“Why should I read this?” is a question I imagine you might be asking yourself right now. It’s a good question, one I tend to ask myself whenever I’m looking for a new book or browsing through the blogosphere. “What can this person add to the conversation that hasn’t been said or written before now?”
I have two responses for you:
While I’m not the only person qualified to coach writers, I am the only Kemlo from a small, rural town in New Hampshire. My expertise is not unique—there are others with a mastery of the English language who can offer solid advice on how to write and publish a marketable book—but my perspective is entirely my own. The lens through which I see everything depends upon thousands of specific details related to where I was born, how I was raised and by whom, where I have lived and traveled, who I have met along the way, and how all of those things have affected me. My thinking has been shaped by over fifty years of living, learning and striving to understand why people do what they do.
I’m sure something similar could be said about you: you’ve lived a life uniquely your own, and now you’ve got stories to tell. Maybe there’s just one you’d like to share with the world—maybe there are hundreds!
For example, I was a precocious kid who grew up loving books and writing, but one book that influenced me more than any other was All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot. I fantasized about becoming a country vet and spent most of my young life working toward an education in veterinary medicine. Though I tended to have an aptitude for the humanities, the pre-med program at Brandeis University taught me to think like a scientist. I learned to formulate meaningful questions, track down answers, and test hypotheses.
So why am I a book coach now and not a veterinarian? That’s a long story about falling in love, refusing to kill for science, surviving a terrifying car crash, moving to the middle of nowhere, re-evaluating priorities, becoming a mother of three, forming a community, reuniting with biological kin, redefining the meaning of family, pursuing an alternative lifestyle as a home educator, returning to graduate school (and blogging about it), and experiencing a variety of happy coincidences. All of which helps to make my point: When I write about what it’s like to work with a book coach, I try to offer a perspective on writing and coaching that reflects who I am and what I’ve been through.
I ask the writers I work with to do the same: infuse your stories with your unique voice and nuanced perspective. Offer the world a part of yourself.
Every book (and blog post) joins a conversation already in progress, and the musings I offer here are no exception. I intend to add to a larger discussion about why people write books, what makes their stories and ideas interesting, what tends to get in the way, and how book coaches fit into the picture.
As a writer of fiction or nonfiction, you’ll probably discover (if you haven’t already) published books that have something in common with yours. It might be the setting or the topic or the characters. It might be the message or the theme or the overall concept. Whatever the similarities, the first time you see another book that looks like a very close cousin to the one you’ve been planning to write (or, worse, have already written!), you may feel despair. How can you write your book, your story, when someone else (damn them!) has already written it?
Here’s how: you’ll infuse your writing and story with your own voice and point-of-view. You’ll dig deep and show readers not only the facts but what those facts mean, and why they matter to you, based on your life experiences and hard-won knowledge.
Likewise, the stories I post here will reflect my life as a book coach, showing you not only what I do but also why I believe this work is so worthwhile. That’s what I plan to add to the conversation, and you’re welcome to join in.