Welcome Rebecca and Sarah, two of my online friends, bloggers, radio hosts and the real life testimony behind She Shares Ministries. Today they are talking about their own writing experiences and how their book opened new doors of opportunity for them in today’s edition of the Everyday Author series. You can read their introductory post here.
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How did you decide between self-publishing and traditional publishing?
Self publishing was the easy choice for our book. Our objective was not to get on a best-seller list, but rather to get a critically needed message out to women everywhere as soon as possible.
How did you find your writing voice?
It takes two…
We have two writing voices because our story is written from two different sides encountering the same experience.
Our story is a true story. While we thought it would be easy to just “be ourselves” as we wrote, it proved to be a trickier task than it sounded! Since we were enemies through much of our story, it was uncomfortable at first when we wrote down our true feelings and emotions, as we didn’t want to offend each other after we had journeyed so far. We finally made a pact to take down the barriers and write honestly. Lives would be impacted by the truth – by His truth – and not by anesthetizing the raw story.
So we ran with it. We intertwined our stories and filled them with true, raw emotion. It was real. It was wonderful!
How did you discover the target audience for your work?
We missed the mark here at first. We thought that the pain of friendships broken by gossip and the deep need for friendships that encouraged instead of emptied hearts would be a small age group. Were we wrong! Women everywhere of all ages responded. We find that our target audience is any woman who wants to abandon gossiping habits and embrace real connections that go beyond the surface.
How did you decide to pursue your particular work/topic/writing?
We didn’t. God did.
God gave it to us. Neither of us ever thought that we would ever talk to each other again, let alone write a book on gossip, co-host a radio show weekly together, or run a women’s ministry! However, God had other plans. He used our brokenness and turned it around magnificently to use it for His ultimate glory. Not a day goes by that we aren’t amazed at the path that He has created for us. He took our hopes and dreams and turned them into something greater than we could have imagined for ourselves.
How do you prioritize writing in your life (especially if this is not your full time job)?
Sarah: If you want to make a career of writing, or anything else for that matter, make the time for it now. If you treat it like a hobby, it will stay a hobby. If you tend to your dream with dedicated time and efforts, you will rapidly see it grow and develop into so much more. Schedule it into your everyday- without excuses!
Rebecca: I work and have a young family. Frankly, this is my biggest challenge! Sarah does a fantastic job prioritizing writing, but sometimes, I miss a deadline. I just have to give myself some grace around it. It’s a habit that I need to do regularly, but if I miss a day or a week or even more, I tend to beat myself up. I would recommend staying focused on your long-term dream. If you miss a day or week of writing, don’t let it deflate you. Just pick back up and keep going!
What would you say to new writers/authors?
If you plan to write a book from real life experiences, journaling is imperative! Those notes will help you recreate experiences, feelings, emotions, and memories. Carry a small notebook with you in your purse so you can jot down a note or thought wherever you are throughout the day.
2. Be patient.
There is time for everything. You will always have deadlines and might feel like the world will end if you don’t meet those deadlines, but you know what? Everything can wait a little bit longer. In fact, your life experiences during the wait may even make the project much more inspirational and insightful.
3. Can we get real here? Some books are meant to be traditionally published. Others might be best suited for self-publishing or e-publishing.
If you get hung up on the method for publishing, you might miss out on opportunities. For us, simply having a book, regardless of how, launched our speaking and radio careers and gave us authority in our topic. Usually, only other authors ask us if we were self-published or traditionally published. We believed in the story and did not worry ourselves about the method of delivery. We love traditional publishing, but don’t let that hold your dreams back! Are you using it as an excuse not to start pursuing your God-given passion?
Where do you go for inspiration?
Jesus. Always, always Jesus. When we are stumped or at a loss for words, we find that drawing closer to Him brings relief. Never underestimate the power of asking Him to lead your writing. When He is in control, you will be amazed at His fruit and His impact when you allow Him to use you as a vessel!
How does your blog influence/interact with your other published writing?
Little did we know that “It’s Just a Little Gossip” would lead to a big movement! Our book was only the beginning (So, authors, go get published! Just do it!). We launched sheshares.org which, only 2 months later, led to guest appearances on a local radio show, which, only 4 months later, led to our own weekly radio program. However, the best part is that God inspired a She Shares community of women who desire, need, and crave authentic relationships online and in person. No games. No gossip. Just grace, peace, and restoration. These women meet locally every month to connect in deep and powerful ways. We also have a beautiful group of women who connect online nationally as well.