Susan's Blog

Sunday, October 1, 2006

Give Me an Idea

I need a book idea!
I have an agent interested in something that I could write, but I’m not sure I feel it deep down in my heart, where my best stuff comes from. Same with my editor: she has given me an idea, but it is very research-y. Not me. I’m a bit of a Lazy Libra. (Note: birthday is October 18…) MPWA came right out of my heart/gut. That’s my favorite kind of writing. If I wanted to do research, I’d have my PhD by now (drat that Harvard; but see? they probably could tell that I’m a heart girl not a whatever girl). Anyway…
Here are some ideas I’ve had. Please don’t steal any of them!!!!!

1) Other parents who have made peace with autism — editor kind of liked but called it a “small” book. ouch.
2) Taking care of your child, taking care of you — living well with autism. Totally tips and strategies, illustrated with anecdotes, that I and others have come by for being our best even when life gets tough (even yesterday, a really bad day, I managed to cuddle with Ned after a nachos dinner and watch a nice movie with lots of kisses before and after, plus I did three laundries and changed the beds and got Max and Nat to vacuum. In between, I took a huge nap and felt really sorry for myself!) I’d have to interview lots of people, which is fine.
3) Things my sons have taught me — mother of three very different boys, none of whom are “mainstream,” maybe ten chapters, 3 per boy, one sum-up
4) Things autism has taught me — focus on Nat
5) Things others have asked me (at conferences and in email) about autism
6) Blog of a mad housewife — collection of my blog posts, some published, some not

Okay, please either rank them in order, favorite to least, tell me why, if possible, or give me a new idea. If someone provides me with an idea that I actually use, he/she will get a prize. Maybe your favorite candy or an autographed, personalized copy of my book? I don’t know what you’d like. My undying gratitude? Ned says I get a lot of hits on this blog, so I’m hoping it will help me now!

I am poised and ready. I really need an idea and I’m turning to all of you for help. Thanks! And again, if you steal any of these, you are an evil person. Don’t be evil, says, I and Google.

(Here I am, at Mom’s house, reading my final draft of MPWA, sigh)


Loved your book, I for one would love to see a book about living well with autism. I think I do an okay job most days, but I’m still new to this gig and have only one child, so I have plenty of time to screw up LOL.

I think a book like that would be very well received, most moms I talk to who have kiddos on the spectrum do a poor job of taking care of themselves.

— added by ASDmomNC on Sunday, October 1, 2006 at 9:24 am

I would LOVE to see a book about “things autism has taught me”.

I know my head has changed since going through so much with Ben. It’s like something I’ve heard many a cool mother say…”they’ve (their children) made me a better person”.

All of our lives are richer for the total acceptance of our children!!!

Plus that, getting into the specifics of “different kinds of minds” could wake up a lot of curebies, maybe…I’m not judging, I was there, but it was a miserable place to be. I am so much happier now!

Anyhow, anything you choose will be needed by some. Tell your editors research oriented stuff is a drag for most parents. What heals us comes from the heart.

— added by r.b. on Sunday, October 1, 2006 at 10:02 am

I would most prefer a book about living well with autism. We are all living, but it is the living well part that is the challenge. How to see things in the right perspective, how to get through those times that there is no light at the end of the tunnel, how to enjoy your child, see the gifts, not the gaps, etc. That’s my vote!

— added by Sam's mom on Sunday, October 1, 2006 at 10:21 am

I totally love ideas 2, 3, and 4.

Living well with Autism…for the reasons the other 2 posters said…we tend to forget about ourselves a lot of the time.

Things my sons have taught me…for totally selfish reasons. I too have 3 very different boys and neither of them are mainstream either I think (my youngest is 17 months old, so it’s too soon to tell). My eldest is showing definite signs of ADHD, sigh.

Things autism has taught me…I love reading about Nat and I love your outlook on things. I have been reading your blog for a while, but this is the first time I have commented. Please keep up the wonderful work…I love reading about your life!

— added by Judi on Sunday, October 1, 2006 at 10:34 am

“The Gift of Autism”–a book about how Nat has influenced/changed each member of your family. How he has influenced your wants/desires, needs, & attitudes/philosophy for daily living and the future. I believe Autism, while extremely challenging, makes life much simplier in some very important respects. It breaks it down to what is REALLY important. It also redifines SUCCESS. Show how it’s all about the little things in life that makes up the BIG PICTURE.

