In 2012 we published our first book with Hay House Australia. It was an exciting journey, starting with a snap decision to attend the Hay House Writer’s Workshop in 2011, submitting a book proposal as part of their workshop competition, hearing the news in December that we won the competition, then actually writing the book! We followed up that first book Wired for Life with 2 more titles: One Moment Please in 2015, and Do Less Be More in 2017.
After speaking at a number of the Australian Hay House Writer’s Workshops, and being part of the online program, we wrote some tips for aspiring authors in 2014, and we’ve reproduced that blog again to help those pursuing their passion to write.
Here are our 6 tips for writing your best selling and life-changing book:
1 * Start from a place of purpose*
Our goal was never to become best selling authors. Along the way we talked about writing a book one day, but when we attended our first Hay House writer’s workshop we didn’t even have a book in mind! What we did have however, was a clear sense of purpose, and this has always helped us navigate through the myriad choices in our work and our life.
Why are you here?
How do you want to change the world?
What problem were you put here to solve?
When you can answer these questions and occupy your life meeting the needs of others, then you have a message to spread and a book to write.
2 * Respect that a book has its own life*
We have scraps of paper all over the place with catchy book titles and ideas that come to us any time and anywhere. When it came to our second book, only one of those came to life. It was the one that had perfect synchrony between our purpose, our passions, how people were reacting to our work, and the crying need in the world at that time. One day we were on the phone with each other and suddenly we both went “yes, that’s it!”.
The book we wrote after that was different to the one we thought would be written. It is shorter than our first book, the language is very different, and there are whole chapters that we had never talked about before that came to life during the writing.
Let your book arrive when it is ready.
Let it dictate its own structure and length.
Let it discover new ideas as you write it.
If you are not driven to write the book and it’s all “hard work” then maybe its time has not yet come. Let the book come to you and through you.
3 * No skill is wasted*
Thank you to Bronnie Ware for putting this important tip into words during one of her writer’s workshop presentations. Don’t ignore the amazing things you have learnt during your life, even if they seem hardly relevant now. In our case, Martina is a Mechanical Engineer, but when you stand back and look at the trajectory of her life, she was an author-in-training from a very young age. Her best subject at school was always English, even thought she went on to study science. And even as a young engineer, her speciality was vibrations, a field now strongly associated with findings in brain science, not to mention energy healing and many other emerging life-changing concepts. We’ve both dabbled in anthropology, living systems science, philosophy, and quantum physics, and every moment of that journey is part of the unique way we bring our message to the world. Your life’s journey will also hold many twists and turns, and they all add up to the person you are now.
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” Steve Jobs
4 * Freedom & discipline; both are essential on the writer’s journey*
Your brain needs to be harnessed differently in each phase of the writing process. As you are exploring ideas and seeking creativity, your brain needs to be released from the confines of daily structure. This is a period of opening up, diverging from your first thoughts, and allowing usually unconnected concepts to find each other in a new way. We write in nature, in places that inspire us, we watch videos that relate to our topic, and have fun throwing ideas around no matter how crazy they may seem.
We then move to writing in places where our audience can be found; coffee shops, foyers in office buildings, in airports, and we’ve even written on the train.
When we know it’s all there somewhere, we get disciplined. We lock ourselves in a place we cannot be disturbed or distracted and the chapters take shape. This is a period of focusing in, converging on the message, and getting it finished. When the need for inspiration strikes again, we head back out to nature. The final piece of our second book came to us fully formed when we stood on a sandy beach looking out over the warm rolling surf on a hot summer’s day at Noosa.
5 * Speak your concepts out loud*
We’re lucky enough to have people to test out our messages during workshops and training programs. But you can engage anyone with an idea and have a conversation that helps you to clarify something that is forming in your mind. We find that speaking our concepts out loud reveals how people respond to our message, but we also find ourselves articulating them more clearly because they are being heard, challenged and proven. Listening to yourself say something out loud is a great test of how it really lands.
6 * Your book should change your own life*
During the writing of your book, live it. Try the concepts yourself, evolve, make sure it is real. In all 3 of our books we have ended up writing the things we know to be true from our own experience, and we have changed the way we live by hearing the book’s words as if they have come from somewhere else. Our third book Do Less Be More is all about practical exercises that can be applied to daily life and that have been proven to really make a difference. But each book reflects our own stories and our own journeys of recognising the baggage that holds us back, and how it’s possible to let it go and live a full life.
And as we end a book, it feels like we are in such a different place that the next book is just screaming for our attention! It’s really exciting. As Susan said on the day we finished the second book; “So, here’s what I think the next book’s title is…”. In the end book three, Do Less Be More was a completely different book than her inspired title, but it’s still there swirling around and it will have its life when it is ready!
We encourage you to share your lessons, ideas and tips, and please feel free to ask us any questions. We look forward to your message finding its way out into the world as a book, but don’t forget that your message is always finding its way out from your actions, your intentions, and your beliefs. A book is only one way to change the world.
We wish you the best of fun on your journey.
Martina & Susan
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