Getting Started for Authors Tip: How to Believe Your Story is Worth Telling
The 31 Days of Author Tips features the advice from Jenn Grace and other authors, publishers, and people in the writing industry. From hearing Publish Your Purpose Press Founder and CEO, Jenn T. Grace, you’ll learn the basics of the writing process as well as more intricate details and tips not found anywhere else. You’ll learn how to be better prepared when you set out to write your story. Whether you are writing a memoir or any non-fiction where a piece of your story is shared, you’ll be better equipped for success after having listened to these tips.
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Author Tip Transcript
Tipster Guest: Jennifer Brown, Author – Inclusion: Diversity, the New Workplace & the Will to Change
Mindset and belief and permission are all wrapped up together. A lot of people don’t feel their story is worth telling.
Part of the problem in the world is that there are powerful stories that aren’t being told. Part is our confidence and not believing that our stories are significant and that they could shine a light for another person on something that that person is going through. I think it’s about permission and confidence. And, frankly, lighting a fire under yourself, to do the actual work. Making the space and the time and having the discipline; visiting and revisiting your story. I think of it like pulling a thread; working the thread.
I had to fill eight minutes for a TedTalk, I had lost my voice as an opera singer, and I thought who cares about that story? It’s my private drama, shame, and pain, and disappointment, heartbreak and all of that. But in telling it, it resulted in not only my own healing but also in providing a metaphor for my audience. The metaphor of losing your voice, the metaphor of fighting to get it back, a lot of us can relate to that. I had to overcome my hesitation and my own shame around reliving something that was really challenging and painful. And flip it over to brighten someone’s way and lighten somebody’s load. We all carry these lessons around. The world and others really need to see and hear them in a variety of places so that they can find their way to the person that needs it at that moment in time.
I don’t feel that I meet people very often that don’t have a book in them around what has happened to you, why did it happen, what was the lesson you took from it and how does that lesson translate, when you tell it, what’s your point in terms of using it as a leadership story? What learnings can only you teach? How can you teach that in your own unique way?
Don’t get hung up on figuring out why it matters. If you keep working on the front end of it, you will get to the point where you understand why it matters to you and to your audience. It’s a process and you’ll get it in an aha moment. It could take years.
Don’t worry about the how, just worry about the why. If you focus on the how, you’re not going to get it done because you’re going to be thinking about all the reason why you can’t actually do this vs. the reasons why you can.
I started to write and then I threw it over to friends and asked them “would this be interesting to you?” And “what in particular is interesting about it?” “Where should I go deeper?” “Where should I go more vulnerable?” When you start to write, you look at it and think “It’s boring” or that it’s just the facts of something. You just have to get started, put it in writing and run it by people who hopefully have known you for awhile or people you admire, activate your network, and find out what resonates and what do these people want to know more about. Some people have a process of going into a cave for six months, that wasn’t my process.
It’s like changing speeds. You have to get that writing muscle going. Writing from the heart. Even going to far as putting a hand on your head and a hand on your heart and trying to write from there. People can feel it. You can feel when something is intellectually argued, vs when someone is giving you their heart.
Lean on other people to do things for you. Lean on other’s confidence as proxy for you. Create a support team. Feels better sometimes to have someone to promote and speak for you. I recommend you pay a social media person for some hours. Find someone with a strong sense of voice that can do things for you in your voice until the time you can get your feet under you. It’s an ongoing learning process for yourself.
Elizabeth Gilbert’s book “Big Magic” is about her creative process. There’s a podcast called “Beautiful Writers.” There are wonderful ways that you can locate yourself in the pantheon of writers process. There’s no one right way. You must build a scaffolding around you and support yourself.
Relating your message to relevant current events can inspire you to move forward and share your story; connecting to what is on people’s minds.
Wondering if your book is timeless or out of date is part of the process. With events changing and your life evolving, don’t let that stop you from telling your story. There are lessons to be learned by the readers at any point of reading your work. The story will connect with people around the support they need at the moment of reading. Social media can help you connect the dots to relevant and timely topics after the book is written and published. Work on your agility and flexibility and responsiveness. Keep updating how your story fits in to what people need at the moment.
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