By November 12, 2013 Read More →

Follow the trail to discover your first book

Uncovering the clues to your first book

Your first book - Leda SammarcoAre you hoping to write your first book, but struggling to know what to write about and how? This guest post by writer’s coach Leda Sammarco will help you get going.

Have you ever considered that the clues to your first book lie in your story? If you look back at your personal history you’ll discover that the experiences you’ve had will provide the foundations for your first book.

Your passion for the book you want to write will originate from something in your past; it will also feed your motivation and give you the knowledge and credibility to write it.

So, what is your story?
You have probably been through a dark and challenging time. You may have experienced uncertainty, despair, self-doubt or faced numerous difficulties.

Having successfully made your way out the other side you now want to help others who are suffering in the way that you once did. You have a message to share with them and knowledge and expertise to help them on their way. Here are some examples:

In The Power of Less Leo Babauta explains how he was unhealthy, in debt and overworked. His life changed exponentially when he decided to simplify it and choose one goal at a time, set limits and focus only on the essential. This led him to develop six productivity principles that he shares in his book.

In Be a Free Range Human Marianne Cantwell tells us how she went from the misery of the daily commute and feeling suffocated in her corporate job to a life of freedom. In her book she details how to create a lifestyle and an income on your terms.

In Quiet Susan Cain, a former corporate lawyer and negotiations consultant, explores the difference between introverts and extroverts, and discusses how introverts can play to their strengths and succeed ‘in a world that won’t stop talking’. An introvert herself, she also carried out extensive research and spoke to thousands of people about the topics she covers.

Let’s discover your story
Have a look back at your life story to discover the series of events and experiences that led to a defining moment, when you made a breakthrough and found what you were searching for.

You may trace these events back over your entire life such as having a passion for something that goes back to childhood (my love of books began as soon as I could read!) Or you may have had a pivotal experience at a particular time in your life, such as being made redundant, which led to challenges and then a realisation that here was a great opportunity for a fresh start.

Here are three ways to capture your story:

1. Once Upon a Time
Write out your story from beginning to end. Choose your starting point whenever that may be and don’t be afraid to go way back. I suggest you write down every little detail of that journey, whether you feel it is relevant or not. Once you have reached the end, step back and leave it for a day or two.

Then, when you re-read it, notice what jumps out at you. There will be some key moments in your journey that rise to the top. Try using pen and paper if possible – I really find this can unlock memories more effectively than fingers on keyboard.

2. In a Nutshell
Try condensing your story as though you have just one minute in which to tell it to someone. For example:

‘As a child and teenager I loved drawing and painting. My family persuaded me to pursue a ‘real’ career, so I became a lawyer. I made big money, but worked long hours for nightmare bosses and demanding clients. Then I hit burnout.

‘I went travelling in Canyonlands National Park in the USA, where I saw the beautiful petroglyphs. I felt reconnected to my childhood love of art. When I returned home I trained to be a graphic designer and now run my own business helping conscious entrepreneurs to harness the power of art in their branding and marketing.’

3. As a Mind Map
This engages your right brain and can help trigger ideas. Start by putting the message of your first book and what you want to share with your readers in the centre of the mind map. Then around the outside you can map the stages of your life’s journey that have led you there. Tony Buzan’s site explains much more about mind mapping.

Follow your trail and know that everything in your life has happened for a reason. Be willing to go there and embrace your story. This is what makes the difference between writing a cookie-cutter book, where you simply churn your coaching skills or knowledge about something into a book format, and writing a transformational first book with heart and authenticity that really reaches out to people.

Leda Sammarco empowers spiritual entrepreneurs to get started on their first book through her Book Detective package. She has a background in market research, PR and publishing and is the author of Finding the Gold – an inspirational memoir with self-help elements.

Enjoyed this? Click here for all Leda’s helpful posts for aspiring authors.

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