I had a great time at the Atlanta Writers Conference Book Fair. It’s been awhile since I’ve attended a conference in-person. It’s always inspiring to see so much creativity on display.
To that point, I met several caregivers at the Book Fair who shared their personal caregiving stories with me. If you are on the fence about writing about your caregiving experience, I would encourage you to try, even if it’s in a personal journal and not for public consumption. Doing so can be a cathartic experience. You may find that you do have lessons to share that would benefit other caregivers. If so, there are many self-publishing platforms available, in addition to the traditional publishing route.
Understandably, while you are an active caregiver, you likely will not have time to work on a book project. I scribbled down notes, quotes, scenes, anything that I thought I might want to revisit in written form later. Sometimes having a bit of distance can help in framing an experience in a balanced way, but capturing those visceral images in real-time was important for me. I published The Reluctant Caregiver 2 years after my mother’s death and 6 years after my father’s death. Of course if you’ve been following my blog from the beginning you know I began The Memories Project within weeks after my father’s death. At the time I thought I would mainly be writing about my father’s journey with Alzheimer’s but then my mother fell ill. By the end of my caregiving journey with my parents, I had a variety of experiences and lessons to share.
No doubt you will too.
[To give you inspiration, check out the recording of Poetry for the Dementia Journey, a poetry reading event hosted by AlzAuthors. At about the 37-minute mark, you can hear a poem I shared about my father.]