According to some polls something like 80% of Americans want to write a book. Even if you can’t get on Oprah anymore, becoming a published author brings amazing opportunities into your life and often makes your dreams come true.
Case in point: by the time you read this Pat Hastings, author of the award winning book Simply a Woman of Faith, will be in Hawaii for a six month stay to write her second book, hold workshops and other opportunities that came out of publishing her first book. Hawaii was one of her big dreams and this is her third trip. Pat loves to travel and her book also opened the doors to lead retreats on cruise ships and in Bermuda.
Dr. Ellen Weber Libby had been connecting the dots in her psychotherapy practice and made exciting observations about favorite children—information she hadn’t seen anywhere else. Her dream was to write a groundbreaking psychotherapy book that would change the way people understood favoritism in families. While her agent pointed out that she could get a bigger advance with a how-to book, Dr. Libby stayed committed to her vision—and her agent stuck with her. The groundbreaking ideas in The Favorite Child struck a chord—273 people commented on Dr. Libby’s first post on the Huffington Post and a dialogue began about how favoritism affects all children in a family—in childhood and into adulthood.
Amy O’Brien wanted to help women get out of bad relationships. She’d had one of her own and realized she could use a movie metaphor to make it fun, inspiring and empowering for women who were stuck. I remember when an early reader said, “I gave the book to my mom and sister and now they finally understand my life.” Can you imagine what a difference Stuck with Mr. Wrong made for that one woman alone? And the satisfaction of making a difference like that? Perhaps that’s why Stuck with Mr. Wrong has won four national awards.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Linda Joy, whose first book A Juicy, Joyful Life helped both readers and contributors. The stories in the book inspired many women—and even some men (my husband read the book nightly for a week and loved it!). And the women who contributed became bestselling authors much more quickly and easily than if they’d had to write an entire book alone. Linda helped them garner the power of community to accomplish a big goal. Many of these women went on to write their own books, once they realized they could write.
Kathy LeMay wants everyone to be empowered in their philanthropy and creating the social change that most matters to them. That’s why she wrote The Generosity Plan, providing the opportunity to speak to investment advisors of large banks who work with thousands of investors at every level. She teaches them how to advise people on their philanthropy—their social investments, if you will. And she’s having a huge impact on the philanthropy conversation.
And, of course, a book can be a powerful investment in one’s financial future. Evana Maggiore, founder and author of Fashion Feng Shui: The Power of Dressing with Intention, has told me that people often find her on the internet, order her book, read it in a sitting and sign up for a $3,500 seminar. The book also inspires many women to find a Fashion Feng Shui® consultant near them for a consultation—creating more demand for the people Evana trains.
If a book can do so many things for you—from the power to change people’s lives to the ability to dramatically improve your success and income, why don’t more people do it? Well, yes, it takes work and persistence, but the number one reason is that they don’t believe in themselves.
The most common thing I hear from would-be authors is, “I’m not a writer.” Probably someone told them that—at teacher, a parent, a “real” author. Did anyone tell you you’re not a writer?
I watched each of these women go from wondering if they could accomplish their dream (and many thinking they were not a good enough writer) to believing in their dream and then living it. How did they do that?
How to Discover the Writer in You—and Finally Believe in Your Author Dream:
1. Find Yourself a Teacher, Book on Writing, Mentor—and learn the secrets of good writing. There aren’t that many secrets. You just need to learn them and practice. Learning the rules from a teacher or good book will start to give you confidence now that you have some tools.
2. Get Supportive Feedback: Feedback helps you learn quicker. An editor or writing coach can save you time, teach you nuances and make your writing the best it can be.
3. Join a Group—Start a writing circle or join a book writing program. A group provides community, accountability and more feedback. Your belief in yourself will grow as you have a community that believes in you and you experience yourself growing in your abilities. I see it all the time in my writing workshops. Sometimes I see someone’s belief blossom in just a day!
Hold fast to your dream, get the support and tools to believe in yourself, create community and watch your belief and ability grow until—you do it!