Becoming a non-fiction writer emerged when I began to keep a journal of personal growth discoveries. I took a television-free year and spent most of my time in reflection, self-assessment and prayer. As I spent this concentrated time, it became very meaningful to me. Even though I chronicled my encounters in a journal, I felt more was needed to bring closure to the experience. That’s when I realized I should write a book.
Very inspiring story behind the scenes of your book creation! What was the inspiration for your latest work of non-fiction?
When I realized how great I felt living my authentic purpose, I knew I had to teach others how to discover their purpose as well. I shared my practices with friends and co-workers and they were inspired. Then I thought what if everyone knew their purpose and lived a fulfilling life? What if everyone could have a sense of balance, clarity, and wholeness in their lives? I had to share this with the world!
What was the most interesting research you had to do for any of your books?
Since my book is about personal growth, I have to say, the most interesting research was being my own research project. Everything I share in the book comes from my personal journey. My times of reflection presented me with a mirror to view myself. I discovered that at times, I have been a spoiled brat. For instance, the ups and downs I experienced while transitioning from a life of “luxury”, to a life of simplicity, were not easy. As I fought against my own bad habits I was very much like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. But I refused to let my wavering keep me from continuing on the right path. I remained vigilant to pick apart my poor decisions and salvage the lessons. I also continued to sift through my failures to unearth the message in the madness. Each day I became stronger, and more whole.
I love your candor. How do you go from an idea for a book to its completion? Is the process the same for every book you write? How long does it take you to write a book?
Ideas for my books usually come during my times of reflection. I also jot notes as thoughts come to me throughout the day, or even in the middle of the night. I add all of these things to my ideas folder and come back to it periodically to see what’s brewing. Once there is enough to build a strong outline, and I have a deep sense of connection to the material, I begin the writing process. Even with the outline complete I must write in order to receive more of an understanding of my direction for the book. The outline may change as I gain more insight.
I usually research as I go. Some days are spent in reflection on a single concept, other days are pure research, and some of the best days are spent solely writing. As long as I am consistently working toward my goal, I am satisfied. I do not set hard deadlines for myself until I complete the first draft of my manuscript. All in all it usually takes me about 8 months to move from idea to final manuscript.
Are you currently working on any new book projects?
I am currently working on the first book in the Purpose Deck, a series of 12 purse-sized/pocket-sized books geared toward living out purpose day-by-day. The first of this series is entitled, The 14 Day Positive Attitude Challenge. It is now available...a perfect companion to your new year’s resolutions!
Do you have any advice for beginning writers on how to write a non-fiction book? Do you have any advice for them regarding promoting that book once published?
My advice for those who wish to write a non-fiction book is to write on a topic that resonates deeply with you. Think about what has had a great impact on your life that you can share with others. Always keep a pen and paper around (or a voice recorder) so that when you have thoughts and ideas you can capture them. Even if they seem like incomplete thoughts, write them down anyway, and file them. You may find that a few weeks or months of your seemingly incoherent written reflections suddenly become profound when strung together. Lastly, be disciplined and consistent in spending the time to write, but do not rush. Allow the time required for your book idea to emerge from your soul.
An important part of promoting your book will be to have a deep-seated passion to share your ideas with others. The promotion of your book should not focus purely on getting sales. It should focus on helping others in some way – adding value to the lives of others. Think about your original purpose for writing the book. What are the authentic outcomes you would like to see in the world because your book was written? Promotion of a nonfiction book is about sharing meaning.
Some great tips! What’s your writing schedule like? When do you find time to write?
It never fails, when I try to “find” time to write, that time rarely comes. So I’ve decided to make writing important enough that it is an unbreakable appointment on my schedule. However, my schedule varies with the season. For instance, if I have recently published a book, I may not have an extremely active writing schedule during that time. But about six weeks after a book launch, I begin to write again, at least weekly. I’m not a big proponent of waiting for the inspiration to write. I believe that when I discipline myself to write consistently, inspiration comes. The closer I come to completion of a manuscript, the more time I allot in my schedule for writing.
I agree that it takes discipline to make the time to write daily, as much as possible. In the end that will benefit you during the times when you're not able to write...while you're doing a bit more marketing. Do you have any writing idiosyncrasies?
When I write, I like to imagine myself in Europe – preferably Paris - at a trendy sidewalk café. If I plan to write all day I usually begin with a croissant or bagel at Starbucks (one with outdoor seating of course, for my imagination’s sake). I’ll write for a while and then progress to a well-worn park bench, and finally to one of my favorite local eateries. I have done this so often that I now consider it a part of my writing routine. A bustling yet relaxed atmosphere tends to give me the perfect backdrop for a day of writing.
11. How have your friends and family received your career as an author? Are they supportive?
I have been thrilled by the response of my family and friends regarding my career as an author. They have supported me with encouragement and prayer, as well as with proud enthusiasm to promote my books to others. I really was not expecting the level of commitment and dedication that they have expressed. If you are considering writing, or any career you are called to, I think you will find likely and unlikely supporters that will bring unexpected joy to your journey.
Do you want to understand God’s specific plan for your life, and how to really hear God’s direction? Do you want to know exactly what you were born to do and live a successful life? The Purpose Experiment will take you on an invigorating journey to discover, confirm and activate your true life’s purpose. It will challenge you to embrace the great life of adventure, meaning and mission that you were always meant to live!
Where can readers find your book online?
The Purpose Experiment: 6 Simple Steps to Jump start Your Purpose
Joy, thank you for stopping by today to be interviewed. I enjoyed chatting with you and learning more about you and your new book.
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