What Are You Working On Right Now? - The Bipolar Question of the Week

John McManamy Health Guide
  • This is about projects, the type of meaningful work that makes us feel alive. When everything is clicking, our "good bipolar" is firing, our creativity, our focus, our sense of engagement. The "bad bipolar" is nowhere in sight.


    I’m working on an ebook that I anticipate publishing as a Kindle edition in the next two or so weeks. Stay tuned for “Raccoons Respect My Piss, But Watch Out for Skunks.”


    The book was originally a much more ambitious effort, combining memoir with brain science with recovery. Early last year, I abandoned the project. I couldn’t get the themes to connect. It was a mess. I turned, instead, to overhauling my website, which was a lot more productive.

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    Last week, I started looking into the possibility of putting out ebooks. With Kindles and iPads flying off the shelves, this appears to be the future of publishing. I had one of those knock-me-over-with-a-feather moments when I found out you didn’t need to go through a publisher, that you can directly upload your manuscript and immediately have it listed on Amazon.


    After bouncing ideas around with some friends, I resolved to get out three titles over the next six months, short books, 20,000-25,000 words in length, priced low. As one friend informed me, no one reads books from cover-to-cover. Keep it short and sweet and simple. And do a funny book, she added. 


    I was planning to do a relationships book first, but then a little voice in my head told me to take a look at my neglected “Raccoons” manuscript. It was way worse than I recalled, and very painful to read. But, as an experiment, I got ruthless with my select and delete functions, until the memoir portion of the narrative came in loud and clear.


    Bingo! Not only that, it was funny. I went to work, moving stuff around, folding in other funny content, organizing, re-organizing. This time, the pieces fell into place. Short, sweet, simple. I now have a rough draft of just over 20,000 words, needing only a few more additions and a bow to tie it all up in.


    Then two or so weeks of sanding and polishing, maybe another two if I hit some unexpected snags. The title, incidentally refers to episodes I had with raccoons and skunks walking in through the cat flap, back when I lived way out in the middle of nowhere, not too long ago. As I conclude my second chapter:


    No matter how many raccoon triumphs I may enjoy, no matter what state of acceptance I may feel I have reached, I know - some stinker is always out there, waiting, with its ass pointed in my direction.


    I need projects to animate me. It could be a hobby, new or old, it could be connected with my business. If I’m not stoking a fire, there is no fire to stoke me. When this isn't happening, my life is miserable and I am a sitting duck for depression. Yes, we need our breaks, we need time out, but my guess is most of us live from project to project, or - that is how you would like our lives to go. Question:


    Tell us about the project you are working on right now. Feel free to talk about past or future projects, how you overcame any obstacles, and how they affected your well-being.


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Published On: February 26, 2012