The Idea for Mobility Matters
A Look Back at My Journey
35-Day Author Blogging Challenge – Day 9
How did Mobility Matters come about:
I was floundering with my book, Fading Light, the memoir that began with my diagnosis of Retinitis Pigmentosa and my decision to continue to teach overseas. The book focused on work, adventure and my humorous attempts at finding love–all while fumbling with vision loss in other cultures. I worked on it for a few years and even received feedback from a professional author. But I struggled with that first chapter and kept changing things around. Progress was slow and grueling.
I was not making any kind of living as a writer and needed an accountability partner. Frustrated, I hired a long-distance writing coach to help me set publishing goals.
We focused on a speaking engagement for my deadline. A former college classmate invited me to be the keynote speaker at the Ladies’ Retreat with her church. My writing coach encouraged me to prepare a book to sell after my talk.
“But that’s just five months away,” I protested.
“You can do it!”
Instead of trying to make sense of my efforts with Fading Light, I suggested I work on a different piece. “I kept a journal when I was learning to use my white cane,” I told her. “It’s already written. It shouldn’t take very long to expand into a book.”
“That’s fine,” she said, relieved we had a game plan. “Let’s set the first deadline.”
Understanding My Focus
I wasn’t meeting my deadlines the first couple of months and started to panic. We adjusted our objective: I’d write a booklet instead. I called it A Step in the Right Direction. As I wrote, God whispered life lessons into my heart and reminded me of my responses and emotions. I started to make real progress. The booklet ballooned into a book again. But that meant it would never be done in time for the keynote talk.
One night while lying in bed and unable to sleep, it struck me that the real message of my book was how important mobility was to me and how my faith had changed through my struggle.
That wasn’t a mere step in the right direction. That was a major attitude and faith change. I had chosen to trust God in this area of my life. It needed a different title. I kicked around various titles in my head and suddenly the words came to me: Mobility Matters: Stepping Out in Faith.
Finding my Target Audience
At that time, I was discovering how so many in my vision support group on Facebook struggled with the same issues I had when it came to using a mobility cane. As I wrote, God led me to focus on sharing how He had met my needs and to use it to encourage them.
Now my writing coach not only helped me stick to my chapter deadlines, she line-edited my work for clarity. Then I shared it with my critique group. Finally, I passed it on to the mentor from a writing course I’d since finished, anxious to know if she felt it would be marketable.
I held my breath waiting for her response. She’d been in the market for over thirty years. What if she said no one would ever buy it?
Finally, I heard back. Her email started with, “Amy, I so enjoyed your book! I hope you are going to go through a publisher because this can impact people and a publisher will give you a wider market…”
Choosing My Own Path
Relieved but torn, I didn’t want to wait for a publisher to choose my manuscript. So I decided to self-publish it. I sent it to my beta readers and from their input, tightened the script even further.
Writing this book taught me to trust in the practical application of the saying, “God never expects us to do what He hasn’t equipped us to do.” He always has a plan. We discover it by prayerfully asking for His guidance. I’m not sure why God impressed on me to write Mobility Matters: Stepping Out in Faith first. Perhaps, it will impact more people right now.
People will read Mobility Maters: Stepping Out in Faith for different reasons–inspiration; relating to the vision issues; for insights as to how vision loss impacts their own family; seeing how one person copes with vision loss; or, for a faith boost. It would also draw people with mobility issues. Friends and family might want to know about how I live my life. Finally, some just might like a good story they can’t put down with humor and emotion.
Whatever a reader takes away from my book, I realize that writing about my journey has taken me personally to a deeper, more practical level of faith.