I first published Nickie's Nook: Sharing the Journey?
Please forgive the navel gazing while I do some reflecting, I don't know who will be interested in these observations, but I do think that it's a good thing to reflect back on a milestone like this.
Writing a book is one of those things which people tend to say "I'd like to do that some day", but many times, they don't actually do it. I think we're seeing an improvement in the availability of publishing with services like
which make publishing possible for those of us who, for whatever reason, weren't comfortable with the traditional model of publishing. I've enjoyed the journey of writing, publishing and marketing
Nickie's Nook: Sharing the Journey
and I think it's a journey everyone should get to take if they want to. The written word is a powerful tool, and it's good to see others pick up the pen and paper, slate and stylus, BrailleNote, laptop, tape recorder or cell phone and write.
I think one of the hardest things about being published is the marketing aspect of trying to get the book into as many hands as possible. There are lots of reasons why I want the book to be read widely. For one thing, I worked hard on the book, because I had a message I wanted to share, well, to be honest, several messages. When you care deeply enough about a cause, a message or a story to go through the extensive writing, editing and publishing process, it shows that the topic is incredibly important. I want to spread awareness, provide encouragement, make people laugh and generally share my perspective. There is also the desire to contribute more to charities and causes which help people who are blind or people who are in pain. Both causes are near and dear to my heart and I want to support them. And, if I'm completely honest, the vein part of me wants to be a successful author.
The challenge with these desires is that I am not good at saying "Look what I did! Come buy it!" Frequently. It's hard for me to market. It's hard for me to be able to acknowledge that I can do good things and that (gasp) I might even have skills. I tend to just let myself fade into the background. So I probably don't even see or take advantage of the opportunities which are right in front of me. This is something I'm working on, it ties in with my anxiety challenges, but I note it here because it has been a large part of my experience. I'm not sure how to solve this problem. Maybe if someone ever figures out how to cure anxiety it won't be a problem, but I think that until then, self-awareness is the first step to solving the problem. Now I just need to figure out how to take the next step.
There have been a lot of positive aspects of being published too. The book has really helped me to help others understand how I see the world, and it's a great tool for advocacy. And even though I'm a writer, I don't know how to describe the wonderful high I get from hearing that someone enjoyed the book.
Finally, I have to admit that I have used the fact that I've written a book to help myself feel more confident in situations. When a task seems to be impossible, when I feel like I'll never amount to anything and when I question my own knowledge in a certain area, I can sometimes lean on the "I wrote a book about this" thought to give me a little bit more confidence.
Moving on to a more professional perspective, this year has also caused me to think about my practice as a social worker and how I might fit writing into that practice. I feel that my writing can be a tool at all levels of the integrative model. On an indevidual level, writing helps me contemplate theories, values, methods and challenging situations which might come up in practice. I use writing to help me be more aware of how my own life experience might be affecting how I view a client's situation, for example. As I 've said before, writing is a powerful tool. Another way in which I use writing on an individual level is in self-care. Finally, I can use writing to create resources for others or other individuals, for example, I could create a guide to chronic pain management, with a specific focus on social work values and goals to help people in pain understand their options. These interventions can have a powerful impact.
On a mezzo, or group level, writing could be used to develop resources for health care professionals to address challenges. Writing can persuade others to make neeeded changes to better serve my clients,. In treatment groups, I could use writing to help my clients express their feelings and perspectives.
Finally, on a macro level, the persuasive power of writing can shine through. Letters to representatives, letters to the editor, essays, blog posts and articles can sometimes help to make needed changes on a large scale.
In other words, writing is going to be vital to my work as a social worker, and there will be many skills and lessons which transfer from the book to the briefcase.
I hope this gives you an idea of what I'm thinking about with the book. It's been a great year, and I sincerely hope it will continue to be a great experience. If you haven't already joined in the journey, please consider it. Also, don't forget that if you review the book on your blog, and your blog is resonably ethical and not just spam, I will link to you in the sidebar. If you know of a link I'm missing, let me know.