Kickstarting My Book

Kickstarting my book

my Kickstarter project is now LIVE at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1606119916/these-histories-travel-with-me

The last couple of weeks have been manic – mainly good manic!

Over the last five or so years, at public speaking events where I have spoken,  I have  often been asked if I have written a book, and that I should – and for the last couple of years I thought I knew what the book would be about.

I knew one day the time would feel right, and recently it has been starting to feel like the right time. ‘The plan’ for the book has been in my head for a couple of years, and a few months ago, I even documented the plan, and wrote most of a chapter.

But those of you who regularly read this blog will know that a couple of weeks ago I took the very brave (or as I feared at the time, foolish) step of publishing a blog about my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The feedback I received on that blog in particular was very unexpected – and overwhelming. However it did make me realise that the book as I had originally planned it, was missing quite possibly, the most critical element.

The book as I had planned it, was always going to be my story interwoven with the amazing stories of the people who have helped me.

But until two weeks ago, I had not seen the real value in sharing my PTSD. I really didn’t think people wanted to know, or that it would be incredibly depressing to share that part of my journey. The last two weeks have proven otherwise. The feedback I received on the blog I thought I’d never write, taught me my writing about PTSD can help others.  Those who know me personally, know that I am not the kind of person who can just walk away if I can help someone. I knew that before July 7th, but after July 7th, that became more important to me than ever.  If I didn’t write my book, or didn’t include my PTSD, then that would be like walking past someone who I could help. I can’t do that. Just as I would never have forgiven myself if I hadn’t built the houses in Cambodia, I can no longer ignore the need to write this book.

Throughout the last eight years, I have always been inspired by the bravery of others, indeed it was the bravery of others that inspired me to write about my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder a few weeks ago. The final catalyst was Liz Crows #Beddingout project.

Liz’s health conditions mean she spends some of her life in bed, when she would rather not be. Although my PTSD has the opposite effect – I can go days and days without going to bed or sleeping properly; I really identified with the project. Liz has spent much of her life hiding her #bedlife from the world just as I have spent the last six years controlling my life and my PTSD in such a way that very few people actually know much about it – other than they are unlikely to get me on a bus or train.

The feedback from the blog was incredible. I expected to be criticised, made fun of. The opposite happened; my fears were never realised, and instead both trauma sufferers and trauma professional’s told me how healing my writing is.

So the time is now.

Almost eight years ago, many people told me I had been ‘saved for a reason’ I never told them how much that hurt me, how much those comments tormented me. I know they added to my survivor’s guilt. The comments came from a good place in people’s hearts so I didn’t share my distress when people said those words.  Since announcing that I would start my book project, friends have said those words to me again – but this time they don’t hurt me; they give me the faith and belief that I am doing the right thing.

I am no longer waiting for the right time. The time is now… which is why I’m starting my Crowd-funding kick starter project.

The crowd funding model is my chosen model for a number of reasons. Sure, I could find a traditional publisher, and given the fact two professional writers have offered to write my book for me, I probably would stand a better than average chance of achieving that route.

Crowd funding the project though, gives me the freedom to complete the project the way I would like to; and I can be pretty stubborn. My experience of working with journalists over the last years has taught me, they don’t tell my story, they tell their version of my story, and that’s not the same as telling it how it really was for me. A publisher would probably be the same. It’s also important to me that the stories of the amazing people I have met are told in their own words, or at least the way they happened between us, as they came into my life.

There are also the philanthropic aims of the project. Revisiting Cambodia to talk to Mr Tun Channereth again simply wouldn’t be the same unless we are sitting in the dirt building another house.

Crowd funding will give me the freedom to do these things. My psychologist told me, I always do things the hard way, fully and completely, I am not one for taking the easy option; and this book project is no different. I can’t compromise what for me, will be the most important aspects of the project, and so I must crowd fund the project to enable me to do that. I must do what is right, even if it is a tougher route. Besides, the last eight years have not been easy, why should this next part of my journey be any different?

Crowd funding also appeals to me, as it will once again prove to me the goodness of humanity – just as July 7th did.

So many people came together to help me on that day, and the following months. I really want to be a catalyst for that again. To prove to the world, that good will triumph over bad – there are more people in the world with good hearts than there are bad. More people who will stand up and be counted than there are who would just walk on by. Crowd funding is an opportunity for people to be part of that togetherness. After Boston, it’s so important for me to see that happen again.

Be the change you want to see in the world.

The next time a victim stands up, we should stand along side them.

The geek in me is also fascinated by social media and its ability to bring people together to create some marvellous things.

If it were not for social media and twitter I would not have become aware of Bedding Out, I’d still be waiting ‘for the right time’ and would not be preparing to crowd fund this next project in my recovery.

Currently my facebook page has just 136 likes BUT a potential reach of 34,987 friends of fans – meaning we all have an average of 257 facebook friends each. The potential of these numbers fascinates me. My stretch target of £30,000 for the project means that if each of the fans of the page fund just £1, and persuade ALL of their facebook friends to do the same, then we can easily meet the funding target. For me this would be an amazing social media experiment!

These numbers don’t even include any of my 900 twitter follower’s, the math’s is simply quite fascinating for me. If we assumed that all my twitter followers also have 257 friends who they could involve in the project – that’s a potential reach of another 231,531 people! Crazy numbers!

The possible outcome of such numbers really does excite me. Not least as the power of ‘six degrees of separation’ was demonstrated to me on my travels in Australia last year when I randomly met a lovely couple who turned out to be best friends with my old boss! What followed was a very excited call back to the UK and sharing of photos from facebook of us all with our mutual friend!

For me personally, reaching out to our friends and friends of friends, and involving them in this great social media experiment would be the greatest gift – that we can show potential terrorists around the world that they will never defeat us. That we will always come together and counter the violence and heart ache they create with good things, amazing things that can heal others.

That after all, is what the story of my book is all about… making good things happen, and helping others BECAUSE of and not despite of the bad things.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

Be part of my social media experiment!

Like the page and keep up to date at:

https://www.facebook.com/TheseHistoriesTravelWithMe

the Crowd funding part of the project is now LIVE at

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1606119916/these-histories-travel-with-me
please pledge if you can,
Crowd funding is ONLY successful if you share the word – so please share the link with friends so we can get as many people supporting the project as possible

project name: These Histories Travel With me

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