Most of the women I talk with on a daily basis hold these two core values: their number one priority is their family and secondly they want to make a difference in the world. Those happen to be some of my own core values. I am here to tell you that a very effective way to make a difference in the world, and subsequently in the lives of your children, is with your writing. Many of the writers I coach are writing specifically to impart lessons they’ve learned in life with the goal of helping others. Here’s how you can too:
Blogging for Change
Whichever way you are called to make a difference in the world, be it feminism or animal rights or spiritual healing, your words can influence others into action. Think about how many times a week you punch a search term into Google looking for information about things that matter in your life. We are also swimming in a sea of information in our social media feeds. When a headline comes along with a topic that resonates with your readers they click on it and read your words of wisdom and choose to make their own difference in the world. Blogs are easy to digest nuggets that most people read on mobile devices. The benefits of blogging are that posts don’t take very long to write, you can blog on many related topics, and blogs help build an audience and clout online.
A Message in a Book
A book, unlike a blog, is not as fleeting as a post on your newsfeed, but something much more substantial and everlasting. A book is a legacy that you leave behind influencing others for years to come. I often hear people say they’re worried that their idea isn’t new, or that others have covered the topic already. Maybe. But we all see the world through our own perception and the stories you share are unique to you. Some people may resonate more with the way you present the idea over someone else’s interpretation. We also live in a time where we are inundated with information and need to hear messages more than once for them to stick. Remember the last book that rocked your world, the one you told all your friends about? Imagine how you can help others the same way when you write your book.
The Long Haul
I’m a huge Brené Brown fan. Like most of the world, I discovered her through her Ted Talks and then read her books and took an online course she offered through Oprah Winfrey and another through Udemy. Brené Brown is making a difference for the long haul. Not only did she do research for twelve years and work as a social worker, she writes, teaches, and inspires others every day. This is known in the industry as building a platform, which is essentially having a firm foundation upon which you can share your brilliance with the world. Your writing can lead to a whole career geared towards making a difference.
Words of wisdom
Knowing that you are writing specifically to make a difference in the world is a complete gift, because we all—every single one of us—battle the inner critic, resistance, the saboteur, monkey mind, perfectionism, procrastination. Having an anchor for why you write can be a lifeline to keeping you moving forward on the days you think your writing sucks or “who do you think you are?” is the soundtrack in your mind. I work specifically on this stumbling block with others as a writing coach, and I’m no different as I have a coach who helps me turn down the volume on my inner critic and push ahead with my life purpose. I implore you, if you are called to make a difference in the lives of others and writing is one of the ways you’ve chosen to be of service don’t let your inner critic keep you from your goal. Reach out because I would be happy to help you help others.
Tell me, what are you writing? How are you being the change you wish to see in the world?
Looking for a little extra support on your writing path? Maybe an accountability circle is just what you need. Check out the next session starting soon click here for more information.
Having self-published my first book, and now being on the path of acquiring an agent and submitting to conventional publishers with my second book, I often get asked to explain the difference between both methods. After I explain the difference, people often ask me which is better. And my answer is always… it depends.
It depends on what your purpose for publishing a book is, and it depends on what you have more of; time or money.
Self-publishing has taken off in the last 5 years on a large scale. It is losing some of the negative connotation it once had, especially in the world of non-fiction. And though traditional publishing has maintained its clout, the introduction of self-publishing and lost sales through electronic books has forced a change in the traditional publishing industry.
With self-publishing, you spend more money for less time to publication
- You pay to have your book made available in print or eBook format (Including paying for content editing, paying for line editing, paying for formatting, paying for cover art, paying for marketing and promotion)
- You choose when to publish it, and it’s up within 24 hours of hitting the publish button. (that is after it’s been written, edited and formatted)
- There are no rejection letters from agents or publishers.
- There are done-for-you services or do-it-yourself: think of it like a kitchen renovation. You can hire a general contractor to redo your kitchen and he hires all the sub-contractors vs. finding each individual contractor yourself.
- You keep 50-70% of the proceeds from books sold
With traditional publishing, you spend much less money for a lot more time to print
- You almost always need an agent (who charges 15% of what you earn as their payment)
- For fiction, you need a completed manuscript and a synopsis. For non-fiction, you need a book proposal and one chapter (please pay to have this edited before you submit it!)
- You get an advance of $5,000 to $50,000 as a first-time author. Once that advance has been earned out you make about 10% royalties on book sales
- You will still be doing most of your own marketing and promotion
- The traditional publishing timeline takes about a year and a half to two years from concept to holding your book.
Every option has its pros and cons, it all depends on what your long-term goals are and what your Big Why is. The good news is that you can start writing before you decide which road you want to explore. The better news is that if you are apprehensive or confused about which to choose, I am available as a writing coach to help you go from an idea to holding your own book in your hands, just drop me an email.
I’ve been on this writing journey for over 30 years now, and writing professionally for eight years. I was not born an award winner; I had to hone my craft as we all learn as we go along. Here are some of the books that had the most influence on my writing skills and my path as a published author. May they serve you well.
