YOUR BOOKS—UNEXPECTED BENEFITS
I did a series of 15 posts on Medium about writIng books, finishing on Dec 13 2017. I should have ended with the “unexpected benefits from writing”, but neglected to do so. BE ENCOURAGED, because commendations can trickle in even years later about how helpful they have been, or interesting, Of course you will also get criticism, but that goes with the territory. In this post I will major on positives, many which have been unexpected.
I will take my examples from responses to my previous book, “Living Beyond: Making Sense of Near Death Experiences” that was published in Dec 2015.
Authors dream of a significant response to the books they write. Each of my factual ones has taken between 6–8 years because I put in an enormous amount of research, travel, interviews etc to ferret out fresh previously unknown information. This long time between drinks gives me a lot of opportunity to build up my hopes.
Of course, the way I do things is expensive, although I do try to keep expenses down. A common question is whether I have made money from my craft. Sorry to disappoint you, I suppose I have more than covered my expenses over the years, but little more. Why write then? If you are a serious writer, I do not have to try to answer that question. If you aren’t then I would liken it to food — the food has cost you over the years, but it has also sustained you, and at times even given you pleasure.
Factual books, like mine, have one great advantage — they have a long shelf life. I get emails about books I wrote years ago, and all the Australiana ones I have written are still selling, the earliest one about the great John Flynn who began the Royal Flying Doctors and much else was first published more than 20 years ago.
Then you get letters from readers who have found your book in a library somewhere, so you can never know the nooks and crannies that your books will reach.
OK. Lets get back to “Living Beyond”. I had been collecting anecdotes and statistics for above 40 years and had a wealth of information about near death experiences, but was very selective how much I used or the book would have become unreadable. One thing I had discovered from NDErs was that most were embarrassed about what had happened to them, and were hesitant to talk about it at first, but once they trusted you the words poured out with obvious relief. Many of them were confused by the clergy, because most churches have been ignorant how to help them and have wanted to sweep it all under the carpet. Meanwhile, returnees were suffering symptoms similar to PTSD and needed counselling desperately. Some of the emailers needed professional help. I searched for practitioners in Australia who advertised services to NDErs but found none, no did my enquiries unearth any professional help for them. The situation was a little better in the USA and one practitioner is using “Living Beyond” to help his patients where appropriate. However, when you consider there to be around 16 million returnees from an NDE in the USA alone, based on the 2014 Gallup Poll findings and other research, you can see how thin on the ground help is for traumatised and confused NDErs.
Now for the unexpected things that surprised me.
The first 3 emails I received about “Living Beyond” were not from NDErs at all, but from readers who had suffered a recent bereavement! They explained the book had helped them to know what most likely would be happening to their loved one, and that this had helped them deal with their own grief enormously.
I was gobsmacked and contacted a mortician to discuss whether “Living Beyond” might not be recommended to grieving friends and relatives to help them. He assured me they already have good tried and tested books and other material to help the grieving, and so I did not pursue the issue further.
Then, a little over a week ago, we were told that my own beloved brother had died suddenly and unexpectedly of a massive heart attack in South Africa. He had been fit, well and happy. We, of course, were devastated. And later after the first shock and trauma had diminished a little I remembered back to our final phone conversation with him. He had said that he was reading “Living Beyond” for the second time!!
Consequently, during our time of distress and mourning, this has provided us with enormous comfort — at least he would not be surprised and traumatised by events in the afterlife! Instead, he would most likely be enjoying them!