Friday, September 28, 2007

So what can you do with your writing?
"KL" left a comment yesterday saying that s/he has written a book/journal on her/his bipolar experience, and asking what to do with it. Here are some thoughts....

1) Have you shared any of it with others close to you? This is a very personal decision, of course, but you may want to think about how it would feel to allow others to read or listen to some of your words. In some cases, this can help a loved one, friend, doctor or therapist to better understand your experiences and concerns, and can even help you connect with those people. If you're feeling uncertain about this, think about starting by just sharing a page or two of your writing. Also, it may feel safest to begin by sharing with your mental health care professional, then discussing how it would be to share with others.

2) If you're thinking about sharing your work with a wider audience by publishing it in some form, you'll probably have the most luck by starting with small portions of your book, and by looking at specialized mental health publications or websites. The Awakenings Project (link at the right side of this page) accepts submissions of writing by mental health care consumers such as us for publication in their literary journal Awakenings. I've published some poetry there, and they put out a lovely magazine/journal. See the site or contact them about when the next issue will be published.

Keep your eye on the NAMI and DBSA websites and publications too (links at right). They sometimes offer contests for writing about mental illness. (Darn! NAMI's ended today.) (I think DBSA is still accepting art and film on depression and bipolar in a related contest.) Also, these two organizations often accept consumer's writing about their illness experience for their state or local newsletters, so get on the list for those or call and ask if they'll take submissions. I published an article in the California NAMI newsletter several months ago.

If you check around mental health websites, I think you'll find some places to share your words too, whether by publishing articles or by more informal journal postings. This can be a nice way to communicate with others coping with mood disorders. NOTE: If you find any good sites like this, please let me know! I'll be researching this soon for my upcoming book, Writing through the Darkness: Easing Your Depression with Paper and Pen, due out in spring next year. (OK, I had to get in a plug!)

Finally, you can start looking at publishing articles drawn from your journal in general-audience publications. Again, your best bet is to start with smaller ones, and work your way up.

KL and others, let me know what you do with your writing. It can be so valuable in helping both you and others you might decide to share it with.

Best regards,


Managing Depression said...

I like your site a lot. A lot of these tips have helped me overcome my personal battles. I am and will continue to be a frequent visitor of the site. Congratulations.

broke said...

Hi - Just to let you know...
I talk about writing and its therapeutic effects on the interview... although it could be pulled from the programme so I won't get too excited about media stardom!
Take care