— added by Jake's Mom on Sunday, October 1, 2006 at 10:43 am

This is good, this is good. Thank you so much!

— added by Susan Senator on Sunday, October 1, 2006 at 10:53 am

I vote for 1,2 or 4. What does Ed. mean by ‘small book’? Small page count? Sales? Distribution?

— added by Kev on Sunday, October 1, 2006 at 11:46 am

My editor meant that the publisher would expect a smaller group of buyers to be interested than before, because it is only other parents’ inspriational stories. (not to denigrate others’ stories). I guess the thinking is that collective memoir is a smaller market than my how-to/memoir. It would also mean a smaller advance, smaller publicity push, etc.

— added by Susan Senator on Sunday, October 1, 2006 at 11:50 am

I like 2. and 6. or maybe a combination of the two.

Interviewing alot of parents would be interesting and it would also show that there is not one single way to live with a child w/autism.

I think variety would be key, you can have examples of families who homeschool, or have chosen to have their child live somewhere else (and it is working out). I know that I am considering a Camphill School for my daughter when she is in her teens and then maybe a camphill community when she is an adult. If you google “Camphill” and “waldorf” if should come up. You never hear about these options.

Good Luck, whatever you write is interesting to me.

P.S. Photos are also nice in a book like that.


— added by susan on Sunday, October 1, 2006 at 12:16 pm

#2 sounds good and I was just going to post about the homeschooling families also.

— added by Anonymous on Sunday, October 1, 2006 at 12:55 pm

Hi there,
What about a book that has something to do with National Emergencies? I mean like, for example, “If there was a major earthquake in Cali. and you have an Autistic child where would your resources be, how do you plan for something like that?” I have never wrote a book before but then again I haven’t found too many books about Autism and disasters.

I really love ideas #1 and # 2.

Whatever idea you come up with I am sure it will be an excellent one! You are a fabulous writer!

— added by KC's Blog on Sunday, October 1, 2006 at 1:13 pm

I say we all write cranky emails to the editor and tell him or her that #1 is not a “small book.” šŸ™‚

— added by Anonymous on Sunday, October 1, 2006 at 5:00 pm

I really like idea number three: along with your other two kids’ reaction and dealings with their brothers autism. We’ve been given the story of your reaction to it all, what is theirs?

I want to see you on the frontlist where I work. On the octagon.

— added by Someone Said on Sunday, October 1, 2006 at 6:14 pm

I have been hearing a lot about writing about living well, making peace, and about how my kids have made peace. All good. I’ll churn it around and see what comes out. Keep ’em coming.

Guy – See what you can do. Got any influence on the octagon?

— added by Susan Senator on Sunday, October 1, 2006 at 6:52 pm

Hi Susan,
A continuation of MPWA dealing with life as you all grow and change.
I think elaborating more on how you made the story books for Nat to explain upcoming events, visits, etc. would be great and much needed info. I loved your first book and when I finished it, I was not ready to be “done”! WHich is why I read your blog and sneak a peek in your daily life!! Thank you for that! You are a great writer.

— added by gail on Sunday, October 1, 2006 at 9:37 pm

One more thing I enjoyed about your book that I would like to see touched on again is the aspect of how autism affects your marriage, for better and for worse.

My marriage almost ended, pre-diagnosis, essentially because of autism and the chaos and sleeplessness and alienation it can bring before you have a diagnosis, before you have help.

So many women I talk to have either marriages on the rocks or have come close to divorce as a direct result of the impact of having an autistic child. Women often find themselves in the position of having to fight and argue with naysayers, husbands in denial, friends who have no clue and just don’t get it, all the while navigating the complex maze of treatments and therapies totally alone.

— added by ASDmomNC on Monday, October 2, 2006 at 12:35 am

I like all of the ideas! lol I can’t pick. Although I dont think #1 is small by any means, I think it would be great to read about a variety of parents’ experiences.


— added by Anonymous on Tuesday, October 3, 2006 at 5:59 pm

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