Wednesday, September 24, 2008

To Write or Not to Write

I have been talking to a publisher about writing a book. I guess maybe the poll on the side bar may have hinted at that. By the way, if you read this on Google Reader, please come to the site and vote on the poll. I am trying to determine if I could sell enough books to make writing and investing in a book worth it. 

I have mixed feelings about writing a book about my experience. There is so much that I have not written on this blog about those early days. It was just too much to record all so quickly. I would like to have a record of it. Still, to write it I would have to go back there mentally. I would hope it would be cathartic. I am a little scared it would just be hard and not so helpful.

In any case this is something I will be thinking about and analyzing over the coming weeks. So please vote on my poll and BE HONEST. I think that will help me make up my mind.

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Steph
I see you are ou pull late nighters also. I think the book is a great idea for many reasons. My only concern, as you mentioned is reliving it so soon. Is there a reason you feel you need to write it now as opposed to down the road when your heart is a little less tender and raw? I understand the cathartic part, but isn't that what your blog is right now? You know yourself better than anyone so obviously it's up to you. Don't rush yourself - take your time and heal.

Sue said...

I wrote a book about a very difficult experience I had with one of my children. It helped me, somehow, to get it all down on paper and share what I had learned. That said, I didn't write the book until almost two years later. Initially, it was just too raw.

I hope you do write the book. If you really listen to your heart, you will know when you're ready. In the meantime, I am gaining a lot of insights and inspiration from your blog.

Kara Jayne said...

My Aunt wrote a book about the suicide of her child. It was years later, but I've read it several times. It gives me insight into another mothers life and experience. I think it really helped her to organize her thoughts and feelings a little better.

Like the other comments...do it when it is right for you.

Randall said...

I agree that you need to do what is right for your heart now. I do think that it would be a topic that other mothers who have lost children would be interested in reading and also people who have had friends or family members in the same situation. It would provide vital insight I'm sure.

Leslie said...

Stephanie, I think it's too early to write a book -- you still have more to tell and don't know what that is yet. I think it will become obvious when the right time is and then the decision will be clear. I do think there's a market for this future book not only because there are people that will go through something similar and they or people that love and support them will be looking for help and guidance, but also there are people that can learn a lot from your faith, from the iron rod (the gospel) you held onto during this time. While people may not go through your exact experience, everyone will lose someone they love somehow, if not physically, then spiritually or emotionally, and the lessons that can be learned in how you have handled your loss can be a treasure for others that don't have the faith and iron rod that you do. You have touched on so many gospel principles throughout even that of forgiveness. People may marvel, but that is the reality of a strong faith in Christ and in the things he promises us and in having been well prepared and your experiences are a testimony of that.

A Farmer's Wife said...

YES! Please write the book!!! You are a fabulous writer and the things you do share are stated so well that it serves to inspire many of us! Also - who knows what kind of missionary work you could do with a book?

I think the best way to know what you should do is to pray. Heavenly Father will tell you if you seek His guidance sincerely. I also suggest going for a long walk alone...this is usually how Heavenly Father speaks to me best...it's too chaotic at home to ever find a quiet moment and if I do find a quiet moment...I pass out because I am EXHAUSTED!!!

Katie Webb said...

I think its a great idea. You have already inspired so many people and could reach even more through a book. But as the others have said, listen to your heart and the promptings of the spirit. You will know if/when its right.

Angie said...

Okay, I've blog stalked you long enough..it's time I "out" myself! I have been following your blog for about 3 months now. I don't skip a day of checking up on you and your family and your progress through this hard trial you face. I have to tell you that I definitely hope you decide to write the book. You are an EXCELLENT writer and have a real talent for speaking the truth and giving insight. You have touched many and have introduced gospel principles, even to those who are already of your same faith, through your writing. I know I understand the gospel better just from the time I've read your words. I am a better person for hearing about you and reading your blog and I think your book would have the same effect. I have a close friend who lost an infant and oh how I wish I would have already read your blog when her tragedy occurred! I would have understood her better. If your heart tells you it's the right thing to do, write the book! I think you would be pleased with the results! And thank you for letting me into your life:)

Julie said...

