I actually get this question quite frequently when people read over my memoir, Onward Rising. Writing a book is no different from an alcoholic or member of Alanon giving a lead before a group of people. The only difference is my story is actually written down so it is the same every time you read it.
I had the same misconception years ago. I thought that in order to share my story and experiences with a large audience that everyone that I wrote about would have to be deceased, but I discovered that was just an excuse of my own to not be honest with what happened in my life and what made me the person I am today. The truth will set you free and for me writing allowed me to collectively document each event.
I am certainly grateful for the unusual catalyst that I had with my supposed biological father as this gave me the drive to sit down and write the book. I certainly want to encourage everyone to write their own story. You can share it with the world or you can just write it for yourself. When you write a memoir it is very different from the experience of writing a journal. There is perhaps an amazing development that occurs with each chapter as we are forced to look at where we came from and the progress that we have made. For some this process will allow you to understand more of who you are and the other relationships you surround yourself with.
The answers are always there in front of us, sometimes we just don’t see them until they are displayed in sequence taking us from Point A to Point B.
I certainly believe that everyone has something to say. Our experiences in life can be some of the most powerful of teachers. I cannot stress enough how every event we have in life lends to the experiences that we are responsible to share with others. Our message can be passed on and can help others make changes in their own lives and take necessary action. Consider this the light in the tunnel. Your insights have value. Nothing is more disturbing to me then to see someone with such value hide due to lack of confidence. The time is now. Whether you share your knowledge with a friend, whether you share it with a group, understand that the information that you provide to others will obtain a life of its own. Your work, your message, if documented will surpass you. So if you want to write a book, stop censoring yourself, or living in self-doubt and start writing.
First write for yourself. Take the time to start a project with the intention that the book is for you. Gather your information that you have written down if you have any documentation and take it step by step. Work chapter by chapter if it feels right to you. You can go back and make changes and edits later. The worst thing a writer can do while they are writing is to edit themselves as they write. What then happens is instead of focusing on the overall “whole” of the message, they are focusing on the increments. Increments can become an obstacle and overly consume an author to the point of writer’s block.
Your main goal is to work through the voice telling you that you “can’t” write. Don’t worry about who is going to like your book or buy it. Just focus on writing the book for you. Just focus on actually completing the project. This is why I suggest writing your book one chapter at a time. It gives you gratification when you complete a chapter. There is a sense of instant relief when you have the bulk of a thought down and it gives you the sense of accomplishment that you can use as motivation to write another chapter.
Sure you can opt to take this path and contact publishing houses and likely get discouraged if it is not accepted and then decide to not publish your story. Not to say that overnight success does not exist or instant acceptance to a publisher does not occur because it does happen, but not for everyone. You have to determine how much control you want over your book and how much time and energy you are willing to put into it. Are you the type of person that doesn’t mind getting your hands dirty? Or would you rather have others make decisions for you about a book you wrote? What type of personality you have will ultimately help you decide on which option would be right for you.
For me personally I like getting my hands dirty. I like sinking my teeth into the whole process of creating a book. I also like to keep everything simple. Once you write your first book and go through the process, you will have more confidence to write your second book. There are several companies out there now that will assist you with self-publishing your book. I personally have used Lulu.com for all seven of my books. I have been working with them for over seven years. The company itself has grown and expanded their services to accommodate my distribution needs and their prices are very affordable for an author just getting started.
You can have the freedom of designing your own book cover layout or you can purchase a publishing package that will include this service. When you choose to self-publish, it is best to choose a company that is going to meet your needs and give you the flexibility to have control over the creativity of your book creation.
You no longer have to wait for the acceptance from a publisher, you can publish your book yourself and make your own brand and writing dream a reality.
I get asked this question frequently as I think it can be the most beneficial question to ask. Everyone has a purpose. We are always placed in the right place at the right time even if we do not realize it at that exact moment. Sometimes we are put into situations that we would never set out to involve ourselves in and then we find out later that had we not been at that location at that time, we would never have met the intended contacts that we made. When we go with the flow instead of always trying to have our own way, we may find out that there is a path that opens up and guides us to exactly where we are supposed to be.
I live my life on intuition and instinct. It has always taken me to different states and locations. Each location always had a purpose. Had I not stepped out of my hometown and embarked on this journey I would have never grown into the woman I am now. I would have never accomplished what I was intended to or established the life I have nor would I have helped the people I was intended to. We have jobs to do here. There’s the “job” you have to earn money and punch a time clock and then there is the job you have to do in life. Some people numb their intuitions with outside chaos and even substances to avoid their intuitive responsibilities. This can lead to depression and feeling unfulfilled in life.
I think our first responsibility in life is to remove the obstacles that stand in between you and your intuition. If you feel “cloudy” or feel as though you are lacking clarity right now to even hear your intuition then this could be caused by life obstacles. You have to ask yourself the following:
1. Do I participate in unnecessary drama involving other people?
2. Do I use substances or have addictions that alter my capacity to listen to my intuition?
3. Do I overwork myself to the point of exhaustion?
4. Do I carry baggage from my past that interferes with my present and future?
Once you have the obstacles removed, you can then take time to sit down and listen to your intuition. If you have to start with just 5 or 10 minutes of meditation, then this is fine. You can increase your time as you feel it is needed. Just so you take time to sit with yourself and find some organization with your own thoughts. Visualize where you see yourself going. Learn to listen to yourself and trust what your gut instincts are telling you. You might discover that you need to make a change.
You might learn something new about yourself or see yourself in a different way. Take time to explore who you are and your path will open up or be uncovered. It’s moments when we don’t feel as though we are on our path that we need to stop and listen.
Don’t feel bad at all if you have trouble making yourself sit down and write. I think this is completely natural and this happens to a lot of writers from time to time. It’s good though to get into the practice of overcoming your mind and making yourself write something to walk yourself through it. Just the mere practice of writing alone can develop into a concept or idea.
Procrastination can be one the biggest obstacles in a writer’s life. If we keep putting off our own writing needs, then a week can turn into months, and months can turn into years without us even realizing. When you feel the urge to write, grab whatever is by you— your phone, your computer, a napkin, or paper and write something. Even writing a sentence can kill off procrastination.
The number one excuse I hear when writers come to me is that they “don’t have time to write”, but they want to so bad. I understand we are busy playing different roles in our lives. We are parents. We are employees. We are business owners. We are spouses to loved ones. We have a lot of daily responsibilities that we are in charge of taking care of. However, need us not forget we are also human beings, with an ever constant “thinking” mind with trapped thoughts that are yearning to find an outlet. The time you spend quietly thinking can be the time you spend quietly writing.