By Marlo Schalesky
When I first started contemplating the idea which would become my latest book, Reaching for Wonder, I was simply intrigued with a concept. But soon after, I found my life going awry. Health problems, marital problems, a stalker for my oldest (then sixteen-year-old) daughter, restraining orders and uncertainties, financial challenges and rocky relationships. I wanted to write a book to help when life hurts. And my life had started to hurt very much.
So, Reaching for Wonder became the book I needed at the time I needed it most. Now that it’s finished and into the hands of readers who are being helped as I was helped, I’ve come to believe in the power of writing the book YOU need.
When you’re walking a similar path as your target audience, when you ARE your target audience, you have the power to not just inform but to transform.
Here are five tips for writing the book YOU need:
· Before you begin a chapter, ask yourself these three questions:
1) How do I want to feel after reading this chapter?
2) What one thing do I need, as a reader, from this chapter?
3) What internal change am I hoping for by the time I get to the end of this chapter?
· As you sit down to write, sit with your personal issue for at least fifteen minutes before putting fingers to keyboard. Explore your own hopes, dreams, fears, disappointments, doubts, and “if onlys.”
· Write quickly! Don’t stop to over analyze.
· Go back to tip #1. As you edit, ask yourself how you feel. Does the chapter hit at the main need? Do you, personally, feel changed by it?
·Put the chapter away for a few days and go on to the next. Come back to it later and re-read from solely the perspective of a reader. You need this book. This is the book for you. This is the chapter you were hoping would speak to you. Does it? Why or why not? What else would you have liked to have read in order to feel as if this chapter was just what you needed when you needed it?
BONUS: How do you know if you’ve written the book you need? If weeks later, months later, you find yourself recalling the lessons of your chapter, your book, and applying them to your own life, then you’ve succeeded! If your book transforms your life, it will transform the lives of your readers as well.
Marlo Schalesky is an award-winning author of eleven books (both fiction and non-fiction), including Reaching for Wonder: Encountering Christ When Life Hurts. A regular speaker and columnist, she has published more than 1,000 articles in various Christian magazines and has been featured on many national radio and TV programs. Schalesky is the founder and executive director of Wonder Wood Ranch, a California charitable organization that brings hope through horses to at-risk, gang-impacted, homeless, and other disadvantaged kids in Monterey County. Marlo lives with her husband, six children, and a menagerie of large and small animals in Salinas, California. Website: MarloSchalesky.com Blog: MarloSchalesky.blogspot.com Facebook: Facebook.com/MarloSchalesky