‘Check Mates’ Virtual Blog Tour
Today, I am happy to host Vrinda Pendred, Founding Director/Editor of Conditional Publications, a new independent publisher dedicated solely to publishing the works of authors with neurological conditions. Their first book ‘Check Mates’ comes out on May 11, 2010.
Yesterday Vrinda stopped by Miriam Scholzberg’s blog and if you missed it you can head over there…
This is the ninth stop on Vrinda’s 14-day Virtual Blog Tour to promote the launch of this ground-breaking new book.
What makes it groundbreaking is that ‘Check Mates’ is a collection of short fiction and poetry either about or inspired by the struggle with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, all written by people with OCD. It is arranged into two categories, Realism and Beyond. Whether solidly real, allegorical, or completely fictionalised, all the compelling work contained in this collection portrays the true story of this greatly misunderstood condition. It is also the first ever book of fiction written entirely by OCD authors.
I hope you will feel inspired by the interview you are about to read. If you do, be sure to sign up for the book launch reminder so you can buy ‘Check Mates’ and receive over 30 free personal development gifts on May 11,2010. You can register by clicking here (if you are reading this article after that date, you may buy the book directly from that page).
Charly: “According to my research, there are many brilliant and famous people who have suffered from OCD including Charles Darwin, Beethoven, Einstein, Charlie Sheen, Donald Trump and Michelangelo. I also understand that you, yourself, are innovative and a highly successful business woman who has OCD. In my mind, OCD can be a benefit in business as well as a challenge – what advice do you have for Women (and men) Business Owners who have OCD?”
Vrinda: While OCD is challenging and painful in so many ways, one has to remember that the whole point of OCD is over-thinking. Sometimes this is useful, because I would say it also involves a high degree of analytical thought. I just mentioned this in another blog and had readers contacting me to say it made them reflect on the sorts of jobs they’ve been good at, realising generally they were jobs that involved a lot of analysis and brainstorming.
I think this book, ‘Check Mates’, is also an excellent example, because what better group of people to proofread a book than those who feel the need to check everything meticulously? When such checking and over-thinking, etc. starts to overtake your life and interfere with your ability to function, then it’s a serious problem. But the reason I don’t really believe in a cure for OCD is because I think it’s important to rein in the obsessions and get control of them…and then use them to your advantage, rather than stamping them right out. Think of how to use your thoroughness, your ruminating, your checking, your neatness, your precision. There are people out there who are completely disorganised and desperate for someone to come along and sort them out; people with OCD are needed to balance this out! If we can work together, playing on our different strengths, great things can be accomplished.
Charly: What advice would you give to Business Owners, who have children that have OCD? It must be incredibly challenging for these parents, trying to balance their responsibilities as a parent and a business owner …
Vrinda: Being a mother myself, I’ve learned that ‘normal’ children are just as challenging! I think the most important thing to remember is that kids are funny creatures with their own batch of childhood neuroses, and it is our job as parents to help them grow out of these things. This would apply to any child, OCD or not. When something like OCD is added into the occasion, it just requires an extra element of patience and understanding, because their OCD behaviour is not something one can or should punish; the child doesn’t want the obsessions any more than you do.
I can well appreciate the challenge of trying to balance out all these responsibilities, though. I am a mother of a small child, plus I have a day job, an extra part-time job on the side, AND I’m trying to start Conditional Publications. Oh, and don’t forget trying to put in some time with my husband, socialising with friends and having alone time! It’s a story I’m sure so many women can relate to, and it definitely isn’t easy. I think the keys to making it work are:
a) Try not to think of the whole picture too much, because it becomes overwhelming.
b) Always keep your goal in mind – I am an incurable dreamer and always have an image of what I want for the future, and this keeps me motivated to continue through the hard times, because I’m determined to make an easier future.
c) Do things in bite-sized morsels – if you’ve got a zillion things to do, make a list so that they’re on paper rather than swimming around in your head, driving you crazy (this is ESPECIALLY good if you have OCD!). Rearrange them according to what needs to be done by which date. Then, if you see you have 6 things to do by the end of the week, only put 1-2 things down in your diary to be completed per day. If, on one day, it turns out you’ve still got the energy and time to do extra things, then go for it – but don’t pressure yourself into it. Always know you can do just a little each day and everything will be fine, because you’re meeting your deadlines. Then you’ll have that tiny bit of extra time left over to devote to other things you need to do…or just having a break! I devised this method when I was planning my wedding a couple years ago and what originally felt like the most daunting task suddenly became so easy. People said I was the calmest bride they’d ever seen, and the first they’d seen who actually enjoyed the wedding day, because it all went according to plan! I now believe this is how to handle everything.
d) If you find yourself in a position where you just don’t know how you’re going to get through the next few days because you’ve got SO much to do, keep reminding yourself that once it’s over, you never have to do it again!
