Monday, September 14, 2015

Hearing Aids and Blog Pages by Pamela Heemskerk

I’ve been a member of CWD for a while now and regularly look at the FB page. I’ve thought quietly to myself – hmmm, this page doesn’t change much. Recently a friend explained that the FB page is not the blog page... My lack of computer knowledge prevented me from accessing the really useful information.

I found getting hearing aids rather like that – it’s a foreign country. And the explanation about use may be quite brief. Things sound quite different, and aids are not helpful in certain situations.
In the same way that I needed specific instructions to access the blog page, new users to hearing aids need some pointers as to what to look out for. I knew if I as a long-term wearer, was struggling with hearing aids, there must be many others struggling too.

And so, Rather a Small Chicken…a Guide to Hearing Loss for Family and Friends was born.

I am a non-fiction writer – usually from life experiences and lessons learned along the way. Writing about these things can be cathartic, and expressing my exasperations with hearing aids and hearing loss certainly was! I did many revisions.

Some of the things I learned about writing from life:

  • When writing on an emotional topic, put the writing aside for a time (months – or a year if you happen to be me) and go back over it with a careful ear as to the tone of the writing. Bitterness, unintended slurs or anger can come across to readers in describing highly charged life experiences.
  • Examine clarity of ideas - I wanted to write to people with widely varied backgrounds, and needed to keep sentences and information easily accessible.
  • Length of work – this was to be an information booklet, not a novel length piece. It changed size several times and I had to act on the decision of ‘booklet’, not book, or fact sheet.
  • Non-fiction from real life must reflect some facts - concise and accurate information was important.
  • A little humour can make even an emotionally loaded topic less intense. (Thanks Anne B)
  • A really good editor with an understanding of what appeals to readers is so important. I changed from structured third person to more conversational first and second person, on the advice of my editor. (Thanks Anne H)
  • A really good friend with a ‘ministry in nagging’ to keep you moving forward. (Thanks N…)


It has been a journey – a long one, as I have wandered around, wondering if I really am a writer and whether I really do have anything to say. But the end of this part of the journey is close – with the booklet converted to the final file for printing just this week. Soon I will be learning about print on demand, e-books, marketing and book launches. But that is for the next blog…

I would love to have on-line discussions with others with hearing loss, so please pass on the BlogSpot to those you know who have a hearing loss. pgheemskerk@blogspot.com


 (My deepest apologies to all who have taken time and trouble to post on CWD! I will be working my way back through many blogs…)


Pamela Heemskerk found writing took her by surprise when recuperating from an illness and it has become a major part of her life.  She has a passion for art, embroidery, children and telling people about hearing loss.  She works as a physiotherapist with young children with a disability.
http://pgheemskerk.blogspot.com.au/


11 comments:

  1. Hi Pamela. Thanks for a great post. I love the lessons you've learned about writing from life. Glad you discovered the blog :) All the best with the launch of 'Rather a Small Chicken' - it sounds like a fabulous resource for anyone needing a hearing aid.

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    1. Thanks, Jenny. Writing is a journey and a very interesting one. Having others on the road has helped so much!
      And I, too, hope that this booklet will support people with hearing loss - another journey!

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  2. Hi Pamela - Good on you for persevering with your booklet and for sharing the lessons you've learned along the way. I think all of your points are good, but I could especially relate to the one about giving your self a bit of time when writing about emotionally-charged topics. It can take a while to gt the perspective needed and to tackle it with the right attitude. Looking forward to seeing the finished product and working out how that chicken fits into the title ;)

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    1. Thanks Nola. Advice from other writers always helps - and it was another writer who pointed out to me that there was a lot of underlying emotion coming through. Thanks Del.
      As to the title - cluck cluck

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  3. Great blog Pamela, thanks for your deep insights. Very useful :)

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    1. Thanks Rachel. All the best with your writing - you have amazing insights into life! I pray that your writing will reach all the people that need to see it.

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  4. Good for you, Pamela. Yes, writing seems to be a long process. You don't just suddenly become one. Like anything else you need to hone the craft. I'm sure there'll be plenty of folk eager to read your helpful booklet.

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    1. Hi Rita. Long process is just the start! It took about 7 years to believe I was actually a writer... It is a skill which requires on-going training.
      Thanks for your encouragement.

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  5. Fantastic blog, Pamela. All valuable points from your (longish and winding) road to publication. (Says one who is familiar with that 'via camel train over the Himalayas' path.) Can't wait to see the final product once it's rolled off the press. Congratulations.

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  6. Thanks Adele. One thing about camel trains (and mule and donkey paths) - you sure get to know the pathway well!
    Nola has an idea for the book launch - bet you can't guess what it is!! :)

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    1. Dare I ask??? (And for the record, I borrowed that 'via camel train' story from a post-grad student who waited the best part of a year for a single vial of chemical - because of which they were forced to redesign their experiment. You are right, mules would handle that terrain better, but the train went other places, too ... :) ) I look forward to hearing the final details for you launch.

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