Book Author Question Series
How long did it take to finish?
The notes app on my phone is one of my best friends. I use it often. I write, in some form, virtually every day.
I was first approached about writing a book in Washington D.C. in 2008 when I was named National Headliner Award Winner through the Association for Women in Communications. I had given a speech that resulted in a standing ovation – which touched me deeply and told me I’m not alone in my view of the world.
I was intrigued by the idea of writing a book, but afraid. I mulled it over for months, but life was busy as I was pregnant with my second child and a full-time professional with a spouse and small business. The seed was planted. I spoke with a writing consultant at that time who gave me an amazing piece of advice. Her name is Sam Horn and I highly suggest you seek her out. She’s simply amazing. She said what goes against the grain is worth writing about and it struck a chord, because I often felt my perspective went against the grain.
When I actually started to jot down ideas – I needed 10-15 of them to make my book come together. I didn’t have as many concepts as I thought at that moment. But, the seed was already growing.
In the meantime, I continued to write. My computers have been full of writing – especially the Mac I use now. I was approached again in 2013 by a woman in Los Angelos who wanted to write a biography for me. I was on the Association for Women in Communications National Board at that time and I said yes. We went to work. Her name is Dana Dorfman and she was and is a wonderful human being – just simply one of the best people. She’s a women’s biographer pointing out to me that it’s her passion as there aren’t enough biographies about women out there. She’s talented and really got my head into the game of getting a book project going more seriously. That one is still a work in progress.
I had another more pressing idea in my head and wanted to make it come to life. It was so part of my thinking, I had trouble sleeping. It combined a few of my experiences with learning and thoughts for others to consider and take with them in life. I tossed and turned for nights thinking about it for a while and then it hit me. I woke up at about 3a one night and sat in the dark in my favorite chair and typed out 5-6 pages that became the basis for my book 9 Word Rethink To Get On With Life. In fact, it’s basically some of the first 5-6 pages of the entire book itself now.
I’d been annoyed by some words tossed around in the world in ways that didn’t serve my growth and continued vibrancy each time I weathered something tough. I decided to take on a few of those words in book form in a conversational way to help others rethink words we use to serve us better moving forward after difficult experiences. Words mean different things to different people, of course. However, I was sure sharing my view could help someone else somewhere sort through their own.
I left a News Director job on March 1st last year and made writing my full-time job – hitting a few snags by summer trying to decide best approach and form for a few things. I needed support and guidance – even if it was a low-key version.
I searched for a writer’s conference, found one last summer, packed up my teenage daughter and we went on the adventure together. I came home with my questions answered and within a month I was holding my finished manuscript in my hand. One day I hope to come up with a good way to describe the feeling of holding that much heartfelt work in my hands knowing after so many years of thinking about doing this – I had finally done it. It was elation mixed with emotion welling up inside of me.
When did I start to write it really? It’s taken my whole life. Along the way, I’ve jotted down moments, thoughts, ideas, diary-esque type entries in my phone, computer, on paper that I entered into my computer later. I’ve debated famous quotes with myself, found ideas to challenge my own, considered my role in difficulties I’ve experienced, laid blame at the feet of others in my writing, and basically lived a dual life in the physical sense and via written word.
Interestingly, I realize writing this out that writing works out my feelings about things that are tangled or don’t fit together well. I rarely, if ever, write about anything positive that has happened to me. I assume the positive is my baseline. I’m optimistic and see that as my ground zero – the good stuff. Writing is apparently medicine for me.
In pulling this project together – my task was – partly – to organize some of that, rework some of it, set some aside for another book or three, toss some of it, write and write and write some more new ideas, better descriptions, clearer simpler sentences. Writing is problem-solving as author Brent Bill said when talking to me over the phone about my own book – helping me put some finishing touches on it. He’s right. It is.
One of the problems I solved was my own – to finish a book I could be proud of that represented me and my growth and learning in a way that had depth, lightheartedness, intensity, and hope. That’s what it had to be if it was a book about me and how I move through this precious world.