Friday, July 29, 2016

Pursuing the dream - writing your book

This summer I have several authors working away at their books.  All are at different stages and while the summer is a great time to set aside and write, it can also be challenging.

When you are sharing raw, emotional times in your life, it can be hard to revisit and dig up your past. And then there’s the decision about how much you reveal and how vulnerable you want to be.

I applaud the writer who can go there because at the end of the day, your courage will help others as you can be sure that your story will resonate with others who are in similar situations today or in the past.  But it is a tough decision, as often there are other people in your family who may be impacted by your brutal honesty.   

As well as the emotional side to writing a book, there’s also the physical aspects to consider.  Being summer you may well want to work outside but find it is hard to see your screen.  One option is to try pen and paper to see if that stirs up your creative juices.  Another is to work on your book through postcards, where you can jot down key messages, ideas and stories to tell, so that later when you are indoors, you can just sit at your computer and write.

Another challenge maybe that your book is in your head and if you could just dictate it, it would get done.  These days there’s lots of software where you can just dictate your book and voila, your words are on paper.  One friend swears by Read & Write on Google Chrome. So don’t make that an excuse – get cracking.

All of this to say that there is no right way to write a book.  The key is to get into a groove, schedule time to write (or dictate) and make it happen. 

Just remember that your first draft is just that… a first draft. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

The power of three

In his book, Nobody wants to read your sh*t, author Steven Pressfield talks about how the make up of your book is the same whether you are writing a novel, a memoir, a play or a script.  There needs to be a beginning, a middle and an end.

In terms of your writing, this means that you need a hook right at the start to keep the reader interested and reading. This doesn’t always mean that you begin in chronological order but it could be, in the case of a memoir for example, that you start when your life started to go south, and then you weave back to your beginnings.

Hooking the reader in is crucial so you want to make sure that what you are writing about grabs their attention or resonates with them to the point that they want to read on.

After building your momentum, you still have to keep up the pace in the middle of your book, expanding further on your story or what you want to say in more depth.

The ending has to summarize all that you have been saying and give some conclusion as well as some sense of where this is all going so the reader moves forward.

This power of three is what works in speech writing too. 

I often encourage writers to think of their three key messages, and then under each message list the different stories they could share to illustrate the point.  This keeps you honest and on track in writing your book, as you stay consistent and don’t get off topic. 

You may also want to check in part way through your book.  Have your messages changed? Sometimes when you drill down you discover a new message that you hadn’t considered before, one that ties in with your ending and where you want to take your book, and your reader.

Such an evolution is fine as it shows that you are getting more entrenched with your topic, and hopefully giving more thought on the end outcome.  It is good to ask yourself where do you want to leave the reader at the end?  What do you want them to do as a result of reading your book?  Once you have answered those questions, you may be clearer on what you need to write in order for that to happen.

At Full Circle Publishing, we’ve developed a “Book at a Glance” template which helps keep you focused and on track.  If you would like a copy, email me at

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Why do you write?

Welcome.  With the launch of my new publishing company, it seemed appropriate to start a blog that focused on writing.

Although I have four books under my belt, it wasn’t until I wrote the third one that I started to consider myself a writer.  Funny that.  I was also hesitant to introduce myself as a writer as I wasn’t sure I’d won that stripe yet.

Writing is such a personal craft.  Often we start writing just for ourselves. I find writing is my way of sorting out the mixed emotions I feel inside but sharing your innermost thoughts with the world makes you feel vulnerable and I don’t always take that risk. There’s many a blog that I’ve written in anger that will never see the light of day.  Just getting the words out and down on paper was my therapy.

But just sending your words out into the universe can be a brave act.  After all what if no one likes what you have to say. Worse, what if no one even reads your epistles.

I have to say when I started blogging over eleven years ago, I didn’t actually care if I had an audience, I was just enjoying the excuse to write and post what I had to say or my thoughts on a specific topic.

It was later that I began to realize that I maybe had some wisdom to impart and that perhaps my words would bring comfort or understanding to someone else.  As I became more immersed in the world of entrepreneurship, I also started to share my thoughts on running a small business, something I was doing at the time with an element of success.

Why do you write?  I am sure it is different for all of us. And there’s different types of writing too.   When I worked as a consultant I used to write long, long reports that I questioned if anyone read, let alone followed my recommendations.  And when I was in government, it was briefing notes to politicians that would be written and re-written to ensure we had covered the essentials as well as our backs.

Today I like to share people’s stories.  I love interviewing people and helping them articulate their innermost thoughts and share them with the world.   I also love helping other writers weave their books into something that people not only want to read but enjoy.

In the months ahead I will be sharing different ways to entice and hold your readers’ interest and looking at the specific tasks in writing your book. 

Meantime, back to my original question --- why do you write?  Let me know.