What motivates a writer to write a book? It could be to share a story, educate/help the reader, or to entertain. I wrote both my books to support readers, raise awareness for a growing issue, increase understanding, and also to personally cope.
Before becoming a twice-published book author, I was a former co-caregiver (working with my two sisters) for my own aging parents (Mom had Parkinson’s disease and Leukemia while Dad had Alzheimer’s disease). This was not a job I was expecting or prepared for and it came with a steep learning curve. Not only did I face a quick education about eldercare, I also had to deal with the physical, mental, emotional, and financial impacts of caregiving – it is certainly challenging to helplessly watch your parents decline.
Standing by as Dad’s Alzheimer’s disease progressed was heart wrenching. He not only forgot his own life and career but also me as his only son (I often say that I lost Dad twice–once when he didn’t recognize me anymore and once again when he passed away). As a means of managing my mounting stress, I turned to writing. Writing provided me a safe means to privately – or publicly – share my thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Some of my stories have remained forever saved on my computer’s desktop while others were published in newspapers, magazines, and blogs; these same stories became the platform for my two books–the first titled “Caregiver’s Guide for Canadians”and the second titled “The Successful Caregiver’s Guide.”
Following the publication of both my books, I have turned from author to promoter. While speaking about oneself and/or one’s own work can prove to be difficult for introverted writers, it is necessary as a writer is his/her own best salesperson. One of my favourite means of promotion is through bookstore signings where I will visit a bookstore for several hours and meet with store customers. My initial book signings proved to be quite nerve-wracking (as I felt like a fish in a fishbowl for all to see); however, I have become more comfortable and confident with personally meeting others who are preparing for caring, currently working as a caregiver, or recovering from a previous caregiving journey and have found these times to be valuable . . . I not only hear many touching stories from those I meet, but also high praise for what I have written.
Feedback on both my books has included “Superbly written,” “A lifesaver for anyone who is caring for elderly parents,” and “A wonderful, concise, practical book.” While writers may “sit”on a story and revisit it repeatedly to tweak the wording (meaning a story may never become published . . .), hearing from many readers about how helpful my books have been to them and their families, I am at peace with what I have written and have no regrets. I like to think that my father, a retired English Professor, would have been very proud of his only son’s writing accomplishments. I had never imagined writing a book – let alone two books! – but I am very pleased that I found the strength and courage to do this, as well as a publisher who has continually supported me and believed in the idea.