Friday, November 2, 2012

Blogging A Book; Excuses

It's been a really tough week where I have had to learn just what fortitude means. A week where I have been faced with a put-up or shut the hell up about what it is that I want to do because at some point excuses are just that, excuses. I know what excuses are intimately as I have used so many different excuses so many times before.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Blogging A Book; Marty's Manifesto

Today as I am reading the How To Blog A Book Blog, the question is asked:

Are you willing to approach your blogged book like a business person or only like a writer?

And if you answered, "Like a writer," it tells one that maybe you should consider your blog as your daily wring practice instead of a book project. (Kind of like, yo sleaze, you so ain't good enough). Then she goes on to say, If you said "As a business person," congratulations. You've joined the ranks of the most successful nonfiction writers because in this day and age successful nonfictions writers must also be savvy business people. 

I'm not sure just how much I am approaching it as a business person. In the last week or so I haven't written much. To me it seems that to be a business person in writing a book that one should write daily or at least 5 days a week. Instead I chose to not write for 5 days and instead do something else. 

But as I think that through, that is not being a writer....because a writer, writes. To be a successful writer, one must write and write somewhat consistently. I often struggle to do that. What I write is foten read but it can be hard for me to plant my butt in the seat and write.

Here are the questions that the How to Blog a Book Blog states that I need to look at. 

They are hard questions for me to look at. I don't like to be marketed to and so often when people want me to market myself to others I see that as being a pita (pain in the assets). I struggle with the whole pita concept. 

  • Is my topic unique?
  • Does what I have to say add value?
  • Is there a market for this book?
  • Who arre my readers?
  • What is my competition?
  • How will I position myself in the market?
  • What will I include in my blogged book?
  • How will I organize the book (and thereby, my blog?)

Not only are those hard questions for me to look at they are also scary questions for me to look at. Stepping out of my comfort zone questions. But I need to look at them anyway so here goes. 

Is my Blog a Book topic unique? 

I am not totally sure if my topic is unique or not. I will admit that I seem to have a unique viewpoint on many things that happen in one's journey towards recovery. I am sure others have it, I just don't know them. I've long been frustrated and irritated by the lack of informed choice that one finds in many community mental health systems. There is also a lack of knowledge about how to systematically become able to move out of a community mental health system and how to wean off of psych meds. It is assumed that we will take meds for the rest of one's life by so many.... and the one's that believe it may be the very people we need to help us wean off them. 

Does what I want to Blog a Book about add value to the Book Market? 

Yes I believe that what one has to say does add value to people's lives. I enjoy helping people look at things that can change the way one looks at things. This can help one discover a different and maybe a more fulfilling recovery journey. I don't believe that one's recovery journey must be a drastic up and down journey, but more of an ambling one. One can hurry on the path to that recovery journey but when one does one sometimes misses some of the more important things that are on the trail. A Recovery Journey may seem to up and down because so often one ends up at what looks to be the same place. When that happens one ends up looking at the Recovery Journey from a different perspective. 

Is there a market for this Blog A Book Project? 

I am almost afraid to hope so. Being a writer is a dream that I haven't yet seriously tried to fulfill. What if what I want to do is not something that I can succeed at? What if it stays a pipe dream? I guess it doesn't really matter if there is a market for this book. I have to start somewhere and this is where I feel I need to start. I'll be disappointed if it fails, but I'll be devastated if I don't start. 

Who are the readers of this Blog a Book Blog; Marty's Manifesto? 

People who happen to have a mental illness diagnosis, like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder or any of the other mental illnesses, family and friends of those who have a diagnosis of mental illness and maybe some of the people who feel they have all the right answers for them. 

Who is my Blog a Book Competition? 

I'm not sure it's a competition with other blog a book authors although anyone whose sales I might hurt might feel in a competition with the sales. 

How will I position myself in the Blog a Book or Mental Health Recovery market? 

