I bonded with writer Christine Carter from The Mom Café because we were both incapacitated by leg injury for a number of months. I was super excited to hear that she was writing a book to help others out with their recovery not only from similar injury, but from injury or surgery in general. She gave me an advance copy of the book, and I’m slightly ashamed to admit it’s been sitting on my Kindle since October when it came out. But I had a day to myself the other day, so I opened it—and I consumed the entire thing in one sitting. If I’d had Christine’s book Help and Hope When You’re Healing when I was convalescing, it would have made my life a lot easier.
Christine starts out the book by detailing her credentials. And I’ve gotta say…this girl has had a LOT of surgeries, and had a lot of experience with healing. The book not only traces her journey, it provides helpful templates to help you get your act together BEFORE your surgery. It’s geared specifically to woman, and is a faith-based reading, but the helpful hints Christine provides would be helpful to women of any faith. She talks about the difficulties of parenting while recovering and talks about the guilt you can feel when you can’t fully participate. She also talks extensively about knowing when to accept help. I found myself nodding my head in agreement throughout most of the book, and I laughed out loud when she talked about the healing properties of humor. The book really inspires you to look beyond your injury and your pain and let gratitude into your life.
And…today I have a special treat for you. Christine agreed to answer my questions about her writing process and the book for today’s post.
Tell me how the book formed in your head. Was it just a momentary decision or did it evolve over time? Did it turn out like you planned?
It’s to me, quite an amazing story how my book came to be. I had felt a longing to write a book for some time and didn’t have a clear direction on what to write about because my feeling was that the things I write about: motherhood, faith, inspiration—are all topics that have countless books saturating the market. I didn’t feel I had anything more important to add to such a vast variety of really great literature on those subjects. I kept praying for clarity and guidance and for God to give me any ideas if I were to write a book. I knew it needed to be something unique and purposeful—but I really felt discouraged about what that could possibly be.
Then I had a pretty rough surgery, and during my recovery, I would try to write on the topics I usually focus on, but one evening I wrote a post Ten Tips For A Woman In A Leg Cast filled with the real deal on how hard it is to experience this type of recovery. I remember vividly feeling like it was such a waste of time because I had never written anything like that before and I thought no one would want to read it.
As the months went by, that one post kept getting more and more traffic on my blog. I started to get messages and comments from people that were going through similar situations thanking me for writing it. During this time, I was still praying for God to give me an idea for a book, and this post kept gaining more traffic. I thought this was very interesting. So several months later, I had another surgery to take some screws out of my toe joint, and I was back up on the couch. I decided to write another post similar to that one, to see if it too, would be received the same way. Twenty Truths About Life After Foot and Ankle Surgery was gaining ground with the other post.
Then it hit me. I could write a book to help not only these women, but any woman who has to face recovery! I realized I had some experience in this area and could hopefully offer some insight and encouragement on this topic. I then searched for any books like this, and there was NOT ONE.
Answer to prayer?
I knew I needed to write it.
The first draft wasn’t hard to write at all. It came straight from my heart and my experience—but months leading up to it were spent brewing up ideas and chapter structure and how I wanted the progression of the book to go. The editing process was brutal. I kept seeing things I wanted to change, improve, clarify, and sometimes completely revise. After rounds and rounds of edits, and then a few more rounds from my editor…
I was finally at peace with it. I didn’t want it to be a complicated read, because I know that people in this painful place need and it’s not a lot of content to manage. I wanted to touch on the challenges people can face and offer them new ways to approach their healing with purposeful ideas and insights that were helpful.
I haven’t read it again since. I think I’m too afraid I’ll catch something else I want to change!
I like that you’ve mixed in poetry with the text. Which did you find harder to write?
Poetry has always come very easy to me, so I’d go with the text. I hoped that my reflections after every chapter would help personalize each point. The second to last chapter, I changed completely at the last edit. Instead of all that I had written for the reflection segment, I added a new poem that came quite easily. I think it’s one of my favorites. “Beauty Blooms In Hard Places”. I think it captures the recovery process well.
The part about shifting your lens and widening your perspective really spoke to me the most. I found that I really had to learn to shift my perspective during my convalescence. Do you find that your lens has remained more open overall and it’s easier now to accept difficult situations?
YES! It has been a coping skill I have had a lot of practice with and I honestly expand my lens on a daily basis. It really changes how you look at things, doesn’t it? Big picture perspective is critical to having a healthy mindset when you are forced into a situation that is difficult to manage. It’s also just a great way to reflect on your life.
I love that you stress finding the humor in your situation. I know that my sense of humor was what got me through. Was there a funny situation that didn’t make the book that you wish was in there?
OH so many! So, so many. I really am incredibly um, different. I am quite impulsive and goofy socially, with my friends and tend to be the ‘crazy one’ in my social circles. So this particular memory just came to mind, but I don’t think it’s really ‘book worthy’: The first time I went back to church, I attended a meeting. Everyone cheered when I walked in the room, while one of the guys yelled “CHRIS CARTER IS IN THE HOUSE!” This was typical of my church family—they are beloved friends, so I have always been able to be totally myself with them. And ahem, I can be quite crazy.
After the meeting, I told all the women there that I was giving a ‘showing’ of my breasts behind the section blocked off of the room. Yeah. I pretty much coerced these gal pals to line up to see my new boobs. I even told some of them to touch my boobs. I figured if I were them, I would want to know what they looked like! To me, they weren’t my boobs anyway—they were like a science experiment I wanted to share.
Let me tell you, we still laugh about it to this day. 🙂 There are lots of details to this story that are hilarious (as you can imagine) but I’ll leave it at that.
What’s next? Is there a new book coming?
Well… I’ve been working on a project with my writing friend, Galit Breen, that has nothing to do with health and wellness, but it’s important just the same. She had asked me to work with her on developing an e-course or possible book to help parents guide their kids in the online world using Christian principles. I’m really excited for it to come out sometime in January!
A huge thanks from me to Christine Carter for playing along. I was very excited to read her book, and now I can’t wait for the next one!
You can find out more about Christine at The Mom Café and she’s also on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. There’s an affiliate link to buy her book below—I promise you—it would make a great gift for anyone facing surgery or convalescence.
(I was given a free copy of this book, but all opinions are truly my own.)
I’m participating in NaBloPoMo and NanoPoblano for the entire month of November! Click on one of the badges below to read more.
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