Meet Our New Author Emma-Jane Taylor, whose inspiring book, ‘Don’t Hold Back’ is out now.

Last month, Inspirational Mentor Emma-Jane Taylor published her first book, Don’t Hold Back, which shares her powerful and moving story from abandonment and abuse to recovery and freedom. It’s a self-help book directed at anyone who has experienced challenges in their lives and offers them a tool kit to support them in their recovery.

What inspired you to write this book now?
I felt it was my time. I have built up strength around me and now I feel able and capable to support others with my writing and voice.

How difficult was it for you to share the truth of your grooming and abuse with your parents and the world?
I found it extremely difficult. Can you imagine, having kept it quiet for as long as I can remember and having been something that was very much part of my normality, it was difficult to share the truth of what happened.

How do you feel your story and your book can help others?
I am not alone. There are many people being abused or feeling intimidated daily. Also, my voice isn’t just about abuse, it is about pain and how pain creates problems for many people.

Do you think enough is being done to keep children safe from child abuse and grooming in the UK?
Education is a big part of stopping the problems going on around the world. We need to keep raising our voice, keep sharing and keep giving our lessons in life to those that need some support in knowing they are not alone.

This is your first book, what was your writing process like?
Well, it was tough at the start because I wasn’t sure where it was all going. But after speaking with Vision Maker Press and structuring the book, it became an easier process. I have so much to say and I wasn’t always sure about how to fully express it, but VMP helped that process; they helped me get my voice heard.

How long did it take you to write your book?
A lifetime. No, I guess the actual writing process took me around 2 years – my book isn’t big but it was tough writing about some things, so I would break for weeks at a time to help me clear my head and get back on point with life.

Did you stick to a writing timetable?
No. For me it was about feeling it: if I felt it I wrote it, but if I wasn’t ‘feeling it’ then if I didn’t write. I am a passionate speaker / writer and that, I think, comes out with this work.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?
Writing my story. I didn’t really want to give too much detail, but I knew I had to if I really wanted the book to inspire and motivate people. I have life experiences that led me to developing tools to support my recovery, sharing these and my voice is the whole purpose of Don’t Hold Back.

Having gone through the process of writing a book, what advice would you give to anyone who is currently writing, or thinking of writing their first book?
Never doubt yourself. If you have something to say, then get it out there. We want to hear from you…

To find out more about Emma-Jane Taylor and her work, go to www.emmajanetaylor.life and https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3wPuWjdy5h4fWNYz7b_EEg

 

Here book, Don’t Hold Back is £9.99 and available on Amazon

 

 

Turning the Page on Your Writing

“I can’t write poetry”, is a default phrase I automatically use when it comes to writing poetry. It is an idea that I have carried around with me since childhood. Perhaps it’s because I often didn’t understand poetry when I was at school. Whilst my peers would decipher the lines of rhyme and obscure metaphors with ease, I struggled. So, throughout my schooling, I developed a prejudice about poetry and the idea that I just wasn’t any good at it.

Isn’t it funny how we carry these ideas around in our adulthood based on decisions we made as children? Whether it be art, writing or sport, these ideas we have become enmeshed in our psyche and become part of our belief system.

It is only in the last few years that I have become aware of how untrue this idea of mine is. I can write poetry and have done so on several occasions for events and festivals. I even wrote a poem for a eulogy, in remembrance of my cat. Yet, that old recording from childhood still plays its outdated tune and I still become nervous when I have a poem to write.

It would be so easy to stick to what I know, what I feel secure in when it comes to my writing, which is currently non-fiction writing. Yet, I suspect I would be the poorer for it. And, I am also discovering that what I interpret as nerves, is also excitement! I can feel it in the pit of my stomach now, fluttering in anticipation of trying something new.

If, like me, you have an idea about your ability to write, then perhaps it might be due to a childhood belief? For example, you might believe that you aren’t good at telling stories? Yet, if you give yourself the opportunity to come at your writing newly, you might be surprised by what you create.

Developing versatility as a writer is exciting – like a grand adventure where we can experiment, play, explore and have fun as we discover greater depths to ourselves as writers.

I am currently planning to write a radio script. I have never written one before so I am doing my research by reading about radio script writing and listening to radio dramas. I never imagine I would ever write a radio script, but now I have allowed my creative process its freedom, I have discovered a newfound freedom that comes with experimenting.

I feel rejuvenated, excited to explore the possibilities of my writing, of the stories I would like to tell and the genres I would like to play with.

It is so easy to write yourself into a corner, particularly if you become successful at writing in a particular genre, but it doesn’t have to be the only avenue you take. There are so many different roads to travel. And as Robert Frost discovered in his poem, The Road Not Taken, the road ‘less travelled by’ is full of hidden treasure and makes ‘all the difference’.

Naz Ahsun
Co-Founder Vision Maker Press

Writers’ Stage Fright

I thought this only happened to stage actors. I remember a very, very long time ago, at the tender age of seventeen, myself and my best friend auditioned for a TV programme which was the X-Factor of the day, called, Opportunity Knocks. I recall that as I stepped out onto stage with the lights blazing in my eyes, my legs felt like jelly and my mouth like the Sahara. The first line of Montego Bay came out as a whisper, then a wail, then a screech that deafened me, let alone anyone else! Not surprisingly, we didn’t make it through to the next round and I vowed that I would never put myself in that position again.

