Ongoing Recovery — Blog Post #2
As I volunteered more often at the railway, and as I saw what was needed, I did offer to help with things that interested me. I was told that they needed someone to make presentations at the membership meetings and I offered to do so. I got no response. That was ok. Another bad habit is that anything I think of doing I have to do or else I have wasted a good idea and have failed to complete a task. It is a good thing to continue to have ideas for projects, but I must not look at each idea as a new commitment.
During November of 2014 I noticed that I was feeling really good from time to time. It wasn’t as strong as the serenity I described earlier, closer to the end of therapy, but it was noticeable. I felt that things were good and that I didn’t have anything to worry about. I think this is more contentment than serenity. I felt good about what I was doing as opposed to being relieved that I wasn’t feeling bad.
I felt content once while donating blood and again while writing. I was editing my manuscript and it was bringing back a lot of memories and the emotions that come with them. At one point I had to stop because my eyes were full of tears. It is hard to know, until you do it, how much it helps to write down what you experienced. It helps to know that when I need to remember what happened to me, I can, I don’t have to worry that I’m forgetting how I got here.
I noticed that I was feeling good, content, frequently. It wasn’t difficult to feel good, which means that if I was upset about something it was easy for me to focus on all the things I was getting to do, that I liked, that the upset faded quickly. I was able to manage being upset. I don’t pretend that I don’t still get upset, but it doesn’t last as long and doesn’t bring the impact it used to.
During December of 2014 I decided my manuscript was ready to be seen by others. I wanted Elsie to see it, if she was interested, so I wrote a letter to her and dropped it off at her office. While I had been looking up various questions about getting published I found the website of a professional editor and I emailed her a list of questions as well. This felt good because it meant I was moving forward with publishing what I had written. My book was becoming more real.
I made an appointment to Skype with the professional editor I had found. During our discussion, she told me that my manuscript probably wasn’t suited to traditional publishers, which wasn’t a shock to me. You can’t put a hundred thousand words together without caring about what you are writing, so it doesn’t feel good when you have to face the fact that what you have done probably doesn’t matter to very many people. But I knew that this was part of the process of actually getting published. You won’t get hurt if you never put your work out there.
She also told me that whether I was able to get picked up by a traditional publisher or not, in the modern world, it was up to the author to self-promote their work. A publisher might help, but in most cases, they have so many books they are working on that none of them get a lot of attention. To this end, she told me I needed to consider creating a website to promote my work. I had been so excited to finish my manuscript, the thought of having to start a whole new project that would take a lot of work was not what I wanted to hear, but I listened and started looking into what I would have to do next. She had recommended several specific books that describe the process of creating a website for an author and I ordered them.
Elsi responded to my letter. She had told me she wanted to read it when I was done and that she would prefer a printed copy. I printed a copy and took it to Elsie’s office. I had planned to drop it off but as I arrived she came out of her office and quickly recognized me. I wasn’t sure she would since it have been over four years since we last met. She asked if she could keep the printed manuscript, and I wanted her to. She told me she was proud of me and that she would read all of it.
I had been cleaning up around the house for a long time, years actually, to make room for new projects and to reduce all the stuff we will never use again since the boys won’t be here with us, at home, very much ever again. The time came to dispose of my oldest son’s bicycle, the one he rode when he was away at college. I donated it to someone that fixes old bikes and sells them. I was sad that his bike was gone. He would never want or need it again, but is still affected me. Another part of his time with me was gone.
I also asked my wife to read my manuscript. She was very supportive of my many projects, including this one. Since I was writing about things that I experienced in therapy and that included things that involved her and our sons, I wanted her to see what I had written before anyone else did. I wasn’t concerned that anything I had written would be upsetting to her, but I wanted her to know all that was in the manuscript just in case she wanted to comment on it. I also wanted her comments and corrections on anything that was factually wrong.
I had looked into setting up a website to promote my writing and after some research, I purchased two years of website hosting. I have had a very simple website for many years that had a list of my work related presentations. I moved all of this material over to my new website. It was a start, but there was a lot more to do. I knew that I didn’t know what I was doing, but, instead of getting depressed about how much I didn’t know, and not knowing when I would really get my book published, I started planning what to do next and doing it.
The week before Christmas I got the books I ordered. I looked at them for a while, but I needed to focus on creating my website, reading them would have to wait. It was another sign that I was making progress on my goal to publish my book, and I was finding many resources to help me accomplish my goal.