April 04, 2007
Writing...When You Don't Think You Are By Angela Hoy | printable version
A couple of years ago, I decided that releasing books every single year just wasn't working for me. I thought that maybe planning and taking notes during odd years, and writing, editing and publishing during even years, might make more sense for me. If I hadn't written any new books for an entire year, I knew I'd be chomping at the bit to get some done the following year.
So, after taking 2005 "off" and not releasing any new books at all, I had grand plans in 2006, and I was excited. I planned to write three books, or at least write two books and revise and re-release an old one. We also planned to take a long summer trip, and, at the last minute (seriously!), planned to get pregnant with our fifth (and last) child. Fortunately, for me anyway, it's way easier to make and have a baby than it is to write a book. It only took a few days to get pregnant...and it happened on the long summer trip (at a Yogi Bear campground in Wisconsin, if you're curious).
By the time we arrived back home from our six-week, multi-state RV trip. I was already taking prenatal vitamins and I scheduled my first prenatal check-up. I wanted to have the baby vaginally, after my previous c-section, but my doctor and local hospital resisted Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC). I was stunned. The next few months were a roller coaster of emotions, hormones, worry and frustration as we took serious steps to take our baby's birth into our own hands. Despite many obstacles, including Mason turning breech toward the end, we were successful. Mason was born the old fashioned way in a hospital in the next town. Unfortunately, Mason was hospitalized when he was just 12 days old (not because of the VBAC) and we had a few terribly stressful days. I was later diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after the ordeal (I am now healed and no longer on medication). Then, fall came, and relatives wanted to come to town to meet Mason, and then Thanksgiving was here, and then Christmas...And, one day I realized...2006 was over and, while I'd done some planning and even some writing, I hadn't released one book the entire year.
I wasn't too hard on myself. I admit it was one of the most stressful years of our lives. But, still, I felt like I'd let myself and my family down (my book sales comprise a nice chunk of income for us each year). So, on January 1st, I determined that in 2007, which was supposed to be my off year, I would NOT be taking the year off.
On the day the doctor's nurse told us he'd "never allow a VBAC", Richard and I started researching the issue and, when I discovered how prevalent the problem is, not only in the U.S., but also worldwide, I started blogging our experiences. I also, at that time, started collecting stories from other VBAC moms. As each mom sent in her story, I'd mail her a check and then I'd edit that story, and put it into a big MSWord file. The last thing to add would be my story. I only prayed we'd be successful! We did joke that it would be pretty weird if I was the only one in the book who didn't end up having a VBAC.
In January, 2007, determined to get back on track, I dug back into my research, and realized everything we'd experienced during our ordeal was already written! I'd blogged frequently during our hunt for a doctor that would allow a VBAC. Toward the end, I blogged every few days as Mason's due date approached, sharing false labor tales and our good-natured frustration as Mason's due date came and went. After Mason was born, I blogged about his birth in great detail. And, when Mason was hospitalized, I blogged that, too. When I copied and pasted all my blog posts into a text file, I realized my story was already there! I just had to edit it down to a reasonable length. When you're writing a little bit each day, or even each week, it's way too easy! I felt like the book wrote itself!
I read through the entire book two more times, looking for oopses (yes, I found plenty). I cleaned up the formatting, added an index, etc. and sent the cover designer, Julie Sartain, all the baby photos I'd asked the contributors to send in. She created a beautiful cover that features a collage of the babies' photos. It's precious!
When the first print galley arrived a couple of weeks ago, I got that teary-eyed feeling (that happens everytime I hold one of my new books). I was very proud, knowing this book will help other women whose doctors are forcing them to undergo major, and often unnecessary, surgery...often for the doctor's and hospital's own convenience and profits.
We ordered 40 copies and I sent out the contributors' copies (everybody who contributes to one of my books gets paid AND gets a free copy) while Richard started sending out review copies. He's now working on the marketing plan for the book.
It's now the first week of April and book number one is finished. I only have two more to go before the end of the year! I'm already hard at work on the second one and it's coming along quite nicely. Richard, Zach, Matt, and I all have a weekly meeting and I now make myself report to everyone what I've accomplished on the current book each week. Knowing other people are counting me to finish is a huge incentive for me.
And, when I'm bored, I find my thoughts drifting to the third book. I even find myself typing sentences in my mind. So, that one's already under way, too. I realized just last night that I'm constantly writing...even when I don't know I am.
I'll let you know how it goes!
You see the cute cover and read a free excerpt of DON'T CUT ME AGAIN! True Stories About Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC) at: http://www.booklocker.com/books/2845.html
Angela Hoy is the co-owner of WritersWeekly.com and BookLocker. WritersWeekly.com is the free marketing emag for writers, featuring new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday. According to attorney Mark Levine, attorney and author of The Fine Print, BookLocker is one of the top-rated POD publishers in the industry.
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