Thursday, 29 August 2013

Juggling Treacle & Social Media

Have you ever tried juggling with treacle whilst being hit by trucks? No I haven't either, but I think it would be at least as easy as navigating my way through this past week. Having a chest infection which me quite low both physically and emotionally didn't help one bit either, but I suppose if the universe thinks it's your turn to have a really pants week, it probably best to get as many horrid things out the way as you can possibly manage. That's why it was so like juggling treacle, the issues were hitting so thick and fast and each new one just made the whole situation seem messier and and stickier. Some of them were so sticky and messy that clearing my way out of them will take forever, but we are slowly getting there, and I'm back to nearly breathing normally at least sometimes this week. 

Maybe I've just stepped away from the treacle to spend loads of time daydreaming about another new possible project. Over the weekend, lots of people started to suggest I should write a book. I've always secretly wanted to, but I've always put it off to "another day" when there might be more spare capacity in terms of energy and time. Having my type of cancer concentrates the mind somewhat though, how many "another days" have I got to indulge in procrastination? So I've had to confront another reason I've been putting it off, which is all about my insecurities and confidence. What if I wrote the best book I was capable of writing and nobody bought it? What if, even worse, they bought it and didn't like it, or laughed at it, or laughed at me for being so stupid? What if I wrote it, and I just got rejection slip after rejection slip from publishers? At least if I never write it, I can dream of the "one day". Once I've done it, if it crashes, that "big dream" is shattered, and I don't have any Plan B back-up contingency dreams to dream. 

So I've done a load of research, OK well maybe not a "load", but at least some. These days, a publisher is more likely to take a new author on if they have a "platform", a ready made audience of people that might buy the book. I'm a blogger, so I have this platform, thanks to the many lovely people who continue to read my thoughts, but I'm not sure its a big enough platform, largely due to my lack of expertise in social marketing. 

I share it on Facebook and on Twitter, and that's easy to do because there is a ready-made little button for each that I can click when I've written it, but I've spent a shocking amount of time trying to figure out ways to share it on other sites like Linkedin, Tumblir and Pinterest, and I'm still bashing my head against a wall. Can anyone help please? If I just copy and paste the URL link, how can I be sure that it won't be my own password-protected link that would allow trolls to take over the site and cause havoc? Even better, how can I import an easy-to-use button to do it as simply as I can with FB and Twitter? Yes, I've spent hours pouring over websites with "Handy to use Widget Tools", but I'm just not handy enough, and although I understand every individual word in the instructions, it makes no sense when whoever wrote it collected those words in that particular order. 

Yes, I know I have teenagers, but have you ever asked a teenager for help with an IT problem? They love that this is their moment to completely and utterly rub it in that you're way too old and somewhat intellectually challenged, then they fiddle with your system, do something completely other than what you asked them to help with in the first place, meaning you will never be able to make your device work in even the vaguely semi-friendly way it used to, and then they slink off mumbling something along the lines of "Oh God, Mum, just get over it, OK?"

So if anyone has any ideas of how I can take this blog to the next level of exposure, I'd be really grateful for any help. Also, if you like a particular blog post, I'd be very happy, in fact delighted, for you to share it on your own social media networks. If I'm ever going to be pitching to a publishing house, it really is a case of "the more the merrier" in terms of readership. 

What will I write about? I could write about cancer, but then so could squillions of others. That's a double-edged sword because there are so many "I did cancer my way" books out there, but then because cancer touches so many people, I suppose there is also a huge potential audience. Personally, the way I'm thinking at the moment, I would prefer to write about how to bring up the "quirky kids", the special needs ones, like mine. There aren't many families who have three children each with different disabilities, and I'd like to write the book that I needed, the one that would have held my hand and told me to trust my instincts and to ignore the "helpful suggestions" that just left me feeling useless and hopeless over and over again. I'd make it funny and supportive without being preachy and prescriptive, a book that would help not just the thousands of bewildered parents of newly-diagnosed disabled children, but also the armies of professionals who so often don't quite "get" it. In fact I'd like it to have the odd nugget that any parent of any child might find useful. The children themselves would be central to the book - any child with any disability can, with the right amount of love, nurturing and support, blossom and thrive, becoming confident and happy young people. I would also be honest - there are some clangers of mistakes I've made along the way, but learning to accept them instead of beating myself up over them took a long time. Comments please!! Is this the sort of book that people might want to buy? I could always write a second one about cancer if this one doesn't go so pear-shaped that I want to hide under a stone for the rest of my days. 

