Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Friday, December 09, 2016

When a nonfiction book just wasn't working anymore

Several years ago, I was contacted by someone who was recovering from addiction. This person wanted to communicate with me about the goings-on in her life on her road to recovery and she wanted to communicate with me as she moved from one step to the next. She was recovering from a drug addiction and decided to keep in touch with me by sharing her experiences. I was so inspired by her story that I started writing a book about making positive changes in your life – as this woman had done. She was ultimately the person who inspired me to write this book.

Unfortunately, her story does not have a happy ending. Thankfully, she did not go back to being a drug addict, but the damage done by her addiction ravaged her health so terribly that she was no longer a functioning adult in society.

This turn of events made me seriously reconsider the book I started writing, which was pretty much based on her story and her progress in breaking free of addiction and living a brand new life. On one hand, I did not see her end result as a disaster. This is, unfortunately, what happens to many recovering addicts. Sometimes, they are not able to completely have a new life because of what their long-term addiction ended up doing to them mentally and physically. This is a very sad outcome for many recovering addicts. However, I was not about to abandon the book I started writing. I didn’t want to just drop it. I felt that it was an important book to continue working on. However, because things were different in the woman’s case now, I had to seriously reconsider just exactly what I was writing.

In the end, I decided to break the book I was working on into two books. The first book would be about taking care of personal negative issues – fear, anxiety, addiction and self-doubts – and the second book would be the one about creating a more healthier lifestyle.

Because the first book deals with some serious issues which I firmly believe would need the assistance of a professional, I decided that it would be a good idea to seek a co-author for the book. Specifically, someone trained to help someone overcome anxiety and addiction. The whole conquering fear thing and working on self-doubt areas are definitely subjects I can write about well, because I have a lot of experience with those two things, but I definitely felt the anxiety and addiction subjects needed a trained professional. So I am in the process of looking for a professional to co-author that book with me.

As a side note, I do also have experience with addiction. I struggled with a drinking problem for years. There was just so much personal turmoil I was going through for so long, so many times I hated myself and wished I was dead and battled with regrets, and it was just too much for me and drove me to drinking. I was also struggling with depression and personal loss. Thankfully, these days I am stronger and have broken free of all of that. I have had to learn to forgive myself for being such a shitty person in the past and try to be a better person in the present. But, yes, I do have experience with that sort of thing. I know those horrors so well. I have also had panic attacks – I don’t know if that’s something that can be “cured” or “controlled” or whatever, but I do know I’ll cross THAT bridge eventually. Maybe teaming up with a professional who works with people battling anxiety will help out there. One thing I do know, though, is that I am certainly not that person anymore, though I am not yet physically where I want to be – but I WILL get there.

That second book will be my journey to get there. It will also have some of the material that was covered in the original book that I started writing. So, basically, the first book will deal with issues on the inside and the second book will deal with issues on the outside. And I think that is a better way to go about it. After all, breaking free of addiction means working on yourself inside and out. You need to address the problems you’re dealing with on the inside and change your life on the outside. And even though I keep thinking that nobody is going to care about my own personal journey to creating a more active lifestyle and getting into better shape, I still want to write the book anyway. I want to go on this journey, have that experience, and write about it! And if my publisher wants to publish this book, then that’s even better! It won’t be me telling the world “Follow this program because it worked for me!” It will just be me writing about this lifestyle change. That’s it. I’m not doing it for attention (HA! As if I EVER do anything for attention!) or to be on TV (no thanks!). It will just be to write a book about the whole year-long experience. If people are inspired by it and if it helps them to change their life for the better, then that would be really awesome. But that won’t be why I’ll be writing that book.

And for the record, I’m still going to be an introvert and a private person and taking on that whole “lone wolf” thing. But I’ll just be living life a little bit differently! This second book will be that transformation.

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