What “The Baby From Hell” Taught Me About Writing…

Write about what you’ve experienced and

We called our son David the Baby from Hell.

He cried like 23 hours a day, never slept, refused to touch solid food, and did all of this till he was at least 10 months old (when he walked and everything was suddenly, miraculously fine).

He was my first, which made it especially hard – basically I thought he just hated me, or that I was the worst mother who ever walked the earth.  I wanted so desperately to know that I wasn’t alone.  That there was some other baby out there like David.  And, of course, that it wasn’t all my fault…

But there was nothing out there.  I read like every book and article ever written about difficult babies, but in all that oh-so-helpful parenting material, there was nothing that spoke to me and what I was going through.  Which made me feel even more like what was happening to me was so bizarre and not normal, it had never, ever happened to anyone else.

Which meant it probably was my fault.

Either that, or Dave was actually possessed…

Back then, I used to think about writing about my experience.  I even had super-brilliant title for the book-I-never-wrote – What NOT to Expect When You’re Expecting.  But I didn’t have the confidence to pursue it.  I felt like whatever I wrote wouldn’t be that important, or helpful.

Plus I was usually operating on like 45 minutes of sleep.

So whoever else out there was going through what I was going through was in the same boat that I was.  If they wanted some confirmation that they weren’t alone, they were basically s*** outta luck.

At least, until someone had the ladyballs to do what I didn’t.

So…my point…pretty obviously…is…don’t be like me.  Or like the old me.

Whatever horrible, terrible thing you’re going through, if you feel totally alone, and like you might be some kind of freak of nature, and you can’t find anyone who can speak to your experience, maybe that’s a sign that that person…needs to be you.  Maybe you need to be the one to take that deep breath and reach out.  Because if you write about what you’ve experienced and share it with the world, there’s bound to be someone out there who is desperate to know that it’s going to be okay.

And if she’s anything like I was, she (or he) will be eternally grateful.

What can Writing a Book Do for Me?

What can writing a book do for me- A couple of weeks ago, I introduced you to one of my favorite clients, an incredibly cool woman named Chelsea Berler, the founder and CEO of boutique marketing shop Solamar Agency.  Together, we explained how I was able to capture her voice when I ghostwrote her book, The Curious One.   You can check out that article here… https://thehipblog.com/2015/03/04/how-can-a-ghostwriter-capture-my-unique-voice/ But there’s a bigger story about Chelsea and her book – and that’s what happened after the book was finished. Let me backtrack.  One of the big questions I get from people who are considering writing a book is, “What can a book do for me?”  They wonder if having a book with their name on it will make any sort of measurable difference in their life or their business.  If all the time and effort and expense will really be worth it.  And, of course, if anyone will actually read it. Well, in Chelsea’s case, the answer to all three of those questions has been an unqualified YES!!!!! chelsea cover  Chelsea’s book — “The Curious One”  LISA:    When you decided to write your book, did you think anyone would read it? CHELSEA:  I was worried it wouldn’t sell at all.  Not because it wasn’t good, but because who would want to hear my story? LISA:    But you went ahead and created a marketing plan anyway, right?  What did you do? CHELSEA:       It included pushing traffic to a sales page with a professional video. We also did social media and reached out to some media outlets.  Later, when I started getting more inquiries, I worked with a PR company. LISA:    And those media outlets – they reached back, didn’t they? CHELSEA:       Yes! It was lots of local stuff first – I think the first interview I did was for a magazine called Shelby Living.  And then Maria Shriver started popping up, and the names just got bigger and bigger and bigger. LISA:    What are some of those names? CHELSEA:       Let’s see – there’s The Huffington Post, Inc., Sirius XM Radio, Blogtalk Radio, Women 2.0, Mind Body Green, Entrepreneur, ABC 33/40, The Bismarck Tribune, Under 30 CEO, Hoovers…and that’s just off the top of my head. LISA:    Had you done any professional speaking before the book? CHELSEA:       Very little. LISA:    And now? CHELSEA:       The book helped me develop a platform for speaking – that was huge-o-rama!  I speak or I’m interviewed weekly now, and it’s not easing or stopping.  Bigger things keep landing in my lap. LISA:   So…what would you say being an author has meant to you? CHELSEA:       It’s completely and totally changed everything.  But the best part has been being recognized for a story about me. I really wasn’t sure how it would pan out overall. I wasn’t even sure I’d sell books — boy was I wrong! Now that my complete story is out there, I’m finally able to stop “proving” myself and just be me.  And the beauty of it is that it’s resulted in so much respect, recognition, and love. LISA:    Thanks so much Chelsea – I know that all that respect, recognition and love has definitely been earned…because you and your story are amazing! If you’re ready for some respect, recognition and love of your own, a book might be the missing piece to help you get there.  And if you’re thinking about hiring a ghostwriter to help, well…that’s what I do!  You can find out more about me at www.gethipcreative.com.  I also work one-on-one with people coaching them through the process of writing their own books – you can get more info about that at www.copycoachlisa.com. Chelsea’s book, The Curious One, is available on Amazon and on her own website, www.mostlychelsea.com.