Stephanie, I would buy it absolutely--- ONLY because you are a woman of deep faith and there is so much to be learned about Christ through experiences such as yours.

I think it would be a wonderful ministry for you if ***after much prayer*** it was something you felt called to do for a BIG (Heavenly) reason. Now that's the best reason of all.

No better time than now to follow His lead.... you'll know when/if it's right.

Julie said...

PS. You are a very knowledgeable, vulnerable, articulate and realistic writer...

Tim and Marcee said...

I think the book is a wonderful idea. It will be a history of your beautiful daughter. I do think that it may be too soon, but that is all up to you. Us as readers will be ready for the book now, or in a few years. Wait until you are ready. I also think it may help other parents who have experienced the same thing with their child... You know yourself better then anyone. Wait until you are ready for it!

MM said...

I believe that writing a book would be wonderful, but I don't feel (based solely on reading the blog since I am a complete stranger) that you've "come out the other side" yet. It's still very new and while I am sure it would be such a great experience for you, you have to consider your intent. Is your motivation to write this book to feel better... is it to help other mothers who will go through a similar experience or is it to show people the wonderful way God can love on us and carry us when we don't have the strength to walk? I would take notes... journal like mad... then, when you get to a place in your life (and your family's life) when you all can look back and reflect on the experience as something you 'went' through and not something you are 'going' through then do it. (I hope that last line makes sense....)

Marleen said...

I've told you many times how I feel yet in the end it is your well being and your families well being that is important. Only you and Jonathan can determine that.

Darren and Nikki said...

You are a gifted writer, and I would buy the book. But the topic is just plain hard. I guess I am saying that either way - we support you :)

Heidi said...

Oh, what a tough decision. I know you've touched so many lives with your blog and I suspect your book would do the same. I suppose only God knows what you should do...

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if you should write the book or not because I think only you can decide that, but I think many people would find it interesting and benefit from it.

I posted earlier that I would buy it even if was a duplicate of your blog. Just to have it all together in one place.

I'm also not sure if you are meaning for it to be a book about Camille and your experiences with her life and her passing or a book about the rest of your life. I think you have wonderful stories and lessons from other aspects of your life too. That could make for quite a few books, though.

Good luck with whatever you decide. Just make sure you're doing what's right for you.

A Daily Double said...

Stephanie,

As noted by a previous commenter, I have also decided to now be a commenter instead of a blog stalker.

Here are my questions for you:

Do you have an open-ended offer from the publisher? Is this something you could still do in a couple of years?

Since there are some things that are fresh in your mind now as opposed to a couple of years down the road, will you be writing these things now anyway in order to preserve them?

Could the "rawness" you describe help someone else in a similar situation who doesn't have the benefit of faith and gospel understanding and doesn't have anything or anyone to lean on during the initial phase of loss? Would it provide a perspective they could use at this phase, or would your future perspective be a better help?

Regardless of the answers to the questions, you still have to take care of yourself and your mental health first and it's more than okay if you decide that you can't do this right now. If this is something that Heavenly Father wants you to do, then it will still be the right thing to do a couple of years down the road.

For what it's worth to you, my sister lost a baby when he was 5-months old; that was 35-years ago. She now says that it's a very surreal feeling. She remembers him, she knows that he was here and she's excited to see him again, but a lot of life has happened since then and she now has grandchildren and other things going on in her life. My point is that you might want to write down what you can right now before too much of life happens.

On another note, I'm glad I was able to get to know you a little in YW. You were one of the first people I thought of when the realignment was revealed Saturday night. In all the speculating that I did about the possible ward changes, never did it occur to me that you would be the only one left in the McH YW program.

I will continue to follow you through your blog and, hopefully, whether it's now or later, you will be able to get a book published.

Edie

Anonymous said...

honestly, I think that you writing this book would help others deal with the loss of a child. It may also help you to deal with your early feelings. If you wrote this book, I would for sure but it!

barlows said...

Steph, the poll is so efficient, but I would like to add my thoughts. 1) I would buy the book if it were a repeat of your blog 2) I have mentioned to my other friends that I wished you'd publish your thoughts because you have so wonderfully articulated your entire experience all the way through 3) Your testimony would strengthen so many others.

leslie s said...

