Friday, 5 September 2014

Back to Work!

The kids have all returned to school this week - one on Monday (poor boy) the other three on Wednesday.  So I have been able to get on with my writing, and so far it is going well.  My recovery book is nearing completion - although reading back on this blog I see that I have been claiming that for ages, most recently in June when my word count was up at 40,000 and I was steaming ahead.  I honestly thought then the book would be finished by the end of the summer term.  Now I am at about 55k words, and aiming for World Mental Health Day, which is on the 10th October.  That may turn out to be a bit optimistic, but has certainly put the wind into my sails, or the fire under my backside, or (insert cliché of choice).

World Mental Health Day this year is themed around the subject 'Living with Schizophrenia' so I thought that might help garner some publicity.  (It's awkward sometimes, the business of selling books.  Being commercial about it seems a bit crass, but it is the only way I can afford to carry out writing, and writing is my raison d'etre - without it I would be lost). 

I want my new book to be clear about the fact that recovery is possible and real.  I am writing it as a memoir again - pure narrative - but with an additional text book-ish section at the end that lays out what I think are the various factors that aid recovery and how people can work towards their own wellness. 

So, all I have to do now is sit down every day and concentrate.  The worst bit is just before I get started in the morning.  Not always, but sometimes, I begin to doubt that there is any need in the world for a book like this, that it's utter rubbish and so on.  But I find that once I get started writing the negativity disappears, the words begin to flow and I start to enjoy myself - and enjoying myself is the real motivation for writing. 

After about an hour I find that the ideas start to come faster than I can get them on the screen and then I just write in note form, to get them down.  Then I'll take a break and go back to it, working more slowly and carefully, until I get tired or over-stimulated and start to speed up again.  The next day I go back, checking the narrative and re-writing it, and padding out any notes again.  There's a lot of work to do here - a good part of the book is still in note form.

The trouble with the book at the moment is that the temptation is usually to tell the story rather than show it - but I want this book to be readable, as the last one was.  It may lack the drama of the last book but that does not mean it has to be uninteresting.  So I am trying to string it out, to tell it in an engaging way.  It would be a lot more interesting, I think, if I allowed myself to write about my children.  They are such fun, so engaging; their characters are so mesmerising and their achievements so impressive.  They are also so funny at times... 

But despite the fact that family life is the reason for a lot of my current happiness, I know that it's not the answer for everyone.  And there is always the danger that pages of ravings about my wonderful children would not be that fascinating to a reader who has no connection to them.  Also, of course, my children would be mortified if I wrote about them.  So I'm writing about the dogs instead.  Yes, really.  And of course, about all the mental health stuff I have been doing over the last few years - and various events in my own life.  My personal journey.  I hope it doesn't sound too boring.  It's honestly not.  

At least, I hope not.  I hope some of you reading this will buy the book and decide for yourselves whether it is interesting or useful in any way.  I'm really excited that the day of publication is drawing near! 

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