I am so excited to change the negative stereotype of self-publishing one book at a time.
As I shared many times before, the good news is that self-publishing is no longer taboo! Your chances of getting traditionally published are even higher now if your self-published book sells well!
I hope the #JustStart Writing Your Book series will encourage you to #JustStart writing your book today. Not yesterday. Not tomorrow.
Just start writing today!
Next up in the #JustStart Writing Your Book guest post series is my friend, Joy McMillan.
Growing up, did you always dream of writing a book?
Not at all. I never really liked reading as a child, and so books just didn’t feature high on my radar. It was really only after I’d been speaking for several years, and blogging for a while (as a form of free therapy while my little ones were around my ankles), that the idea to write a book emerged.
How much time passed (days, months, or years) was it from the time you knew you wanted to write a book to when you actually started writing your book?
A year or two, if not longer. It showed up on at least 2 New Year’s Resolutions lists–that both went unfulfilled–before I finally made up my mind to make it happen.
What were some obstacles you had to overcome to #juststart writing your book? How did you overcome?
Fear, inadequacy, insecurity, and lack of discipline in writing consistently. I remember being absolutely paralyzed by the fear of what others might say or think about my offering, or whether there would be a response to it at all. That awfully convincing little voice kept reminding me that I had nothing of value to share, and that everything had already been written–there was nothing new to say on the topic. Who was I to think I had what it took to write an entire book if just writing a blog post took me two hours to write?
Of course, those are all nonsense.
I think the two things that helped the most were being sensitive to where God was leading and what He had to say about it. I finally got to the point where, like in my 41st week of pregnancy, it would be more uncomfortable to keep it inside than let it out.
I couldn’t NOT write it.
And second, surrounding myself with mentors and friends who encouraged me that my voice mattered, that my perspective was unique, and that my story was worth sharing.
I also made a commitment that on January 1st, 2014, I would get up at 5:00 am every single morning until my book was finished. That created enormous momentum and I wrote it in 6 weeks. I did little else during that time, but I pushed that book baby out!
You are not the only woman who dreams of publishing her own book. What would you say to that woman today? Would you give her advice? Encourage her? Pray for her? What does she need to know to #juststart writing?
If God has planted a dream in your heart and placed a fire in your belly to write a book…who are you to say you’re not qualified? Trust that He’s called you, He will equip you, and if you’re receptive and brave and obedient, He will bring the right people into your life at the right time and help bring it to life. He’s an amazing midwife to the book babies we’re carrying! Make a commitment, form a plan, be consistent (momentum is HUGE!), and push through.
Practical tips would be:
- Build a ‘skeleton’ first, and then add meat to the bones.
- Have your phone recorder at the ready when driving, and an eyeliner at the ready in the shower…two places that inspiration frequently hits!
- Keep paper and pen on you at all times (to collect thoughts, illustrations, statistics, etc) so when you sit down to write, you’re armed with lots of raw material.
- Hire a professional designer to do your cover (unless you are one), and spend the money to get it well edited and formatted. Esthetics, readability and grammar matter!
Was there one or two people that helped you finish writing your book? Who were they and what kind of support did you receive from them?
I was so blessed to be writing my first book at the same time as my friend, Shannyn Caldwell, from Family Life Radio. We shared a lot of resources, encouragement and first-timer tips with each other along the way (we both self-published through CreateSpace).
Also, my editor was amazing and seemed to just emerge out of the blue (thanks to Facebook). She had gone to elementary school with my older sister, 25+ years ago in Southern Africa, so she wasn’t even technically “my friend” growing up…but she certainly became one!
Now that your book is out, what is your heart for this book? i.e. Tell us why we should buy it?
My first book is deeply personal (it’s about sex and marriage), and is basically my story of brokenness and redemption in a nutshell. It was my most requested speaking topic for years before I finally mustered the courage to put it on paper. The testimonies of freedom and healing that have come from women who’ve read it have blessed my socks off. God is so faithful!
And the new one…well, it’s my heartbeat in book form! My passion is inspiring women to lean into what inspires them, so they can go out and flesh out their passion and purpose in the messy, everyday moments of life. I feel like this message is a game-changer!
You can purchase a copy of Penduka: 21 Ways to Awaken Passion & Purpose in Everyday Life here.
How can we pray for you?
I have a few book ideas brewing in the creative crockpot, that I occasionally add seasoning to…but they’re not ready yet. And I want to wait until the timing is right, as I’ve learned that you just can’t push these babies out before they’re ready! So in essence, for sensitivity, wisdom, and obedience in the wait.
Joy McMillan is a speaker, writer, graphic designer, artist, podcaster & coach. In other words, she’s a seed planter & fire starter. Born and raised in Southern Africa, this wife and mom of two loves encouraging and equipping women to live out lives of passion and purpose through the spoken, written and illustrated word. Visit her at http://www.simplybloom.org.
Are you a self-published author with a story for us?
I would love for you to share your story of how you became a self-published author to encourage others who need encouragement to #juststart writing the book of their dreams!
Click on the link here to share your story!