“How did you write a book?”
“I’d love to write a book but I wouldn’t know where to start!”
“Why would anyone want to read it?!”
Those are questions I’ve uttered and have heard many times!
Writing a book encapsulates the meaning of the word coddiwomple. You sit down purposefully to put pen to paper or to tap away on your keyboard and a whole new journey begins with no idea where the destination lies.
This is the first of a short series of blogs about my writing experiences and if you’re reading this and know you have a book inside you I hope I can help you clear some of the fog!
Firstly just start Somewhere, it doesn’t matter where as long as your ideas spill from your mind to the page in front of you. It could be bullet points of ideas at first, or a line of dialog. It might even seem like complete nonsense to start with; but at this stage that really doesn’t matter. The order will come later… at a time that is right for you so please don’t give up.
To be honest I didn’t set out to write a book. It just evolved from journals and a personal blog that I wrote following the deaths of my parents in 2012 and my subsequent coddiwomple around Australia in 2015/2016. It was my way of sending “postcards home” to family and friends without having to repeat myself over and over again. However, I discovered that I have a flair for getting my feelings down on to paper and I now believe that it was an intrinsic part of my grief and healing process.
A few followers and friends commented that it would make a good book one day but I ignored them at the time, I thought they were either misguided or just being nice because they knew me! Indeed I continued to ignore them for a good while after I returned home too, but they were quite persistent so I thought “well give it a go, see what happens. What have I got to lose?”
I started off by copying and pasting my blog posts into a Word document and started editing them little by little. Months soon turned into a year and eventually I had what I believed was something readable…or so I thought! I asked three or four friends to give it the once over and was told in no uncertain terms that it needed “more meat on its bones.”
That was a scary thought for me as I realised I needed to reveal a lot more about myself than I had initially intended. I continually asked myself “do I really want to do this?” “Who will want to read it anyway?” “And what happens if it upsets anyone I care about?”
A few months later I had one of my notorious Lightbulb Moments: I saw that it could have some use and a purpose behind it after all: to help me raise funds for the hospice that had looked after my parents (and me) and I could use it to help raise awareness of ovarian cancer (the cancer that took my Mum). Maybe it could also inspire others struggling with Bereavement and Grief that they too can enjoy Life After Loss…
With a renewed sense of purpose I pulled on my Big Girls Pants once more and set about researching what to do next. I knew it required more editing (by a professional) and it needed to be critiqued by readers who didn’t know me for constructive feedback as to whether it would be worth taking to the next stage.
Thankfully I belonged to a few women’s business networking groups because of my Reiki work so I put out a plea to see if anyone knew someone who could help me; they didn’t disappoint and I was put in touch with a lovely lady called Sharon Lynn.
Sharon agreed to help me with editing and with her guidance I set up a Facebook BETA group and invited six volunteers to read the book chapter by chapter and give me constructive criticism along the way. They were brilliant and the book slowly took shape as chapters were re-organised and titled until I had what I was happy to call a proper Book.
But it still didn’t have a proper title and I had no idea what it would look like!
Until next time, thank you for reading this and I look forward to sharing the next part of my journey with you soon.
In the meantime I hope you are all staying safe and well.