Many writers dream of penning and publishing a book someday, but few people very publicly declare their goal and then allow the rest of us to watch their journey as they go after their dream. But that’s exactly what life coach Andrea Owen did back in January 2012 when she started blogging about her decision to make her book happen, and then, like a captivating reality show, continued to openly share every step of her process.
Nearly 2 years later, Andrea’s dream has come to fruition, as her book 52 Ways to Live a Kick-Ass Life: BS-Free Wisdom to Ignite Your Inner Badass and Live the Life You Deserve has just been published by Adams Media. Woot!!
I had the chance to work with Andrea on her book proposal back when she was just getting ready to pitch this baby, and for me it’s been so damn fun to watch her land an agent, secure a publishing deal, and race against the clock towards publication. And as a friend and colleague and fan of Andrea’s, I couldn’t be more thrilled that the world gets to soak in her relatable, powerful, and no-holds barred words of hard-won wisdom.
Because I know many of you dream of following in Andrea’s footsteps with your own writing, I asked Andrea to tell us a little more about the hows and whys behind her book. Enjoy!
* * * * *
You’ve said that writing and publishing a book was a lifelong dream for you. What was it that made you decide “now is the time” to do it?
I really got tired of waiting. I was still really afraid — afraid no agent would take me on, afraid I couldn’t finish the book, afraid it would be terrible and on and on. But it got to a point where I wanted it more than the fear. It was only a slight tipping point, but all I needed. I also didn’t want to have to tell my kids that it was my dream and I never went after it. Even if I failed at it, I wanted to be able to show them that I went after it and lived to tell about it.
What came first — the desire to write a book or the idea for the book itself?
I got some coaching on it! What came from it was that I wanted it to be easy. Easy for me to write and easy for my readers to consume. Plus, I’m good at being straight-to-the-point without a lot of “fluff,” so the short chapters on life lessons made the most sense.
Any writer working on a book has to determine whether they want to self-publish or pursue a traditional publishing deal. What made you decide to go the latter route?
It came down to a few things. First, it had been my dream as a kid to do it the way “old school” authors did it. Second, distribution. Part of the dream was to see my book in bookstores. And third, if I was going to go through the painstaking task of writing close to 50,000 words, I wanted the best chances of my book being in as many hands as possible. Traditional publishing gave me that.
You very publically shared your book journey — from idea through the writing of the book — through video blogs. What was your goal in being so transparent throughout the whole process? To inspire others? Create accountability for yourself? All of the above?
Yes, all of those! In the work that I do, I know that outside accountability can really help you in achieving your big goals. I knew if I declared it publicly there was no turning back. And I knew there were many, many others like me who wanted to write a book. Part of what I feel called to do in this world is inspire others, so if I could do that by publicly sharing my journey I was happy!
What about the writing / publishing process was harder than you expected (if anything)?
Deadlines. Before this, I had only written for myself (with the occasional guest blog post for someone else), so when it came time for them to tell me when they wanted my final manuscript by, as well as the word count for every chapter, that was new! I guess it took a little bit of the creativity away that I was so used to freely having. It all ended up fine, but it was my first taste of having to answer to someone else about my writing.
At some point during the writing of a book, many writers get stuck or overwhelmed with the task before them and wonder why the hell they wanted to write a book in the first place. Did this happen to you and if so, how did you move through it?
Yes, definitely towards the end. I wrote much of the book at a local coffee shop and had friend that I would see often there as he came in for coffee. One day he came in and said, “I’m going to take a picture of you because every time I walk in here the first thing I see is you sitting there in front of your laptop with your face in your hands.” I just took it one word at a time like the rest of the book. I asked for help from my editor when I really felt like I had NOTHING more I could write in a particular chapter I was stuck on.
What has been the most fulfilling part of this journey for you?
So many parts! I don’t think I can pick just one. But really finishing it was amazing. Just that alone seemed like such a daunting task so when it was done and final, it was such a relief. I’m still sort of in that space of “this feels like an out-of-body experience” so if you ask me that question 3 months from now I might give you a different answer!
Any advice for would-be authors?
Just start. I didn’t know what I was doing, I had no idea how it would all work out, but like anything else, I took it one step at a time, one day at a time. You’ll figure it out as you go. Ask for help. Hire people to help you!
One last question…will you write another book?
(She laughs hysterically) It’s really like asking the mom who just had a baby an hour ago if she wants to get pregnant again and have another 80 hour labor and delivery.
But, yes, I will. I’m not rushing it though. Maybe in a few years!
* * * * *
52 Ways to Live a Kick-Ass Life: BS-Free Wisdom to Ignite Your Inner Badass and Live the Life You Deserve is described as a much-needed kick in the ass for women everywhere. “Owen’s life-changing wisdom helps you uncover your self-limiting beliefs as well as push you out of your comfort zone by zeroing in on the most difficult issues. Never one to sugarcoat the truth, she holds you accountable for your actions while offering expert advice for knocking down that cynical inner-voice and loving yourself wholeheartedly. With 52 Ways to Live a Kick-Ass Life, you will shut off your internal auto-pilot; kick empty expectations to the curb; and live a bigger, gutsier life.”
Andrea Owen is an author, coach mentor, and certified life coach who helps women get what they truly want by manifesting self-love and helping them step into their authentic self. She has helped hundreds of people manage their inner-critic to break through and live their most kick-ass life. When she’s not juggling her full coaching practice, Andrea is busy playing roller derby under the name “Veronica Vain”, competing in triathlons, chasing her 6 year-old son and 4 year-old daughter or making out with her husband, Jason. Learn more about Andrea at http://yourkickasslife.com and join the fun and wisdom at http://facebook.com/yourkickasslife