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Advice from a Writing Coach Online: Don’t Be An Anonymous Writer. Write it Raw, Then Edit

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As a writing coach online, I never get tired of hearing people’s stories. But for some, the choice to remain anonymous or to share their real identity in their book can be crippling. Why? Because not all stories are created equal. Some pains and traumas are hard to put on paper, let alone tell the world that these injustices happened to you. Old feelings like shame, fear, anger, abandonment, or embarrassment can reappear, and the writer feels emotionally paralyzed at the thought of baring their soul to the world.

I understand. I know what that feels like because I had to work through it myself as an author. The truth is, there’s a lot of pain in life, and it usually involves other people. But you can be both courageous and discreet when you write your book. Sometimes all you need is the courage and a helping hand to take the first step.  

Write it Raw, Then Edit

It may be tempting to remain anonymous when you publish your book, but if you do, you can’t offer anyone hope or help. Your readers won’t trust a face in the shadows. They’ve seen enough of those. They need to know that you’re real.

So how do you do it? The answer is to write the first draft of your book raw. Get down all the details and record all the indignities, as long as they’re driven by your Purpose Statement. Purge yourself of what you’ve been holding in and get everything down. Don’t be afraid to name names.  

This is where you start. Write a raw draft that holds nothing back. Your first draft won’t be anything like your final draft, so don’t be afraid to get it all down. 

After you finish your first draft, you can address the sensitive issues and the people you feel you need to protect. Maybe you don’t need to name names. Many of your characters can likely be defined by their relationship to you: my sister, my mother, my neighbor, her teacher. You get the point.

The extra benefit of identifying people by their relationship rather than their name is that it strengthens your writing. If you have too many names in your book, it confuses the reader and causes fatigue because they’re constantly juggling names and trying to remember who’s who.

Don’t feel like you need to tell the reader where you live either, unless your city or town is an important part of your story. As a writing coach online, I advise my students to concentrate on the message and leave the identifying details out.

Finally, after you’ve written it raw please remember that what you write must be the truth. Your book isn’t the place to smear someone else and risk a libel charge. If you want to write a “gotcha” book, I have nothing to offer you. Your book can be a powerful tool to change lives, save lives, and transform society, but there’s no room for vindictiveness. Write your story, but write it right.

 

What about you? Are you ready to write it raw then edit? If you or someone you know is ready to share their story, I’d be honored to be your writing coach online and help you take the first step. Contact us today!  


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Eliminate the “Shoulds” and Use a Writing Coach Online

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What’s holding you back from getting all that you want out life? Life is short. It’s easy to get caught up in the mundane daily tasks of life and wonder out loud, “is this all there is?”  Today’s parents are overstressed, corporate executives are overworked, and children are simply overscheduled. With a daily calendar filled with “shoulds” and “musts,” it’s no wonder people go through life missing out on their true calling and never doing what they really want to do. When I became a writing coach online, I eliminated the shoulds from my life and the things I simply didn’t want to do anymore. These things had exhausted me, made me irritable, and instead of relaxing at the end of the day, I became anxious when I looked at my calendar filled with all my “shoulds.”

“I’ve met hundreds of people who have been through things, have learned things, have discovered things, and have developed things that could truly change the world—if only the world knew about them.”

-Nancy Erickson

Figure Out What You Don’t Want To Do And…STOP

When my husband Tom and I went to the Grand Canyon, time changed. I cant figure out if it stretched, if it shifted, or if it stopped altogether. But I do know that one day melted into the next, and the pressure of time dissolved. Nothing to do, nowhere to go.

All I had to do was eat, drink, and be. After two weeks of floating from day to day, I felt fundamentally changed. I liked finding the wide-open spaces inside me, and I felt the pressure of time only when our trip was coming to a close. I dreaded going back to the calendar and clock that ruled my life.

Somewhere along the way, and I don’t know when, I made a decision. “I don’t want to do anything that I don’t want to do anymore,” I told Tom.

He stared at me, a quizzical look on his face. “Then don’t,” he said.

Then don’t? Could it be that easy? Figure out what I don’t want to do and just stop?

It took no effort at all to make a list of the things I didn’t want to do anymore. The list wasn’t that long, but when I matched it up to my day-to-day activities, I saw that the “don’t like” stuff ruled my calendar—and, therefore, my life. I was spending most of my time doing things I didn’t like! All I had to do was stop doing these things—and that was the challenge.  Now I’m not talking about not doing things we don’t like to do that still NEED to get done. I’m referring to those “shoulds” we have on our list because other people have told us we “should” be doing this or that.

Get a Coach

What does my trip to the Grand Canyon have to do with writing a book? You have a book-worthy idea inside you and might think, “I’m not a writer; I can’t do this.” That’s not true. You may not be a professional writer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t become an author. You can do anything you want to do if you get the right help.

