Virus-anxiety: How I finally wrote my first ebook

I wrote my first e-book, finally! And it’s on mental health.

This was no easy task! It showed me new levels of frustration, and I acquired a profound respect for cover and book designers. I seriously underestimated the editing and proofreading process. Editors deserve more money than they charge honestly, and I deserve a bottle of wine for my frustration bearing abilities.

PS: In writing this e-book, I’m also smashing a resolution I made at the beginning of the year, promises I made myself.

READ: My 2020 challenge – promises to myself.

What’s the e-book about?

Managing your mental health during a pandemic. When COVID-19 was first reported in Zimbabwe, up until the first fatality, my anxiety started running high. It was all anyone spoke about; at the office, at home, in public transport, on social media. I spent too much time keeping myself updated on every little piece of that was released onto the media. I was going crazy, and I was definitely overdoing it. Of course, when I started imagining everyone I knew who fit within the more ‘vulnerable groups’ inside a coffin, I realized I was taking it too far.

That’s when I decided to make a conscious effort to protect my mental health. Coincidentally a group I’m part of (1k Challenge) put up an e-book writing competition. I didn’t enter the competition, but I did write an e-book, almost three times the length required by the competition. The directive was to write on something you know about, but that’s also useful to others. It occurred to me that perhaps I could document the actions I took to manage my fear about coronavirus. Hopefully, someone else would find it useful.

Harder than it looks, but easier than I thought

I have always toyed with the idea of writing a non-fiction e-book, but all my paltry attempts failed dismally…obviously. I wasn’t putting enough effort. I wasn’t being consistent, neither was showing any discipline. What I did terrifically was to dream about it, which I’ve always been good at. I knew writing a book would be difficult, every writer knows that (but most people don’t realize this). Writing a book is very challenging (I’m talking about 200-400 paged creations here). Writing a novel is an even more challenging endeavour.

But …it’s easier than I imagined. Perhaps I underestimated my own abilities, but I wasn’t sure I could pull it off (despite working jobs that rely heavily on my writing skills). My e-book is only about 21 pages long, but I’m proud of it. It’s a good start and taught me quite a great deal about writing a manuscript. Without further ado, you can read or down it here.

How I pulled it off

  • I wrote down all my major points in the numerical order they would appear in the e-book
  • Then I set a timeline (which I didn’t follow)
  • I collected my research
  • Came up with a distribution plan (which I’m loosely following)
  • Wrote first draft (I wrote about 500 words every day from 6.30-7am)
  • Edited and proofread (a ton of times, back and forth until I was ready to scream with frustration)
  • Designed my cover in Canva (I just edited a template, to be honest)
  • Put everything together in Google Docs and Smallpdf (this is the part that almost made me cry)
  • Published!
  • Then I saw more errors and had to take it down
  • More editing and proofreading and tears of frustration
  • Decided I didn’t want to anymore
  • More formatting and editing…then, published.

Learning points

Discipline is necessary. You have to be patient. It takes more time than you probably imagined. Frustration will have you aching to throw away your whole laptop. Try, try, and try again, until you’ve had it up to your neck.

Did I mention patience? You need buckets of it, because a project like this, small as it is, will stretch your patience to breaking point.

I can’t be more pleased about this, I really can’t explain to you how happy I am about my small victory. Poor Bae had to deal with my frustration also, but the encouragement went a long way to saving the e-book from the digital trashcan.

PS: Share the e-book with anyone you think could really use it, or maybe even those who don’t know they could use it. He’s a link to it, again.

https://bit.ly/how-to-manage-your-mental-health-during-the-COVID-19-pandemic-ebook

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