On Writing

A ‘to do’ list, and anticipating great things for 2018..

I haven’t updated WordPress for a couple of weeks now. Events on the ground have been busy enough that I haven’t had a chance to even make a list of all the things I need to do, let alone actually begin tackling that list.

So, I’m hoping this post will function to consolidate my ideas into a things-I-actually-need-to-DO-to-ACHIEVE-the-things-I-want-to-achieve list.

It has been an eventful and encouraging couple of weeks. Lots of good things have been happening, and I am noticing the effects of this positivity more and more. Work is going really well. My position of assistant support worker is safe up until the end of April, and this means I don’t need to start looking for another job until around the beginning of March.

I’m currently debating whether to stay within the organisation I’m working for- just move to a different scheme within it- or move on from Thames Reach entirely.

I’m conflicted, because although I really enjoy the job I’m currently doing, I wonder whether it would be good for me to move out of my comfort zone, so to speak. I’m not sure whether I’d gain more from moving into a different working environment, meeting new people and engaging with new experiences and issues.

Or, whether the more sensible option is to stay where I am, or at least stay within the homelessness “sector,” and spend more time building up greater knowledge, and a broader and deeper understanding of the relevant issues and practises.

I don’t have to make up my mind quite yet though; so this is something I will be pondering over the next month, and will subsequently be no. 1 on my list- research other job roles, do pro’s and con’s list. 

Moving on, and my book is coming along nicely. I sent it out to be read by another beta reader, and his positive feedback was greatly appreciated.

I did have a slight melt-down that I’d lost sight of my original vision for the book; that I’d altered it to the point that it had lost it’s message. But I’ve been reassured that this hasn’t happened, and that whilst it might be a little more developed than the first draft initially was, it still presents the ideas and advice pertinent to recovery from severe mental illness in a clear and concise way. It’s still engaging and honest.

So I have done away with the demons which were filling me with doubt for a little while, and am back editing. I hope that once this edit is completed I will be ready to send it off to agents; and in anticipation of this I am now in the process of contacting all the old social workers and doctors whose names I can remember, to see if they would mind reading through a couple of chapters and giving me some feedback.

One has already come back to me and said that he would- he was one of two social workers I worked with when I was first diagnosed, and was a source of brilliant support for me when I needed it the most. His opinion will be greatly appreciated, and so, no. 2 on my list will be, send chapters to social worker, and contact other health workers and doctors to see if they will read through it. No. 3 is continue editing book, and No. 4 is start researching relevant agents to send manuscript to.

The final preoccupation I have atm is something which is fairly new and fairly exciting for me. I have been accepted as an ambassador for the Mental Health Charity MQ, and whilst this isn’t a particularly massive achievement (I think they will let anyone do it if they’re passionate enough about mental health and mental illness issues, and agree with MQ’s vision and mandate), it means a lot to me because this is a role I could really put a lot into, and get a lot out of.

I have ideas coming out my ears about how mental illness should be approached, conceptualised and then engaged with, and theories about everything from the nature of mental health “conditions” themselves, to how therapies and treatments should function and operate. The role is really open; I can decided how much of my time I want to devote to it, and also how I want to interpret it.

However I could be invited to MQ fundraisers, asked to represent MQ at conferences and events, and eventually be set free to promote my own agenda (as long as it coexists peacefully with MQ’s own agenda.. which is basically to drastically increase research into all aspects of Mental illness, in order to understand it’s nature better, and better grasp how to treat it.)

I couldn’t agree more with what they feel needs to be done, and I applaud their vision and open acknowledgement of how much of a challenge lies ahead of them.

So no. 4 on my list is- compose a strategy to utilise this ambassador role well, so that I can support MQ in the important work they are doing, and also promote my own messages. This is all massively exciting, and I have big hopes and dreams for the next few months, and for 2018. I wonder whether MQ could potentially endorse my book in some fashion; that’s if it actually goes anywhere, and if the people at MQ read it and like it..

As I said, I have lots of dreams for this role and opportunity. But, for now, I will take my head out of the clouds, and finish with my list.

No. 5 is- explore and consolidate my own ideas regarding mental illness, in the context of what I could bring to MQ from my own mind and experience. And finally, no. 6 is- specifically ask doctors and social workers I contact, if they know of any agents or publishing houses who may be interested in publishing a “recovery from severe mental illness” style book.

Finally, as always happens when writing lists, other things which I’ve been meaning to focus on pop back into my head at the last moment. So, No. 7 is finish writing blog posts for MQ 

And that is all! Wish me luck! 🙂

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