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When I read this quote my first thought was:

“Whoa…Sylvia Plath must have been manic when she wrote that!”

 

(Please note: this post was written before the Las Vegas tragedy.)

 

 

I know that things could be worse in my life.

Much, much worse.

Those of you familiar with my background know what events I’m referring to, but for those of you who are new to my blog, here’s the backstory:

I’ve been a revolving door hospital patient. I suffered from treatment-resistant bipolar depression for seven years, I’ve been suicidal, and I’ve had two rounds of electroconvulsive (ECT) therapy.

After all that, one would assume a writing rejection is not that big a deal.

Right?

Wrong.

This particular rejection really got to me. I thought my submission was good—it wasn’t amazing, but I felt it had merit. Despite the fact my submission focused on a rare mental illness, its content was relevant to readers with mood disorders of different kinds. The essay fit the editors’ specifications I had carefully perused. I had checked with the editors to make sure my topic would be appropriate and I got the go-ahead.

Here’s my rejection email:

Dear Dyane,

You are a horrible writer and geez – you need to do something else, anything else, like take up knitting, or create an herb window garden, or explore vegan cooking.

(Just kidding!)

Thanks so much for your submission to How the Light Gets In. After reading through entries, conferring, reading, and conferring more, we’re sorry to tell you that we won’t be including “The Deja vu Conversation” in the anthology. As writers, we know how much time and effort (not to mention gumption!) it takes to craft and submit a piece. Thank you for trusting us with it. We received an overwhelming amount of beautiful entries.

It was a nice problem to have. But also, it made the process of choosing very difficult. We sincerely appreciate you sharing your work with us. Also, thank you for adding your voice to the larger story of mental illness. It’s encouraging to see that there are many of us speaking up and helping to break the stigma that surrounds mental health. None of us are alone in our battles. 

Again, thank you for submitting and all the best as you move forward,

Kelley and Gillian

My take: they should have stopped the email after the first paragraph. The remainder seems saccharine and uses a cliché. I believe a rejection email should be brief and condescension-free unless it has specific feedback for the writer.

Everyone gets rejections – one of J.K. Rowling’s rejection letters said she should join a writing group!

 

I was especially vulnerable on Rejection Day because I had a cold. I get a nasty bug every October, although this year I was doing all I could to prevent it.

Because of my cold, I wasn’t able to get out with Lucy for our restorative, attitude-adjusting walks that almost always improve my mood.


Recently, I was inspired by my blogging friend Sara Gethin whose hit novel Not Thomas received very challenging criticism in the British daily newspaper The Guardian. While it wasn’t writing rejection per se, negative reviews have much in common with writing rejection.

She took the criticism in stride—she has such a great attitude, one I wish she could bottle and sell to me. Gethin’s situation was unique and I encourage you to read this post, part one, and this post, part two, about her experience being nominated for a fiercely competitive Reader’s Choice contest. 


 

I need to focus on something wonderful instead: the publication of my book on Tuesday! And guess what? My first case of my books arrives TODAY by 6:00 p.m.!!!!

I’m so excited!

I’ll be taking pictures of the books fresh out of the box. I feel like they’re my babies. (I know that’s weird, but it’s true.)

Please don’t forget to tell your friends, your social networks, and everyone else you know on this planet to buy Birth of a New Brain on Tuesday, October 10th. If at all possible, please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. I’ll be forever in your debt!

Have a good weekend, and thanks for reading!!!

Love,

Dyane


This collie looks so much like Lucy, it’s uncanny! I’m not getting the costume though. It got bad reviews, and I know Lucy would hate it.

Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder

With a foreword by perinatal psychiatrist and author Dr. Carol Henshaw,

will be published on TUESDAY, OCTOBER 10th – hurrah!

Until then, Birth of a New Brain is available on Amazon for Kindle and paperback pre-sales.

