The Process: The Short Story / The Process: The Longer Story / Behind the Scenes of the Book-Development Process: A glimpse behind the veil / A Blessing ~ and a Forecast
The Short Story
No one else is like you. My way of doing Book Development is a tailor-made, custom-made thing. An off-the-rack approach will not bring forth your radiant being like a custom-fitted one will.
So how your book will come forth ~ what your book is about ~ how you are constellated ~ how your creative process works most naturally and freely ~ what kinds of assistance you need from me to bring forth your book-writing dream ~ all this depends on who you are, and how we evoke and support that together.
This is why scheduling your free exploratory consultation with me makes good sense. Once we’re having the conversation, it will become obvious what kind of custom-tailoring will fit you and your book dreams best.
To set up a time just for you, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call me directly at (510) 465-3935.
So that’s the short story ~ the “couturier” approach. We’ll talk and listen to see what’s what, and everything we do next will come out of that. There is a structure. It’s just that I’ll serve you better by listening to you first.
But if you want the more “off-the-rack” explanation (explanation only ~ my services are never “off the rack”) ~ then read on.
The Longer Story
The process of working together on your book is a collaborative one, in that you have my dedicated guidance and companionship on this journey. At the same time, it is entirely owned by you. You are the author from the outset.
Here are some likely scenarios that you may relate to even now, in terms of how our work together will evolve.
Step 1: We Schedule a Free Exploratory Consultation
In this 1/2-hour conversation by phone or Skype, we explore what you may wish to create, what you know and don’t yet know, and how I may be of service.
At the end of that conversation, if you feel drawn to working with me ~ if you feel like I understand you, care about you and your proposed project, and can help you ~ then we schedule your first session.
Step 2. We Find Out Where You Are Right Now
1. You come as you are. This book grows out of you; you don’t have to superimpose anything on top of what is you or yours.
Come as you are” includes where you are within yourself, and whatever you have done so far with your writing.
- A completed first draft
- A partly finished manuscript
- Some notes or journal entries
- An outline
- An idea, wish, hope, or just an urge
- Or maybe you’re not ready yet to write at all and just want to explore things for a while, then see where you are.
All this is fine. We want to invite out what’s in you, and get a sense of how you naturally create.
2. We listen to you together. We start seeing what’s actually alive for you (as opposed to what you think you “should” be writing), and follow that to see where it leads. (Note: This can take place through speaking, writing, or both. We listen to you all along the way.)
3. We start noticing the connecting threads ~ how seemingly disparate strands start coming together and indicating the larger tapestry that’s forming. (Note: This can take place through speaking, writing, or both. We listen to you all along the way.)
Step 3. The Writing Begins to Accumulate and Form
1. You generate pages. As you become more connected to yourself and your writing, you can generate pages of writing much more easily. Your writing flows organically out of our listening and conversations.
2. A (working) Table of Contents is revealed. Once you have generated a certain amount of writing, we can see where it’s leading ~ what the message is ~ how the pieces cohere into a working Table of Contents.
Once this structure is sufficiently in place, you can start writing into what’s in the Table of Contents, with confidence and interest.
3. Your natural creative pathways start revealing themselves to you. It’s frustrating to “try to be creative,” but inspiring to work with how you actually are creative. So throughout our work together, we will notice in what specific ways you find it natural to be creative. Once named, these can become ongoing supports for you throughout the writing process. For example:
- Do you prefer having a structure in place first, including an outline, so you can relax into that security (even if the structure shifts enroute)?
- Do you feel more at home letting things come to you in whatever order they do, and trusting that the structure will reveal itself in the process?
If you chose (1), you lead with your analytical mind (left brain), and we can work with that. If you chose (2), you lead with your intuition and/or senses (right brain), and we can work with that, too. Both sides of the brain have a place in this process. (My book Starting Your Book goes into that quite well.)
Step 4. The Manuscript Develops
1. The first draft. At some point, you will end up with a first draft (if you didn’t already come in with one.) This is cause for celebration in itself!
2. Revising. Then comes the revision phase ~ which actually can be exciting, fulfilling. This is where you get to see what you really are writing. This is where your artistry can come in.
3. Completing your book. Finally, your manuscript is complete. Hooray! Now we celebrate. And then . . .
Step 5. Bringing Your Book into the World
The next step is bringing your into the world ~ whether the smaller world of the people you already know, or a larger world of readers you will touch through your book.
1. You can find your own way. At this point you may feel complete with our work together, and decide to go your own way with whatever you want to come next. Or,
2. You can continue our work together for the next phase. If you want my help with publishing and promoting your book (whether self-publishing or seeking a traditional publisher), my trusted colleagues and I will be glad to guide you through that journey, as well. (See the “Spark to Finish” page on this website for more details.)
