Friday, 3 September 2010

In Which You Do My Market Research For Me

I haven't forgotten about the photography series, honestly. I'll get back to it. Soon. But for now, hands up who wants to read a post that starts with me thinking about writing a book? No? Oh well, tough luck, here it is anyway.

I mentioned a few posts down (yeah, the really long one) that I'm thinking about this. I know I'm not the first, here in adoption-land, and I'm pretty sure I won't be the last. So many people write so interestingly about their stories - there's obviously no lack of talent. But the difference between blogging and getting a book on the shelf is definitely not just about talent. The first requires a computer and an internet connection. The second needs commitment, time, timing, resources, more than one draft (gasp!) and a whole bunch of other stuff including a truckload of good luck. I need to realise that it's probably not going to happen for me. If failing at this is going to destroy me, I probably shouldn't start.

But whether I like it or not, in my head, I have sort of already started. I'm in the research and thinking stage at the moment, so I haven't typed an official word yet. But I still feel like I've started something, mentally. And I stocked up on pens* in honour of it all and I'm always scribbling things in a notebook so really, I'm practically Hemingway already.

I think I'm okay with just doing this, and not worrying too much if it fails. Remind me of this when it does, okay? But the process so far has been incredibly interesting (to ME, I hasten to add, you probably have better things to do with your time), and I have started to think much harder about everything I read, which can't be a bad thing. And of course, I now have a slew of new blogs about writing / publishing to follow, and that's been fun too. My favourites at the moment are literary agents Rachelle Gardner, Janet Reid and Nathan Bransford who provide a nice mix of useful information and time-wasting links (Jane Austen Fight Club, anyone?)

Anyway, (I think one of the useful bits of information was probably not to start a paragraph with 'anyway', but anyway - oops, there I go again) the thing I find myself thinking, often, is why? Why am I doing this? If I write it, why would anybody read it? And then to answer this, I find myself asking well, why do I read what other people write? And that's been interesting. I've read a truly insane number of adoption books over the last few years. You could be forgiven for thinking that my answer to 'why do I read it' could be: because it was about adoption, and Amazon was selling it. I have shelves of adoption (and parenting) books. Seriously. Shelves. And I suspect a lot of you are the same. So I was playing one of those 'desert island' games with myself, and wondering: what books would I pick if I had to recommend just FIVE books about adoption? Or, actually, because some of my favourites aren't directly about adoption, what five would I recommend to read in preparation for an adoption? And how about five online resources?

I think I know what my five would be, although I hyperventilate a little, thinking about not having all the others. I definitely know what my number one, top, NON-recommendation would be. But before I say, I'm wondering what YOUR five would be. And most importantly: why? I'm extremely curious. C'mon, spill!

*Honestly, these pens are just beyond fantastic. If you like a fine line, the Pilot G-Tec-C4 is your new best friend. I have huge, schoolgirlish handwriting, and a pen with a tiny nib is the only way to keep it under control - otherwise I look like I should be dotting my 'i's with hearts.


  1. Oh my, I would read your book in the split beat of a heart, I would, I would. I am envious of the commitment you demonstrate to the goal.

    In fact, I should send you this amazing article that Christine from Mother Paradox posted. One I adored about writing a book - along the lines of the compulsory life and death nature of it.

    On a different note, one time years back during the period in which I was a full-time rambunctious a-hole, I wrote to the CEO of Pilot Pens and told him I thought one of his pen designs was flawed and designed to fleece his customers. I then obnoxiously asked him to send me a free box of sample Pilot Pens. And he personally wrote me back. AND sent me a free box of sample Pilot Pens. This is not a made up story. It was, for lack of a better word, awesome.


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  3. Cindy, I miss your writing blog SO MUCH! I would hvae linked you as one of my favourites, except, well, it went private... in fact it was following some of your links that led me to some of those websites. Belated thanks for that :)

    Ummm... and HOW have you not told us that story about the pens before?? LOVE!

  4. I would totally buy that book.

    And I am sad that I have no stories about writing instruments.

    But I do love a good pen. I have unfortunately lost the ability to actually write by hand since I type virtually everything in my life. La Cazadora, on the other hand has bold and intriguing handwriting, much like the woman herself.