If you feel strong enough to write a book now, go for it. I have a couple of friends who are going through similar trials, and a great source of comfort comes in talking to, or reading about, others who have gone through similar experience. At a later date you may have new insight, and perspectives to share...another book! Support is needed at all stages of the grieving / healing process. Writing a book could prove to be therapeutic for you. Good luck making that choice.

Brittany Osborn said...

I know if I lost a child, I would read your book. Otherwise the blogs are enough for me. I get a little jumpy about things that could happen to my kids. I do however think you have amazing things to say and have really helped me appreciate my life and the gospel more.

Anonymous said...

I, too have been a stalker. I have found inspiration in your words. You have been given a talent of expressing yourself so well and you also have a strong testimony and much faith. I cannot see how it could be anything but a benefit for others to be able to read a book written by you. I would definitely buy it. I say go for it when you feel you can do it.

Anonymous said...

I haven't read the other comments, but just wanted to say that aren't you still in "the early days"? I'm a lurker who just found your blog, but didn't your daughter just pass away in June?

You may be surprised that when you are farther out in the grief process, you may be happy that you waited to write it. In the meantime, you can record your feelings on your blog, so you won't forget where you were at each day.

Just my opinion. I think you're very strong, and I appreciate your honesty. My heart goes out to you and your family; no one can imagine losing a child.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I'm a stalker too. (News always travels far and wide in an LDS community.) I've been reading your blog for a couple of months and finally have a comment!

I haven't lost a child. I lost my spouse suddenly, in our home, 11 years ago when I had a 2 yr. old and was pregnant with our second child. We were in our 20's. I look back on my journal entries, which were few and far between and I was too sad to write or even attempt to try to put this overwhelming sadness into words. So, I didn't. I didn't write much of anything. I thought I would do so later. I thought I would never feel differently than I felt right at that moment.

But, time heals. It helps. It is exactly like your piano analogy. You learn to adapt and work it into your life. It becomes a part of you, but your grief does not become you, in the end. The rawness of the event fades and color comes back into your black and white world. Eventually. For me to write about it now? It would not be the same. I've forgotten many parts of the story. Maybe it's supposed to work that way? To help us heal and continue to love and be productive in our lives.

What I have found so fascinating with your writing is that you are writing exactly what I was feeling 11 years ago. I know you probably don't want to hear that. You want your experience to be solely yours, in pain and loss and intensity. But, I remember it being the same for me. I love that you have put MY feelings into words. I have thought a lot about grief since I started reading your blog. Maybe grief really is a lot alike when it's a child, a spouse, a parent. But only when it's someone extremely close to you emotionally. Not a spouse you were distant with, a parent who wasn't there for you. But those very few people in our lives that are part of us. So, in the end, the telling of your story is the telling of many people's stories that they have been unable to express.

So, I would love it if you would write! I think it would help you, and help others who will read along and say, "This is me." It would also help those trying to understand what the person grieving is going through. You have such a gift for writing and express yourself beautifully.

But to wait? It depends on what kind of book you are planning. Because the walk you are walking will change. What is it you are trying to capture? The story of the valley of the shadow of death? Or the view from the other side.

Thank you for giving voice to my inner most thoughts and feelings. I wish you the best in whatever decision you make.

Anonymous said...

I think a book written by you would be outstanding. I found your blog only recently - and look forward to getting my "daily scoop" every morning. Your words are truly inspiring. In looking through some of the comments, I see a lot that tell you that it may be too soon to write a book. I don't think so - but then again, only YOU will know when you are truly ready. My Mom lost her first born as an infant 40+ years ago. I wish she had been encouraged to let her emotions out and express the sorrow she felt then - and continues to feel to this day. While life certainly moved on - it's something she's never 'gotten over' (and shouldn't) and still doesn't know how to talk about. Your book would be both therapeutic for you and your family (just as your daughter's recent story must have been for her) and an incredible help to those who have lost a child - as well as those wanting to know what to do for a friend/loved one who has experienced such heartache. Your thoughts are too wonderful not to share with a larger audience.

The Heizzys said...

