I Wrote 90,000 Words on my Smartphone. And I Wasn’t Texting.

I Wrote 90,000 Words on my Smartphone. And I Wasn’t Texting.

I wrote a book on my smartphone. It took me the better part of a decade, but I was able to type out all 90,000 words of my memoir, When Force Meets Fate, on a tiny 4.7 inch iPhone screen. It wasn’t my preference, or even a shameless quest to stand out in an industry that publishes hundreds of thousands of books each year. No. I wrote a book on my phone because I’m disabled, and it was my only option.

My disability began as a viral illness, which, over several years, developed into myalgic encephalomyelitis — an energy-leeching, multi-system disease that Dr. Anthony Fauci has compared to “long haul” COVID

For the first few years, I was constantly fatigued and plagued by weakness and nausea, but I could still take care of myself and work from home as an editorial assistant. 

It was around this time that I started working on When Force Meets Fate, which focused on my battle with chronic illness and disability. But three years after I began writing, my condition worsened. Suddenly I couldn’t walk or eat on my own. I was too weak to speak and couldn’t use my phone. Finishing my book became an even more difficult task, if not an impossible one.

For months, I had to use hand signals to communicate, and my only nourishment came from liquid meals, which I had to drink through a straw.

Eventually, after lots of steroids and antiviral medications, my health began to improve. I could speak softly and eat solid food again. And while I wanted to finish my book, I still wasn’t quite up to it. So I started writing essays. 

In 2017, I wrote an opinion piece for the Los Angeles Times titled, ”Surviving by Smartphone,” describing how I needed my phone to communicate. What I didn’t mention was how I also needed it to write that very article. 

A year later, I wrote an essay called, ”Love Means Never Having to Say . . . Anything,” also on my phone. It was published by The New York Times for its “Modern Love” column. 

But these were relatively short pieces (both under 2,000 words). If I wanted to finish my book, I would have to replicate them 50 times. I was determined to do just that. I didn’t think about how daunting it was, I just put my thumbs on the screen and got to typing. 

My phone was too bright, worsening my neurological symptoms, so I wore sunglasses to shield my eyes, sometimes even strapping on welding or tanning goggles for added protection. There I was, lying in a small hospital bed, finishing my book with a pair of hot pink tanning goggles on.

Typing tens of thousands of words on tiny digital keys was extremely difficult, but the hardest part was editing — dissecting grammar and sentence structure with big, clumsy thumbs and dark goggles over my eyes. I finally finished the manuscript, and moved on to finding a literary agent who could look for a publisher. I queried more than 100 agents, many of whom rejected my book proposal flat out.

I didn’t know what I was doing wrong. By this time, I had written several more essays and even appeared on Netflix, giving me a substantial platform with more than 50,000 social media followers. It seemed as though I had everything one would need to get a book deal. But, for some reason, it just wasn’t meant to be. 

I briefly considered self-publishing, but I wanted a publisher who could provide my memoir with a broader audience than I could give it on my own. I decided to use Inkshares, a crowdfunding publisher, who agreed to publish my memoir after I sold more than 750 pre-orders. 

That was more than a year ago, and now, after approving the book’s interior and cover design, even proofing the audiobook, all on my phone, my memoir is being read by people all over the world. 

Some may think writing a book on a phone is impressive, others may think it’s impossible, but when you’re disabled and all you want is to tell your story, it doesn’t matter how you do it. For those of us with disabilities, sometimes the hard way, or even the seemingly impossible way, is the only way.

BEFORE YOU GO . . .

1. Please support this blog by ordering a copy of my memoir, WHEN FORCE MEETS FATE. And if you’d like to support the book, please leave it a review on Amazon. The book is available from:

US: AmazonAppleTargetBarnes and NobleGoogle PlayBooksAMillionBook Depository(ships worldwide for free!), IndieboundBookShop.

2. The audiobook is also available on all platforms, including Audible!

3. You can also support my blog by donating directly.

I Just Walked For The First Time in Five Years

Tears are gushing out of my eyes, down my cheeks, dampening my shirt. These tears are a mix of joy and sadness. Joy for having just walked for the first time in half a decade. Sadness for having had to live through those five years.

