There is nothing quite like nurturing your passion, pouring it into a book and becoming a published author. But writing like life can often present hurdles no matter how deep your passion for your vision, message and mission is.
In this article, I want to introduce you to two amazing women I met early in my book mentoring career. Back then, I wasn’t focused on memoirs, but I always worked with mostly women who had amazing stories as the driving force behind what they wanted to write.
Both of these inspirational women, whom you’ll meet in a minute, had powerful stories that they wove into the fabric of their non-fiction books.
I can see them now on the first meetings taking their courage in their hands, exploring the possibilities before properly setting out on this adventure, not knowing where it would take them. Other than that, the outcome would be a book they could be proud of writing and publishing.
Their enormous passion struck me. It was the guiding light from the idea to the finished manuscript, especially when they had hairy days.
If you are someone who has written a book, you will appreciate that it is no small feat. Before anyone dives headfirst into the first draft, it’s important to take a moment to really connect with the reason you're writing. This can be anything from a compelling story that’s been buzzing in your mind to a topic you’re fiercely passionate about.
A deep-seated passion is more than just motivation; it’s an emotional tether that can pull you through the foggy days of writer’s block (though I am not convinced it exists) and keep you anchored when the tide of self-doubt tries to wash you away.
And talking about motivation, let’s meet Andro Donovan.
I adored working on Motivate Yourself by Andro Donovan. Andro is one of the most' motivating' as you would expect women I have ever met. All wrapped up in a beautiful, caring soul.
Andro found me via recommendation (the other author you will meet). I was blessed that she did because her book challenged and changed me as it unfolded. And you thought it was the author and readers that changed.
It is never just the words, it is the process, and the person that combined have such an effect.
It was 2015, and back then, we met on Skype, and I had hoped we would meet in person one day. It is often difficult to coordinate diaries for an in-person meet-up when you live in different countries, and one of you also travels widely.
Andros's job, if you can call it a job, is as a personal leadership coach. She runs incredible retreats which enable busy people to find their life balance. Everything she does is based on living according to your values.
Doesn't it seem obvious to live your life according to your values? However, do many of us do it? By that, I mean fully immersing ourselves in our values for how we live and love.
When I finally met Andro, it was as if we had been friends forever.
First, she opened her home for me so that we could work together. Her family, which had the added bonus of a gorgeous dog, welcomed me and made me feel so at peace. Then, as an even bigger surprise, Andro arranged for the gorgeous Alison Anandi Francis, aka The Sleep Guru, another book client (and friend), to come for dinner and give us a morning yoga session. I had also never met Alison, so this was enormous for me.
Collaboratively editing the book over the next three days brought up many things about the aforementioned living a values-based life. But also, for me, it was about finding some personal balance. Because of this, I eventually allowed myself to live according to my values rather than what someone else wants. Our time together was unforgettable for so many reasons. I left motivated and inspired.
Let’s go back to the early days. My belief is that having a well-planned book is key, and my strengths include getting your ideas out, choosing the right book and planning it well before writing.
We got to the first draft fairly incident free. She arrived for meetings ready and willing to take on what was needed. She meticulously planned her book and then carved out writing time. She was completely dedicated, and I was pleased as punch.
Andro then stopped and was determined to find a traditional publisher. This was an important aspect for her personally and for her personal brand. She worked incredibly hard on her book proposal and found a way to get it to the right person. The rest, as they say, is history.
What delighted me was that after my 3 days of furious editing, her publisher made very few adjustments to the manuscript.
What Can We Learn From This?
I’ve already said know your why. Without that, there is no point.
Create a Space for Your Passion And Creativity
Carving out a physical and mental space for writing can greatly impact your journey to becoming a published author. Find a space that feeds your creativity and passion, whether it’s a quiet corner in your house or a bustling café. It’s not just about the location but about how you feel in that space.
Your Passion, Your Voice
Your book reflects you and is a testament to your passion and motivation. The voice in which you tell your story can either muffle or amplify this passion. Andro focused on developing a voice that was uniquely hers and reflected the passion she wanted to share with her readers.
I actively encourage and work with my clients to help them develop their voices. I want to read their work and hear them talking to me.
Try this. Select a book or article written by an author who you don’t know. Select a small passage. Read it once to yourself and then once aloud. Make notes of what you can hear, see or sense through the writing. You are looking for things that relate to their voice.
Be inspired to breathe and sleep better – Meet Anandi
How did you sleep last night?
Last night I slept badly and had wild dreams. It’s over 40 degrees here in Spain. Generally, I’m ok, but hot summer nights like those we currently have leave me feeling jaded and unable to think clearly. And worse of all, my reactions to things are never good when tired and grumpy. Although noticing your feelings in all scenarios is good, observing after a good night's sleep is much better.
Let me ask you again - have you ever spent one or several nights tossing and turning, unable to sleep?
There was a time that I didn’t sleep well for about two years. Sleep deprivation robbed me of energy, motivation and patience. It transpired that my sleep challenge resulted from a thyroid problem which I solved with diet, yoga and connecting to my breath.
I wish I had known Anandi back then.
Later when I worked with Anandi on this beautiful book, I learned about the breath in a new way. In later years whenever challenged with sleep, I never forgot the power of the breath for sleep.
Her book Breathe Better, Sleep Better shares her insomnia story and takes you through the five vayus or aspects of the breath. When we looked at the vayus, we brainstormed how to bring them alive, eventually ascribing personalities to each of these, which was great fun.
Brainstorming and exploring is a big part of what I do. Without these sessions, a client won’t get clarity about the book's direction or how to emotionally engage with the reader.
We also looked at what research she needed to back up her work. You get a combination of ancient wisdom and science presented in the Anandi way.
As I have said, every author I work with has a message for me and facilitates my growth. Anandi has proven to be a gentle teacher.
Anandi is a gorgeous soul who is incredibly passionate about supporting you to find the bliss of sleep and how to use your breath to bring peace and a sense of being more alive in each moment. Prana is our life force, and you will know that among the things (water, nourishment and love) that we can’t do without the breath.
The way in which she teaches you to use your breath fascinated me, as did this effect on my body. During the time we have worked together, we have become friends, and she is someone I adore and admire.
As a new writer, she was a pleasure to work with and wrote her first draft quickly. This gave her a fabulous body of words and ideas to work her magic on. Editing takes time and is where the magic happens. Like breath, it needs space to expand and transform. She turned up to our meetings asking great questions, explored her writing and reached into the depths of her soul to ensure that she created her best first book.
When it came to covers and titles, she asked her community what they thought and thoroughly researched the market. So although her first title was the one she still loves, she knew what would attract more attention. This is a learning point for anyone with any product. Create a title that is simple and which will sell itself, or use a subtitle that explains the book.
Along with the book, she also created useful resources so that her readers could see how to work through the surrendered breath technique she teaches.
What Can We Learn From This?
Trust Your Passion, Trust Your Process
Every writer has a unique creative process. Anandis was sharing stories and bringing her characters - the vayus, alive with personalities. Her process unravelled as we met each ‘person’ who was there to teach the reader a lesson and a step. Her passion shone through her writing and her process.
Do you trust your passion? Passion often arises from taking on challenges and pushing ourselves outside our comfort zones. Outside of the comfort zone is usually where growth occurs and it's where we learn how to heal our stories. As you do this you will find discover your process for helping others - which you can use in your memoir or self-help book.
How To Work With Me
One of my roles as your mentor is to hold your hand and heart and give you a safe space to explore your passion and processes. And to remind you why you are the best person to write this book.