Yes! Please do! I love reading your blog and love following your insights and your thoughts. You have inspired me to start a blog of my own to record those things I ponder on a daily basis. Thank you for sharing your words. I would totally read your book. Oh and one more thing, have you ever thought of creating a button so we can put it on our blogs? Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Would the book be an LDS book?

Teri said...

I voted that I might buy it - I do really appreciate your writing, but it's been hard to read, too - as a mom of young children. I know your situation is world's different, but one book I read by another inspiring woman (like you!) who lost her husband in the 9/11 attacks was very good to read. ("Let's Roll", by Lisa Beamer - did you by chance ever read that?) I think I am a better person for hearing what she went through and how she got through the whole thing. And I can see having similar feelings if I were to read your book.
Skimming over the previous comments, I saw one woman wrote that it is too soon. That may be, I don't have any advice - but I know there's some value in the perspective of having gone through it so recently. I can see both sides on that one. Okay, enough rambling! I pray you'll get some good feedback and have wisdom on the pursuit of this!

Sarah Hull said...

I would love to have a book written by you. I believe it would be one that I would highlight and reflect on. One that I would refer to often. Your writing is beautiful and heart felt. I so appreciate the blogs on how to help or serve someone who has experienced a loss. What great suggestions you give. Thank you.

vocalise said...

Stephanie,
You will clearly know what to do. You are dependent on the Lord, smart, honest, and articulate. WHENEVER (not if!)....WHENEVER you decide to do it, it will be a beautiful tribute to Camille, healing for you, and helpful and inspiring for others. Some of the world's greatest books found birth in tragedy. Does this mean we should not read them...the author should not have written them...the world has not benefitted from the lessons learned and feelings felt in such tragedy? The human spirit is so inspiring when fielded with faith during the most difficult of times. History teaches us this!! You will know what to do. Pray and be open....as if I need to say that.

Anonymous said...

You mentioned in one of your previous posts about helping people deal with loss, how books on grieving for adults were a little difficult. (obviously I am summarizing) I know you mentioned how the books for children were helpful. What about taking some of your talent for writing/creating childrens stories, and making your book something that any age could use during their time of grieving? Another question I have..How do you write about a process, you haven't completed yet? The book may be better when you can write about your whole experience and journey through the grieving process. As people experience different tragedies/trials it is helpful to know the beginning, middle, and the end so to speak.

Anonymous said...

How did you get in touch with a publisher? Just curious about the writing a book process.

Anonymous said...

I agree with "mm" in that you should journal like crazy right now whatever you decide. There are times that I haven't wanted to face experiences and relive them by writing them down, but now I wish that I had written the fresh feelings so I could see how I transformed over weeks, months and years of processing and having that experience work on me. It is always different looking back than writing it down soon after.

I personally would buy your book for myself and probably for other because of the wonderful insights you have given, your honesty and "realness" and your gift for writing. You will have to decide when the right time would be, and I hope it does happen sometime, but I would totally understand if it was something that didn't come together now, rather was a work in progress now that didn't come totally together until a later date. Still if you did write it now, I would still buy it, but I would hope that at a later date you would write more about your thoughts and feelings further down the road. Thank you again for sharing your soul with so many people, including me.

HammondFam said...

My vote is YES. I don't know about your google link -- how do I get to it?

Anonymous said...

I remember you saying in your advice for helping people dealing with a loss that books weren't helpful. Who would the book be focued towards? Is it a book about grief, faith, families....?

Are you hoping to pubplish it through deseret? Is it a "church" book?

I say, go ahead and work on the book and just see what happens. No big hurry, just live your life and write what you want when you can.

I enjoy your blog. It has helped me through some of my own trials. Thank you

Anonymous said...

Steph:
Maybe now is a little early. I agree with "mm" that it would be better to write about what you have been through instead of what you are going through. I would give yourself a good year. Do the the journaling thing and then when you can see a little clearer you can organize your thoughts and experiences.

Shawna Wilson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
stephielou said...

Stephanie,
You are a wonderful writer and have given therapy to so many people through your words on your blog. I have not experienced a loss like yours but have learned through your blog how to help others with their grieving process. Your book would be a great gift/tool to give someone during their time of sorrow. I say go for it and I would definitely purchase this book for myself and for others.
Much love,
Stephanie Lee

Rachel & Todd said...