Writing is something I can do without even having to get out of my pyjamas, so cancer or no cancer, it should be doable in a way that maybe having a nine-to-five job is no longer an option. I have a new health issue to contend with too now - heart disease caused by some of the cancer drugs. My blood pressure is off the scale and I'm now having to take beta-blockers too while I'm waiting for a referral appointment to see a specialist Cardiologist. It looks like the very drug that is keeping the cancer under control is causing this, so it wasn't the best news I've had recently. The beta-blockers made me smile though - did you know they are actually heart-shaped?! 

I was just about to finish but an email has arrived with some of the best news ever - Sutton Mencap have reached their fund-raising target for their new sensory room! I've just been invited to the launch party for when its finished as a thank you for raising some of the money with Laughter Yoga sessions, and a promise of my very own moment on the waterbed! Count me in!


  1. First... write the book for you. Each and every one who reads it will be the richer for it, but writing it will enrich YOU, regardless of whether it is read by a stranger or not.
    Topic: the quirky kids definitely!!
    Social platforms I've no idea :)
    Inspiration? Tiny Titan by Ann Yurcek. I think she self published, I can't remember, but it's on Amazon (just recently got a moronic insensitive and stupid comment, but is a wonderful book).
    Go for it!! Good luck xxx

    1. Thanks, Benedicte. You and I have a lot in common, and if you think I should do it, I totally trust your judgement. I'll order that book too xxx

  2. I would buy a book written about your special needs family and how you cope with that in addition to having cancer. I think the real story is the entire package and your unique challenges.
    Social Media - Not sure but I think you may have to upgrade your blogger site (pay) to get the features you are looking for. I would highly recommend a twitter account if you don't have one to get more readers, and if you do have one posting a link would be useful to find you.
    I am dealing with terminal cancer and I can not even imagine having the energy to deal with the cancer let alone a family with special needs while maintaining such a positive attitude. You are truly inspirational to me! Thank you for sharing your life, your struggles, and your joy and start writing that book!
    Julie from Canada

    1. Hi Julie,

      Thank you for your lovely comments. I'm on Twitter as Yvonne Newbold, but it's hard to find the time to tweet as often as I'd like to. I'm sorry to hear you have cancer too, I'm Stage IV too, and it really isn't easy. Sometimes I think that having the manic lifestyle I have actually means I don't get much time to stop and absorb the magnitude of what's happening to me cancerwise, so it can be a mixed blessing, but I also have moments, sometimes whole days, where any joy or positivity is miles away. Take care of yourself, and thank you for reading and for taking time to reach out and say hello too. Yvonne xxx

  3. Quirky kids definitely.
    You've had so much experience dealing with the professionals as well as helping the kids themselves. I'm sure that passing on what you've learnt would be invaluable to other parents who are suddenly plunged into a world where they have to cope with things so far beyond anything they or any of their friends/family have even thought about before - Jo

    1. Jo, thank you. I want to write the book that might reach a mother like us when she feels overwhelmed with utter sadness and despair, when she cannot dig any deeper for resources because she has been running on empty for so very long. You're right, there's no training or preparation, we all fumble along in the dark trying to make it up as we go along, and mostly holding our breath in terror. I want that mother to know that she isn't alone, and to feel supported and understood, and maybe even to find something to laugh about in the absurdity of it all. Although it didn't always seem so at the time, some of the moments I've had with professionals are hilarious looking back, and quite frankly, if I couldn't laugh at some of it I don't think I'd ever have stopped crying. The kids and their quirks are hard enough to handle, but the whole industry of professionals add so many layers of extra unnecessary stress,politics, work and admin that it's quite astounding I'm not in a psychiatric facility by now. I know you know where I'm coming from. We've learnt so much about lessons that we never even signed up for, but if even a tiny bit of that knowledge is helpful to someone at the start of this madness then that's the book I've just got to write. Thanks Jo xxxx

  4. Hi Yvonne,
    Yes, you need to write more than one book! People are hungry for information...and you're right in the thick of that treacle you describe...the mother of children with assorted 'disabilities' 'holding up the fort' while you cope with cancer...and coping with the endless health care appointments and administation that lock you down into a stranglehold!
    I think your first book needs to be about your health have enough material from your blog to write an engaging book!
    Your follow up book would focus on you living with 3 children with different 'disabilities', while coping with your own health challenges.
    I have a good reference for you, re the professional world of blogging and how to get it right. I attended Dannjy Iny's webinar, and it's great information and a great resource, but I'm not ready with a product or concept to sell.
    You have a book as your project, and he shows bloggers how to be successful, with ongoing mentoring etc.

    Check out:

    Best wishes,
    Sharon Kite
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

  5. Hi Sharon, thank you so much for the info, now that, after weeks without proper internet access, I'll follow it up and have a look. and now that my laptop's mended I'll soon be able to get started on the book project, hopefully. Hope life is treating you well xxx