This has been a positive week in respect of my book, which will be published by Trigger Press exactly three months from today.
The manuscript has gone through its final edit and is now winging its merry way to the proof reader and typesetter. The photos I wanted to include have been accepted (even though I’m in most of them), and hopefully I can relax a little now – because I must admit I’ve found the process quite stressful.
It’s difficult enough recalling and reliving past memories, and committing the emotion behind those memories to paper is something that was a constant challenge. There were a couple of occasions when I dipped quite badly; no matter how hard you try to be objective about what you’re writing, there are moments when it really hits home that the words are telling the story of your life. It’s a massive emotional investment and it’s perhaps no surprise that I have questioned whether or not I was doing the right thing.
I suppose the answer will become clear over time, but the biggest reason for writing the book will always be the hope that someone somewhere will read it and recognise something – whether it be in themself, a friend, relative or maybe even a colleague – and find the strength to talk or ask for help.
That said I am conscious that those closest to me, people I love, may find parts of the story tough to read. It took a long time for me to feel strong enough to talk openly about my mental health; but whatever may have happened over the years, it’s down to the love and support of those who mean the most to be that I can now tell a story that may perhaps touch or inspire someone else. In a sense, it’s almost a celebration of my amazing parents and wonderful wife – and the book is dedicated to them, because without them I couldn’t have come this far.
Another thing that I hadn’t fully considered or appreciated was how I would be affected by changes, comments and questions during the editing process. Writing about a difficult period in your life is testing enough without being asked to expand on a certain point, or give greater clarity on just how you were feeling. I became very protective, maybe even defensive at times, which probably didn’t make me the easiest person to work with, but it’s really hard to fully control natural and sometimes quite raw reactions to a totally new situation.
I can also appreciate how toygh the process must have been for Stephanie, my editor. Her job is to mould 60-odd thousand words into a book that fulfils the aims of Trigger Press (and the Shaw Mind Foundation), whilst also being supportive of the author behind the story. What has become clear is Stephanie and her colleagues are blessed with understanding, empathy and care to match their technical skills. It is a positive and powerful combination from which future Trigger Press authors can draw some confidence and comfort…
On a lighter note, this caricature has been designed by Stephanie Smith (https://www.stephssketches.co.uk/) to mark the publication of “Today, Just Like Yesterday”. The idea is that prints will be given away (possibly at the book launch) – just something a little bit different. What do you think?
I think that’s just about all for now, except for the perhaps inevitable plug should you wish to pre-order the book…
Richard... Jack of some trades... you can guess the rest