Your experience with this tragedy helps others in so many ways. The raw expression behind your words are very real and it touches the hearts of so many who read your blog. I would think that time erases those feelings a little, (thankfully so we can heal) so depending upon how you want the book to come across to your readers, I would base part of my decision on that. Good luck with it, and you are an inspiration to so many, thanks for your honesty.

Gwenevere said...

There is something magical that happens when we scribe our sacred experiences for all to read or maybe just for us as individuals. The ink has a way of transporting the spirit we felt when we experienced or wrote it in such a way that we are able to remember and feel the sweetness again. An example of this is our scriptures.

In his talk last October Henry B. Eyring said "I heard in my mind—not in my own voice—these words: “I’m not giving you these experiences for yourself. Write them down.” I went inside. I didn’t go to bed. Although I was tired, I took out some paper and began to write. And as I did, I understood the message I had heard in my mind. I was supposed to record for my children to read, someday in the future, how I had seen the hand of God blessing our family."

Write your book, it is a history, it is a journal. Whether you sell copies or you don't, it will be a sacred record. Follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost and if this book is meant for you at this time, I believe it will write itself.

Anonymous said...

Stephanie,

I have followed your blog since day 1 and have written to you before. My honest opinion is this-you should keep very detailed writings about everything that you feel inspired to record. I think it will feel good to document. Opening it up to the world may need to wait for a couple of years. When you look back on the work you are thinking of publishing you may hold back some bit of information that feels too personal to share.
I would definitely read your book. You are gifted and your warmth comes through your blog.
I was also thinking that since you like to serve you might create an organization in Camille's name. Something that might prevent other accidents. Camille is with you in all of your endeavors and I think if you can help others through a book or hands-on with an organization it would be amazing. There is a lady in town that lost her child a few years ago due to some sort of car and child accident. She started "Kids and Cars". She makes people aware of the possible danger of kids around/in cars. Just a thought. You are so inspirational that I thought that this medium might also speak to others.
Thank you again for your beautiful words.

Anonymous said...

If you're going to write a book, I agree with those who said you should start now while the memories and feelings are clear. It will be painful, but it will also be therapeutic. Based on an experience I had in the past, I suspect that if you wait until you truly feel healed, you won't want to go back there and immerse yourself in it then. My feeling is, that it won't be easy to do at any time, but there will be more benefit to YOU to do it now. For me, putting my feelings down on paper, always helps me to heal. As someone pointed out, you can always hold off on finishing it up and publishing it until later, if you feel you need to have perspective from that point.

I would love to add your book to my collection, and I would most definitely want to buy it for anyone going thru the loss of a child.

Anonymous said...

Someone pointed out that you had said in your advice for helping others through grief, books weren't helpful to you. I hope that won't influence your decision. When I went through the grief process, it was extremely helpful to me to read that what I was feeling was normal, that I wasn't losing it! We all cope with things differently, but I always tend to go to books for answers, support, help. I experienced the suicide of a loved one, and I would have given anything to have a Stephanie in my life at that time, to share how she coped. As you pointed out once, no one can truly understand what another is going through, unless they've been there. That was definitely true when trying to pick up the pieces after a suicide. And I have no doubt that it is true of losing a child.

Kristy said...

Stephanie-

My neighbors had a two year old son pass away in a drowning accident in their backyard pool. They have recovered amazingly and since adopted two children. The dad, Kelly, wrote an ebook. They share their experience and work through pain like you are here. They also share their testimonies; and you can't share that enough your's is obviously so strong and powerful and helping your readers every day.

If you are interested in reading about the Williams family this is the link to request his ebook. http://www.discoverthepowerwithin.com/
And you will know when it's right, like you knew to start this blog.

wendy said...

Hey Steph, something to consider... I got this email from a friend today, it read: "Who is Stephanie Waite? She is obviously on your blog and she has changed my life. She truly has. She has taught me so much by what she has posted. She is a great example and I stop to cherish the little things in life instead of rushing through them to get to the next thing. She is amazing and she truly has changed me."

I've heard similiar comments from many many people who you have really deeply affected by your postings. I think you have so much to share... when you feel ready i think the book is a great idea.