November is all about writing. Throughout the month, people celebrate and participate in Family Stories Month, Memoir Writing Month, and National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). November 15 is “I Love to Write Day.”
I am an author who helps other people tell their stories. I am also a counselor, and I understand that the early chapters of someone’s life do not have to determine how the rest are written. We don’t always get to write our own stories when we’re young and, sometimes, even in adulthood. However, you have more control today than you did yesterday; yesterday has already been written and you can’t go back to edit. But today, if you want to, you can turn the page and start writing a different story.
I also know that every single person on this earth has a story to tell, and publishing a book today is so much easier than it was 10 or 20 years ago. You may not choose to write yours in a book, but I bet you could if you wanted to. I have already written four books and am on track to finish my next one in 2022. Books are part of my legacy. Do you want them to be part of yours?
Family Stories Month
We all have family stories. There are some we are happy to recall and share, and some are never talked about. I have worked with authors who wrote their taboo family stories and decided not to publish until certain family members pass away. There’s something cathartic about sharing those stories with the world. They mark an important part of your life and help you understand the person you have become up to this point. Again, that doesn’t mean you can’t turn the page and write about the person you want to be, the person you are becoming. It’s your book. You can write it however you want.
Sometimes the family stories are inspirational and offer wisdom that you want to share with the world. I’ve worked with two authors who published the writing of family members who had died. In both cases, it was a grandparent. Grandparents are often great sources of wisdom and inspiration, and it’s a special treat when they leave behind writing of their own in the form of a journal or simple musings written on random pieces of paper. If nothing else, preserving the words of relatives who have passed is a gift to the whole family.
Memoir Writing Month
Do you think your life would be interesting to others? Do you have important lessons you learned that you’d like to pass on? I believe we go through the things we do so that we can help others navigate the roads we have already traveled. When you live through some type of adversity and emerge on the other side, you have an opportunity to help others deal with similar challenges. You don’t have to take that opportunity, but it exists nonetheless.
InsideOut Press has published memoirs of several people who have valuable lessons to share with others. They didn’t want their pain and suffering to be in vain. They wanted to light the way for others experiencing similar circumstances. Gigi Kilroe wrote From Within to chronicle the painful shame of sexual abuse at the hands of several men in her life. But her memoir doesn’t focus on the pain; it focuses on the light Gigi knew on some level existed within herself. The message of her book is to not allow others to dim that light inside of you. Lois DaSilva-Knapton has written her book Overcoming: Turning Trials into Triumphs, due out in April 2022 to help young women know what she’s been through and how she got through it so they can replicate her success. Sylvester Baugh has written a memoir titled Victory in the Wait, also due out in April, about his battle with kidney disease and his unwavering faith that God would provide. After five years of dialysis, he received his kidney on March 17, 2021 after being on the donor list for just three days! It truly was a miracle.
National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)
NaNoWriMo began in 1999 as a challenge to writers to pen 50,000 words of their novel during the 30 days of November. If you have a fictional story to write, you will find venues sponsoring this contest by building and hosting writing communities. Check libraries, bookstores, and community centers and get cranking.
I Love to Write Day
If you are someone who loves to write, bless the world with your thoughts, ideas and stories. You don’t need to worry about who will read it. The people who are meant to read it will be attracted to it and you’ll develop a following. (You will need to do some work to market your work; it doesn’t happen completely on its own.) If you have a story to tell, and I know you do, you will find the audience for it.
Just be careful in doing your due diligence. If your goal is to reach as many people as possible, it is important to produce a book worthy of selling in bookstores. You will want both professional editing and cover design. (Despite the adage not to judge a book by its cover, everyone does.) Even if you are a fantastic writer or have a person willing to proofread for you, seek out a professional line editor at the least.
There are predatory publishers out there. I know because some of my authors have tried them out. One sold foreign rights without notifying the author. One offered a contract that took all the creative control from the author. Another was outrageously expensive. Do your due diligence in looking for an independent publisher. Ask to speak with some of their authors to learn about their experiences. Check reviews; compare pricing. Get samples of editors’ work. And I hope in your research, you’ll check out our company, Inside Out Press, at Olver International. We offer a Writers Group with accountability and information about everything you need to go from being someone who wants to write a book, to being a published author, as well as the services to publish and help you market your book.