My Writing Story

My Writing Story

My story starts with shingles. A week later I learned I could die.

The shingles weren't the kind you put on your roof, but the kind which hurt. I woke up one Friday morning with severe pain in my eye. I had never quite experienced anything like this. It hurt, but not all the time. It was like someone was inside there trying to cut their way out with a knife.

It took about four days for the doctors to figure out what was wrong with me. The tests kept coming up negative and the physical symptoms at first were a little unclear. The weird part for me was when they tested my eye for shingles. They didn't say "shingles"; they said "herpes". I sat there in shock thinking to myself, "You can get herpes in the eye???? How does this happen?" It turns out shingles is the herpes virus.

When they finally diagnosed me with shingles in my eye, I started taking the meds and expected to be back on my feet in about a week. I hoped that the condition would not damage my eye as I had learned it can even cause blindness.

The next morning after the doctors finally figured it out, I sat at the breakfast table with my wife (and my two sons just a short distance away). I felt a little funny. I figured it was the pain meds they had given me for the "eye herpes". I thought I'd head over to our living room and sit down for a bit in the hopes of feeling a bit better. I found myself telling my wife, "I'm fading fast" and began to put my head down on the table.

I woke up five minutes later with my wife in a panic and talking to 911. It turned out I had had a seizure right in front of my sons (kind of traumatic... at least for them. As for me, I felt rested) and a matter of days later I was diagnosed with encephalitis.

As I look back, I had no idea at the time how serious encephalitis was. After my stay in the hospital and my weeks of carrying around an IV with some drug or other, I sat down with my neurologist and asked her if I was on track in my recovery. She told me that I was kind of a first for her. Most people were either dead or in a coma. I am grateful to God for my life!

My family visiting me in Isolation.

While sitting in the hospital and working through some of the life and death issues I faced I had the idea of writing a bedtime story for my boys. I thought if I wrote one out, it could be fun for me to just read it to them at a later date. Deep down inside, I also wondered if someone else would have to read it to them.

There, sitting in isolation in the hospital, I started to write. It ended up being a silly, fun adventure story about two boys named Liam and Ezra (my son's names) who have to fulfill a quest. Over the time in the hospital and while sitting at home recovering, I finished the story. I was a little shocked that it came out over 60,000 words.

When I was finished, my boys were absolutely thrilled with the story. I shared it with my wife. She loved it and encouraged me to get it published. I then had an idea for Book Two and wrote it over the next couple of months while trying to get book one edited and cleaned up a bit. As I've shared the books around, I've found both children and adults have enjoyed it immensely.

In the midst of all the writing and editing, I began to explore self-publishing and found the process to be painfully confusing. There are about four thousand different roads you can take and they all sound good when they are advertised or promoted. I also found there were a lot of blogs out there on self-publishing. Unfortunately, many of them come up short of actually helping an author know what to do (while some are really great). They would say things like, "Ingram is really helpful and is the way to go as they are one of the largest printers and distributers in the world." That's great! Now... where do I find Ingram? How do I navigate through the Ingram process? How do I solve the shipping problem? I can't offer a Print on Demand book and charge $15 shipping per book... can I? What about companies like Mill City Press and Friesen Press? Are they helpful?

I found it difficult to know what do...

As I've journeyed down this road, I've learned a lot. I also have found that you can spend a lot of money on self-publishing. I don't have the kind of money that some of these companies want, so I have set it as a goal to publish without spending much money.

 

My hope is that this blog will be a place for you, the self-publisher, to find clear direction on how to publish. I want to give practical advice and be a strong resource for self-publishers around the world!

At the time of writing this blog, I'm gearing up for book three. Book Two turned out to be two books in one so I'm going to split it up and turn it into two books (which means a HUGE amount of writing/revision). I also have Book Four outlined and have started a little bit on it.

I'm in the beta reading stage right now with Book One and the Editing Stage with Book Two. I am looking to publish Book One in the spring of 2018, followed by Book Two in the summer of 2018 and Book Three (and maybe Book Four) in the fall of 2018.

Just FYI... I don't think it's necessary to wait that long, it's just part of the marketing/publishing plan that I have developed (more on this as more blog posts show up!).

Shawn

P.S. I hate it when a story is not quite finished so let me wrap up the encephalitis part above. First... I survived. Second, I deal with a lot of ongoing issues. Encephalitis means your brain is inflamed. Think of it as having a swelled head... literally. It hurts and it's not good on the noggin'. I deal with some memory and other issues as I move forward, but I'm back at work (they tolerate me still) and my family seems to think I'm somewhat of the same person (they are easily fooled).

 

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2 thoughts on “My Writing Story

  1. Good account of you illness & ongoing recovery. i for 1 am very, very glad you survived. When do I get to read book 1?

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