For a couple of years now, I’ve talked about writing a book. Writing and publishing a book has always been a dream of mine, but getting motivated enough or knowing what I wanted to write about has always been an issue for me.
My book won’t be fiction because I’m really bad at fiction and can never seem to think of a viable beginning or end that doesn’t seem contrived. My one attempt to write a book of fiction (in 2003) was a disaster and I hated all my characters. It was self-indulgent, full of cliches, stilted dialogue, and uninteresting and unlikable characters who always seemed to be arguing about nothing. To this day I can’t tell you what the book was about, because I don’t know. I have no idea how to plot a novel, although I have read hundreds of novels by others who do know how to plot them. It’s simply not something I have any talent for.
For some reason, I never threw that manuscript away (I spent too much time writing it) but I don’t look at it and never will again. Its 300 plus pages sit in a tattered cardboard box in the farthest corner in the back of a closet. The one time I tried to reread what I’d written, I cringed at how atrocious it was. It was that bad. I sent it to several publishers who also thought it was that bad – and sent it back to me with a polite rejection note.
The dilemma I’m facing (besides lack of time and drive) is what the topic of my book would be. I think I’ve finally narrowed it down to two things.
Let me say straight out that my book will not be about narcissistic abuse, narcissistic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, or anything related to personality disorders, C-PTSD, codependency, or dysfunctional families or relationships. Although this blog has been primarily about those things (at least until recently), I don’t feel comfortable writing a book covering anything in this field for at least four reasons.
First, there are many bloggers who have already written books about narcissism and narcissistic abuse, and many have done it better than I think I could. I don’t even think this is one of the best blogs that ever covered narcissistic abuse. Second, since I’ve moved on in my recovery, I’m less passionate about this problem than I used to be. I feel like anything that needed to be said, I’ve already said — or others have said better. That doesn’t mean it’s not an important issue — it definitely is, but I feel like my passion for it isn’t there anymore. Third, I’m afraid that delving into a personal account of my own life with a narcissistic family and husband — or my mental disorders that were caused by that — will be too triggering and send me back down the rabbit hole, a place I’ve gratefully left behind. At first, it helped me to talk about it, and to find that I wasn’t alone. Without that outlet and this blog, I would never have discovered things about myself I needed to change. So I’m grateful for that, but I’m not in the same head space I was two years ago. Therapy is quite enough for me right now and is intense enough as it is. I no longer have any desire to dwell on the trauma I had to deal with just to have something to write about. There are other things I prefer to write about now that make me feel better. Fourth, I’m not a mental health professional and would feel like something of a fraud were I to write a self-help book for others, even though I know quite a bit about personality disorders, enough to write such a book.
So, what would my book be about, if it’s not going to be a novel or a book about personality disorders or narcissistic abuse?
I feel like I’m strong at writing opinion and humor. Short little essays and anecdotes that give readers a window into the way I look at life — both the big and small things. I enjoy writing posts like these. My last post, “My Problem With Pens,” was one of the most enjoyable posts I’ve written in a long time. I like that kind of writing and I want to do more of it. No, I’ll probably never be the next David Sedaris or Augusten Burroughs, but I love creative writing and I can write humor. I think I’m good enough at it to compile my best essays (both humorous and more serious) into a small book. I’ve written a number of those kind of posts on this blog already, but I never realized until recently that was actually my strongest writing. Because I never focused on those types of posts and never made a section for them in the header or compiled a list of links, it will take some time to go through this blog and pull out all the titles and then decide which ones to use (and probably add some new ones to flesh out the book and give readers of this blog something new to read).
The only problem with writing a book like that is I’m not already a “name” (unless you count blog ownership as a kind of qualification), and compilations of essays usually sell best when written by someone already well-known for something else. But I’m not expecting to make a million dollars or for the book to catapult me to sudden fame and a review in the New York Times Review of Books. Not even close. I could probably make more money writing a book about having been raised by narcissists, having BPD or C-PTSD, or writing a self help book about how to deal with abusers. I could probably even sell more books writing about mindfulness techniques and developing empathy for people with Cluster B disorders. But I don’t want to write a book like that. I want to have fun writing my book, and this is why I’ve decided to write a compilation of my observations, opinions, and humorous little anecdotes.
There’s another topic I’ve been thinking about writing a book about: handling Internet trolls and bullies. Obviously, that’s related to narcissistic abuse, but it’s a narrower and more focused topic and doesn’t require me to delve into my deep past and retrigger ancient memories. I’ve definitely been a victim of Internet bullying (most of us bloggers have, unfortunately) and I have experience now in how to deal with them — enough experience to be able to help others. Any book I write about Internet troublemakers would be mostly a compilation of some of the posts and numbered lists I’ve already written for this blog. Someone told me I had one of the most comprehensive lists of articles about Internet trolls and how to handle them they’d ever seen, and that got me thinking that maybe I ought to publish an actual book about it.
Very soon, I will need to lay off blogging and start compiling posts and writing new ones for a book. I wish I had time to do both, but the need to keep a roof over my head and food in my fridge makes doing both nearly impossible.
What would you rather see me write about first? A book of observations, opinions, essays, and humor; or a book about handling trolls and online bullies?