Oops. That’s what I forgot: a story.
I just read part of a book that had interwoven bits from the author’s personal story in it.
Those were the parts that flowed. Those were the paragraphs I looked forward to. As she interspersed the main content of the book and the message she was trying to get across together with her own story and examples from her own life and experiences, she made it more real, more tangible, and simply more enjoyable.
As I work on my upcoming book (Spark), I have plenty of data for the how-to section as well as all of my philosophies, strategies, and heartfelt pleas to join me in this rewarding venture, but what was missing were snippets of our own story.
I’m going to have to dig deep into my memory to bring back the late night reading aloud sessions in the boys’ bedroom when they were four years younger than they are now. The pleading to stop and bend the questions about what might happen next all mixed up with the fantastical idea that my boys were creating something from nothing, that their imaginations were transformed into words on a page which then became a story and later became a book.
This is what is going to bring it home for people.
On a related note, I can highly recommend taking on another task that’s related to your main work but then not directly the work you do. For example, I’m helping another Dutch author by going through a first developmental edit of her book and as I did so, I saw how her personal story brought the book to life and realized this is exactly what I needed.
So I have to get moving and dig back into my memory and start with that red chair in the living room of our San Francisco home with my eight-year-old son next to me making decisions that we have no idea what effect us years later.