Charly: I’m really interested in how Check Mates came to be through Social Media. My readers are business entrepreneurs who are creating a network through Social Media – and they would love to hear how this worked for you…
Vrinda: A couple years ago I decided to Google ‘OCD’ and one of the top results was for OCD Tribe, a social networking site devoted to OCD. I’d never heard of such a thing. I remember I was so shocked, I scanned the website several times to convince myself it was free and wasn’t some sort of scam! You get a profile and a blog and you can make friends and talk to them in the forum or chat room – and everyone has OCD. They have other tribes for a handful of other conditions, including depression and alcoholism, and I do hope they will expand and cover further areas.
‘Check Mates’ was the result of a blog I wrote, stating I wished there were a publishing house devoted to writers with nervous disorders, because I felt the general public didn’t understand where I was coming from with my own stories. Basically, someone commented on my blog saying, ‘Why don’t you start one?’ and it kind of went from there! I put up messages all over the forum asking people e-mail me their fiction and poetry if they wanted to be involved in the book. I got a lot of good feedback on the project and after a year we had a book’s worth of work – plus someone had recommended we use illustrations and referred me to a Tribe member with an incredible artistic talent, and I’d decided to rope in a good friend of mine to do some cover art as well. Suddenly it was a real book.
Because the book has been put together by about 20 people, this is meant several contributors to the project getting involved in other ways and helping me with proofreading, editing and promotion. One of them, Sharon Meyer, is now an official part of the Conditional Publications team. I’d never met her before this book, but it turned out we both lived close enough to London to meet and now it’s turned into a real life friendship. A bunch of us have been pitching in and spreading the word across Twitter and Facebook, as well, and it seems it’s been reaching people who have been looking for a book like this for a long time. I’ve always said if the book changes just one person’s life, then it’ll be a success.
I would say that Social Media has not just changed my life, but actually GIVEN me a life. Speaking personally, I moved from Arizona over to England when I was 16 and found it impossible to start over and make friends here. I am autistic, so approaching people was indescribably difficult for me, and I wound up becoming agoraphobic for a few years. At one point, I was completely nocturnal and didn’t really leave the house for a year. But what happened was I spent all my time online, chatting to people. A lot of it was throwaway, but I did make some genuinely amazing friends through it, and that was back when all we had was message boards and chat rooms. Now, with the Social Media revolution, I have met so many people – many of whom are in the same time zone as me, and I’ve actually managed to meet them. When once I knew no one who could relate to the problems I was dealing with, I now have a massive group of friends, all with Tourette Syndrome, who arrange meet-ups so we don’t feel so alone. I came home from one of these meet-ups recently, with a camera full of photographs, and said to my husband, ‘I can’t believe it. I just realised I have a huge group of friends again.’
I know some people, some of whom wrote for ‘Check Mates’, who have not been able to leave the house in years. One of them told me recently she’d never touched a computer before, but now it’s transformed everything for her. I have to say, I can’t stand when people live nearby to you and have your phone number but won’t talk to you in person because they’re too busy on sites like Facebook. But for people with social anxieties or other disabilities, these things are a Godsend – and for connecting with people and starting a business, they are a powerful tool that I have been trying to take advantage of.
Charly: Vrinda – thank you for sharing our story and insights with my readers. I wish you well for the launch and look forward to seeing the other ‘big things’ that you’ll do.
Be sure to follow Vrinda to her next Virtual Blog Tour stop on Wednesday May 5th, hosted by Kate Griffiths at https://mumsdaword.blogspot.com/ AND… remember to sign up for the book launch reminder so you can buy ‘Check Mates’ and receive over 30 free personal development gifts on May 11, 2010.