As is my tendency with any new project, once I had decided to write this book about Walt Disney World and Autism I dove headfirst into flurry of research. I didn't research Walt Disney World - I could (and do) write pages and pages about my favorite vacation spot off the top of my head. Nor did I begin with researching Autism. There really is no need. I am on intimate terms with Autism; I live with it every day. No, the subject I needed to learn more about was the world of publishing. After all, why should I spend the next year or two of my life writing this thing, only to find that I did not have what it takes to get it published?
I went to the library and checked out back issues of The Writer and The Writer's Digest. I found myself making excuses to pop into Borders and B&N to pick up a new title about getting one's book published. Every single recent book and journal article I read seemed full of gloom and doom for the aspiring writer! When the economy tanked in 2008, the crash reverberated through the world of publishing as it had through every other sector of business. Competition is tougher than ever, I read, and the majority of manuscripts wind up in the slush pile. . . not accepted, perhaps not even read.
I need to build a national platform! I need to write a killer book proposal! I need to determine how I will promote my book! I need to hire an agent!
(I need to take two Advil.)
Need less to say, I was beginning to get a bit stressed out. I had already lined up several enthusiastic WDW fans with children on the Autistic Spectrum who were willing to participate in the book. I had the support of my husband and daughter, not to mention my parents, sisters, co-workers and friends who have been nagging me for years to write a book. Before I began looking into the actual publishing aspect of authoring a book, my biggest concern had been whether or not I could get enough peace and quiet time in my house so I actually could hear myself think. Now I was becoming overwhelmed with the specter of my poor dog-eared manuscript being rejected time and time again simply because I was an unknown, unendorsed, unpublished author.
I was losing my nerve.
I confided to my husband that I was beginning to think I didn't have enough clout to write a book that would sell. As I babbled on about clips, platforms and targeted markets, Ed took a look at the growing pile of books on the floor next to my side of the bed and gently pointed out that I seemed to be doing a whole lot of reading lately and not too much writing. He was right, of course. I was letting anxiety get the best of me. I decided to focus on polishing up my writing instead. But first . . . there was just one more book on the pile that I wanted to finish, The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear, by Ralph Keyes. Mr. Keyes discussed many successful authors who battled anxiety and self-doubt: Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, and E.B. White, to name a few. He went on to make connections between fear that crippled the writer and fear that spurred the writer to create, citing many quirky habits and rituals used by many to ease anxiety and work through blocks. Benjamin Disraeli could only write while wearing a tuxedo. Ernest Hemingway stood when he wrote. Joaquin Miller had sprinklers installed above his home because he could only compose poetry to the sound of rain on the roof. Friedrich Schiller kept rotten apples by his desk because he thought the putrid smell aroused him.
I confided to my husband that I was beginning to think I wasn't neurotic enough to be a writer.
Despite my lack of dependence on either sprinklers or spoiled fruit, I believe that I've discovered my own talisman against writer's anxiety . . . you! It's comforting to share this crazy new experience with friends who are fellow parents of special needs children, fans of Walt Disney World, or both. So, thank you for following along. I was beginning to have second thoughts about those overripe bananas on the kitchen counter!
The Many Adventures of a Disney-Lovin’ Spectrum Mom is not affiliated with, authorized or endorsed by, or in any way officially connected with, The Walt Disney Company or Disney Enterprises, Inc., or any of their affiliates. All trademarks, service marks, and trade names are proprietary to Disney Enterprises, Inc., its subsidiary, affiliated and related companies, as the case may be. For the official Disney website, visit disneyparks.disney.go.com