The writing craft
The Power of Point of View by Alicia Rasley
Everything you ever wanted to know about First Person, Second Person, Impersonal Third Person, and Personal Third Person Point of View. Primarily for fiction writers, this is a book you will return to time and time again and learn more every time you do.
The Breakout Novelist by Donald Maass
Donald Maass’ The Breakout Novelist is an all-inclusive guide, spiral-bound for ease of reference while working. Maass, an experienced author and literary agent, presents strategies that generations of authors have applied to craft sublime fiction, from core elements (character-building, plot navigation, etc.) to advanced techniques involving point of view, suspense, and the application of voice. Exercises for practicing these techniques round out this excellent resource. –Midwest Book Review
Writing Screenplays that Sell by Michael Hauge
Yes, I know we’re talking about writing books not screenplays, but this is the best look at how to plot a story from beginning to end and is used quite often by many fiction book writers. From the Back of the book: “For more than twenty years, Writing Screenplays That Sell has been hailed as the most complete guide available on the art, craft, and business of writing for movies and television. Now fully revised and updated to reflect the latest trends and scripts, Hollywood story expert and script consultant Michael Hauge walks readers through every step of writing and selling successful screenplays. If you read only one book on the screenwriter’s craft, this must be the one.”
The Writing process
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
Think you’ve got a book inside of you? Anne Lamott isn’t afraid to help you let it out. She’ll help you find your passion and your voice, beginning from the first really crummy draft to the peculiar letdown of publication. Readers will be reminded of the energizing books of writer Natalie Goldberg and will be seduced by Lamott’s witty take on the reality of a writer’s life, which has little to do with literary parties and a lot to do with jealousy, writer’s block and going for broke with each paragraph. Marvelously wise and best of all, great reading.
On Writing by Stephen King
Short and snappy as it is, Stephen King’s On Writing really contains two books: a fondly sardonic autobiography and a tough-love lesson for aspiring novelists.
When the Writing won’t come easily
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
With the basic principle that creative expression is the natural direction of life, Julia Cameron and Mark Bryan lead you through a comprehensive twelve-week program to recover your creativity from a variety of blocks, including limiting beliefs, fear, self-sabotage, jealousy, guilt, addictions, and other inhibiting forces, replacing them with artistic confidence and productivity. This book links creativity to spirituality by showing how to connect with the creative energies of the universe.
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
Dubbing itself a cross between Sun-Tzu’s The Art of War and Julie Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, Pressfield’s book aims to help readers “overcome Resistance” so that they may achieve “the unlived life within.” Whether one wishes to embark on a diet, a program of spiritual advancement or an entrepreneurial venture, it’s most often resistance that blocks the way. To kick resistance, Pressfield stresses loving what one does, having patience and acting in the face of fear.
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
“Gilbert sweetly yet powerfully nudges readers to release fear, summon courage, and allow the ‘strange jewels’ hidden within each of us to emerge and shine. The end result is the ‘big magic’… Engaging storytelling mixed with personal anecdotes and astute insights makeBig Magic a rewarding, motivating and delightful read.” —Sucess Magazine
Book Publishing and Promotion
How to Write a Book Proposal by Michael Larsen
Larsen’s book is definitely the one you’ll want to add to your personal library and refer back to when you’re writing a book proposal. It highlights information about changes in the publishing industry and includes updated trends, sample proposals, and resources as well as a new chapter on online promotion.
Platform by Michael Hyatt
To be successful in the market today, you must possess two strategic assets: a compelling product and a meaningful platform. In this step-by-step guide, Michael Hyatt, former CEO and current Chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers, takes readers behind the scenes, into the new world of social media success. He shows you what best-selling authors, public speakers, entrepreneurs, musicians, and other creatives are doing differently to win customers in today’s crowded marketplace
What are your favorite writing books? Comment below and I will check them out!
(Note: Clicking on the images will take you to Amazon where I am an affiliate)
I have had many peak experiences in my life that stand out as ultimate achievements of which I am very proud—after all I have four beautiful children—but there is a special quality to the day I celebrated my first book launch. On that day I was publicly acknowledged as a writer, and I got to read from my book to an audience of my closest friends and beloved family—that day I was more myself than I had ever been before.
An avid reader from a very young age, I started writing when I was 14 years old. My first piece was a mini-novel about a junior high school love triangle in the style of Sweet Valley High. I don’t know exactly when I stopped writing, but right after my divorce I started up again… a beautiful inspirational story set in Nepal about a love triangle of course. I became much more serious about writing nine years ago while on maternity leave and I haven’t stopped since. I have completed a romantic short story, a medical suspense romance, and a women’s fiction novel that won an award from a local writers’ association. None of my fiction work has been published, which made my book launch last year for Being Human that much sweeter… a nine-year long overnight success.
The switch to inspirational non-fiction happened on its own as I devoted more and more of my time to health and wellness consulting first, and then to life coaching, self-care and female empowerment. While my love of fiction still burns in my heart, my deep seated desire to be of service to others is taking my writing in another direction for now. Not forever of course. Just for now.
