I did it! Yay! Nearly two years of effort and I have written my third book. Although it's not quite ready yet, to release to the world. Just some final polishing, still underway.
It's a huge milestone, at the stage where authors would send to their copyeditor. Only, as an indie author, I am the copyeditor, proof-reader etc (a friend is helping out with the proof-reading). I've already been doing some copy-editing (improving readability etc, yet I want to retain my 'voice').
I'm quietly excited. No big parties, just a quick blog post from my room, which I will follow up with a gluten-free donut and ice-cream (spotted the donuts yesterday and couldn't resist).
So what is the book about?
It's a memoir about an unconventional love story. Not the candy-floss variety but intense and gritty, although I've tried to keep it mostly light-hearted and entertaining. It's a mixture, it's my persepective (the complex big picture and the details).
It's also about online friendship, asking the question, 'are online relationships real?'
It's about the empathy and clashes with diagnoses, with focus on mood disorders (depression, bipolar disorder) and autism spectrum (including Asperger's syndrome) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Bipolar Courage: are you sure you're not autistic? is my most emotionally vulnerable book to date. I'm well on track to self-publish it (initially to Amazon), in September 2023.
I currently write about relationships with disabilities. My vision is four linked books, with separate stories.
I've since unpublished my first memoir, Bipolar Cringe, as I felt too vulernable in it, and some people were just nasty about it. I'm not sure if I will alter it and republish it or just leave it unpublished. It was actually my first book and it had polarising reactions.
Pet Purpose: Your Unspoken Voice is my first semi-autobiographical novel, my second book, yet published first under my name. It's to help readers understand what bipolar mania with post-traumatic stress (PTSD) is like. With a pet-themed story as well.
THe polishing stages
The story is now written, culled, rearranged and rewritten. I still have plenty to do, to polish the story best I can. I need to run the last four chapters through a writing app (I've been using ProWritingAid) to hopefully pick up any clumsy grammar.
A friend is currently reading the manuscript (first time for anyone to see it in full). I'll need to update any suggestions (tends to be the odd missed word, here and there).
I need to do the final formatting. This includes changing the page margins for book size (which is when I will find out how many pages I'm looking at, as I can only guestimate from the word count). If I think it's too thick a book, I'll do another cull here and there.
I'll need to do all the final formatting stages ready for print and check yet again with spelling and grammar apps. Then print it out to check again. Then convert to an ebook file.
I also have the cover design to do (that part is fun).
Most of writing a book is hard work. Approximately ten percent is the creative part I enjoy most. Ninety percent is reworking what I've dumped as clay onto the table. Shaped from a messy heap of clay into my art. It's been through the kiln, with the processing. Then through the kiln again with the glazes, as I've coloured it how I want to.
We are nearly there.
Just a reminder to those working on a book - save frequently. Both off your laptop/computer to an external hard-drive plus to a cloud (in case the house burns down or your stuff gets stolen).
There is no way I could recapture what I've written in my books. Make sure your efforts are safe.
Another tip: write on paper where needed. I use this for my chapter outlines, themes, reminders etc. I started a book wtih some practical advise from experience with tips on writing and self-publishing on a shoe-string budget.
Also, most authors don't make much money. Making money is a bonus. Completing a project like a book has been beneficial in other ways. The cognitive challenge with disabilities that affect my cognition. The healing and personal growth that has taken place. The sense of accomplishment, to do something very challenging.
why the dragonfly painting
I was looking through my digital archive of artwork to see what I could use for this blog post and the dragonfly stood out.
It was painted over three years ago, soon after the story started. I haven't mentioned it in the book yet it's indirectly linked to someone who is in the story.
At the time, the painting symbolised empathy with someone's tragedy. So it was a symbol of compassion and pain, now transformed into hope. Transformation is one of the themes in the book.
Well, I like my symbolism and I looked up what a dragonfly represents change, new life, transformation and self-realisation. As well as good luck, prosperity and harmony. There you go.
Writing a book from lived experience, involves facing your fears and determination. Lots of self-care between sessions of working on it.
Write your story. You can do it!