I hate writing. Seriously, I hate writing. I have gone through great lengths to not write. Ever since I was about 24 years old I hated writing. I had a boss that always told me I couldn't write. It was actually quite a surprise to me because before that I always did write. She would send me to writing classes and harp on the idea that I couldn't write. When I went for my MBA I took extra classes to avoid writing a thesis. Now over 25 years later I'm crippled by the thought of writing a 25,000 word dissertation and so I have not completed my doctorate work.
So why did I join this challenge? Because I need to write! Writing is an important part of thinking. I've learned through the beginning steps of writing my dissertation that writing allows one to think differently. Writing allows one's mind to explore other possibilities that just thinking alone will not do. I've also learned that I'm not a bad writer. I write like a I speak so my style might be different but it doesn't make me bad. My boss many years back did me a huge disservice by not recognizing I can write, it just wasn't her style of writing.
If you look at the first post in this blog it was 12/8/2016 when I vowed to start a blog because I knew how important it was both for my business and for establishing myself as an expert in my field. Now I'm really doing it! It's time. So, I'm taking on the challenge Paul Taubman has put in front of me and I will write a blog post each day this month to get in the habit of writing. I hope you will follow me and comment when you can. I'm a big believer that if you change your mindset, you change your reality. So, going forward.... I AM A WRITER!
If you'd like to join the ULTIMATE BLOG CHALLENGE click on the link and start your journey as well. https://UltimateBlogChallenge.com.
Founder/ Executive Director
The Natural Life Business Partnership
Before you publish your book, figure out what you want being a published author to mean to you. Then build your author platform with your post-published future in mind.There’s a monthly writer’s club in my area called the Liar’s Club, probably because it was started by fiction writers. It is quite a large group featuring writers from all genres, many of whom are published, just like me. Some are self-published, others are traditionally published, and some have done both — because there are a lot of good reasons to self-publish.
Two important reasons self-publishing is valuable are 1) being an author of a book can help open doors; and 2) it allows you to create a platform for yourself, a springboard to launch your career, whether it be for writing assignments, being seen and sought as an expert on a topic, or a variety of other things.
Who do you want to be?Being able to say you’re a published author is a big deal, but before you publish your book, you need to explore what you want being a “published author” to mean. What I mean is, if you are looking to launch a career — whether it’s writing or something else — by self-publishing a book, you have an opportunity to “create yourself” through your book’s content, your platform, and your bio.
If you are self-publishing, you’ll probably be doing all the marketing, which means you get to create your own image. This can start in the pre-launch phase of publishing your book. So the question is, “Who do you want to be?”
Your author bio gives you a platform and you get to decide what your extended author’s platform will be. By extended I mean that, aside from your book, what are you promoting about yourself? It could be beliefs about management or life, personal philosophies, business knowledge, or even the direction you want your career to go.
The book I wrote is a memoir about the practice of spiritual journaling and how it helped me during an uncertain transition from corporate America into a solo massage practice. As I was writing the book, I was also meditating with a sangha (Buddhist community) and being asked to lead the group in the founder’s absence. That gave me the confidence to search for and become an instructor of meditation with another organization. At the same time, I began teaching spiritual journaling.
As a result, I decided my platform would be that I am a teacher of holistic practices and meditation, including spiritual journaling and channeling creativity that comes from gratitude. “Teacher” is a broad enough term to include writing as well as speaking, so that’s also part of my platform.
Not sure what your platform would be? Ask yourself, “What is my area of expertise?” For example, if you write historical fiction and have expertise in wars of the twentieth century, maybe you want to make that proclamation. If you are an author of a cookbook and a registered dietitian with a knack for making quick, healthy meals and can help working moms who want to change their family’s eating habits, make that your platform.
Before my book launched, I was already teaching holistic practices that have helped me to lead a simpler life. Now I’m doing even more of it. It’s because I set it up that way. Currently, I teach classes to students who are in front of me, and soon I will offer an online course as independent study. This happened because I knew that to create these types of opportunities, I had to put myself “out there.”
In the world of self-publishing, this means I need to take advantage of promotions that get my book into reader’s hands. For me, this meant some post-launch spending that got me read and rated (repeatedly at five out of five stars), and even one request to be interviewed for a magazine. Because I knew what I wanted my platform to be, I was comfortable asking the interviewer how she got into freelance writing, which led to a recommendation to her senior editor. As a result, I now write articles, squarely in my wheelhouse, for an international magazine, specifically in the columns of “Body, Mind and Soul,” “A Writer’s Life,” and “Poetry.”
In terms of post-launch spending, I paid for a short subscription to NetGalley through Smith Publicity. I also purchased three reviews through Reader’s Write, so I could have language and a reviewer’s name to include on book cards, a marketing tool used by traditional publishing houses, which I co-designed through a local FastSigns agency.
All of this has augmented my author platform because I have professionally-created materials and reviews that showcase my work. This has led to my speaking at writer’s clubs, women’s groups, and even a book panel at the Pyramid Club in Philadelphia, sometimes receiving stipends and always getting to showcase my book.
My latest expenditure, supported by the monthly royalties I have received from my book sales, is paying for an advertisement in a magazine geared towards creatives. I’m so excited because I know I’ll reach the right people and that my book will be read (one of the greatest gifts to an author) and will help people.