copy coach lisa canfield

“How can a ghostwriter capture my unique voice?”

how can a  ghostwriter capture my unique voice

As a ghostwriter, one of the Big Questions I get from prospective clients is how I can possibly write a book that sounds like them.  Most people – not all, but most! – don’t want to hire a ghostwriter and end up with a book that reads like somebody else wrote it, even if it’s good.  So how do I make sure that I’m able to “channel” my clients’ voices, so their book not only sounds like them, but actually comes directly from them?

The best way I can explain the process is to introduce you to an amazing woman and client of mine, the lovely Chelsea Berler.

Chelsea is the founder and CEO of Solamar Agency, a super-creative boutique marketing shop that serves businesses all over the country.  And she’s only 30.

Like I said, amazing.

A little over a year ago, Chelsea and I completed the manuscript for The Curious One, the inspiring story of how she went from a painful childhood marked by poverty and loss to love, happiness and success as the CEO of her own company.  The book has turned her into something of a media sensation, especially in Birmingham, Alabama, where Solamar is headquartered.  Which is a little ironic, since initially, Chelsea wondered if anyone would want to hear her story at all…

chelsea coverChelsea’s book cover — beautiful, no?

LISA:    Why did you decide to write a book?

CHELSEA:       Honestly?  Because a good friend who is also a business coach told me to!  But I also wanted to reach people.  I wanted people like me, who maybe don’t fit in the usual boxes, to know they’re not alone.

LISA:    And why did you decide to work with a ghostwriter?

CHELSEA:       I feel like my writing lacks polish, and knew I needed someone to guide me through the process of telling the story and make sure it was clear and easy for readers to relate to and understand.  But I was also worried that a ghostwriter wouldn’t sound like me, and that the story wouldn’t end up being my story.

LISA:    And is that what happened?

CHELSEA:       No!

LISA:    I remember that first, you told me your story over the phone, and I recorded it so I could get a sense of how you expressed yourself in words.  After that I sent you fairly detailed questions to answer for each chapter – you answered them in writing, and I pulled a lot of the writing directly from those answers.  I was able to use a lot of what you wrote and just embellish it.

CHELSEA:       It’s true.  I was surprised how much of the book came out in my actual words.

LISA:    Was the process fun?

CHELSEA:       Because my story was a little bit difficult, I found it to be kind of a sad process for me. But that was just me kind of grieving and experiencing things over because I had to talk about ‘em.  In the end, it was super therapeutic and there were a lot of fun parts.

LISA:    How did you feel about the results?

CHELSEA:       I read the book several times after it was done and I just couldn’t believe it was my story. It was so well-written.

LISA:    Do you have any advice for someone who’s thinking about writing a book?

CHELSEA:       Everyone has a book in them – some a little more special than others.  It will change your life, it will impact others, it will be one of the biggest accomplishments you’ll ever do.  But I’m not going to lie, you need to invest time and money into it to do it right. Just think of it this way – if this is the only book you’ll ever write in your entire life, don’t cheap out. Do it full out. You’ll be more proud of it because of that.

LISA:    Thanks so much Chelsea – your book was one of my favorite experiences ever, and I’m so excited about your success with it.  But that’s a story for another blog post…

The method I used with Chelsea isn’t the method I use with everyone – every client has their own “best way” of telling their story, and my job is to help them find it and then capture it on the page.

If there’s a story inside you that’s waiting to get out, and you’re thinking about hiring a ghostwriter to help you tell it, you can find out more about me at www.gethipcreative.com.

Chelsea’s book, The Curious One, is available on Amazon and on her own website, www.mostlychelsea.com.