Navigating the Writing Path from Start to Finish

July 16, 2014 Sandra Dawes

This week’s blog post is a contribution to the I C Publishing Summer Blog Tour.  If you’ve ever thought of writing a book, or are in the midst of writing one, I suggest you check out the other entries!  I think you’ll find that even though the nature of our books differ, there are a lot of similarities in the journey to getting your book published! 🙂

Writer, Author, Published Author.  None of those titles were ones that I ever thought would be used to describe me.  As a Pad of Paper & Penlittle girl, I always enjoyed writing.  As a voracious reader, most of what I wrote was inspired by books I had already read.  I would place myself in the story and make it play out the way I wanted it to.

It wasn’t until years after my father died, when I decided to start my own business, my own website, and with it, my own blog, that I rediscovered my joy of writing.  Instead of fiction, I was writing based on my own experiences.  Sharing my thoughts with anyone who cared to read them.

When an article I wrote was published in Diversity Magazine, I was inspired once again to share my story in a bigger way.  The response from complete strangers made me realize that I did have a story to share, and that it could actually be a benefit to others.  I published Embrace Your Destiny: 12 Steps to Living the Life You Deserve! in November 2013 with Balboa Press.

I want to thank Adele Spraggon for inviting me to contribute to the virtual summer blog tour, Navigating the Writing Path: From Start to FinishAdele is not only the author of Shaped Within: Reshaping Weight Loss, she is the founder of Shaped Within Ltd., author, facilitator, speaker and affectionately known as the ordinary guru.  If you’re a stressed-out, busy woman looking to get unstuck, eliminate overwhelm and anxiety, end compulsive behaviours, and gain inner peace, Adele’s your woman!

I’d also like to thank Sheri Andrunyk, the founder of I C Publishing, (sponsor for this blog tour) and the I C Bookstore.  Sheri is also an entrepreneur expert, and author of Working From Home & Making It Work and Hearts Linked by Courage. She is extremely passionate about providing more choices and high level support to other writers, business professionals, wellness coaches, and spiritual mentors.

Here’s a little bit about my writing process, may it inspire you to share your untold story.

How do you start your writing projects?

They say third time lucky and that’s how my writing journey played out with my first book.  The first draft (all 130+ pages of it), was a bit like walking out of your house naked and having the whole thing televised and streamed online.  The more I wrote, the more fearful I became because of all that I was sharing.  I wasn’t ready to tell that story, so the draft still sits on my computer as I type this.

The second draft became way too clinical.  In my fear of exposing too much, I pulled back even more.  Moderation has never been my strong suit – all or nothing seemed to be my motto.  I spent even less time with this version, because it just didn’t feel right.

The third time, high off the positive feedback from the article in Diversity Magazine, I was ready to get to work.  I tend to like to work under pressure, so I committed to the self-publishing package before I had typed a word.  This time around, I was clear on why I wanted to write a book and what I wanted the reader to take away from the book.  I think that’s what made the big difference this time around!

How do you continue your writing projects?

I find weekly blog posts easy to write.  My inspiration comes from my daily experiences – things I’ve read, conversations I’ve participated in or current events.  I used to put pressure on myself to find topics to write about, but now I just take a step away from the computer and take a walk to clear my head and find inspiration.

The process was similar when I was working on my book.  Due to the tight deadline I had given myself, I had six weeks to complete my first draft.  I set a goal of writing 4 pages a day during that time to ensure that I would meet my targets.   Some days it was easier than others, with more than 4 pages happening.  Other days, I was lucky if I was able to write a paragraph.

The important thing was to not beat myself up about the fact that the 4 pages didn’t come, and just try again tomorrow.  I also listened to and read books of people who inspire me to help me stay motivated.

How do you finish your project?

The completion of my book was the scariest part for me.  Up until the last chapter, I hadn’t shared any of the book with anyone.  I started to wonder if the book made sense or if I was the only one who thought the concept would work.  As I began the last chapter of the book, I started to share the completed chapters to people I knew would give me an honest opinion.  I found the feedback very helpful, and it gave me the confidence to complete the final chapter and move on to the next part of the process.

What’s one challenge or additional tip that our collective communities could benefit from?

If you’ve been thinking about writing a book, do it!  I found the process therapeutic as well as very rewarding.  Publishing my book has opened up a lot of doors and I’ve met a lot of great people because of it as well.  Don’t let the fear of it not being “good enough” stop you from doing it.  You have a story to share and there are people out there who need to hear it!

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