Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Book Submissions - Author Suggestions
I got this today in my email and thought it sounded like a very good idea:
- I was wondering if you might want to offer "author guidelines", like what you want people to focus on (e.g. part 1- story, part 2- where you are now, part 3- how you cope, what you have learned-- I'm just making this up). Otherwise you may get stories all over the place (but again, maybe you want that, I don't know).
She also asked what kind of tone I want to set with the book. In thinking about this, I really want to be able to put out a positive book that will allow people to tell your stories, voice your frustration, anger, fear, depression, etc.. But I would life to also talk about how you have learned to live with your illness, what you do to overcome your limitations, what are some positive things about your illness (this is hard, but I really believe there are positives to every situation). I don't want to wallow in the fact that we have chronic illnesses or dwell in the negative, because we are so much more than our illnesses. We want people to read our stories and empathize and understand; not get disgusted and put the book down because it's so depressing, right?
I am working really hard at putting Toni Bernhard's lessons from How to be Sick into play in my own life. I am pacing myself, trying to live in the present moment, accepting that other people may have things going on in their own lives and it's not always about me, me, me...
That last one's a tough one, I know. Because don't we really always think it's about me, me, me? I know I do. And I've been very quick to rush to judgment when people don't act the way I expect them to or keep in touch the way I think they should. I'm learning to change the way I handle that situation and try to understand that other people have lives where things go wrong or that they might be just busy.
So, I think it would be a good idea to follow some kind of order in the way you are writing your stories and I think the suggestions in the first part of the email above are good. Tell me what happened (and you can include all the bad, negative things that you want here), tell me where you are now, and then tell me what you have learned from having a chronic, invisible illness and how you cope every day. It's okay that you have good days and bad and maybe some of you only have bad days. That's okay. This book is your voice and I want to hear it all.
Lastly, I know not everyone is a writer and I know that not all people have not gotten higher degrees or have focused on how they write. There will be a variety of people contributing to the book and I want people from all walks of life. I will be editing what you write, so if it's not perfect, that's okay. But please try to spell check and do the best you can with grammar. Please try to make your story cohesive and understandable. And please do your best with punctuation. It's much easier to edit something that is written carefully and thoughtfully and that has been proofread a couple of times by the author.
I appreciate every one of you who is willing to contribute to this project. I think it's high time that people with invisible illnesses tell their stories to anyone who will listen. Just because you can't see an illness does not mean it isn't real.