  5. Yes please write a book!!! I think it's a brilliant idea. I've been reading your blog for awhile but felt like an idiot commenting because I've got two bios of my own. But my sister and her husband have been through IVF hell and come out the other side with nothing but huge debt and two broken hearts. They are starting the process of adopting from Ethiopia now. Your blog has really helped me understand how she and her husband must be feeling a lot of the time, because I think it's too hard for her to talk about in depth, at least to me. And I think a book by you would be so, so helpful for anyone who is going through what you've gone through and for the people who love them and want to understand. And everything you've written about the adoption is very honest and insightful- and entertaining too, because you are an excellent writer.
    I had planned to print out all your blogs and make my entire family read them when my sis finally got her referral. Now maybe I won't have to, I'll buy them all the book instead!

  6. I hope you decide to go for it!

    My top 4 reads:

    The Exact Same Moon
    Love in the Driest Season
    What I Thought I Knew (technically not about adoption, but about becoming a mom in a complicated way)

  7. I think everyone is forgetting to post recommendations because we don't want you to delay one more second before writing your own book.
    I actually missed you while you were on vacation which makes me think I am taking my stalking to a new level.


    PS Finally started to blog semiferalmama.wordpress

  8. OMG, I just posted this long comment and Blogger mucked up at the very moment I went to push publish. AARRRGH!!!!

    Here is the article:

  9. OMG Claudia, you have waaaaay more stamina than me. Writing a book? Every time I think about it I swear I get nauseous. Who has that kind of energy? You are obviously much younger and much more energetic than me...(please do not tell me exactly how MUCH younger--it would crush me. haha)

    Anyway (haha, I do it compulsively) my top five adoption books, of which I can only think of two so far:

    1.) Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child, From Your First Hours Together Through The Teen Years, by Patty Cogan, M.A., Ed.D.

    2.) Beyond Good Intentions, A Mother Reflects On Raising Internationally Adopted Children, by Cheri Register

    The first book I consider a lifesaver.

  10. Pretty please, write a book. I love your writing. I think if we met (hopefully we will one day!) that your voice would sound just like your blog. My favorite adoption book is:

    "There is no Me Without You" by Melissa Fay Green.

    My favorite fiction regarding Ethiopia is:

    "Cutting for Stone" by Abraham Verghese


  11. It's taken me too long to get to type this - we've all been sick, ugh. And now gaaah, so much I want to respond to here! It almost makes me miss IntenseDebate. Almost.

    Thanks so much, lovely people, for words of encouragement - I should probably print this page out to read in the middle of the night when I'm feeling like I'll never finish. Cindy, that article was GREAT.

    Amy, you are undoubtedly due for some kind of sister of the year award. Seriously. Having someone in the family who cares what adoption is REALLY like makes a huge, giant difference. For me, that person was my sister too (and she gets the sister of the LIFETIME award as a result). I very sincerely hope that your sis gets her referral LONG before my book gets finished (ahem, if it gets finished).

    One word of complaint from me in the middle of this love-fest: I WANT MORE RECOMMENDATIONS!!! Of the six books recommended so far, I have only read TWO. And they are incredible, so if the remaining four (which are going straight in my amazon cart) are anywhere near as fantastic, I'm going to be a very happy girl. So - what about the rest of you, huh? HUH?

  12. Did I say six recommendations? Because I meant eight. And when I said I had read two, obviously I meant four. Obviously.

  13. my favorite book so far is The Connected Child by Dr. Karyn Purvis. Gooooooood stuff. If I had to pick one this would be it.

    Online adoptive families magazine is good stuff.

  14. My entire comment was deleted! Ugh! Okay, here are my top 5...

    The Connected Child co-wrote by Dr. Purvis

    Raising An Emotionally Intelligent Child by Dr. Gottman

    Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Parents Knew by Sherrie Eldridge

    The Family Of Adoption by Joyce Pavao


    Coming to Grips with Attachment: The Guidebook for Developing Mutual Well-Being in Parent-Child Relationships by Katherine Leslie

    I would LOVE it if you write a book. LOVE it!



Over to you!