I wrote my first book in 1988. I had been a medical social worker for 9 years with no intention of writing anything but notes in charts. It became painfully obvious how anxious and scared my patients and their family members were. A lot of my time was spent helping them feel less frightened. I noticed along the way they felt more empowered. It occurred to me if they just knew the questions to ask or who to go to it would make a huge difference. My book, Patient Power: How to Have a Say During Your Hospital Stay, evolved from these experiences. It was surprisingly easy. I contacted 5 publishers after never writing anything before. I found myself with a book contract.
After my daughter was born 15 years ago I knew I needed something to keep my social work skills and brain cells intact. I was lucky enough to have the choice to be a stay at home mom. My career needed to find a new direction. Experienced writers tell us to know the subject you are writing about. My 35 year career in social work taught me a lot about people, healthcare, counseling, and crisis management when something catastrophic happens.
It was not easy to build our family. I started late getting married at age 42. That familiar theme of feeling helpless in the midst of a medical crisis emerged again only this time I was the patient. I went through 3 years of miscarriages and in vitro fertilization treatments. We had one final chance. I understood I could not continue to undergo the havoc this treatment imposed on my body, life and mind. I made a promise to myself. If we were successful in having a healthy baby I would help others who had gone through the hell infertility created. Our daughter, Grace, was born, and along with her my next book emerged.
Riding the Infertility Roller Coaster: A Guide to Educate and Inspire fulfilled that promise. It was published in 2006. I mistakenly believed it would be easier to get published having written a book already. It was surprising how much the publishing world had changed. There were many pitches written to numerous publishers. Several publishers responded that people did not care about infertility. I knew they were wrong.
Luckily I found a publisher who understood “stay at home mom’s” had both talent and important things to say. She called her publishing concept a “woman’s co-operative. I loved the idea of being a part of this selected collective of bright and talented women. We supported each other’s writing and cheered our respective successes.
I understood that I now officially was a patient advocate. I had a huge learning curve around marketing. My Facebook page and Twitter site were created. They focused on infertility related topics. There were hundreds of health related articles that I wrote for multiple major on line sites. I became a guest blogger too. I did my own marketing and got many radio interviews and some magazine coverage.I was fortunate enough to be nominated for 4 book awards which promoted sales and got me lots of free press.
Most importantly, I connected with people all over the world who struggled with infertility. A woman from Shri Lanka wrote me to tell me she felt she was alone until she read my book. Workshops, speeches, and some counseling also helped me stay connected with others. It has been gratifying and moving in ways I could not imagine.
I remember feeling very grateful for these connections but also thinking I would never be able to write another book. The idea of writing a book, finding a publisher, and doing the necessary marketing seemed overwhelming.
Ten years later I found myself taking care of my 97 year old father. He had been healthy most of his life but suddenly everything changed. I couldn’t stop myself from writing about him and blending my many years of professional expertise as a medical social worker. I worked with countless patients and families with catastrophic illnesses that forever changed their lives. My book Role Reversal Taking Care of Yourself and Your Aging Parents came from these events.
I was lucky enough to find a publisher who shared my belief in my book. She also shares my vision on the importance of women writers and what they have to offer. She has created a collective of inspiring and creative authors. We happily share information, support each others work, and support each other in a myriad of ways.
So here I am on the eve of the publication of my new book. It is terrifying and exciting. I am telling the story of my family so there is a need to do it honestly. It also makes my feel incredibly vulnerable. I want to do it right for my father and my family. I never feel it is real until I am holding my book in my hands. I jumped on the truck to help the Fed Ex driver unload boxes with my last book. I look forward to doing it again.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Iris Waichler, MSW, LCSW
This book was conceived as I watched my loving and lovable father, Melvin Edward Sneider, advance in age. I began to assume a larger role in his life helping him when he asked and later even when he didn’t. He needed the help even though he didn’t always know it. This was true especially near the end of his life.
As I began sharing my idea about this book, I met so many people who began telling stories of becoming caregivers for their loved ones. I heard their stories of the good and bad and all that role entails. At times a day didn’t go by when I didn’t have someone share their care-giving story.
I decided to blend my personal experience caring for my beloved father with my forty years of expertise as a clinical social worker and patient advocate. Role Reversal Taking Care of Yourself and Your Aging Parents offers invaluable information on a comprehensive variety of key topics, including estate planning, copings with grief/anger, building a support network, and ultimately finding the right level of care for your aging parent.
Women Who Write Editor Note: This book will be available on Amazon on August 16,2016
<<MEET THE AUTHOR SEPTEMBER 8 !!!>>
Join us as we celebrate the publishing accomplishments of Michelle Cox, Maria Karamitsos, Iris Waichler, Emily Paster, and Ruth Kaufman. Evening will include refreshments, meet and greet with the authors, and panel discussion.
TO RSVP visit our Facebook Event Page: An Evening With Women Who Write.