How I wrote my bookNov 11, 2022
They say everyone has a book in them - do you have one in you?
I’m taking the time to write this down while it’s still fresh in my mind because people have asked me how I wrote my book.
Now firstly I’d like to say that writing is something I feel called to do. And not always in a good way. Throughout my life, the need to write, to get words out of me onto paper has often felt like a necessity.
Sometimes it has felt like unless I do they won’t leave me alone. Then for long periods of time, I managed to suppress this and get on with my life. I have a feeling the words went elsewhere and came out in someone else’s voice.
And I'm ok with that. But I’m not ok with the words that come to me now not being released into the wild to find that one person who is searching for them. Because the truth is I love writing and as long as I hold that belief - that there is one person who is looking for these words - then I have the courage to write them and often release them.
I’m older now. I’m more connected to my heart and less concerned with getting things ‘right’ or being judged.
I also have this rebellious attitude that to be a painter you simply have to paint; to be a dancer you simply have to dance; to be a singer you simpler have to sing, and to be a writer you simply have to write.
Other people may judge whether or not they wish to listen to you or read what your write but that doesn’t change who you are.
So, from that place, I decided I was a writer and wrote - a lot. Most of it has been shredded or burned. But the words that ended up in the book were the ones that came back no matter what I did. I learnt to listen and trust.
(Now, as I’m writing this, I can hear McJudgy whispering that this sounds a bit arrogant and I should be more careful. I’m going to continue without self-deprecation because I know this not to be true.)
So, step 1 - I decided I’m a writer
Step 2 - I wrote - a lot. Often I write daily.
Then I decided my business would be best supported by a book and followed Tucker Max’s Scribe Method. You can get his free ebook here.
I then spent about 6 weeks working through the method and really listening to my clients, reflecting on my own story and how I recovered and was helping others do the same. This was deep work and served me, my clients and my business well.
Then I wrote what Tucker calls the ‘vomit draft’. That was fun - it was good to actually be writing at last. But the recommended 2 weeks between doing this and going into editing mode threw me. In fact, editing threw me.
Over a year later (it was starting to feel like both an extremely long pregnancy and I was sounding like a broken record) I decided I needed help to get this book out into the world. I roped in my business bestie and we signed up for Leonie’s Dawson’s 40 Days To A Finished Book
We then moved the starting date to April of this year. Without looking at the previous Vomit Draft (I still haven’t looked at it - can’t face it!) I wrote what is probably a very similar draft in less than 20 days. It really did feel like it was the same words coming out of me (except I now knew and understood my clients even better).
And you can guess what happened next…yep, I got stuck on the editing again.
Hiring an editor was not for me. I needed to sort this out and make sense of it for myself. And anyway much of it was pretty illegible as my typing goes insane when I write. One of my best techniques for filling in the blanks is to write bla bla bla. My future editor will understand this and it will make her smile but for now I needed to sort my own mess out.
By August I was really needing to get this book out. It just felt wrong not to. So I decided to set a deadline of September. Then, if you’ve been following me through the last few months you’ll know that another big adventure was also scheduled for September - the long-awaited, 16 years in the dreaming, Straw Bale Build.
I decided I could have both dreams and would up my commitment to doing things my way and find a way to do both without pressure or overwhelm or exhaustion (obviously).
And then I watched a webinar by Matt Rudnitsky and he sent me his free ebook about how to write books his way which somehow released me from the editing stuckness. In fact, as I write this and point you in the direction of all the wonderful people who have written books and created courses to help us all write our books I realise it was this that gave me the courage to finish and publish. Books matter. Words inspire. I read a lot of books and I am grateful to all the authors who have dared to share their words with me.
And so by now I had to publish and knew it had to happen soon.
Suddenly I knew what I had to do. I couldn’t edit the book because it was overwhelming me. I couldn’t hold it in my head. It needed to shrink - because if it was overwhelming for me then how would it help its readers?!
Boom!! I shrank the books down to the sentences I would have underlined or written on a post-it to remind me. I deleted most of the words I had written. And it felt so good and so right.
Then I extended my deadline (because I can and because I don’t do pressure and unkindness anymore) and went on holiday. I wasn’t worried because apart from a tech issue
with preparing the book for publishing I knew it was pretty much done.
How did I prepare my book for publishing? I used the excellent Reedsy. I can’t recommend them highly enough.
I used Kindle Direct Publishing to publish as a kindle book and a paperback. Yes, I have issues with Amazon as a tyrant of a company but they have redeemed themselves with the support for self-publishing authors. Both Reedsy and KDP have all you need to get your book out into the world. I feel incredibly grateful to live at this point in history where the magic to send my book across the globe with such ease exists.
So, that’s what I did. I hope you find this helpful. I hope this blog post inspires you to get your book out into the world.
Because books matter and somewhere at least one person is waiting for your book.
And if you’d like some help getting your book out into the world please do get in touch. I’d love to chat about how I might be able to support you.
You can buy my book here:
Overwhelm is Optional: How to gently rebel against the idea that to have the life you want, you have to push through overwhelm and exhaustion. You don’t
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