Ya know, I am not totally sure what that means I hope it gets explored further. I know I want to write as a person who lived experience, one who has found answers for herself and wants to share them. So honestly and in an irreverent way.

How will I organize my book and thereby this Blog a Book blog? 

I'm not yet sure, I guess I need to map it out tomorrow. I like to use X-mind for that. I use the free version, but the paid version is something that I would like to get in the future. I have tried others, but like X-mind because the free version is so very helpful and easy to use. 

This project makes me both excited and nervous. I worry that I  won't be in Texas in November for the actual nanowrimo (National novel writers month) which for me is actually either Wnfin (Write nonfiction in November). There is a huge move that states that we need a name more like Nanonfiwrimo (National nonfiction writer's month) to be more a part of things. There is also a vlomo in November. One would think that one could spread the desire to be creative around a bit instead of shoving it in the same month as Thanksgiving, but that probably won't work. 

I'm not really arguing about a name either. I've had to listen to the patient, consumer, lived experience, client, csx, etc for way too many years now. It just all kind of sucks, people spending so much time on a label. 

For me it is all about the process of growing in my writing. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Marty's Manifesto: Making A Draft Plan From MI to MH

I was reading more from the blog; How to Blog a Book. 
and these points were brought out regarding blogging a book and the necessity of looking at blogging a book as a business person.... ) I'm kind of wondering if I can do that.) 

  1. Is my topic unique?

  2. Does what I have to say add value?

  3. Is there a market for this book?

  4. Who are my readers?

  5. What is my competition?

  6. How will I position myself in the market?

  7. What will I include in my blogged book?

  8. How will I organize the book (and, thereby, my blog)?

In some ways these points are a stumbling point to me. When I look at them I want to run away. I've always been afraid that one day life would happen and I would be like the king in the parable when the child pointed out that no one had told him that he had no clothes on.  

I have always been afraid. Fear; over-riding, pervasive fear is something that has seldom left me. My friends talk about becoming manic and doing wild and crazy things that I would have been afraid to try. I even had my daughter help pack my bike when I rode off on a motorcycle trip.  Yep that's quite an oxymoron. I can leave on a bike trip yet not be able to pack my luggage due to fear.

I am the one who will take everything, afraid of leaving home and having nothing. Afraid of being out of money and resources and being unable to replace them. A true fake, a traveller with no resources, a writer with no story, no place to run and no place to hide. Sometimes looking at anything can scare me. IN my life it seems like at times there are no good answers, absolutely none. 

So looking through a book in a business like way really scares me. What if I look and find that that my hope of writing a book is all just a pipe dream; a house of cards? What if there is more dream than substance to my dream?  What if I look and find that there can be no plan?

But deep breath in and out; here I go. Here is what  the blog, How to Blog a Book says I should look at: to look at my blog as a business person:I

  1. s my topic unique? No, but I do have a different point of view than many who choose to talk about recovery, especially a med free recovery.  
  2. Does what I have to say add value? Yes, I believe my unique point of view can add value. i know many mental health systems (some are awesome, some are less so) and my point of view can work in or out of a system. Many things out are an either-or kind of a thing. I don't believe my thoughts and point of view have to be an either or, I think they can be used regardless. 
  3. Is there a market for this book? There should be a market for this book. I care very much about disseminating information in ways that others don't. So many books about recovery take a view that one should blindly follow all professional advice or that one should forsake professional advice. The problem is that true informed choice needs to happen when it can. I'm not seeing that informed choice happen and would like to offer some options and thoughts to better help people recover.  
  4. Who are my readers? Well, I would hope people like peer support specialists, both certified and uncertified; family members who are looking to help their family member recover, persons who have a lived experience with having a mental illness (like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, schizo-affective disorder, depression, ADD/ADHD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), professionals, etc. 
  5. What is my competition? I am not sure. There are books out there that talk about a personal journey of recovery, many memoirs, but I am not sure that I want to write mine as a memoir. There are the WRAP books, the Mary Ellen Copeland book series, but from her being unhappy with me, I am not at all sure that we have the same point of view. There is Pathways to Recovery, a book I really, really like but it doesn't cover much about informed choice well. I'll research some more. 
  6. How will I position myself in the market? As a person who has spent 27 years searching for recovery and how much of it was wasted by what I didn't know because of a lack of informed choice and how much becoming informed can really help one's relationships, one's treatment and one's quality of life. 
  7. What will I include in my blogged book-not sure, just starting researching things  
  8. How will I organize my blogged book? Hmm, again not sure, just now starting to think on what I might want to put in it. I have some ideas, but some are nebulous right now. 
Looking at all those points and thoughts makes me want to head out for a box of Milk Duds cause I am after all, a Milk Dud Writer.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Marty's Manifesto; From Mental Illness to Mental Health

