‘Writing your book’ By Roslyn Franken
When doing author presentations about my book, Meant to Be, people often ask me afterwards, “How did you write your book?” I answer, “Why do you ask?” and inevitably they tell me that they too have an inspirational story they want to share but have no idea how to write a book or even get started.
What I discovered in talking with these aspiring authors is that there are many people, perhaps like yourself, with wonderful stories that can bring tremendous hope, joy and inspiration to others in a time when our changing world needs all the positivity it can get. Sadly, most of them feel so overwhelmed at the thought of writing their books that their stories never get told. They think about it, perhaps even talk about it, but seldom get it done.
I have written two books including a health and wellness self-help book entitled The A List, and an inspirational biographical book entitled, Meant to Be. I also co-authored a fundraising book entitled, Death Can Wait: Stories from Cancer Survivors. Previously, I worked for a major New York publisher representing hundreds of authors to book wholesalers. All to say, I have learned a thing or two about writing books and the world of book publishing.
I truly believe that what separates the authors who get their books written and published versus those aspiring authors who only talk about writing their books but can’t seem to get it done, is what I call “fear paralysis”. You have to let your desires outweigh your fears.
People tend to look for the one perfect and right way to write a book. However, after writing my own books and talking with other authors, I truly believe there is no one perfect or right way to write a book. I think every author has their own style. I don’t just mean their writing style, but also their process style. Some like to have an outline all figured out at the start. They are very methodical and systematic in their writing approach. They will commit to writing a certain amount every day at the same time and are extremely disciplined in achieving their daily writing goals. That may work for some people, but that is not my approach. Not everyone has that kind of self-discipline and personality type. I think that is one of the biggest fears is that people don’t think they have the discipline to write. They are so afraid of failure and not being perfect, that they just never even get started. People don’t realize that discipline comes in many shades. It is not the same for everyone. If you are not by nature the systematic, methodical, disciplined kind of person who thrives on strict routines, that doesn’t mean you can’t find your own version of self-discipline that can work according to your own personality style. We are not all the same in how we think, feel and act. That goes for our writing style as well. If you try to work against your own personal style, it will be a tough go, that is for certain.
When I wrote my first book, The A List: 9 Guiding Principles for Healthy Eating and Positive Living, I did come up with the 9 principles first. Each principle started with the letter A. That was the hook of my book and how I labelled the various chapters. However, I did not have an exact idea of where I was going to go with each chapter. I just started writing and let the ideas flow out onto the paper and then went back to edit and organize the thoughts into a flow that made sense.
One must also look at what inspires you to write. My first book was inspired through my own weight loss journey that came about ten years after surviving cancer and finding myself at my heaviest weight. I wrote the book because I wanted to help people. After writing the book, I started giving presentations about my 9 A-List principles and mentioned about my cancer journey and the power of positive attitude. I learned about positive attitude from my mother who survived the Holocaust concentration camps in Nazi Europe and then after the war beat cancer for 21 years when the doctors did not expect her to live more than two years. She was a living miracle who was an inspiration to all who knew her.
People would come up to me after my presentations and say, “I would love to hear more about your cancer journey and about your mom’s experiences as a Holocaust survivor and how she beat cancer.” After hearing those same comments numerous times, I realized that the two subjects I had shied away from were what people wanted to hear more about. That was what inspired me to write my second book, Meant to Be, about my parents’ amazing story of survival, love and triumph over tragedy as Holocaust and atomic bomb survivors. My mother survived the Holocaust including the horrors of Auschwitz while my father survived the atomic bomb as a Prisoner of War in Japan. In my book, I not only tell their life story, but also their positive influence on me as the daughter of these two remarkable survivors as I beat my fight with cancer at age 29. I wrote the book to educate, enlighten and inspire others with hope and positivity.
I used the same approach as I did with the first book. I just started writing and let the creative process take a life of its own. I then went back and organized the story into a logical flow so that it was easy for the reader to understand and follow. I did not have an exact outline or chapter titles all laid out ahead of time. I didn’t even have the title figured out until after I finished writing the book.
Once I finally decided to write my parents’ incredible story, I was determined to get it written and published so that I could put a printed copy in my father’s hands while he was still alive. He was 91 when I started writing the book and I am so grateful that he was in the audience when I did my big book and presentation launch in 2015. He passed away in 2016 at age 94.
I self-published both my books which is another thing that scares aspiring writers. For aspiring writers, there is not only the fear of writing the book itself with all the insecurities that arise wondering if you’re good enough, if people will want to read it, but also, the question of how do you publish it? There is so much to think about when embarking on the author journey, but it is so worth it when you finally get to hold that published book in your hands. It really is an amazing feeling.
Another scary thing for aspiring writers is the thought of doing it all alone. I don’t know why people would think they have to do it all by themselves. I had a book coach when I wrote my first book and for my second book, I enlisted the help of others as well. There’s no reason why you should have to do it alone. As a writer it is sometimes hard to see the forest through the trees. It is sometimes difficult to stay on track and keep going when you feel like it is just too much. Sometimes you just need some help, support and guidance.
As a Virtual Author Coach, I am here to help people write their stories whether it’s their personal life story they want to write as a legacy book to pass onto their children or a book they want to self-publish and share with the world to educate, enlighten or entertain others. It can be fiction or non-fiction. Sometimes it’s not just about the technical aspects of writing and self-publishing a book, but the emotional support, encouragement, feedback and guidance aspiring authors need to help them stay on track and see their project through to the end. So many people are great at starting to write their books, but only a portion of those will actually see their books to completion and get to experience that wonderful feeling of either holding a hard copy in their hands or seeing the digital copy available online to the world.
If you want to both start and finish writing your book and think you may need some help getting it done, please see https://roslynfranken.com/author-coaching.html and feel free to contact me for a complimentary consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org
We are living in times of change where we cannot get enough positive stories to keep us going. Let YOUR story be one of them. Happy writing!