One of my tips for living well despite Fibromyalgia is to “have Fibro, do it anyway”.
My biggest dream, since I was a young teenager, was to write a book. I thought perhaps I might not be able to, because once I have put in my hours on the computer for my work, my neck is done for and my brain fog is sky high.
However, for the past five years, I have quietly plugged away on my blog and amassed some content there.
Here’s how I manage blog posts:
- Ideas come either in snippets or fully formed – I write these down in Evernote, on my phone, wherever I am.
- When I have the ability, I go to the computer, edit and format the post.
- I then schedule it on the blog with the image my lovely brother makes for me.
After I had my second baby in 2016, I decided I really wanted to write a book about pregnancy with fibromyalgia. But with the sleep deprivation and the flare up from pregnancy and labour, I wasn’t in any condition to do it. So the blog posts I had collated sat in a document waiting a little longer.
In November 2017, I decided to take part in a November writing challenge with a group called Blogger to Author, in order to get my pregnancy book written. Once I set aside a little time to gather the new content and write the extra bits I wanted to add, it was written very quickly. My brother Luke, a formatting star and my editing guru, edited and formatted it for me. He also made the amazing cover. By the end of November I had published my book: ‘Fibro Mama: Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia.’
Around this time, my son started a few hours a week in care as I began to apply for jobs. I decided to take this time and get my main book off my chest once and for all. The book where I share all of my research and experience with fighting Fibromyalgia
By the time I got to this point, there was a 15,000 or so word manuscript sitting around of my blog posts that I thought I would like to have in there.
Here’s how I went about it from there:
- Edited what I had, extensively.
- Created a list of the chapters that I wanted to add.
- Slowly worked on these extra chapters.
- Sent my manuscript to my brother for editing and formatting.
- Performed the last edit myself while sitting on my couch with my heat pack, reading on Kindle as most people will.
- Had a few people read it for any glaring errors.
- Gave myself a pep talk as I freaked out that no one would like it.
- Received very bolstering feedback from my early readers.
- Checked it over thoroughly again.
- My brother loaded it onto Amazon with his beautiful book cover.
Then I learnt that it isn’t enough to write a book – although that was very hard work! I had to tell people it existed so they could read it!
So I then:
- Wrote a post about it on my blog.
- Shared this post on my social media.
- Shared some videos on Facebook talking about the book.
- Created some video content where it could genuinely be mentioned.
- Wrote a newsletter for my subscribers – because it isn’t all about my book.
- Asked some lovely chronic bloggers if they would review the book for me.
- Basically told anyone who would listen that I wrote a book (!) cue the praise here!
- Did a happy dance when my proof copy finally arrived (I am at the bottom of the world in New Zealand so it costs like $15 and 15 days to get anything physically from Amazon *sigh*)
I didn’t always remember my self-care mechanisms. I burned out a little, I had a three-day flare and developed a nasty ulcer in my mouth that made eating difficult. But I was profoundly happy to have done it.
So if you have a chronic illness, and you have some goals that are sitting there waiting for your attention, please just get started in some way. A little at a time still gets things done.
Melissa Reynolds is the mama of two beautiful boys and married to the love of her life (Husband), she also fights Fibromyalgia. She writes at www.melissavsfibromyalgia.com and is the author of Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia and Melissa vs Fibromyalgia: My Journey Fighting Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue and Insomnia. You can find her on Twitter @thefibromama.