I’m thrilled to invite debut author Lucy Mitchell to share her publishing journey with us today, and I’m honoured to feature in her story. You are an inspiration, Lucy x
How Self-Publishing My Book Helped Improve My Mental Health
Guest Post by Author Lucy Mitchell
Mad as it sounds, but self-publishing my romance novel has improved my mental health and has been a key part of my life transformation project.
Six months ago, my mental health was not in a good state. I was in a job which made me feel unhappy, I was knee deep in literary rejections, I spent most of my week on motorways, people in my life were making decisions for me and my anxiety was way out of control.
The only way I can describe what I went through mentally is that my mind became a prison. Every day I would lock myself away in my mental prison and listen to my brain shout and scream at me. I picked at the skin around my fingers so much they looked swollen, I cried every morning on the way to work and at the lowest point my eyebrows started to fall out.
So, I read Shelley Wilson’s How I Motivated Myself to Succeed. I wasn’t a stranger to Shelley Wilson’s books, a few years ago I had read her book How I Changed My Life in a Year and was totally inspired. Her book on motivation though called out to me.
I focused on the chapter about power words. I don’t know why but it held my focus and something inside of me changed. I started doodling the word control. I have no idea why, but I kept writing it down and scribbling it everywhere.
It was then I realised I had lost control of my life. So, after many tears and chocolate bars, I came to the conclusion I would somehow have to get control back.
So, in true Shelley Wilson fashion, I made a list of 6 things which were making me unhappy.
Near the top was my writing. I interrogated every point on my list. The reason my writing was making me feel depressed was that my stories felt like birds in bird cages. They were not going anywhere or more importantly being read by anyone. I would write, send my story out, receive rejections, revise, send out again, receive more rejections and stick the story in an electronic folder or in my mind; a bird cage. I was also following the advice of those around me; wait for the book deal. No matter how long it takes I should keep producing stories…for my bird cages and never ever consider self-publishing.
Writing is my light. You need light in your life, this is what I have learnt. Over the years life has cast a lot of darkness over me; my husband’s cancer diagnosis, the sudden death of my wonderful mother-in-law, my husband being made redundant to mention but a few. Throughout these dark times, writing has brought the light back in.
I knew I had to let the light back into my life. For some reason, I had blocked off the light from entering my life. I had let others decide when my light should shine.
So, on a cold and wet March evening and in a gin and tonic fuelled moment of madness I made the decision to self-publish my romance novel. This book has been tugging at my ankles for years. It is the only story I have written which refuses to go away. Pippa, my character takes back control of her life after three years of grief and her journey of self-discovery actually helped me with my own.
There’s always been something special about Instructions For Falling In Love Again.
It no longer mattered whether I had one reader or twenty readers or a hundred readers. I just wanted someone other than my electronic folders to see my story.
I decided to keep my plan secret until I was strong enough to tell the world.
It was time to shake things up a bit. Weirdly the next day I won a competition which had the prize of a free book blogging tour and a proofread. The following week I found an editor and a book cover designer. The universe was now behind me.
My romance novel was not in a great state, but I knew with some hard work it could be turned around. Now I had a purpose and a goal to work towards.
So, while I was busy getting myself a new day job, handing back my company car, buying myself a tiny car, speaking to my doctor about my mental health, organising to go on a relaxing holiday with my friends, starting a new job and going back to my meditation practice, I rewrote my book.
Shortly after doing this I sent it to an editor and started working with a cover designer.
By the time my book launched on Sunday I was a different person.
For some reason taking back control of my life and letting the light shine on my life sent my demons scurrying away. Seeing my book grow into something wonderful filled my heart with such joy. At the weekend I got the paperback proof and I cried like a baby. I was so proud of myself.
My mental health has improved, the mental prison has been demolished and my eyebrows are growing back. The skin on my fingers has healed and I no longer cry on my way to work.
Self-publishing has made me happy again.
BUY your copy of Instructions for Falling In Love Again HERE