The Book that Changed the
Direction of My Writing Life
An example of how taking just one step in a new direction can be life-changing.
WITHOUT QUESTION, 2018 was a landmark year for me, and it all started just before Thanksgiving in 2017 when I published my second memoir and biography, Marcella’s Secret Dreams and Stories: A Mother’s Legacy. I had no idea then that writing, publishing, and talking about this book was going to change my life as a writer and get me back into public speaking fifteen years after I thought that part of my professional life was over.
I was surprised when my memoir quickly found an audience of readers within my church as soon as it was published. My pastor ordered copies for my Bible study class and then announced the book to the whole congregation. Before I knew it, I was selling books to church members during coffee between services. Their interest prompted me to ask if my church would sponsor my proposed six-week series of free “Life Writing for Pleasure or Profit workshops” in May and June. I wanted to give something back to my church and they were happy to do this. These workshops proved to be successful and life-changing, not only for me, but several of my students as well.
In April, I travelled to California to do a book club presentation of my new book at sister Mollie’s church, where I already had a following of book club readers who’d loved my Drummer Drives memoir about Harry in 2010. This time, it was exciting to hear many mothers say my new book had inspired them to write about their life for their children and grandchildren.
I’ve often spoken and written about how taking just one step in a new direction can change the course of your life. Certainly that’s what my latest book and workshops did for me. Until then, I’d forgotten how much I’d been missing this kind of interaction with people who wanted to hear what I had to say.
It was exciting and fulfilling to be able to inspire and help twenty-three men and women from my church and the community at large see the importance of writing about their life for their family, or simply for themselves through journaling. I don’t know if I will ever speak professionally again, but there are opportunities to do this in my area if I choose to pursue them. For now, I simply want to spend my time writing books and articles for my website.
In fact, I’m now passionate about LIFE WRITING. Because of how everyone is communicating today, I worry about all the family history that is being lost in the Cloud. Look at it this way:
If you don’t document this kind of information in permanent form, who in your family will preserve all the family history and stories now being dispersed in emails, text messages, phone calls, and posts on Facebook or other social networking sites?
On seeing the interest in life writing in both my California book club presentation and in my church and writing workshops, I became convinced that I should add this book idea to the list of books I’d love to write and publish before I run out of time.
What Will You Be Writing about This Year?
JUST A THOUGHT . . . but you might think about trying something new this year. I suggest you focus on something you’re passionate about, perhaps that idea for a book you’ve dreamed about writing for years but done nothing about. What might happen if you sat own and wrote a plan for how to make that dream come true? The rewards might be far more than money. As I’ve illustrated above and in other writing, too, it takes only one step in a new direction to change the direction of your writing life.
“The only way that your dream can die is if you kill it yourself. If you do that, you will have condemned yourself along with it. You will never be able to blame another for that. Failure, like success, is something that you will make for yourself. You will always have that choice.” – Tom Clancy (found in David Sharpe’s book, So What Makes You Tick?)
Life Writing. What has life taught you that you might write a book about? Writing a book about your life experiences will change and enrich your live in ways you cannot imagine.
How to be a Fearless Dreamer and Reinvent Your Life at Any Age. Barbara’s thoughts and research about the importance of dreaming and changing your life if it’s not all you want it to be.