When my very gifted writer friend Cindy Lamothe invited me to participate in this blog hop, I wondered if there was something different that I could offer. And then I thought about how unique all of our writing can be and I couldn’t wait to invite my other writer fiends along for the ride. Next week, three other amazing writers including: Karen MacIntyre, Paula Cowan, and Moira Hutchinson, will share their unique experiences on their blogs below.
Here are my own answers to Cindy’s four writing questions.
1. What am I working on/writing?
Since September 2013 I have been “working on” my second book about balancing our innate social drives with healthy boundaries. The quotation marks around working on are to emphasise that the work is mostly being done in my own relationships and in researching the topic… there are some words on paper, but very few to date (you’ll understand why when you read about my writing process further on). I am actively blogging on Huffington Post mostly about self-care, on my own blog about personal experiences with being human (intentional pun there) and on Inspiration for Mind Body about my journey on a plant based diet. There are also those fiction novels, sitting on my hard drive, which call out to me occasionally begging for a final edit and publication.
2. How does my work/writing differ from others from its genre?
I use my own unique experiences to flavor my writing and I draw upon the lessons I’ve learned in service to my readers. Sometimes I go deep into science and biology, sometimes I explore the complexity of human emotion, sometimes I try to be funny, and sometimes I use my blog posts just to vent and hope that someone feels the same way too. Mostly I write, just like I live my life, to be of service. I want every reader to walk away feeling that they have learned something either about themselves or about the people around them.
3. Why do I write what I do?
I have a deep-seated belief that we are all much more alike than we are different, and if anything that I have learned can help someone else through the tough times then I know that it’s not all for naught. Because of my various careers over the last twenty years, I estimate that I have heard over 50,000 life stories. Some were tragedies of abuse and neglect, some celebrations of triumph and achievement and all of them had a thread of humanity: both the resilience we are all capable of and the fear of shame and not fitting in with the tribe. I write what I write to send the message that you are okay. You are fallible and you are resilient. You are vulnerable and you are powerful. You are an individual and you belong to the whole.
4. How does my writing process work?
I am a binge and purge kind of writer. I tend to gather information and think about what I want to write for a long, long time before I actually put my hands on my keyboard. I occasionally talk it out with my life coach (who also happens to be a creative genius) just to get all of the kinks ironed out. And then, oddly enough, usually around two o’clock in the afternoon at the end of the workweek, when my head is just brimming with stuff and about to explode, I sit at my computer in complete silence and type for hours. In that flow, I have no concept of time or place, and if my children come in to my office to ask me a question, they will either get an absent-minded yes or their heads chewed off. They still dare to play their odds.
“When you learn, teach, when you get, give.” ― Maya Angelou
Meet my awesomely talented writer friends!
Cindy R. Lamothe is an expat living in Antigua, Guatemala with her loving husband, David and two small turtles. She has earned her B.A. in Communications with an emphasis in Journalism. She is a writer, social media strategist, inspirationalist, and lover of life. Her work has appeared in online magazines and websites including: The Manifest-Station and Sweatpants and Coffee as well as other publications. Cindy’s quirky personality and passion for travel has led her down many strange paths, harnessing her appreciation for beauty and innate wildness. Get to know her on Facebook, Twitter and her personal website crlamothe.com, where she encourages others to let go of fear and live authentically.
Everyone can enjoy a fitter, healthier, and happier life by making small and consistent changes to their daily habits. Karen McIntyre is a personal trainer and fitness instructor who sees 250-300 clients a week. She has ridden the roller coaster of life: survived a brush with cancer, is mother to two teenagers, competed and medaled at World’s in Dragon Boating, and happily married for over 20 years. Let Karen help you find your Fun Fit Life. www.happyhealth.ca
Paula Cowan created the blog Therapist Footprints in 2011, which will soon be released as an e-book about her experiences working as a Behaviour Therapist with autistic children. In her ten years of doing therapy, she was often witness to the profound progress that could be made through special diet and/or other alternative treatments. This served to reinforce her life long belief that there is ALWAYS at least one other option to the limited mainstream solutions in plain sight. It ignited an interest in alternative health and healing which continues to this day.
This year she became Partner and Executive Editor at Inspiration for Mind Body. The site is an ideal fit for her beliefs in a holistic approach to finding and maintaining optimal health of the Mind Body and Spirit. She is a yoga and meditation evangelist, though her actual practice continues to be a work in progress. You can contact Paula through her website Facebook or Twitter
Moira Hutchison is a Clinical Hypnotherapist and Life Coach. Her specialties range from helping people with broad goals such as life planning and personal balance, to specific goals like motivation, overcoming procrastination and self-sabotage.. She has multiple certifications in the fields of energy psychology, hypnotherapy, personal growth, spirituality, and self-empowerment.
Using her own approach – The Get Unstuck Method – she helps people shift from feeling stuck and overwhelmed to being inspired, empowered and actually in control of their lives. To find out more about the services and approach she offers, please visit her website: www.WellnessWithMoira.com or connect on Facebook.