Tuesday, 26 February 2013

What's the Point?

That title may sound quite drastic and don't worry, this isn't related to thoughts about my life.  Rather, it's related to my book.  I hit 80,000 words last night but I've been having doubts as to whether or not I should go ahead and actually publish it.  I've said all along that if I publish it, I'll be giving all the profits to charity and this is the only thing that has kept me working on it for a while.  However, I know that even if I do get a publisher, the book isn't going to sell many copies and won't make that much money for charity.  Plus, as it's not going to sell many copies, I'm probably not going to help many, if any, people with it.  So what's the point writing it?

These sorts of thoughts have been rife whilst I've been writing it and to be honest, I have been close to giving up a few times.  However, just at the right time, I came across this story on Twitter.  I've found my favourite version on the internet and posted it here:

The Starfish Story

A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement.

She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!”

The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied,

“Well, I made a difference to that one!”

The old man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought about what she had done and said. Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved. - adapted from the Star Thrower by Loren C. Eiseley

Taken from http://www.ordinarypeoplechangetheworld.com/articles/the-starfish-story.aspx

It was exactly what I needed to hear.  I've known all along that my book isn't going to go global, it's not going to change the world and if it sells more than 100 copies, I'll be amazed.  But what do those things matter?  I don't want to be famous.  I don't want to walk down the street and be recognised.  I'm not interested in having a massive amount of followers on Twitter or millions of views on my blog.  I was astounded to see that the views on my blog hit 6,000 the other day, less than a year after setting it up!  So what does it matter if my book sells 20 copies worldwide?  If it helps one person, isn't that worth it?

I know I've said for a while that if I help one person, I'll feel like my writing have been worth it.  But as I tend to be overly ambitious and want to help every single person with a similar diagnosis to me, I've felt like helping one person wouldn't be enough.  However, The Starfish Story was like a well-needed slap around the face.  I'm not going to change the world, but what if I can be a part in it?  No one can change the world single handedly.  Even the greatest people in the world haven't worked single handedly.  So how on earth can I expect to change the world single handedly?!

Instead, I'm going to play my part in changing attitudes towards Mental Illness and Schizophrenia.  It'll probably be a very small part, but the more people who can play a part in changing attitudes, the more successful we'll be.  I need to get my head out of the clouds and get back to writing!  I will hopefully finish my book before hitting 90,000 words and then I'll have the daunting task of getting it between 60 and 70 thousand words!  After reading advice on the internet about writing memoirs, I believe that to be the best length.  Once that is done, I'll have the editing to do.  That will take the most time.  But now that I've got my drive to finish it back, I'll hopefully have it suitable for a publisher in the next few months!  Fingers crossed anyway!

Watch this space for the bits I chop out of my book!


  1. Don't give up! The more people with personal experience of breakdown write about it the better.It shows others that the so called "mentally ill" are just normal people who have had a raw deal and that is what has brought them down to their knees. Psychiatrists should read these stories because I think that they don't really understand and that's why they often miss the point and their help is not always helpful.

  2. Thank you Anonymous, I don't think I will give up on the book. I keep ploughing on with it and hoping I will finish it in the next few weeks. You make a valid point that psychiatrists don't always help people with their 'help'!

    Thank you for your encouragement. I shall do a bit more on the book tonight!