BEHIND THE SCENES of the Book Development Process
A glimpse behind the veil
So much happens “behind the scenes,” before a book makes it onto bookstore shelves and into readers’ hands. Rarely does the story of the writer’s calling, commitment, passion, struggles, confusions, self-doubts, and just plain patience needed to make the writing one’s own show up in the more glossy public face of the book, once out in the world.
For this reason, and to let you in on what it can be like to work with me, here is a “look behind the curtains” of my work with one client whose book is in progress, Andrew M. Prokopis, M.Ed., PsyD., Presence-based psychotherapist.
When Andrew first contacted me, he had a manuscript about a subject he had been with for most of his life. Although he never had written a book before and was not sure how to do it, he knew he wanted to proceed.
As soon as I read his partially written manuscript, I understood that this could be a profoundly healing book ~ both because of its subject, and the intimate way in which the opening chapter let the reader in. But the rest of the chapters veered off into a more abstracted essay style, and the deep connection wasn’t continued. While I deeply appreciated his intent with the writing, I did not feel very connected to the material. I could not find the author’s heartbeat in it, and so could not yet make it my own.
Because clearly this author was capable of deeply moving evocative writing as well as putting forth more abstracted ideas, I sought a way to bring the two together, enabling him to write exactly what he wanted, yet bring readers along emotionally and spiritually as well as mentally.
The process of developing his book involved a combination of my pointing out what had life on the page as well as in the author’s inner experience, and guiding him on how to anchor that presence into words.
This is one of the ways I turn out to be of help to authors: I make myself the author’s “first reader.” I seek to enter into the writing in a very intimate way, so that it speaks to me all the way through. If it does, we are on solid ground. If it doesn’t, then something needs to be worked with. In that discovery process, the author’s own deep engagement becomes far more possible.
Andrew said of our work together:
I am so glad I chose you. I don’t think I would have come to the core and heart of what I want to say without your help. You represent what you’re talking about in very powerful ways. You make it very real. You kept me focused on the heart of what I want to say in the book in a way that I don’t think I could have done myself.”
As I carefully went through the first chapter’s personal account, I discovered only a few places where the author’s own felt experience came through. But where those places did exist, they were incredibly moving. It was the difference between being shown the outside of a building and being given the key to enter inside.
So I told him, “Here are places where I feel your presence. Can you remember where you were inside yourself when you wrote these passages in particular?”
He could. For him, it was a feeling tone, an embodiment. He became aware that he had done the rest of the writing without such connection.
“Can you write from that place?” I asked him.
Now that he saw what I meant, he said that he could. “I think I was too afraid of sounding sentimental,” he told me. But I assured him that those passages were powerful and beautiful, and could serve as his touchstone, his tuning fork. That if he let his heart lead, he could not fail.
He began to revise the manuscript in that spirit.
On reading his revision, I was bowled over by the depth, beauty, and unassailable authenticity of the writing.
“Wow, how did you do that?” I asked him. “How did you know how to get into the material so deeply and evocatively from the outset, this time? What made it all clear to you?”
And his answer: “I reconnected with where in myself I had experienced it, and I wrote from there.”
This is one reason I love to work with therapists and other healers, and people on a spiritual path! They understand things like presence, connection and disconnection ~ elements so essential to writing deeply ~ and have their ways of touching into what’s alive in the moment. Once that bridge of understanding is made, translating this knowing into the writing process turns out to be almost second nature.
“It’s amazing that you were able to do this in only one revision,” I beamed. “You’re much more of a writer than you realized.”
He sounded pleased and surprised. “Actually,” he said, “I’ve written journals for years. And I read avidly as a child. In high school, I read Dostoevsky.”
“Yes, you already have the gift of writing in you. You just needed some mirroring, a sense of where you were ‘on’ and where you were ‘off,’ and some sense of the craft of writing. But the ability, the readiness, is in you.”
What had begun as disconnected parts now showed itself as a personal journey that interwove with the subject of his book and contained deeper, longer connecting threads back into earlier desires and gifts. From that point on, writing the book became easier because it was now more known to his heart.
A Blessing ~ and a Forecast
When you write a book from the deeper Self, it isn’t only your words that touch and affect your readers; it’s also your presence ~ where you were inside yourself when you wrote what you wrote.
♥ READY TO START? ♥
Schedule a free phone consultation with me. Email me at email@example.com, or call me directly at (510) 465-3935 (Pacific Standard Time).
I look forward to the genuine privilege of helping you birth your book and bring your wisdom, creativity, beauty, and healing influence to readers across the world.
It’s your turn to be heard, now.
Let’s listen together.