Friends and close colleagues know that for the past year I have been writing a book. Entitled What Every Mental Health Professional Needs to Know about Sex, I pass along to other therapists how I work effectively with clients in my practice. Let me tell you, it's a lot of work! It isn't a matter of sitting down and writing. As a scientist-practitioner, I try to back up everything I say with research. If I tell a therapist that cognitive behavioral therapy is an important part of treatment for erectile dysfunction, I need to cite where I learned this. If I say that a certain percentage of women have experienced painful sex, I'd better quote a credible source.
All around my home office, there are big baskets of research. They are roughly divided into articles that I have cited and included in my bibliography, articles that were interesting but that I didn't have time to read on the first go-round, and articles that I may never get to, but would like to read some day. Looking around, I'd say I have a good 4-foot pile of material.
Then there are the books I've read. I have two small bookcases in my practice office, but I have scads of other books at home. Teetering over my head on a shelf over my laptop desk there are at least 20-25 books. I have more books on my e-reader. It seems I am pretty much drowning in words.
The writing process itself is a roller coaster. I have a Master of Professional Writing degree from U.S.C., so I am an experienced writer. But that doesn't mean that it's always easy to write. Today I was working on a chapter on assessment, trying to clean up my first draft. What a mish-mosh. It will be interesting to see how it turns out. Because I spent a decade editing books for a publishing company, I trust that I will be able to polish it into something my editor will accept. It's a little bit like pushing tiles around on a Rubic's cube. Come to think of it, I suck at Rubic's cube. Fortunately, I don't suck at pushing words around in a manuscript.
As I write, I have to think about promotion. How will I get the word out that I have written this terrific, helpful book? And as I do that, I have to keep my private practice alive so that I can be my own patron. Fortunately, I have been in practice long enough and have built up enough referral sources that things take care of themselves and I get plenty of calls from prospective clients each week. My bigger concern is keeping things balanced enough that I don't burn myself out with writing, so I can be fully present and effective for my clients.
Like a lot of writers, I like having written more than I like actually writing. Good thing I am passionate about my topic! So if I am not posting on my blog quite as often as you might like, or if I'm a bit lax in getting my newsletter out, please forgive me. Shh! Writer at work...