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Nonfiction Book Coach Advice: Heal Yourself Through Sharing

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Have you ever been in so much emotional pain that you thought you’d die if something didn’t change? I know that feeling too well before I became a nonfiction book coach. I was married for twenty-two years to my first husband and was devastated when I discovered that he had a hidden life that was incompatible with marriage. Everything I thought I knew about the world and how life worked turned out to be a lie. I’d been duped and betrayed by a man I’d been married to for over half my life, and I literally thought I would die from the pain and grief.

Because the circumstances of our split were dark and not the topic of polite conversation, I had no one to turn to. There was no one to comfort me, no one to help me, no one who understood what I was going through. It wasn’t until I dared to share my story, my real story, that I began to heal.

Share Your Pain and Heal Your Life

I muddled through that pain. With the help of intense therapy and deep self-examination, I discovered some things that can help other women faced with a similar situation—women whose worlds have been flipped upside down by a deep, ugly secret and who, as they try to come to terms with their pain and heal, have no one to help them. They feel hopeless. They feel helpless. They are all alone. Just like I was. But it wasn’t until I met with a therapist and began to share all of the ugly details of my pain that I felt a dead weight lift off my heart. It was raw, unfiltered, and ugly but, oh, was it freeing! The sense of relief and peace I felt after sharing my story was indescribable. I had a long journey ahead, but I finally felt the mental fog begin to clear.

Years later, I discovered that there are physical benefits of sharing, especially with someone who is walking through the same type of pain you’ve experienced.  Doctor and author of  Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself, Lissa Rankin, writes in Psychology Today that: “Every time you tell your story, and someone else who cares bears witness to it, you turn off the body’s stress responses, flipping off toxic stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine and flipping on relaxation responses that release healing hormones like oxytocin, dopamine, nitric oxide, and endorphins. Not only does this turn on the body’s innate self-repair mechanisms and function as preventative medicine—or treatment if you’re sick. It also relaxes your nervous system and helps heal your mind of depression, anxiety, fear, anger, and feelings of disconnection.” She goes on to say that “In order to benefit fully from the healing medicine of telling your story, you must resist holding anything back. You must strip off your masks, be unapologetically you, ditch worrying about what “everybody” is going to think, and let your glorious freak flag fly.”(Source)

What about you? Are you ready to “let your glorious freak flag fly?” When I became a nonfiction book coach, I made a promise to be real, authentic, and in the words of Lissa Rankin, to let my freak flag fly!  Maybe your story is like mine, or maybe it’s totally different. There are so many stories that can be inspirational—even lifesaving—for others. What have you faced? What have you learned? What have you discovered or developed that can help others? You can be a messenger of hope and help. If you or someone you know wants to work with a nonfiction book coachplease contact us today!


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How do you tell your story? 1

How do you tell your story?

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All you have to do is tell your story. But how do you explain who you are? How do take your entire life and create a crystallized message?

The first step is to build a foundation for your story, and you can do that by answering these two questions:

1. What’s the purpose of your story?

You probably have some general ideas about what you want to say, but I challenge you to distill those ideas down to a single Purpose Statement before you start. Your Purpose Statement should say, “The purpose of my story is to _________________________________.

Complete that sentence. Bear in mind that it’s one sentence, not a paragraph.

Let me give you an example using my own purpose statement: The purpose of my story is to inspire others to use what they know and what they’ve experienced to make a positive, lasting impact on the lives of other people.

2. Who’s the audience?

If you don’t know your audience, it’s a lot like playing spin-the-bottle in the dark. Don’t you want to know who you’re going kiss before you pucker up?

Likewise, you need to envision your audience. Who do you interact with? What’s their age, demographic, marital status? Are they male or female, conservative or liberal? How do they identify themselves? Complete this sentence: The audience for my story is __________________.

Example: The audience for my story is entrepreneurs and business people.

Pull it all together.

Now pull these components together into a single statement.

Example: The purpose of my story is to inspire entrepreneurs and business people to use what they know and what they’ve experienced to make a positive, lasting impact on the lives of other people.

write your story from the perspective of your reader

Now that you have your Purpose Statement, you will write your story from your audience’s perspective, not yours. What do they want to know? What information are they seeking? What new message or perspective can you deliver? Compelling content always meets the need, and your job is to deliver what your audience is seeking.

To crystallize your message, include only the parts of your story that drives your audience to realize that purpose. Everything you write should drive toward that message, that audience, and that purpose, in order to achieve that result.


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