This blog is where I am blogging a book. We are still searching for a title. I have part of it, but am fumbling to find the sub title. I have thought about starting so many books that I haven't finished, the anxiety of success drives me away.

I started researching how to better blog a book on the blog, How to Blog a Book. She used that blog to blog the book a book with the same name. It's got some good stuff in it. I was pleased to see that the blog still seems to be up. There are a lot of authors that pull down the posts after the book is published, hoping to not lose money.

  <----paperback        Kindle---->  

Part of the reason I have chosen to write this book now is that many of my friends are looking at trying something in their recovery journey that I was forced to try many years ago. I put an answer or two on Facebook here and maybe an answer on Facebook there, but little that I have written is gathered in one place. People are looking to further their recovery journeys, some wanting to take fewer meds, some wanting to stop taking meds and others want to just find better coping skills, etc. 

Part of the problem becomes when people don't want to look at how to safely get off meds or even discuss what one needs to look at or how and where to find information that can be helpful. There are so many people saying things like, the meds are killing you, get off the meds, but not really offering any good help on how to do it. The radical fringe can be of great help but sometimes they don't help. And sometimes their answers are skewed with the get off the meds, get off the meds, or even the you aren't really in recovery if you don't get off the meds. 

I've been med free for about 10 years now. At times that path was incredibly rocky. Ten years ago there wasn't as much information available. And at times, people didn't want to share it with me. I asked people questions and often got the "I figured it out and you can too" answer. They were right. I did figure out the answers for me.  At the same time, it took 8-9 years longer than it might have. 

I am often asked do you think everyone should get off their psych meds? No, that's not something I think about everybody. If you are on psych meds and they are giving you or helping you get the life a you want to live, I would think twice about why one would want to get off of the meds. The psych meds weren't doing that for me. I personally didn't have anything close to a life that I wanted to live in. 

For years I have chosen to give the answers I have found away, but when that happens some of my answers end up being incredibly disjointed. I answer questions when they are asked, but sometimes figuring out what to answer in a concise answer can be tough. 

My audience is incredibly limited, even with 2000 friends on Facebook. So I want to share some of the answers I have found that were helpful to me. Some is what I do. Some things I only try to do. Some is what I found. Some is about what worked and what didn't work. It's not always easy to do what I need or have to do to stay well.  

For some people writing means things like a pad of paper and a Bic fine point pen. Those don't work well for me when writing nonfiction. It's much easier to write non-fiction when one has a computer to do research. I was once told that one could do research in a library, but so often it takes so long for a library to get a book in on the subject that I need to do research on that I can't remember why and what I wanted to search for in the first place. 

When one uses a computer to do research, now there are so many more answers available than there were 10-22 years ago when I started searching for ways to get better. New research, different reporting and much better communication systems. There are also many answers now that weren't available to non-professional people searching for answers. In the past, answers were locked in closed libraries, in expensive books and in medical journals that only licensed professionals had access to.

So welcome. Sit back and read a spell. I think that the title to the book will be:

Marty's Manifesto; From Mental Illness to Mental Health, an Unnecessarily, Painfully Slow, Ambling, Maundering Journey.