Book insight: FAST MINDS

FAST MINDS is a great book for people with ADHD/ADD that does not pathologize our diverse brains. The authors write:

Having FAST MINDS traits can mean there is a mismatch between the way the brain works and the demands of life. It’s a way of thinking and being that makes it harder to function in today’s world.

The is the single most pragmatic and actionable ADHD book I’ve read in the past few years. I found a lot of it extremely useful. Some of the tips I’d already implemented over the years, but even then they usually had good input. If you need to skip science and theory for now and start making changes in your life to make it more workable, start here.READ MORE

How to forget people’s names

I know, Dale Carnegie says, “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” I’ve read that a number of times over the years and every time my reaction is, “If that’s true, I’m screwed.”

I’ve got a lot of valuable tips for you about how to forget names — a skill I’m extremely good at. But first let me set up some context about anxiety and ADHD and the overwhelming amount of information that comes with meeting people.READ MORE

Disorder or superhero?

How do you talk to yourself about yourself?

Out in the world, you might be someone with a disorder. But what do you tell yourself about your brain and who you are? How do we navigate a world in which it’s sometimes useful and necessary to think our ourselves as having a disorder — and then drop that label when it’s not empowering?

I was lucky in some ways because I got labeled “gifted” when I was a kid. Some of my ADHD behaviors were (accurately) attributed to the fact that I was bored in school. But being a gifted kid didn’t explain why I was being bullied or why I struggled with simple tasks. It was a good label for making me feel powerful but it was a poor map for navigating the reality of my life.READ MORE

Why is this novel about mental health?

If you read the interview over at GayYA, you’ll know I wrote My Year Zero in honor of my first girlfriend. (If you haven’t read the interview, feel free, I’ll wait.) When I met her we were both 16, both Scorpios (born nine days apart), both dark-haired and bright-eyed. And both struggling with our mental health.

She was the first person I’d met who was forthright about having a diagnosis. From my perspective, she was totally cool about it. (From her perspective, I’m sure it felt a lot less cool.) She had bipolar disorder and was on meds for it and would talk about it openly. She was also great at listening to me without judgment and without a lot of advice.

To understand how important this was to me, let me tell you a bit of my story. Bipolar’s not my disorder — ADHD is (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). Despite the name, ADHD isn’t just about paying attention. It’s a change in how the brain’s executive functions work that pervades areas of focus, engagement, social cues, emotional regulation, impulsivity and hyperactivity.READ MORE

Gaming, writing & mental health – I’m teaching at The Loft!

In August, I get to play games and talk about brains while teaching* teens at The Loft.  (* and by “teaching” I mean tossing out really cool ideas and watching the class make them more awesome.)


My shiny ADD/Anxiety brain is so like this … except when it isn’t. How’s your brain?

I’m deeply excited about this for a few reasons:

  • Gaming + writing = super fun writing
  • Gaming with teens = radical creativity at play
  • I haven’t taught teens before, but I have taught lawyers and teens have to be immeasurably more fun (with apologies to my lawyer friends)
  • My next YA novel (out spring of 2016) includes radical ideas about mental health (like the fact that sometimes the person with the disorder is the perfect person for you to date)
  • It took me at least 10 years to figure out how to work with my brain to get novels written and I’m excited to share what I’ve learned and hear what works for other people


On writing and gaming

Or is that gaming and writing?

Many people know that I’m an avid gamer in addition to writing young adult novels. I get a fair number of questions about how I balance the two because as many writers have discovered it’s hard enough to balance writing and a day job and a social life and staying healthy (all of which are also parts of my life) — and then to try adding gaming to that mix.

So I’m going to answer that and specifically the question from Allison Moon who asked this week if I have, “… tips for how to write hella books while also getting absorbed into a fantastical gaming world you want to live in?” (Special thanks for asking that in the week I’m thinking I need to blog more so that I can subtly remind people that Just Girls is out soon and you might want a copy. You can also find out more about Allison and her latest project here.)

The tips below are what I’ve worked out for myself — your process may be different so please engage in wanton experimentation and don’t give up until you find what works for you. You’ll know when you’ve found what works for you because you’ll feel happy and be productive.READ MORE

A Writer’s Time – Ken Atchity

I’ve read many books about how to write and this remains
one of my favorites. He covers not only time management tactics, but also
creativity management, which is crucial.

I recently found this page of notes that I wrote to
myself as a quick review of my favorite points of the book. I’m presenting it
here to give you an idea of the scope, but to really dig into his strategies
for managing yourself as a write, I recommend you read the whole book. (He has
a good style, you’ll enjoy it!)

A Writer’s Time: Making the Time to Write