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 a fellow hope*writer, Kristen Hartman.
Growing up, did you always dream of writing a book?
Yes and no. As a child, I loved to read and I assumed I’d write a book, but I never really thought about it in any detail. I suppose I thought someday inspiration would strike and a book would appear, but I didn’t know if that would be a novel or a biography or a textbook.
I did learn by the time I was in high school that my fiction writing abilities were nonexistent, so the whole writing a novel idea went out the window very early on!
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?
As a teenager and young adult, I had this vague thought that I wanted to write a book about my grandma to tell her stories and capture her amazing life. When I was thirty my oldest brother encouraged me to buy a digital recorder to start recording her. I bought it, but years later it’s still unused in the box in my bedroom. Then when I was thirty-three she was hospitalized with double pneumonia.
First, we were told she wouldn’t leave the hospital, then we were told maybe she had a few weeks or even a few months. I began to write, but I had no idea I was writing a book. I simply knew the most important person in my life was dying and I couldn’t bear the thought of losing her voice.
I wrote the journey we took together over the nineteen months God gave us. When she was well enough, I’d ask for her stories and when she wasn’t I’d write down the ones I remembered to ask about later. And all the while, I wrote the lessons I was learning and the raw emotions of accompanying a loved one through a long goodbye.
It wasn’t until after she died, I realized I’d written a book.
What were some obstacles you had to overcome to #juststart writing your book? How did you overcome?
I needed a catalyst.
For me, that was a phone call saying my grandma was in the hospital. While I didn’t know as I put the first words down that I was writing a book, I did know that I no longer had the time to wait. If I didn’t write, I would lose the words to my grandmother’s story.
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?
Write. Write five words. Write five hundred words. Just write. But don’t worry about it being a book. Write what you can’t not write. Be true to the words God is giving you, and trust Him to work out the seemingly overwhelming details.
Consider asking one or two people to hold you accountable to writing. It doesn’t mean they need to see everything (or anything) you’re writing, but give them permission to ask you if you’re writing and to push you to start again if you stop.
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?
Several years before I began writing my book I went to a writing workshop. The woman who led the workshop became my writing mentor. To this day she reads everything I write before anyone else does.
Writing the book was a bit different than what I normally write, but five or six times over the course of my grandma’s illness I sent her what I referred to as “my grandma writing” and she would affirm the value of chronicling our journey. She laughed with me and cried with me and held those words in a sacred trust as they were being written.
When it first occurred to me the words might be a book, she was my biggest cheerleader in sharing the words. I then sent the manuscript to her and to one of my former college journalism instructors for their editorial expertise. They both offered critical feedback and championed my desire to share the words.
Now that your book is out, what is your heart for this book? i.e. Tell us why we should buy it?
Stories are strong enough to change lives. I spent my life asking my grandma to “tell me a story.” Now as I’ve shared some of her stories and our stories, I’m hearing from others who are taking those four simple words into their own relationships and asking elderly parents or grandparents to “tell me a story.” And the gift they have each received–those near the end of their lives getting to share precious memories and younger generations hearing parts of their loved ones’ lives they never knew about–have been amazing.
I’ve also heard from grandparents choosing to be intentional about creating memories with their young grandchildren that they might develop the depth of relationship I experienced with my grandma. My dream is to see others experience the deep gift of story and strengthen the bonds between generations as they take a page or two out of the playbook my grandma and I had the honor of sharing.
You can purchase a copy of Love, Laughter, and Our Long Goodbye: Grandma’s Story and mine here.
How can we pray for you?
Sharing my book has been emotionally harder than I expected. I’m a very private person, and the book shares aspects of my life I’ve never shared before, which leaves me feeling very vulnerable (especially as my family and friends read it). Please pray for me to lean hard into Jesus’ arms when I’m struggling with the unruly emotions instead of running from them (and Him). And I would love your prayers for wisdom on how best to share these words with people who might need them.
I’m a thirty-something Southern Californian who thinks best through my fingertips whether they be tapping a keyboard or twirling a pen. A lifelong learner and internal processor, I’m committed to the discipline of sifting through and ordering the words inside me. Though I love to travel and try new things, my favorite place to be is with my family where I treasure my role as a granddaughter, daughter, sister, cousin and aunt.
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!