When I posted last week about what I’ve learned in this now almost two-year book project, I had the feeling I was forgetting something. It took a day, but it finally popped into my head:
I forgot to tell what I’ve learned about writing.
Last week I concentrated on the grief aspect, the subject matter, the people I interviewed (not that there’s anything wrong with that). But this is my first book, and I’m learning by doing. Some things have come easily; some not so easily.
I knew why I was writing the book. In its simplest form, I was keeping a promise to my friend, Delle. What was harder was coming to terms with who was writing the book and what it could accomplish.
It may seem odd to wonder who was writing the book. I’m writing it alone, no co-authors, and no ghost writers (except for Delle). But part of the process of pitching your book is explaining why you are the best person to write your book. At times, my insecurity about my answer has shown through.
What I finally decided was that what caused me to feel insecure was actually my greatest strength: I’m not a professional. My book is not a clinical textbook, meant for the classroom or therapeutic setting. It’s a book for non-professionals like me: a way for them to have their grief respected, to no longer feel alone or dismissed, and a place to learn about other people’s incredible friends.
I had in mind originally that this would be a quiet little book that would appeal to a few people. I learned that it’s not little or quiet; and that if it does the things I just mentioned, it could help people.
Again, I’m not a bereavement professional. But I’ve finally come to terms with the possibility that you don’t have to be a psychologist to help those who grieve.
So, apparently you can teach an old dog new tricks, because I’ve learned a lot in this process. With any luck – actually, with a lot of luck – the book will be “done” in the next 6 weeks or so.
By then I’m sure I will have learned much more.