Tuesday, February 17, 2015

I’m Writing a Book

It’s the secret project I referred to in a previous blog post.

In fact, I’ve been writing this book for over a year now, and I still have a long way to go. I’m almost afraid to finish because I doubt I’ll ever find another project I’m as passionate about as this one.

I completed my first draft in December. The process of filling up blank pages is over, and the work of revising – of crafting and molding the story into something readers will enjoy – has begun.

It’s no small feat to transform an engineer into a writer, so I’ve not been shy about getting help. I’ve solicited advice from amateur and professional writers. I’ve taken online courses and attended writing workshops. There are so many blogs and magazines and books about the art of writing books, and I’ve read a lot of them. Perhaps most importantly, I spend time with a talented group of authors at the Portland Writers Group, where we critique one another’s material.

One day I’ll have to let this book leave the nest and see if it can fly. If no publishing houses show an interest, I’ll gladly self-publish. I dream of having a New York Times bestseller, but I’ll be thrilled if just a few people read the book and tell me it was worth their time, and it helped them in some way.

What’s the book about? I’m glad you asked. Here’s a brief synopsis:
Paralysis can strike without warning – one moment you’re a dynamic and independent person and the next, a quadriplegic. That’s what happened to my late mother when she crushed her cervical spinal cord at the age of 35. But sometimes paralysis chips away at your movements, a tiny bit every day, until you become locked inside the useless shell of a body. That’s what has been happening to me since the age of 38, when an aggressive form of MS began to ravage my cervical spinal cord – at an eerily similar location to my mother’s injury. Although we followed different paths, we ended up at the same place. 
In a straightforward, irreverent, and hopefully inspirational manner, I tell the story of a mother and son’s mutual suffering and shared resilience. I revisit a childhood growing up with my extraordinary mother then take the reader on a journey through more than a decade of my adult life spent battling primary progressive MS. 
My mother prepared me for challenges we could never have imagined I would face. And through the writing process I grew closer to her by finding new meaning in the legacy she left behind.
What’s the title of the book? I have no idea. I thought about using the title of this blog, something like:

Enjoying the Ride: the Story of…

But now I’m not so sure. Maybe I need a title that is fresh and new. Either way, it must convey the theme that I presented in the synopsis, above.

If you have any title ideas, please send them to me at email@enjoyingtheride.com. How many times in your life do you get your name listed in the acknowledgments of a published book, with the potential for circulation in the triple digits? And for the person who provides the best title idea, Kim and I will treat you to a lobster dinner on our patio this summer, if you can make it to South Portland, Maine. If not, I’ll ship you some lobsters.

As you know, my blog posts draw heavily from my personal experiences, and working on this book for an hour or two a day has become a huge part of my life. I’d like to occasionally share the journey with you instead of hiding it from you.

And I’m serious about the book title. I’ve got nothing.

Note, 5 hours after posting: I'm getting a lot of support for the title Enjoying the Ride, but I would still need a subtitle, Enjoying the Ride: something


  1. "I’ve got nothing."

    I beg to differ. You have a meaningful title which brings along with it a following, which means you have built a brand. It is also a title that conveys layers of meaning for you to explore. It is catchy and also easy to remember. Give me enough time, and I'll come up with more reasons. Whatever you choose, I wish you the best in your endeavor. Your blog is interesting. I'm sure your book will be too. Your précis already had me hooked. You've got a sale.

  2. Enjoying the Ride.....avoiding the Speed Bumps

  3. The title "Enjoying The Ride" is , not only perfect for your book, but it also invites the reader to want to explore further.

  4. Mitch, I do agree that Enjoying The Ride is perfect for your Book title however, if you want to own the disease through the book I think maybe Enjoying the Ride living with MS.

  5. I, too, like Enjoying the Ride! It's you! I can't wait to read the whole book with whatever title you choose.

  6. I agree with everyone; your first book should be Enjoying The Ride so your blog readers know it's you. Just because you cleverly thought it up years ago doesn't diminish its entertainment value. Your 2nd book can take off in a new direction or piggyback on the first (Still Riding!) and your THIRD book can be even be a novel because your audience will know how to find you by that time.

  7. Message received! blog comments, Facebook messages, emails, sky writing over my house, everything points to enjoying the ride. It's just a matter of the subtitle, and I have a lot of good suggestions, including the ones here. Thanks so much!

  8. How about: "Enjoying the Ride...Bumps and All!"

  9. I think the subtitle should perhaps mention your mother.

  10. Delia (Russell) DoaneFebruary 23, 2015 at 10:19 AM

    "Enjoying the ride",following in my Mother's tracks

    "Enjoying the ride", even though it is all uphill.

    "Enjoying the ride",from a different view.

    "Enjoying the ride", though watching out for black ice.

  11. I'm immensely pleased to read you are writing a book. You have a talent for it.

  12. lovespups, I love it!

    Anonymous, I agree… Just trying to figure out how.

    Delia, all good ideas. You have me thinking.

    Darren, writing a book is a lot different than writing a blog, but I'm enjoying the challenge.

  13. Something like: Enjoying the Ride: A Son's Journey wouldn't be heinous. But I don't think it's perfect. You could also use: Enjoying the Ride: A Mother's Legacy. Again, not perfect. I will keep thinking.

    1. I agree. Both are good, but there's something better out there…

  14. And, if the subtitle mentions your mother, and the dedication must be to Kim. Even though your mother deserves much credit for your happy marriage, the ride would not be fun without Kim.