Friend and Foe — Fighting the ADHD That Helped Me Create an eBook

ADHD takes something away every time it gives you a gift

Photo by Nigel Tadyanehondo on Unsplash

I was diagnosed with ADHD in my forties, but I always knew something was wrong with me. Having the diagnosis was a relief, and so is being medicated for it, but some elements still linger. What is gone is the flash anger and rage at every insult. I can also listen without interjecting and recognize when I start taking over a conversation — and then stop. That is all down to my meds. They are indeed a godsend.

What I’ve rejected is cognitive behavioral therapy to modify some of my other ticks, although I know my trouble areas. The biggest one is the anxiousness to finish a project, whether it’s finished or not. I’ve often pushed send before I should, and only then notice the errors. Even though I know this happens, I can’t stop it at the moment because I don’t see it until it’s done.

That is the essence of ADHD. I don’t see what’s happening at the moment because I’m in the moment. No amount of past scolding, chastising, or criticism will correct future ADHD behavior. Kids with ADHD hear thousands of more negative messages than people without it, and so we often end up depressed, full of self-loathing, and angry.

“Why can’t you just…?” Stop. Control yourself. Do it the way I told you. Settle down. Grow thicker skin. Do it the right way. Concentrate better. Do your work. Be on time. Hand in your homework. Finish your project. Meet the deadline.

These are the things I’ve often heard repeated throughout life. So much so I’m usually the first one to ask them.

I don’t fucking know. Is the answer to all of them. I’ve never known.

At the same time, ADHD is a gift. I’m a natural creator. The written word is my primary form of expression, but I like art and other things too. It also gives me focus. ADHD isn’t about not focusing. It’s about not being able to filter out distractions and know what to pay attention to. ADHD people are not all the same, so what I’m writing here doesn’t apply to all ADHD’ers.

And it’s not that I have an attention deficit either. I can certainly focus. People with ADHD often hyper-focus. Which is a focus on the task to the exclusion of all other things — even going to the bathroom. That’s how I put together an ebook in 24 hours, including the nine where I was on a sex date with my lover.

What do I hate about my ADHD brain?

I’ve made ebooks before, so I knew what to do, but in my rush, I put the first edition on Amazon before seeing a significant flaw — that’s a widespread problem I have — declaring things ready that are not ready. The problem? The title, which I hadn’t googled, was too vague, so I changed it, as you can see below.

It’s the little things. Notice the picture on the top is slightly different than the one of the bottom? I forgot to save the first one so had to make it again, rather than just change it. (Book covers: Author on

And that’s where my trouble began. When you change something about a book that’s live on Amazon, they have to review it, and that can take up to 72 hours, which was after waiting 36 hours for them to put it up in the first place (it’s not always 72 hours, but it can be).

It’s a little hard to advertise a product that has two names. So why did I change the name? Well, as I said, I googled the name of the book to see if I could find it online once it was up, and I came across pages and pages of other books with the same or similar titles.

And that’s when it hit me. I write about adultery, and I know enough about SEO to tell me that the word adultery should be in the book title. My original title, “Dating Profile Tips For Men,” leads to dozens of books and articles about dating profiles.

Duh, of course, it does.

So I thought, I’ll just change the name on Amazon, and I did. It is now “Adultery Profile Tips For Men,” and when you google that, the first thing that pops up is an article by yours truly.

And that’s when the 72-hour clock began ticking.

So instead of being able to “launch” my book, I’m stuck in a holding pattern waiting for my book title to change. Not only that, once it is approved, I will have a book with one title on the cover and a different title on the Amazon metadata because I can’t make any other changes to it while it’s being reviewed — I didn’t change the book cover or the inside of the book at the same time. Why? I was too focused on the name to consider what the change would mean to the rest of the project…until I submitted the change.

Now, I will have to add the new cover and upload the new book content that reflects the new name when it is live again. And when I press save…

The 72-hour clock begins ticking again.

It is in those 72 hours as I wait for my subsequent changes to get approved that my book will have two names.

So what’s all this mean?

This is the story of my ADHD life. My brain doesn’t cycle down long enough to think things through, so I’ll act impulsively and then realize what I should have done.

Take this article, for example. I know that if I let it sit for a week and came back to it, that I could make it better. But I will not be able to do that. Because of that, there will be errors — missing words in sentences are my most common.

Why is that? My brain scans so quickly that it often adds the missing word in my mind, which allows me to skip over it. The same thing happens in typing too. Sometimes I’ll think the word and not type it. With this article, though, I can go back and fix my mistakes — which I always do. With my ebook? Every change can be a 72-hour wait.

What do I love about my ADHD brain?

Well, the first new book took 24 hours to put together (I have seven or eight others I made in 2018–19 so it wasn’t new for me, but rusty). Guess how long the second book took?


I often don’t make the same mistake twice, and I’m so process-oriented that when I do and fail, I try to learn from that as I go so that I can repeat the process. My trial-by-error approach pays dividends on the second investment, and my hyper focus allows me to push through the challenge. Part of my process involves duplications.

As you can see from the book covers below, what I learned from doing one was immediately invested in the next one, and the one after that. I was able to take an initial investment of a couple hours work and three 72-hour waiting periods, and turn it into a two minute job.

See the shading behind the title? That was something I did while I waited, so when my ebook is finally ready for me to fix it AGAIN. I will have the cover exactly how I want it. And what does that do? Makes the next book cover 100 times easier to design. (book covers: Author on

This past weekend I was able to build two ebooks out of my current work. One is done but is a complete shitshow on rollout, as I’ve mentioned here, but the second? The second benefited from everything I learned in the first 24 hours, and is in fact, still sitting in my Amazon draft folder, meaning I can change it whenever I want.

The downside of ADHD is I know this will happen to me again, but I won’t know when until five seconds after it does.

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© Teresa J. Conway, 2021

By Teresa J Conway on .

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Exported from Medium on April 8, 2021.

Author of How to Cheat: Field Notes from an Adulteress, several short stories, I'm active on Medium @teresajconway where I sometimes share my blog posts.

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