You need a writing coach online who can help you take the idea for your book and crystallize your message, plan the contents, write the manuscript, edit it to perfection, and—finally— publish and distribute your book. You need someone to take you the entire distance, so all you have to do is follow along.  If you or someone you know is ready to share your story with the world,  contact us today so we can help you take the next step!

 


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Writing a book online: Q&A with Lindsey Jacobs

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Future author Lindsey Jacobs on finally sharing her story

Future author Lindsey Jacobs on finally sharing her story

In recognition of our upcoming Spring/Summer 2016 Group Writing Program kickoff, we wanted to take time to highlight our aspiring authors. Today, we are highlighting Lindsey Jacobs, a blogger and aspiring author who is writing her book, When Opportunity Knocks. Lindsey is a 40-year-old single mother and nursing student. She has completed the Ironman and is now driving for another achievement — to write her first book. Lindsey blogs about her experiences at RamblingRunnerGirl.com.

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Creating the best story structure for your non-fiction book

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Creating-a-story-nonfiction-book-writing-book-coach-how-to-write-a-bookWhen it comes to crafting your personal exceptional story, it can be difficult to know where and how to begin. I’m here to help you design your story so you can start writing and get your story out into the world. As a book coach, my life is spent working with individuals who have a story to tell, and helping them share that story in a way that moves people to action. 

What is your story?

All of us have our own story, and people are truly interested in hearing it. Every day, each of us are asked questions such as:

  • What do you do?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • Where did you go to school?
  • Do you have kids?

You see, even if people are not directly asking about your story, these types of questions are all indirect ways to try to learn more about you and the story you have to tell.  

Physiologically, humans are wired to enjoy and relate to stories. Stories have been a part of the human fabric since the beginning of time. People like to listen to stories, relate to them, and remember them. Find your story and give people what they crave!

It’s important to understand the difference between telling your story and presenting your resume. You cannot tell your exceptional story by reciting a list of your accomplishments or delivering an elevator pitch. You need to dig deeper. Your story will communicate who you are, so you need to figure out exactly who that is and how to showcase that person.

Start with the foundation of your story

Before you start writing your story, you need to answer two questions:

  1. What is the purpose of your story?
  2. Who is the audience?

Stories can help you cross racial, social-economical, political, and religious, boundaries; they are that powerful. I believe there are two key things all people need: hope and help. Your story has the power to offer hope and help to others. Your story can change lives and have an impact on society, but you need to decide just what kind of impact you want to make. What do you want your story to communicate? What change do you want to invoke in the reader? How will your story help people?

Knowing your audience is essential. Your target audience will determine what you tell them and why. Cater your story to grab the interest of your audience, so that you can deliver a helpful and memorable story. Take a look at my blog post, How to Define an Audience for Your Book, for a more in-depth explanation of how to tackle this important task.

Outline the three parts of your story to lay the plan for your nonfiction book

Obviously, all stories have a beginning, middle, and end, but the three parts I suggest you consider are these:

  1. What it used to be like
  2. What happened
  3. What it’s like now

Start with what life was like before the change happened.  Were you happy? Overworked? Unfulfilled? Paint a picture of your “before” and set your audience up for the change.

The “what happened” section is the turning point in your story. It’s your pivotal moment, the bridge that connects the before and after. Something happened that caused a change in your life, and that’s what you’ll share with your audience. Some changes are internal, such as an “aha!” moment that directed you to take action or make a change, but some people need more of a push. External changes are things that force us into change, such as the death of a family member, birth of a child, a divorce, loss of a job, or some other life-altering occurrence. What happened to you? How did it force you to change and why?

Create closure in your story

Next, tell your audience what it’s like now. Where are you in your life? How are things different?

If you’re struggling with how to wrap up the impact of your life or a specific chapter in your story, consider these six areas of your life and how they have been impacted by the events you shared in your memoir or business book:

  • Spiritual
  • Health
  • Relationships
  • Emotional
  • Professional, 
  • Financial

How have these areas of your life been affected?

If you take these three aspects–What it Used to be Like, What Happened and What It’s Like Now–put them together, and seal them with a solid purpose statement that clearly communicates the purpose of your story, you will have a solid design in place.  

You have a story to tell, and people are ready to hear it, but whether or not they will relate to it and remember it depends on how well you tell it. How you tell your story is just as important as the story itself. I can help you craft your story and work with you when you have trouble writing. Don’t let fear of writing keep you from sharing your story with the world!

If you need help to write your book, consider working with me as you write your first book. Details below!


 

nancy erickson book coach book coaches How to Become an Author: Module One 1About Nonfiction Book Writing & Publishing Expert Nancy Erickson

Nancy Erickson is better known as “The Book Professor,” a writing and publishing consultant who specializes in helping aspiring nonfiction authors bring their book ideas to market. Nancy works as a book coach assisting authors that write self-help books, biographies, business books, and other nonfiction books through online courses and book coaching. Contact Nancy with questions or to have her speak at your upcoming event by clicking here.

 


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