How Many Books Am I Writing?

How Many Books Am I Writing?

So, up to last September, I copied and pasted blog posts into Scrivener with the intention of publishing them as a book. My old posts get lost in my archives. As I’ve mentioned before, Scrivener is a challenging writing software program, even for this lover of technology.

The brief introductory overview of my mental health journey is growing into a full blown memoir. Those old posts just can’t wait for me to write a full blown memoir. They want to get printed in ebook and paperback form now. They insist that I can work on the memoir once my mind is clear of them.

Though I have ancient history creating marketing collateral, websites, and newsletters, I have never formatted a book. Not only that, but for all its hype, I’m not loving Scrivener. I organized my posts and downloaded a draft ebook today to see what it looked like. Not horrible, but not what I want… At this point, I need to learn how to reformat the book.

Do I get those posts off my back and into print form? Do I focus on writing the memoir? I know that I can do both… but… I have to pace myself, prioritize my time, and focus my energy.

Wish me luck.

Playing with MailChimp. Not Writing.

Am I Writing? Nope. I'm playing with MailChimp. From Me To You.

What have I been doing all day? Working hard on my memoir? Fleshing out memories I’ve jotted down on a yellow legal pad and in emails to myself? Editing Chapter One with feedback I’ve been given? Starting my rough draft of Chapter Two?

No. Not even close.

Instead, I’ve created a popup to annoy you. I mean, to let you sign up for my spanking new email list. Honestly, I have no idea how I’ll use the list. Steep learning curve today.

Signing up for MailChimp, I realized that I have to provide a public mailing address. Not wanting to give my home address out to the public, I rented a mailbox (aka “Suite”) at a local business. With that new mailing address, I updated my California Marriage and Family Therapist license address online, further protecting my privacy (you all know how very private I am).

Next, I set up G Suite for my domain, so I can send emails from, rather than use my personal email. Headaches in getting Google verifications, again and again for variations of my URL.

Then more headaches in designing my MailChimp popup — going through multiple iterations, until I was happy with the formatting of both the mobile and desktop popups.

Did the popup work when you visited my site? Did it annoy you? Want to sign up? Please…

Quick Update

What’s Up?

What’s Up with Me?

This morning I woke up feeling sick to my stomach. Unlike my son, feeling crappy doesn’t keep me from eating nor do I sleep all day. Even though I was nauseated and loopy, I managed to finish my first chapter of my book. Working with Sarah Fader as my book coach starting last week, I’ve drawn up character sketches, a book outline, and a draft of the first chapter. The first chapter focuses on childhood up to eighth grade: born in San Francisco, five years in Saudi Arabia, two years in Massachusetts, ending the chapter in Rancho Palos Verdes. The second draft will begin with our move to Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. My goal is to have a working draft by the time I attend the Sunriver Writers’ Summit in late May.

Parenting a High Needs Chronically Ill Teen

My 17-year old son’s been sick and suffering from migraines (again, still, nothing new). He frequently gets ill, has had migraines since he was a toddler, and struggles with anxiety and depression.

Honestly, I’m exhausted trying to care for him, trying to take him to doctors’ appointments when he won’t or can’t drag himself out of bed, trying to get him to eat when he doesn’t feel well, trying to get him out of bed and to school. He’s been a very challenging kid to parent. Now he’s a young man — a sweet, highly intelligent, and handsome young man — but difficult to help, difficult to parent. I’ve tried. Oh, how I’ve tried.

Recently my husband took him to his psychiatrist (my son has an army of specialists). They agreed on lowering his topiramate dose. My son doesn’t like the negative cognitive side effects of topiramate, nicknamed “Dopamax.” When I took it as a mood stabilizer over a decade ago, I was a complete idiot. My son can’t find words or understand concepts as quickly as he once did. He complains that he used to read his Spanish vocabulary once and had it memorized. Now he has to read it multiple times. I told him, “Welcome to everyone else’s reality. Most people must study harder than you do.”

My son keeps hoping that he’ll outgrow the migraines, which he still may, for testosterone protects against migraines. He had asked to see an endocrinologist hoping he’d be prescribed testosterone, but the pediatric endocrinologist wouldn’t prescribe it. He just told Matthew that he had delayed puberty (late bloomer), and that he’d catch up.

When I heard that the psychiatrist again suggested lowering the topiramate dose, I emailed his neurologist who responded that it was a bad idea, for his migraines return whenever the dose is reduced. Got him back up to his therapeutic dose, but he’s still not 100%. Last night he threw up, as he did once last week. Migraines + viral illness = miserable son sleeping 24/7.

Intent to Write

I intend to write. I plan to finish my book. Yet, I keep avoiding it.

Here I sit in the Laguna Hills Community Center foyer, intending to write, to tackle my memoir and collection of short pieces from my blog.

I find myself stuck. Spend time on social media. Avoid the draft I have saved in Scrivener.

The pieces I’ve chosen to share as stand alone pieces documenting my blogging journal — those I’m comfortable with — at least for now. But, the cut and paste job I’ve done for the narrative introduction — that is a mess.

That cut and paste job I wonder if I should walk away from, or should I read the scraps, then write. Weaving duplicative snippets from various sources is more difficult (perhaps) than setting them aside and writing fresh prose.

Wish me well as I both avoid tackling this task, and tackle it. Late May, I’m going to a writers’ conference where I’ll be participating in the memoir track. I would like to have a completed draft of my book by then. That’s my goal.

Where Am I Going Now?

Wife Mother Writer Artist Advocate Activist Speaker Performer Passionate Empath

Originally written October 2015, a month before my mother had her stroke, before my life changed. Still settling into my new normal.

How do I describe myself? How do I best describe my blog? What has my blog become? What direction do I want to take it?

What direction is my life taking? Is my writing taking? Is my (dare-say) art or photography taking?

Back in the 90s when I registered my first corporate URL, I knew that some day, some year, some decade, I would register the URL I knew that I wanted to post my writing online.

I never envisioned as a community. Didn’t realize that I’d be conversing with others. Never imagined what it has become.