when you have ADHD, the are some unique things to consider when choosing a path.
AC: Since realizing that you have ADHD to work with, how has your mindset about writing changed and how have you acquired new skills to help you continue in your career?
Bree: That’s an interesting question because I’ve really only had a year to adjust to the fact that I have ADHD. Before was just me scrambling to keep up by applying methods I was "supposed" to do. I realize I’ve shed a lot of unnecessary guilt. I don’t hesitate as much anymore. I’m more accepting when I make changes or come up with “weird” ideas. Before, I would constantly berate myself whenever I followed a random idea. So, it’s really changed my process and how I look at my first draft.
I’ve realized that it also makes it easier for me to choose what mentors to listen to in the publishing world. There are so many people out there on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook saying, “Buy my course! Read my book! These methods made me a million-dollar author!” But now, I can tell from the get-go if it’s going to fit with how I work. I recognize that I actually don’t need their course because it’s going to completely derail me. Instead, I’m actively seeking out mentors who know what I am dealing with. It helps to have somebody in your corner who understands the struggles you’re facing and has overcome those struggles themselves rather than trying to copy someone whose success happened because they used a planner consistently or something like that.
AC: It sounds like it’s not only helped you learn how to focus but it’s helped you learn what to focus on and that’s an incredibly valuable skill to have.
Bree, thank you so much for coming and interviewing with us, and for providing us with such an amazing course. We’ve been able to watch a little sneak peek of your course and we’re blown away by how applicable and valuable it is.
If you are a writer with ADHD, know someone with ADHD, or want to learn how to better support the writers in your life with ADHD, we hope that you will come and check out this course at the Author Capital Conference.
See you at the conference!