I’ve been sick since 2010, but a few years into my illness things got really bad and I became bedridden. I was so weak I couldn’t speak. I had to drink my meals through a straw. Caregivers had to brush my teeth and bathe me. It was excruciatingly difficult. I wanted to give up so many times. And I almost did because, when life gets that bad, it feels like there’s no coming back.

It felt like the damage that had been done to my body and my life was irreversible. I was so sick, so immobile, trying to imagine walking, talking, or even eating again, was like trying to imagine life on another planet (real life, not sci-fi).

While it may have been impossible for me to imagine doing these things again, outside of my imagination they weren’t impossible. Over the five years that I was bedridden, I was on a roller coaster of progress and regression. I’d get a little better, then get sicker, until finally, I broke through and started eating and speaking again. Soon I was sitting on the side of my bed, even putting my feet on the ground.

I’m going to be real—this was not a linear recovery. As I write in my memoir, my recovery story was more complicated than the inspirational stories you see on TV and social media. Most people aren’t used to a recovery story about someone who got sick, then got sicker, then started to recover but got sick again, only to recover and finally plateau. But this has basically been the trajectory of my recovery. And I’m not mad at it. Here I am, taking my first steps in five years, feeling like a giant standing next to the spot in my bed where I used to lie. The pain and stiffness in my legs is harsh, but I don’t care because, fuck, I feel good. I’m still sick, still recovering, but when I grab the door handle and pull myself out of bed and walk outside onto the deck, it feels so fucking good.

https://youtu.be/VBVftdxk1fA

I have a lot more to say about this phase of my recovery, but I’m going to save it for another post because, right now, I want to use as much of my energy as I can to keep getting better, to keep enjoying these moments, and to keep feeling good.

BEFORE YOU GO . . .

1. Please support this blog by ordering a copy of my memoir, WHEN FORCE MEETS FATE. And if you’d like to support the book, please leave it a review on Amazon. The book is available from:

US: AmazonAppleTargetBarnes and NobleGoogle PlayBooksAMillionBook Depository(ships worldwide for free!), IndieboundBookShop.

2. The audiobook is also available on all platforms, including Audible!

3. You can also support my blog by donating directly.

Burnout is Real

Burnout is Real

I’m going to keep this post short because, to be honest, I’m burnt out and a few hundred words is all I can muster at this point.

For the last several years, I’ve been devoting pretty much all of my free time to getting my book published. I spent countless hours writing and editing it, then finding a publisher, and finally promoting it in every possible way I could imagine. And now I’m burnt out, struggling to respond to emails and messages, or even think creatively, forcing myself to write this post because, well, I haven’t gone a month without posting on this blog since I started it in 2016, and I hate to break a streak.

I say this not to garner sympathy (it was my own doing, after all) but to provide an update and to keep in touch. I have gotten burnt out before, and I received messages asking if I was okay and what was going on. I appreciate these messages, as they are especially important to those of us in the chronic illness community because people often become too sick to use their devices, too sick to maintain a social media presence, as was the case for me when I became bedridden in 2015.

So this post is to assure everyone that I’m doing okay, more than okay, actually. I’m doing really well—I will share an update on my recovery soon. But perhaps it is this progress I’ve been making, too, that has made me more creatively burnt out. After being so sick for so long, I want to spend more time enjoying what health I’ve regained, and maybe even relax a bit, recharging my batteries for the next big thing to happen in this little life of mine.

So, until then . . .

BEFORE YOU GO . . .

1. My memoir, WHEN FORCE MEETS FATE, is now available. If you’d like to support the book please order a copy and leave it a review on Amazon. Here’s a list of places to order the book (by country):

US: Amazon, Apple, Target, Barnes and Noble, Google Play, BooksAMillion, Book Depository (ships worldwide for free!), Indiebound, BookShop.

Canada: Amazon, Kobo, Chapters/Indigo

UK: Amazon

Australia: Booktopia

Mexico: Amazon

Germany: Amazon

Norway/Sweden: Book Depository, Adlibris

2. The audiobook is also available on all platforms, including Audible! Here is a sample of the audiobook:

3. You can also support the book by donating to help pay for the audiobook and publicist, expenses that came out of my own pocket.