The joys (or not) of writing a book

snoopy_writingThat’s been me the last few months, between completing work for the University of Wollongong, work with Alzheimer’s Australia, and then writing a book. Some of you already have heard via twitter or Facebook I finally submitted my manuscript for my first book about dementia at 2pm last Friday. I felt emotionally and physically drained afterwards, as if I had been run over by a truck. Then at about 5pm, I realised there was one chapter I had not inserted in the final draft I had sent to Jessica Kingsley Publishers in London… Bloody hell was all I could say!

Why this happened is I had written each individual chapter as a word document because when I had begun writing this book I found trying to work with too many pages totally unmanageable. It was easier for me to do it that way, especially bas writing one article (or chapter) was not too daunting, whereas writing a whole book is terrifying and daunting. So I had spent a few days editing and collating all of the chapters, pushed send, then realised I had forgotten a really important. A quick tweet to Jessica and Rachel at JKP, who said no stress, send it over the weekend. Phew!

Of course, as this weekend has panned out, I went back into ‘writing and thinking’ mode, and have added more than one chapter, and edited a lot of sections. It obviously needed the editing, and I ope the extra topics make it a more complete book. I’ve still left a few out, such as the changes to intimacy and sexuality of people with dementia, which I’ve only ever seen or heard spoken about by family carers and professionals. It remains hard for me to imagine how they really could know what it’s like for us, without asking us.

Anyway, draft number … well, over 250 drafts since I collated off of the chapters … is finally in, submitted as FINAL 7! I’ve had to send it to a few colleagues and friends who will hopefully like it enough to honour me by writing a Foreword each… I’m very relieved feedback so far has been very positive. I have had a dream to write a book since my early teens, and am rather happy to say, that one is now ticked off the bucket list!

The challenge now, will be to stop, as already, I have started to plan and visualise at least three more books, as many of the topics in this one I have skimmed over, and they need a much deeper exploration. Topics such as sexuality, and BPSD, and the children of younger onset dementia deserve far more time and research, but something for me to keep busy with that’s for sure.

The following is a list of about half of the chapter headings; as I did not insert a Table of Contents into the final draft, and have not made the effort to count how many chapter there are, and there well are over 85,000 words, I have no idea how many more there are! Shibley Rahman can probably help me with that!!! xox

There will be Forewords by Dr Shibley Rahman and three others, who I will confirm once they have read and agreed to do them, plus the book begins with a Prologue or Introduction before the chapters, and I have also written a poem to precede most chapters.

  1. My diagnosis (still waiting on Dr Casse!)
  2. Younger onset dementia (YOD)
  3. The impact on children of YOD
  4. Early vs delayed diagnosis
  5. Why me, why this, why now?
  6. The early days
  7. Thank you Richard Taylor
  8. The impact of younger onset dementia
  9. Myths of dementia
  10. Prescribed Disengagement
  11. Dementia as a disAbility
  12. Stigma and dementia
  13. Language and dementia
  14. Human rights in aged and dementia care
  15. Driving and dementia

22 thoughts on “The joys (or not) of writing a book

  1. Really looking forward to reading your book Kate!! Huge well done for completing it. I’ve always wanted to write a book, and Graham keeps dropping hints that he hopes I will write one soon, but I can’t imagine how I would find the time. As you say, the thought of writing a whole book is terrifying and daunting, but I’ve made a note about your one chapter at a time idea, that makes it feel a bit less scary!! Both you and Shibs amaze me with your ability to complete the writing of a WHOLE book. Hope I may join you both one day!! 🙂 xx

    • I feel particularly lazy next to him… I think it is his 5th, and another on the way! And yes, the chapter at a time, as individual Word documents, made it seem so much more achievable, although putting to together at the end and making sense of it was a challenge, but that is what a publisher is for!! xx

  2. Hi Kate,

    Many congratulations on this fantastic achievement, I hope your book will be available in England to buy.
    My colleague Mike who works with me for the NHS and has been living with his diagnosis for seven years is considering putting pen to paper, I hope hearing your news will spur him on.

  3. My goodness Kate, you’re a relentless trailblazer who never ceases to surprise me! This past year you’ve (just!) managed to complete your master’s degree, become an ambassador for the Australian Alzheimer’s Ass. AND you wrote a book?! And I am not counting the wide variety of presentations you gave in Australia and elsewhere in the world, your daily blogging and twitting, your poetry writing, etc etc etc. How do you do it? I am serious Kate, I am in awe… You go girl!
    But most of all, I am forever grateful for your precious advocacy work which guides and inspires me every day. And now I can’t wait to read your book!
    With my deepest admiration as always, greetings from Italy 🙂

  4. I’m glad you got over the hiccup!!

    About the book you’d like to write about children of YOD parents ……. perhaps you could reduce the amount of work you did by mainly making it a book of personal stories of the childrren themselves. So you’d have to find them and ask them to make contributions.

    One thing about this though ……. personal stories often appear online, so it might be more suited to a website of personal stories rather than a book of personal stories. Plus maybe you’d like to add personal stories of the YOD patients themselves too. Sounds like something for a website though.

    Good luck with all your projects!! You’re “superwoman”!!!!

  5. Huge Congratulations Kate – I really can’t wait to order and read it – I learn so much from reading your blogs. Get it out there asap JKP!

  6. Well done Kate! That’s a tremendous achievement. I spent years writing a novel; found an agent & am now waiting on a publisher, but STILL not happy with book. You have done it all (well almost). I’ve realised that writing is something that’s never finished … & could almost always, in its writer’s eyes, be improved. Huge congratulations in order! xox

  7. And I for one am so looking forward to this book Kate, and those that follow! Congratulations just doesn’t seem enough. I am so very happy for you, and for people with dementia worldwide, and for all of us who will learn from it. Well done! x

  8. Congratulations – a wonderful dream completed, and I look forward to reading your book, Your blog has been missed, but I’m sure we readers all understood your need for a break. I heard a wonderful proverb the other day – ‘what a beautiful day it is to do nothing – and then take a rest’. I think it was a hint.

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