One of the great things about being an independent 'indie' author, is that I can choose my own publication date. With flexibility to move things around, if I need to.
I had therapy today (for PTSD). My clinicial psychologist asked, 'Why September?' as that's the month I'm aiming for. In this blog post, I'll give a few reasons why, with a little context.
Context & background
I am in the final stages of polishing my second memoir, Bipolar Courage: Are you sure you're not autistic? The story is written. Most of writing a book, for me at least, is rearranging what I've written, so it's clearer for the reader. I process while I write, so things are out of order, initially. Readers say my writing 'flows'. That's after a lot of hard work, taking a long time.
The book focuses on an intense connection (and occasional clashes) with an autistic man, Maxwell. We only met each other beause of my advocacy journey, as Bipolar Courage. He'd actually said to me, what I've chosen as the subtitle. I am expecting this to be my most entertaining story so far, although there are some intense scenes (I'm pretty tired after editing two of the most intense chapters).
This book is different to a typical memoir, as I have done a lot of research, carefully cross-checking my records, such as my journals, vlog and visual diary. So that I am sequencing and desscribing things as accurately as possible. I've even included some relevant extracts from my journal. It's my most emotionally vulnerable book, to date.
A core theme is 'are online relationships real?' It's an unconventional love story (all my books are unconventional love stories, at the heart of them).
I write with clinicially significant cognitive impairments, such as short-term memory issues. Yet, my memory for certain things is incredible. I know where I have put something, in my organising my mainly visual records, so that I can check for accuracy. This is how I have so much detail in the story, as well as the bigger picture.
Doing this process, is pretty tiring but it also makes sense of stuff in my head, processing it, so I can let it go and move on. My goal is four books total about relationships with disabilities, two memoirs, two novels; all linked, yet separate stories.
Bipolar Courage is the third book. Soar Purpose will be the fourth. Soar Purpose will depart into fiction, more than I did in Pet Purpose: Your Unspoken Voice. Exploring more possibilities.
I chose the name of this blog, after the name of my book goal. Also, now the hub for my art and writing, beyond advocacy.
I'm aiming for September for my publication month, for some of these reasons:
what if I don't make september?
Well, there's always October, and I can find symbolic reasons but I am aiming for September 2023. Although, now I'm wondering about October. Around Maxwell's birthday, perhaps? After all, it's essentially a love story to him. Why I did what I did, the bigger picture. If he ever wants to know, of course.
His birthday was close to the anniversary of when a childhood friend died. Still affects me, decades later.
After self-publishing a few books, I am confident with my goal (mid-September to early October, now). Unless of course, other unexpected things get in the way. I really want to get this project finished, to move on. With the door closed on my advocacy journey.
A trusted friend has my manuscript, to take a look. I don't want my voice changed but do want any slips picked up, that might be too distracting for readers. I've said where I'm up to, althought it will be pretty clear anyway, as things will be more jumbled where I haven't edited.
My psychologist said she uses an app called ProWritingAid, which has a free version. I've also used Grammarly. She suggested using both, as they might pick up different things. I am trying to polish best I can, even though I might still break some rules in grammar. I don't have the luxury of professional editing and proof-reading services.
I'm still waiting on semi-urgent surgery (skin cancer). I was expecting to have it already but turned out meeting the surgeon was just to decide that I need a wedge cut out of my face. Also waiting on reassessment with ACC for sensitive claims. ACC paid for my therapy but do anything to try avoid paying compensation. Anyway, those are stressful things and I don't have any dates set yet, so I am just trying to keep busy with my meaningful projects.
I want to definitely have the book self-published while I'm still fifty (I have three months). I use the print-on-demand service with KDP to Amazon. With e-books to major e-book distributors. This means no up-front fees.
When I started writing Bipolar Courage, I was super-confident that somehow, I'd complete it in just a few months (blame it on a mania episode). I actually wrote several chapters in a few weeks. However, I haven't used that version, as it's too disjointed for the reader, with to many tangents. It was when I got to chapter 8, made into the foundations for chapter 1, that I realised I wanted the book to focus on my complicated 'thing' with Maxwell.
I also realised I wanted to include how it was that I was finally diagnosed pervasive developmental disorder - not otherwise specfied, PDD-NOS which the psychiatrist called 'clinicially significant autism spectrum features.'
I've also included some relevant anecotes from my son's childhood, pertaining to autism spectrum. Both my son and I had pretty significant features in childhood. I always take care to keep my son anonymous. I've never said publicly who anyone in the book is, as I believe in ethics with writing.
I realised I needed to take my time, as I was still processing plus researching to make it the best story I can. If there is space in the book, I might include one of those early chapters as a bonus, just to show how different the writing is. Otherwise, I might publish into this blog. I've been blogging about anything that is connected, yet not going into my manuscript.
Partly to process some additional stuff. Partly because others are curious about my creative process, keen to explore art as therapy and write their own stories.
One of the reasons I chose self-publishing from the beginning, is that I don't have the external pressure of deadlines enforced by someone else. My goals have flexibility, essential with working with my disabilities. I want to do the best job I can do, and that takes longer than I anticipated.
I have the final 4 to 5 chapters out of 30 to 31 to copyedit, for consistency, clarity, grammar etc. I haven't decided yet whether I will merge the final two chapters. Writing is like a painting. It's never really finished. Just where decided to stop, at an interesting place.
I've been re-doing a chapter outline in a scrapbook, to help track what content I've put where. I've been doing loads of cross-checking, using 'search', to try avoid repeating something I'd said elsewhere. This can potentially happen when I want to mention something as a little tangent.
I am currently focussed on the text content, with basic formatting (headers, page breaks, table of contents, indented paragraphs). I am leaving the final formatting until after I have cleaned up my text. This includes margins for book, headers, front matter etc. If I end up with more pages that I want, then I will need to do another cull. I know how many words I have currently but I don't know how many pages this will translate to, once I narrow the margins.
I don't want too thick a book as it costs more to print. Plus a lot of people don't like books that are too long.
I've edited the two most triggering chapters (for me). Hopefully the rest will be mostly fun, again. Writing and editing a book is mostly hard work, determination and perseverance. Editing and rewriting takes way more time than writing the drafts (the 'creative' part).
I still have the book cover to design, with some ideas in mind, using my own art. That part is fun, for me.
Then, I will get back to writing Soar Purpose. (Bipolar Courage was an unexpected tangent).
Soar Purpose will take as long as it takes. Hopefully within a few years.