What’s so terrific about this is that it’s putting me in contact with the people who enjoy spiritual self-help books. This is my genre. This is where I need to be! Helping people find their inner spirit wisdom where simplicity and creativity lives. But this is me — where you need to be is with your own people, on your own platform!
If not, you’ll be trying to push your book to followers on your personal social media accounts. That’s not where your readers are, unless you pick your friends by the books they read. You’ll still be sympathetic when you hear the published author on the panel at your local writer’s club say, “My dad doesn’t like my books.” But you’ll also rally with her as she explains she has a very targeted audience and a platform because she did leg the work. She focused on herself and what she was offering and her audience found her!
About Charter Member and NLBP Writer's Roundtable facilitator Marie Higgins:
Marie Higgins is an author and teacher of holistic practices, including meditation and spiritual journaling. She educates individuals on how holistic practices can lead to a simpler life: a way of life that says spirit first (listen to the heart); take care of self (listen to the body), and give back to the world. Her debut nonfiction piece, Sprouting Spiritual Growth: A Memoir and Guide to Spiritual Journaling, is an inspirational self-help book available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble that provides a guide to get to the truth and beauty of simple, everyday living through the tool of spiritual journaling.
One of the questions at the recent NLBP Writer's Roundtable is how do I get started writing. This question is very broad and could take many different follow-up questions to figure out what is the particular issue for the individual. For example, it might be that there is procrastination involved. If that's the case, it might be best with starting out with uncovering the reasons for the procrastination.
But that's not my focus today. My focus today is where do I start if I want to write a major project, like a book, a screenplay, or a blog. I believe that creativity comes after doing the work and the work can take a few different pathways.
1. Work with a life coach or spiritual director to find out where your blocks are happening.
2. Work alone, but within a program. The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron is a good place to start. I used her ten-week workbook for an entire year completing it 4 times in succession (I had flow afterwards, writing my first book in one month).
3. Get the creative juices flowing by doing some daily writing assignments: A. Journal your thoughts. B. Write poetry or a short story. C. Write letters to the editor of any magazine or newspaper you're reading.
4. Attend workshops or events that relate to your project (poetry readings, writer's conferences, public relations classes, etc.)
5. Do any or all of steps 1 to 4 and then start on your project.
Doing these things has moved me in the direction of becoming a professional writer. I'm not a millionaire yet, but I'm young, give me time.
If you read my blog, you know that last week I attended a Poetry Reading by the current Poet Laureate, Yolanda Wisher. Attending gave me the idea to use one of her methods. She will come up with a topic and write all the descriptors down for that topic. With those words she writes a poem about something that is not the topic. For example, her discriptive words were all about cooking, but her poem was about love. This weekend I used this method and wrote a poem about my grandmother using diamonds as the topic. I'll debut it here and wish you lots of luck with your own writing.
HOPE FOR GRANDMA GEM
Round face and pear shaped,
Quiet yet attractively bright.
She interacts with fellow patients,
The marquis looking on.
Don’t leave yet, for Grandpa’s sake,
Keep your sparkling breath
To cut his ego where you must.
Your words say it just so.
Opposite of a hard-cutting stone
Your belly is untamed now,
Like the best grandmas
Who like their own cooking.
Priceless to me,
And a Premier Rose to Grandpa.
Precise artistry fashioned you,
Even the nervous breakdown was by design.
It made you stronger,
Proportioned and polished.
Now a magnificent return to light,
We cried with the marquis.
He thought you unbreakable,
Or at least less than he.
Never again would he say
“Give me some sugar.”
To magma you returned,
Scattered into all colors of the rainbow.
Your scintillation dead,
But memory never forgotten.
I think of you often.
With clarity and color, you wrote words.
You wrote a poem for my mom’s assignment.
I believe you were capable of writing more.
Now I adorn empty pages,
My hope for Grandma Gem.
Submitted by Marie Higgins, author of Sprouting Spirituality,
Charter Member NLBP, and Facilitator of the NLBP Writer's Roundtable.
I've been struggling with the task of adding a blog to our website for months now. I wanted the blog but the burden of knowing I needed to fill it every week or even every month was a weight I didn't want to bare. You see, writing is a daunting task for me and even though I can speak on many subjects, I can't always write about them.
So here I am at the end of the year working with each of you, our loyal members, thinking through our business strategies for the next 12 months and I didn't even do the things on my own list. So yesterday I started taking those baby steps.... I launched a business discussion group for our members on LinkedIn (go join now!) and today I'm launching our blog. My vision is for members to contribute articles on their work and specialties so everyone can get a better understanding of all the possibilities of healing through natural methods.
I've learned so much in the last 8 months talking to groups and meeting people trying to spread the word of NLBP. I've been so fortunate to meet so many people and learn about the great work being done naturally in so many places. I've learned that we truly don't compete with one another either. We are all trained and gifted so differently that we bring unique talents and insight to our work, which in fact differentiate us even though some many have the same title.
In the coming weeks I hope to add business thoughts to this blog as the subjects come up in discussions. I also hope our members will contribute some great articles on whatever their particular interests may be. If you have an idea you'd like to write about or would like to have a piece to read on please let me know.
I am blessed to be working as the leader of this great group!
Camille L. Miller
The Natural Life Business Partnership Membership Blog
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