Tag Archives: How to write a book

How to Write Your Book (or Next Book) Before You Retire

If you are here in Phoenix, I hope you’ll consider attending the National Speaker’s Association meeting on Saturday. Gwyn Nichols and I will be presenting on the success of me winning her services at a silent auction (see past posts Collaborating with an Expert and Life Transformations through Silent Auctions for details of how Maddie and I have worked with Gwyn)

Here’s the information about our part of the meeting:

At an NSA-Arizona Silent Auction, Debra bid on Gwyn’s donation of manuscript editing — about a week after she and her co-presenter Maddie Hunter first considered writing a book. That bold commitment and Gwyn’s consultant support moved them from thinking about a book to thoroughly researching and beginning it.

Learn how the three of them worked together to get this book moving fast. See how you can apply these perspectives and strategies to advance your own project.

Gwyn Nichols, a book editor and ghostwriter, recently founded Blue Monarch Press. Gwyn trained at an academic journal where she was known for translating articles written by PhDs into readable English. At the time, she suffered from such an incapacitating writing block of her own, she considered changing her major from English to chemistry. Eventually, Gwyn learned to write fluently any time, anywhere, and she went on to complete a master’s degree in English. She now writes poetry and fiction, and edits nonfiction, combining language expertise with healing encouragement as she works with authors or leads writing retreats.

Debra Exner helps her clients connect, communicate, and collaborate. She and her co-author, Maddie Hunter of New Jersey, first led a cancer support organization together, and then went on to research and teach effective collaboration. They lead workshops for corporations and associations, and are being invited to speak at international conferences.

In addition to speaking and training, Debra is a Professional Certified Coach and president of the Phoenix chapter of the International Coach Federation.

Come hear this outstanding program!
To register online visit http://nsa-arizona.org/meetings/mar-13/
or by email, send name, company and number of attendees to Gwen@nsa-arizona.org or call (480) 968-7443.


NSA-Arizona Program March 13, 2010
Time: 9:00 a.m.; networking 8:00 a.m.
Business Building Session: 12:15 p.m.-1:30 p.m.
Location: NSA Conference Center, 1500 S. Priest Dr., Tempe, AZ
Early Registration (by 5 p.m. Wed. Mar. 10): $30/members, $45/guests
Late Registration: $40/members, $55/guests
No refunds after 5 p.m. Mar. 10, 2010.
For directions, visit Mapquest.com
Please notify us if you have any special needs for the meeting.


Collaborating With an Expert

Here are some of the ways that Gwyn Nichols has helped with our book writing project.

by psd on flickr creative commons

Gwyn’s belief in us and excitement about our topic and kept us connected with our goal until we were able to set aside time to work on it more concretely.

She took our Collaborability assessment and created an online survey so that we could collect more data as well as demographic information. The survey included write-in comments about what participants would like to learn about collaboration and traits they thought were important for effective collaboration.

Gwyn facilitated our writer’s retreat in Chicago virtually. Together we planned our approach and she suggested multiple check-in calls. During those calls we talked about our progress, where we were stuck and our next steps. Gwyn typed up notes and emailed them to us.

The check-in calls kept us focused. Comments like “You guys have a dozen books to write. Which one do you want to start with?” helped us understand why things seemed like a jumble at times and to see a way to get clear.

One of our goals for the retreat was to start a blog. Maddie wrote the “Our Story” blog post and Gwyn edited it for us. She also commented on our blog posts and quoted them in her own blog. How encouraging!

Gwyn gave us tips on how to write when there’s no time. My favorite is the one about rewarding yourself which I wrote about in a previous post.

Who has served as a catalyst in your life or work? What have they done that has been helpful?

We Should Write a Book … Someday – Or… Life Transformation through Silent Auctions

Silent auctions have been the start of magical transformations in my life. It started with the Wilmington Women in Business Foundation Scholarship event – making higher education possible for women in Delaware returning to school.

photo by I am I.A.M.

My philosophy, formulated at that first auction, is to bid on everything remotely interesting during round one. Then I get more and more selective as the bidding – and price—goes up. [Caution: Consider the number of people attending the auction. If it is small you may end up with more opportunities than you can handle!]

I was clearly looking for more balance in my life that evening because I bid on and won a month of coaching, a life balance care basket, and a massage. I’d been intending to hire coach Wendy Mackowski but was just waiting to make time in my life for coaching – I’d probably still be waiting today but for that auction! All of my winnings were wonderful and the coaching ultimately started me on a whole new career.

At my first National Speakers Association (NSA) auction, I won time with three amazing speaker mentors, Ian Percy and Doug Stevenson, and Neil Dempster, who wasn’t even on the auction block. With his permission, I hastily drew up an auction form on the back of an already used piece of paper and this package ended up in down to the wire bidding between me and Jean McFarland! Neil generously capped the bidding before we could come to blows (just kidding) and created a package for each of us.

At my next NSA Silent Auction, I was ready to go! I bid on and won a photo head shot package from Tina Celle and mentoring from John Hersey because I admired the work of both, and Gwyn Nichols – Gwyn who? I’d actually never met nor heard of Gwyn before that afternoon (she was brand new to the organization) but she was offering editing and coaching for writing a book.

Just the previous week my colleague Maddie Hunter mused “We should write a book on collaboration some day.” Be careful what you say around me!

Ok, so this was a bit premature. We both already had lives full to overflowing. How would we ever fit in writing time? Well, sometimes I find it useful to create a circumstance that will push me to action (remember my bid on coaching)? Have you ever followed your instincts like that?

Gwyn is the catalyst for one of those transformations. How, you ask? First, her belief in us and in our project provided a boost to our own conviction and commitment. Have you ever experienced the confidence boost of someone else’s belief in your abilities?

This week we’ll post more about Gwyn’s structures and ideas and how they have helped us as well as other ideas on how to work collaboratively on a book. What has helped you to write your book? What would help you to write your next book?


Collaborating in Chicago

Chicago Retreat - Debbie 014

Stickies on hotel door

Maddie and I are creating this blog as we meet in Chicago to work on our book.  We have green, purple, and pink stickies all over the walls and door. Each sticky has something that we may want to include in the book — tips, stories, resources, ideas about the format, etc.

Our blog retreat wouldn’t be complete without our phone calls with and contributions from Gwyn Nichols — editor and writing coach superb.

That’s it for now.  Back to work!