Lessons I have learned from writing
There are moments in each of our lives that shift us. Some are tragic, and others are amazing. I am in the middle of one of these moments, and it’s the “amazing” type. StoryJacking is available on Amazon, at your local independent bookstore, really, anywhere you can buy a book. I am a big believer in local bookstores, please support them. Publishing my book is the culmination of a dream. And, what a journey it’s been and still is.
A little back history on my writing journey.
I started thinking about developing a book, abstractly, about ten+ years ago. I spent a lot of time coming up with titles and not much time actually penning anything. I got serious about “really really” working on a book about five years ago and then spent a lot of time trying to find someone to join me in the process. I had to navigate the inner dialogue that said, “You can’t do this alone.” I seriously spent years trying to find a friend to collaborate with me. All my attempts to get a partner withered on the vine, so to speak. I finally chose to hire a coach to support me in completing my book. In hindsight, I am glad, because being the sole author of this book pushed me to get curious and challenge my own limiting stories each step of the way. I began StoryJacking in earnest on July 04, 2016. I finished the manuscript on Dec 30, 2016. And, let’s be clear, that did not mean this baby was finished. There was editing, re-editing, more editing, and then a little bit of editing on top. I had to stretch myself and push through my own fears about putting myself “out there” in print. It was a full-time job. I learned that even if you write a book alone, you are not alone. I was working with a book coach; an editor; I worked on my book art, continue working with the editor, adjust the book art, and then I had the final’ish manuscript laid out in book format. There were slight corrections and adjustments daily. Then when I got the first copy, it started again. There are things that you cannot see in your manuscript until it is printed in a book. At some point, my eyes were blind to typos and grammar in the .pdf file. I saw them all clearly in hardcover. So, the process continued as we made corrections and adjustments. This went on for 3 months. Then, I was ready to get the book interior layout done. I recommend waiting on interior layout until you’ve done a lot of editing. When the layout is done, you can get a copy of your book printed. That’s when you will do another round of editing.
At some point, you do have to call it. “This book is done!” So, at almost a year it’s as done as I am going to get it. Elizabeth Gilbert said in her book Big Magic, “Done is better than perfect.” I completely agree.
My Key Insights
- Start writing and if you need a Coach to keep you moving forward, get one. I needed my coach, he kept me plugging away, type, type, typing, through the self-doubt and he normalized the fears that came up through the process.
- Have a support system of fellow authors, friends and/or family who will ask questions and help you clarify the things that in your mind are obvious, but your audience doesn’t understand.
- Decide if you are going to try the traditional publishing route, a hybrid publishing option, or completely self-publishing. Do some research, talk to authors, go to book events at your local bookstores and libraries and talk to people about what they chose and why.
- Give yourself 6 months for the editing and the publishing process. It takes time and if you plan for 6 months, you might be done sooner, but you won’t be sweating it the entire time. Do not create artificially ridiculous and tight deadlines.
- Develop your social network, start before you begin writing your book if possible. Because as soon as editing is done you can start generating buzz about your book. 3-6 months before you’re ready to publish, start promoting your book. NetGalley is a great resource to get people to start looking at your book and writing reviews. The sooner the better. And, the more robust your social network the easier your job will be.
- Work with people (artists, editors, and promoters) that you enjoy. You will be dealing with them a lot and it helps if you like and trust them.
- Marketing is your friend! If you have any fears about marketing, you will have to face them, because no one will know you wrote a book unless you tell them. If you need support with that, get it. It’s been said that 10% of being a successful author is completing the book, the other 90% is marketing the book so you can be successful.
Final Note: You can do this! If it’s a dream of yours, you owe it to yourself to do it!
I work with authors who are ready to write or complete that damn book! Let me know if I can be of service in support of your dream.
Here are some reviews of StoryJacking, if you’re interested you can find it on Amazon.
“A refreshingly creative debut that focuses on taking control of one’s life. Life coach deHart lays out a contemporary method for achieving “self-awareness and self-mastery”; she calls it “StoryJacking,” a clever term that might suggest elevating one’s own life story or, potentially, “hijacking” one’s thinking to shift “internal dialogue.”… Throughout, deHart gently prods and at times exhorts readers to take control of their stories, noting that “the hardest thing that you will ever do is get out of your own way.” This is typical of her candid, perceptive counsel; the best advice is neatly enclosed in her self-proclaimed “super-secrets of the universe”; for example, “The longest and most intimate relationship you will have in your entire life is the one you will have with yourself.” deHart’s breezy style and natural storytelling skills keep things moving along. Heady, insightful content packaged in a non-threatening, engaging manner; includes ample opportunity for the dedicated reader to consider life-altering directions.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Five Stars! The vast majority of people are discontented in their life in some way. This isn’t some statistic I can quote; it’s just a part of the human condition. The author laid out her idea, StoryJacking, in plain, simple language and her friendly, conversational style kept me engaged throughout. The basic idea is that viewing our life as a story gives us more power over it than if we view it as a series of random events. We need to see ourselves as the authors of our tales rather than as passive, powerless bystanders.” — Manhattan Book Review
“Five Stars! It is not every day that I can say a book affected my life in a way that was profound, impactful, and inspirational the way Lyssa Danehy deHart’s did. But the truth of the matter is everyone needs to get storyjacked. While maintaining sensitivity, Lyssa is brutally honest and raw. She does not sugarcoat things in a complex labyrinth of words but instead tells you the way it is. Think of her as your personal life coach, screaming, telling, and talking to you in a way to help you understand that we all have a purpose, a story to be told. StoryJacking is a cornucopia of raw, brutal honesty, wisdom, humor, and life lessons. StoryJacking is a book that doesn’t end. It is a book that continues to gift readers like myself wisdom, integrity, and strength. So, are you ready to get storyjacked?” — San Francisco Book Review
“With StoryJacking, life coach Lyssa Danehy deHart provides tools for changing your life stories, for digging out inculcated limiting beliefs and replacing them with empowering narratives. She has chosen to call her method of working with these life stories “StoryJacking,” with all the implications inherent in the use of the verb ‘to jack.’ The information on neuroplasticity was fascinating to me. I already knew about the concept, of course, but still I find it interesting to read about. In fact, reading about it here prompted me to resume my language studies. If you find yourself wanting to change your inner narratives, to weave a new story for yourself, StoryJacking offers a brilliant manner of doing so.” — Seattle Book Review