Friday, March 9, 2012

Overcoming Depression to Publish a Novel

Today's guest post comes from Bridget Straub, author of the novel Searching For My Wand (BookBaby). Many people use horrible circumstances as a reason to put things off and not accomplish anything. Bridget decided to take another route. Here's her story.

Bridget Straub with a cup of coffee.

Who'd Have Thought?

A few years ago, greed and deception conspired with a crooked judge to steal our home of fourteen years right out from under us. Were we completely innocent? No, we were a day late with our rent, and had made arrangements to get the payment paid with someone whose despicable deceit we had underestimated.

The truth is, we should have known better, but we chose to believe what everyone told us, which was that no judge would ever side with our landlord. "Big mistake, huge!" as Julia Robert's character in Pretty Woman would say.

We were stunned and devastated. Depression and I are not strangers, but I was down as far as I had ever been, with thoughts of self-worthlessness that rivaled any I had ever dealt with before. Had you told me then, that over the next two years I would write not one, or two, but four novels and a musical, I'd have thought you were insane.

I mean, please, a musical? Seriously? Not a chance. And lest you should think these are all stories of despair, you would be mistaken. Three out of the five have no despair at all. Wait, make that two out of five, but the other three are not horribly sad, and in fact, include a lot of life's lighter moments.

In my first published novel, Searching for My Wand, the main character relates the ups and downs of her life with a wry sense of humor. Named (incorrectly) after Glinda the Good Witch, Glenda is struggling to come to grips with some of the more questionable decisions she has made. As she details the events that have led up to these decisions, readers are drawn into how easy it would be to fall into a cycle of misjudgments.

Bridget overcame depression to write her
novel, Searching For My Wand.

Sometimes the darkest hour is just before the dawn, and sometimes even then, the dawn comes up slowly, and you have to wait for the clouds to burn off before you are fully immersed in the light. It has been a slow and painful journey getting through this night, but I have learned lessons along the way, among them the power of perseverance. I never gave up on my dream to be a "real" writer, and with the release of my first novel, I am beginning to see the sun.

Before all of this, I never would have dreamed that losing so much would result in my accomplishing all that I have. If my back had not been so firmly against the wall, I might not have pursued my goals with the relentless determination necessary to get my stories out into the world. Publishing, whether traditionally or independently, is a tremendous amount of work. The myth used to be that all writers had to do was write, and then they'd be paid a big fat advance to live off while writing the next book. If only that were the case.

Today, writers are publishers, marketing experts and accountants. Gone are the days (if indeed they ever really existed) of lying on the couch, eating bon bons, counting your money, and dreaming up your next plot. In its place, however, is a tremendous feeling of pride.

Searching For My Wand is now available through Amazon, B&N, iBook, Sony, Kobo and Copia! According to Bookbaby, my distributor, Kobo alone sends my e-Book to over 200 countries and Copia to over 900 college bookstores. That is more than I could have ever imagined.


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Collin Kelley said...

Great essay. Sometimes you do have to have your back against the wall to see what is before you.

Nicole Pyles said...

Great post! I can relate because November I finally went back to a book I have long wanted to finish. Now, I'm almost done. My goal is to have it edited by August. If I can do that, I will feel I have overcome my own dark time. Good for you! And by the way, I LOVE the title of your book.

bridget said...

Thanks Collin and Nicole, I'm sure you'll see the light as well.Perhaps by fall we'l be reading your story here!

Di Eats the Elephant said...

March on, J.Rowling...oh, wha? You're Bridget? As in the Diary? No? But you're funny, even when you're sad. So that's what we all need. Manyyears ago I heard that one could tell when the economy was depressed by how many musicals were playing. I found myself cracking jokes when I had an appendicitis attack and awaited surgery at the hospital. I should be laughing now. Hope you get to laugh all the way to the bank!

Sweet Lily said...

Great post! Awesome!

Diandra said...

Great post, and now I am indeed curious to read the book. ^^

Hannah said...

Oh, touching on one of those raw nerves there about your house being taken in the manner that it was. This is SO unjust and yet another example of system gone sorely wrong, IMO.

Your story is truly inspiring and a happy success story.

The depth of our dream relies upon the proof in our level of perseverance! Great message.


Kathleen Moulton said...

This was an incredibly inspiring story.

I have found that my best writing came when I was feeling the deepest pain.



Andrea (Andee) Beltran said...

Thank you for sharing your story. Inspiring. I'm sorry for what you've gone through but happy to hear how you've transformed sadness and grief in your life.

Robin Coyle said...

Classic case of "if life gives you lemons . . ." Thanks for sharing

PoetColette said...

Great lesson. Now all I have to do is learn. . .

bridget said...

Ha Collette, that is indeed the hardest part. I hope things ease up for you if you are stuck in a tough time.

enthusiastically, dawn said...

Bridget, Wow- it is destiny that I read this word of encouragement! We also lost our home, but thankfully had a place to go. Next a hip injury and a ruthlessly insensitive, career driven boss- me out of work and bam...I start blogging and reconnect with my own dream of completing a book and publishing! Now just trying to focus on writing while seeking employment. What am I doing to stay sane? Yup. Trying to complete my first book! Thanks for this inspiration! Stop by and see me sometime! ;)

Signs of Depression said...

Always believed that when one door shuts another opens and it was because of probably the darkest days (weeks/months) of my life that I made a decision that was the best I ever made!

pessemystic said...

Kudos to you for not only reaching for your dreams but making it to the summit. I've thought about writing a novel although my subject matter is on the darker side. I can't say that its fruition looks very promising though. I'm still buried under quite a few mountains. But maybe someday.