While I battled with my mental ailment, schizophrenia, I realized that I needed to have a focus point. I kept hearing voices and seeing hallucinations and it was all very scary. It made me paranoid and I was lost. It then occurred to me that I should get a little paper notebook and write about my fears. I felt that by doing this, I could then have closure with some of my more trying mental and emotional issues.

As I wrote more, I felt lonely and isolated as I did not have a lot of friends during the bad relapses of my schizophrenia. I then decided I should write something to cheer myself up and maybe write it in the tone of a writer with readers to address to. Instead of lying down in bed all day long in agony everyday, I wrote a bit of something every single day. I would often reread my writings and found comfort that way. I grew fed up of writing my debut book while I was in one of my severe mood swings and I almost deleted the whole thing but I decided to just leave it alone and never look at it again. The only thing I deleted was the Microsoft Publisher file which I did to design and make my front cover. Luckily I had saved a few picture files of the front cover and I used those later on when I decided to complete the book and self publish it.

As my moments of clarity increased with the help of using writing as self therapy, I researched for self publishing services online. I found out about print on demand (POD) self publishing services and I decided to use it. It cost almost nothing to put my book up except the need to purchase the book distribution service. There were many companies providing such services and I chose one of the cheaper ones to self publish my debut book “Words That I Can’t Say --- A Workbook For Journal Therapy”. I was enticed by the distribution service of the POD company I used which included having books listed on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and other online book retailers. Although it would take between 6 to 8 weeks to get listed, once I finished my first book and submitted the content and book cover design, I started to think about how to promote my book.

I sent out an email to the local English newspaper and they responded in the next few days. I was interviewed by the journalist and she said she needed to read the sample copy of my debut book and ask her editor if the interview and the book were suitable for inclusion in the newspaper. I waited for a few days again and then she invited me back to have my picture taken as the editor approved my story. I was finally featured along with my book in the newspaper. It garnered encouraging words from people but it did not do much for the sales of my book though. I was grateful that I had the chance to be in the newspaper with a big picture included in the article but I was also discouraged as I thought it could have contributed to more book sales.

I did not stop right there and give up and I concentrated on researching how I could promote my book further. I emailed the local library board and asked them if they would like to include my debut book in the local libraries, emphasizing about my inspirational life story surrounding the writing of this book and how it had been listed on Amazon.com. After a while, I thought it must have fallen through but there was finally a reply to my email received after a few weeks. The library board accepted my book and after processing for a few months, my debut book is currently in 14 local libraries in Singapore.

Right now, I am soon releasing my 2nd book “What Comes Naturally… Before I Forget” through most major online ebook retailers such as Amazon Kindle and iPad’s iBookstore. It is a collection of prose and short stories which I produced by purging my depressive moods and using it to fuel my writing.

All this would not have happened if I had seriously deleted my debut book from my laptop. It is not easy to get on the local newspaper because they have a stringent censorship. No one read my book other than myself and since the editor of the newspaper approved the interview to be printed in the newspaper, it gave me confidence that my writing skills must have been alright. From hardly being able to write and sign my own name during the most severe times of my schizophrenia to increasing moments of clarity using writing as a tool of expression and comfort, I guess I could say I have attained a slightly above average level of success with my self appointed writing career.

Never give up on what makes your heart sing because your song will be heard one day. And if you are close to giving up on your dreams, remember to ask yourself, “How would I like to be remembered by people when I die one day?” I personally answered that question with, “I want to be remembered for inspiring other people.”

Author's Bio: 

Oh Huishan is a self published author and certified stress management coach. Her debut book “Words That I Can’t Say --- A Workbook For Journal Therapy” is listed on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble online amidst other major online book retailers. It has also been made available on the shelves of 14 local libraries in Singapore under the National Library Board Singapore. She had also been featured along with her debut book in The Sunday Times (Singapore) on 31st October 2010. This book is listed on the Silver Ribbon Singapore website and the Job Club Institute of Mental Health Singapore website for mental health related publication. Oh Huishan has a 2nd book being released as an ebook in early April 2011 titled “What Comes Naturally… Before I Forget” which is a collection of prose and short stories. She used writing as self therapy and it has worked well. This ebook will be available through major ebook online retailers such as Apple iPad’s iBookstore, Amazon Kindle, B&N Nook, Sony Reader and Kobo. Visit her official author website www.ohhuishan.com for more details.