Last month I had the privilege of doing a virtual book launch via Facebook and Instagram. This was waay out of my comfort zone. However, in order to "get your feet wet", "market your book," it was a necessary step. From that event I promised I would do a follow up blog on some of the questions I missed, or didn't get the chance to answer completely. So, let's get into it....
Missed question #1: What made you want to write a book?
My response: Writing a book was something I always wanted to do. For me, being an avid reader just naturally lent itself to also being a writer. I kept, and still keep journals. That is the easy and simple answer. The next answer to that is writing is a cathartic experience for me. It gives me a means of processing what I am going through or have been through. This book Doing Wattsnatural, just so happens to come at this particular junction in my life. Had it been written 20 years ago or even 10 years ago, the story would be much different. Were it written 20 years ago, it may have had more emphasis on what my life as a Pastor's kids was like. The pressures of needing to be "more holy", "more well mannered" all while figuring out life as a teenager upholding the standards of "being the perfect Christian and living by example." And 10 years ago? Mayne! There, within the lines, would have be the struggle portraits of a relatively new wife and mother living apart from her spouse. (Due to my husband's job we lived in separate states for a while. I think the time spent apart in those crucial first months and years played a huge role in our relationship, for better and worse.) All being said, I write because in some ways it makes me feel whole.
Missed question #2: How did you go about writing your book?
My response: I set a goal! As stated above, I have lots of journals and I write often. However, that's not all to the writing process. In 2018 I decided I was going to set a goal and stick to it. FYI, I don't like making new years resolutions. As an alternative, I started crafting a vision board in February of 2018.
My goals were:
1. Be spiritually and emotionally grounded
2. Write a book
3. Learn to play the guitar
4. Get out of debt
5. Learn to live on a budget
6. Go on a vacation
I want to stick a pin here and talk about the importance of goal setting. It's like the phrase "it we fail to plan, then we plan to fail." (I'm pretty sure I've referenced this quote in a previous blog.) #truth Too often we say we are going to do something but never follow through because we haven't created a plan, space, or support system that will help to keep us accountable to said goal.
Side note: not everyone is going to be supportive or enthused about your goals and plans. Sometimes you have to keep certain people in the dark until you have taken the initial steps or completed said goals all together. Why? Because some folks can and will speak negatively over you, causing you to feel defeated or abort your goal. On the flip side, there are people who will be your hype woman/man, your sister friends, your boys, your prayer warriors, or your cheerleaders pushing you to greatness! Warning and encouragement? Vet those individuals! Once you've done so, embrace and lean into them.
Back to the question at hand. To further bring goal number 2 into fruition, I wanted a computer. For my birthday in April 2018 my hubby bought me a computer :-D (First barrier removed). I then researched ways in which I could transfer my journals and poems to something more meaningful. I looked into poetry submissions. (There are tons of available avenues out there if that is something you are interested in.) I crafted a course of action for getting more content for my writing. That is when I found 30/30. April is national poetry month and I joined a Facebook group that posted a new prompt every day for the 30 days of April. This encouraged me to write EVERY day. Whether it was a complete piece or just the prompt tile I could return to later.
Once I had content, I wrote, re-wrote, self edited, walked away from it, asked several people for feedback (from different lens: poetic, pastoral, friend, mentor, grammatical). I made changes, rearranged, walked away gain, and edited again.
Note: as a writer, the feedback you receive about your work, you can do with it as you please. Take what makes it better, or you leave what changes it, altering it from your intended vision. In a nutshell, that was my how. (The publishing process is a whole other blog post of its own.)
Unanswered question: What is your favorite children's book?
Response: I don't remember being read to as a child (outside of bible stories). My mom would beg to differ :-) However, as a mother, books I do remember reading to my children and loving are: Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney, Koala Lou by Mem Fox, There's Another Monster at the End of This Book, Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, and The Peace Book by Todd Parr. Books I enjoy giving as presents (because that's my go-to gift for baby showers) are some of the ones mentioned above as well as Woke Baby by Mahogany L. Brown, Corduroy by Don Freeman, I Love My Hair by Natasha Tarpley, and anything Dr. Seuss. I'll stop there because I can go on and on recommending books, it's kinda my thang!
P.S. and until next time...
If you missed my public reading debut here's the link to the raw unedited versions: https://www.facebook.com/latoya.w.5/videos/950139062378/ (pt.1: reading) https://www.facebook.com/latoya.w.5/videos/950164132138/ (pt.2: Q&A)
If you'd like to know the back story behind certain pieces, leave a comment, send me a message. Follow me on Instagram @wattsnatural
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