I have dreamed of having a book published since high school. Through some ups and downs I wrote a book, and last Sunday it was published on Amazon. That day I ordered 100 copies of my books for my book launch party on August 17. I was flying high like a bird soaring above the treetops. Amazon said my books wouldn’t arrive until between August 8 and 10. It seemed so far away. Could I wait that long to hold my very first published book? Holding my book would make my dream coming true even more real.
At times in my life, I thought the dream of publishing a book would never come true. When I was at the bottom of the dark hole of my mental illness, I couldn’t write. I gave up on my dream while I struggled with the darkness that engulfed me. Then when I did reach recovery, I tried to write a book, but I failed. I feared my dream would never come true. I thought maybe I wasn’t meant to write a book and that I could only write short stories. For a while I lost hope in my dream. I gave up trying to write a book and focused on short pieces of writing.
I was told by several people when you’re struggling with mental illness dreams are impossible to fulfill. This flared the determination in me that got me through school. In school, teachers and classmates said I couldn’t read or pass classes on my own. This stirred up a determination to prove them wrong and I did. I decided if I could prove them wrong in school, I could do the same as an adult with mental illness.
In college I wrote a column called “Childhood” for a local newspaper about growing up around the family garage. For years I wanted to do more with the stories about the garage days. At a writers group called Pennwriters, I told them about my column and possibly turning the stories into a book. They thought it was a great idea. I thought about the family garage and how it helped me deal with the bullying I faced in school. Before I knew it, I had an idea for my book. I just needed to write it.
For four years I wrote my book. I relived the bullying I faced at school and had to take breaks from writing because it hurt too much. Sometimes I went for a week or two without writing. Then I struggled with self-doubt. I thought my writing sucked and there was no way I could a write my book. I wanted to quit several times. My husband encouraged me and insisted I keep writing. Before going to bed at night, he’d instruct me to write and when I came to bed, he’d ask me how many pages I had written. Each time I threatened to give up, he reminded me that I’m not a quitter.
I fought with my self-doubt, I struggled with old wounds being opened, and I relived memories that I thought I had buried, but yet I continued to write and grow as a writer. After four years I finished my book, but then came rewriting and editing. Rewriting and editing took another year. My dream seemed like it was miles away. After the editing was done, there were beta readers who read through the manuscript looking for errors which involved more editing. Then I thought my book was ready and I sent it to be formatted, but the lady formatting it found more mistakes and I had to have it proofread. Having my book published dangled before me, but still seemed out of reach.
Last Sunday my book was finally published on Amazon and my dream came true. To make my dream final would be to hold my own book in my hand. That would be a two week wait, or so I thought. On Saturday I called my husband on my break. He told me he had exciting news for me: my books had arrived. I couldn’t wait to finish my workday.
As soon as I got home, I opened one of the boxes and picked out one of my books. It was the most amazing feeling I have ever felt. I felt like I was in a dream. I was holding my book, the book I wrote with my name on it. I can’t explain how wonderful that felt.
In school they said I would never be able to read, and I’d end up on welfare, and now I’m a published author. I was told with mental illness I wouldn’t be able to make my dreams come true, and yet I did make my dream come true. Dreams can come true no matter what disability you have or illness you are struggling with. If you have a dream, don’t let anything stand in your way of making it come true.
Because of my determination to make my dream come true, I’m dancing in the light of recovery.