 

Is My Book Worthy of Being Published & More Redux

ImageI wrote this post in January, 2014, which seems like a lifetime ago. It was before I received my all-time favorite birthday gift. 

I’ve been sick the past couple days with a nasty cold/cough…

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While I’ve been stuck in bed, I revisited some of my oldest blog posts. Is My Book Worthy of Being Published? & More caught my eye. I wanted to share a revised edition of the post, and I hope you enjoy it!

These days I’m focusing on writing blog posts rather than completing my memoir. Unfortunately when I write blog posts I feel like I’m “cheating” on my book, if that makes any sense! Oh well – I could have worse problems, right?

Apart from feeling like I’m a cheater, I go through fits and starts about whether or not I even have a story worth publishing. 

For those of you writing books, do you feel the same way?

On the one hand, I would’ve appreciated reading a book about my particular diagnosis. As of now, there’s no book I can find that specifically addresses postpartum bipolar disorder. If that continues to be the case, it’s a blessing in disguise, since I want my book to stand out in the sea of ubiquitous bipolar memoirs.

Oftentimes when a writer covers a particular unusual topic, another writer halfway across the world (or even down the street) is writing about the same specialized subject  This happened with my husband’s book about a West Coast aviation pioneer named John J. Montgomery, a contemporary of the Wright Brothers. In all honesty Craig’s book was far superior than the other book in terms of writing quality. 😉 Additionally, Craig is John J. Montgomery’s great, great nephew, and he had access to amazing primary sources that no one else had.

TeamHarwood

Team Harwood prepping a case Craig’s books with protective plastic covers. The girls will sell them at his next book talk, a benefit for the Friends of the Library. Craig’s still in demand for presentations although his book was published in 2012! He has only had a few people fall asleep during his talks – one snored very loudly.

At this point, I’m in too deep to renounce finishing Birth of a New Brain, so I’m going to keep plugging away. 

UnknownOn a related note, I have a hobby that inspires me to not give up writing my book .  

When I wind down in the evening, I search my Kindle Fire’s Store using the keyword “bipolar”. Then I select the “Recently published” sort. I do a separate search and sort for “postpartum”. 

 

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KINDLE FIRE

 

I’ve noticed that more and more bipolar disorder and postpartum-related books are being published. (Note: This trend is much stronger now than it was in 2014!)  

I can tell at a glance that most of the bipolar-themed books I spot in the Kindle Store are unimpressive. Just from reading these books’ descriptions I notice the writing is inferior. To be blunt, these books (which are sometimes less than 40 pages long, yet sport titles such as All About Bipolar Disorder!) simply don’t contain many redeeming qualities!

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At 39 pages, I doubt this book is comprehensive. I sure as hell wouldn’t want Dr. Morrison for my doctor!

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Let me tell you all, quack, about, quack, quack, bipolar disorder!!!

Other books appear to be personal journals rather than books meticulously crafted for the public. (I know this because out of sheer curiosity I download free samples of those books; I love Kindle’s sample feature!)

Why do these observations motivate me to continue writing my book? Well, I might have just flamed the inferior quality of 90% of what gets published, but I do admire those writers for their chutzpah – for “just doing it”. If they can do it, why can’t I? 

Through my Kindle searches I also notice which publishers release mental health books, and then I dream of landing a publisher specializing in mental health issues such as New Harbinger (Update: they soundly rejected me) or Hay House.

When I feel down about taking forever to get my book done, I think of my husband Craig. His award-winning book Quest for Flight (University of Oklahoma Press) took seven years to write while he also worked full-time and was hit with my bipolar disorder illness, seven hospitalizations, and other crises. He wrote for fifteen minutes a day, usually before the rest of the family got up to distract him.

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I love the cover! 

 

I don’t want to take seven more years to finish Birth of a New Brain, but witnessing Craig’s slow, steady and successful path ha helped fire me up to continue writing my blog and return to working on my book soon.

 

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder will be published by Post Hill Press in Fall, 2017.

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