Back in 2004, I was diagnosed bipolar with psychotic features, which began a long journey of taking prescription drugs. It took a lot of years suffering through different kinds of medications. I would suffer mostly of weight gain, headaches, fatigue, depression, the list goes on.
For a period of time, I was in denial about my illness and stopped taking the meds on and off, because one: I thought I didn’t have a mental illness, that my mind was just messin’ with me (wrong) and two: I suffered from so many side effects, it wasn’t funny.
Unfortunately after so many bipolar episodes, I had to come to grips that I was in fact sick, I had a mental illness and I needed medication for it. Luckily over the years I was able to find a combination of drugs that work for me.
Through all this, my writing grew. I was finishing on my fourth novel and knew I had to think of something new to write. I always love to bring awareness to mental illnesses and depression and always try to incorporate that in my writing.
One day I was thinking of all the side effects prescription medication can have. You know the ones on the commercials that take two minutes to say? I was remembering when I first started taking them. I was still hearing voices at the time, not of my own. During my bipolar attacks, I would imagine things that weren’t there. And deciphering what was real and what wasn’t.
Out in my backyard, I was sitting at my patio and trying to think of something new to write. And all of a sudden, I heard “Just do it!” These are the first three words of FIX ME. I kept hearing “just do it” and so I sat down and wrote the words and spilling out came Pen’s dilemma, taking FIX and wanting to quit. But she had a reason not to, her friend Nate. But the catch to everything was that Nate wasn’t real. He was just a side effect of the drug.
It’s very easy for me to write a character in mental turmoil because I experience it on a daily basis. Every day is different. Sometimes, I’ll have my good days and sometimes bad.
So when it came to write Pen’s story, it came very natural to me. And everything was flowing how it was meant to. I wrote it in 3 months, revised it and sent it off. It took a long time to finally connect, but that’s a different story.
Sometimes it’s really hard to come up with a great idea. I know when I try to force things, it never works out that way. You have to be open for something new, something fresh. Some ways to get ideas: take a walk (without music and listen to nature instead) Sign off the computer and sit outside with a pen and paper. Doing it old school really helps sometimes.
Also too, I call it “spontaneous writing” where you sit down and write whatever your hearts desire, cats, I love cats (I could write a novel on it) Flowers, I want to keep trying. A poem, poems are great. (that was just an example of spontaneous writing.) It’s easy and fun and you can get a lot of ideas from that too.
Another fun thing to do, other than read what’s out there, is read all the new release blurbs. I’m not telling you to copy their ideas, but just get a feel of what’s out there, what’s working. Think of something you haven’t come across.
One thing I’ve learned is that loving your idea and letting it grow on paper is a wonderful gift. Even if you never get it published, it was something you were committed to for a long period of time. And remember writing your ideas down will always be a good idea.