Sunday, June 27, 2010

My writing week 3 (25)

Hi all,

I felt like a writer last week, spending a lot of time researching, reading and writing. I was told of a disability site requesting articles on disabilities from writers with disabilities, I had a look. They were offering a contract for four articles over six months and requested a sample article, I decided to have a go.

As anyone who has been following this blog knows, my father recently died from dementia, so I was keen to write an article about what it was like coping with him. I wanted to write something that helped give permission to people to place a dementia suffering relative or parent in a nursing home. I know I felt like I had betrayed my father when we had him assessed as high care and to be placed in a nursing home,but there was no way we could have coped with him living at home.

I wrote the article. The original version went for over 1000 words which I had to cut down to a 500 limit. This meant cutting out many of the anecdotes and rendering it a lot less personal account. I emailed it off, along with a covering letter containing suggestions for other articles I could write.

I received an email back that said they were currently on a recruitment drive for writers and would I please apply. They wanted two sample articles and suggested I write one of those I had included in my covering letter on how ebooks would make it easier for the disabled to access books. They felt that such an article would demonstrate the range of my writing and make for a very strong application. I have been reading a lot about ebooks lately so I had plenty of material and after a bit more research, I have plenty of ideas for such an article.

But, I have begun to wonder about the tone of my articles. The dementia article (after the removal of anecdotes) was informational and had a somewhat sad and resigned tone, as in, we tried our best, but it was never going to be good enough (perhaps I could include that in a subtitle). Besides, how could you possibly be bubbly and positive when talking about dementia?

The second article about ebooks will be a lot more positive and hopeful. I have been thinking that a more positive tone is probably what they want, but as a person with a disability I would prefer the truth to false hope. I hope whoever decides who gets to be a contracted writer is not into just putting positive spins on disabilities.

I have put a couple of anecdotes back in the first article, in an attempt to make it more "entertaining", and I will now cut words from other places. I will write the second article in the next day or so.

As you can never have too many ideas, any ideas of the benefits of ebooks to the disabled would be appreciated.

I also continued writing the second draft of a novella. Much has changed and it is a far better story, with less fantasy.

So for a few days last week, after spending much of the day researching and writing, I felt like a working writer, like it felt when I was studying writing. It felt great.


PS, my disability is no big thing, just a bit of a hassle when it becomes active, which can be at the most inopportune times. It was mentioned many posts ago.


Anthony J Langford said...

Sorry Graham, I think I missed your post on your disability, other than the issues with your eyes.

Congrats on getting asked to write the article. That's great to have positive feedback.

I imagine it's difficult for the elderly to read e-books (or we talking more disabilties). The technology is there to provide big print, which is very useful and also with the text to speech programs etc, there must be a way that e-books can be read to people, more than just a mp3 etc. Actually following the text.
I don't know, just throwing stuff out there.

Good luck with it all. And again, sorry about your father.


Graham Clements said...

Thanks for your ideas. The disability is no big deal, it just an illness that comes and goes. It's not like I am physically or mentally disabled. Always in two minds whether to mention it, whether to highlight that a growing number of people have to cope with this illness and its effects on their lives, or not to mention it to avoid the awkwardness that most people feel when confronted with illnesses in other people.