In the summer of 2016, I hadn’t had a stable housing situation in years, and I was embarking on a new adventure. At the same time, I was finishing my college degree online through Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU).
During a writing class I took in August of that year, I was given the assignment to write a “24-Hour Essay.” It would be a long-form essay based upon an eventful twenty-four-hour period.
As my writing classes progressed in December of the same year, I developed the essay into a book proposal.
After finishing my degree in August 2017, I wavered about what major I should concentrate on. I worked on English and Communications Masters degrees before deciding it was time to buckle down and finish my book.
My educational struggles were partially based on health challenges, and lack of disability accommodations at my new university. Halfway through my MFA in Nonfiction Writing, my brain failed me in April 2020, and I again dropped out.
I didn’t make any big announcements about leaving college. I felt defeated and deflated; frankly, there were enough announcements. I didn’t need to add to the global feeling of defeat. But I felt it.
Thanks to a friend at the time who offered me a literary contract, I felt a renewed desire to write. I added chapters by the day to my manuscript with his urging.
Last year, after the verbal musket fire from Mormon church leaders, my spiritual and psychological compass was set for a spin.
I lost my friend, my literary agent, and my religion in a few weeks. I was at a loss as to where my book would land. I set the book aside for several months. Those months turned into a year. As the anniversary of removing my temple garments arrived, I felt the urge to pick my book back up.
There turned out to be quite a bit of editing required to restore my story. My previous agent had encouraged me to sell the church rather than tell my own tale.
With my original words restored, I felt inspired to continue the tome. On my 56th birthday, on October 19th, I breached the 100k mark on the book.
To be honest, some of my rapid increases in word count came from copying social media posts. I was inspired to include much of my social media journey within the book’s pages.
Now comes the editing. The paring down of those words into a reasonable amount for this non-fiction book.
A book about a middle-aged autustic queer person living in a Volvo sedan with two dogs as she travels the country on her way to graduate from college.
The subplots include her coping with a recent dissociative identity disorder (DID) diagnosis. The personality that came forward in 2016, Ellie, is introduced as an alternative point of view.
Lots to unpack? Much to edit. But I am very excited. As I head into November, the time to finish editing and query this masterpiece will be at hand. Wish me luck!