So, roll on three or so decades later with my second book, The Little Book of Animal Wisdom, and that same feeling of wobbly legs, dry throat and a nervous fluttering in my stomach rises from the ashes. And accompanying these physical sensations is the voice in my head that urges me to run and hide, full of fearful questions: what if people hate it? What makes me think I can write? Even worse, what if people laugh at me? It seems that stage fright isn’t just the province of actors, but also of writers too.

The writing process and finishing your book is an exhilarating feeling – euphoric even. It’s like you’ve given birth. And in a way you have; you’ve nurtured this book inside of you and watched it grow. Now that it is birthed, the next stage is to share it with the world. Daunting to say the least – exciting too.

You are putting your book on the Centrestage for all the world to see, so it is natural that you would feel nervous. As writers, we do care very much about how our work is received. And it does bring up all those self-doubts, limiting beliefs and thoughts we have about our writing and ourselves. But there is also a sense of anticipation as we unveil our art for all to see. Far from being reclusive, we writers are real exhibitionists in our own way – and we love recognition!

Sharing your book with the world is a bit like watching your baby take their first steps – you’re excited by this next stage in their journey and, also, fearful that they might get hurt. And this cocktail of fear and excitement is a completely natural and vulnerable state of being. I believe it is part of the job description of being a creative artist.

I remember that at my book launch, I was excited about sharing my book, but also fearful. I was so worried that people wouldn’t like it. But, with a deep breath, I let it go, trusting that what I had written was perfect because I couldn’t have written it in any other way than I did.

You can buy a copy of The Little Book of Animal Wisdom from Amazon. 10% of each book sale is being donated to Oak and Burrows Wildlife Rescue Centre.

Naz Ahsun
Co-Founder Vision Maker Press

To boldly go where no writer has gone before…

Excuse the split infinitive, but over the last few months, one of the most common conversations I’ve had with new writers is their desire to write something unique and different – something that nobody has ever done before – cue Star Trek and the Starship Enterprise, boldly going where no one has. But, putting my Trekkie roots to one side, it really is the major concern of new writers, and their major obstacle.

It was certainly something I obsessed about in my twenties when I began to think seriously about writing. I had visions of creating a completely new, original fantasy novel to rival fantasy authors such as: Tolkien, Anne MaCaffrey and Robin Hobb. However, I was so lost in my vision of finding that original idea that I failed to get beyond chapter 1.

It wasn’t for want of trying either. It really was because I was fixated with the idea of being original. I didn’t know then what I know now. The big secret that no one tells new writers. A secret I’m going to let you all in on: It’s all been done before. So, if you’re waiting for that original idea, you’ll be waiting a long time.

This is one of the main reasons that so many writers never finish their novel; some never even start, they just move on to the next idea, work it around a bit, then are bitterly disappointed when they realise that there is a similar story line out there. I don’t tell you this to put you off. I hope sharing this will save you a lot of the brain ache and angst I went through. So, here’s another secret which should bring some relief– it really doesn’t matter. If you think about the number of crime novels, romance novels and novels of every genre, including fantasy out there, you’ll find that each genre has a formula – a formula which is specific to that genre and appeals to your reader. This isn’t a licence to plagiarise, there’s a fine line between a formula and blatantly copying someone else’s work, yet there are only a finite number of storylines. However, you can always play around with them by introducing a unique narrative voice, e.g. what if a crime story was told from a perspective of someone who was deaf or someone with impaired vision? Alternatively, you could include a plot twist with a difference, have an interesting setting – the possibilities are endless.

At the same time, do remember that this, ‘writing according to a formula’ is not a licence to write by numbers. You do need to write from the heart and share the story that is there. And, you needn’t worry so much about whether your idea or story has been told before. It probably has, in different guises. However, what will be completely unique and original, is that it is a story that is written by you, with your unique voice, in your own unique way. And that is simply perfect.

So, go forth and write boldly!

Naz Ahsun
Co-Founder Vision Maker Press

How to Be a Bestselling ‘MUMBOSS’ Author!

I had the absolute pleasure of catching up with Mum of two, Vicki Psarias about her bestselling book, Mumboss, recently and was inspired by how she found the time to write her book with a full-time career as a blogger and vlogger, as well as caring for her two children, and being the Founder of Honest Mum.

What inspired you to write this book?
I’ve wanted to write, Mumboss for several years now (writing a book has been a dream since childhood) but I’m glad it’s was published in 2018, as the 7 1/2 years of experience garnered, working in the digital industry hopefully makes for a truly meaningful and also comprehensive book which encompasses many areas from finding your voice to returning to work after maternity leave with greater confidence and a nuts and bolts guide to setting up your own e-business and more.

This is your first book, what was your writing process like?
I wrote the book between the hours of 10pm and 3am most nights so it was a real labour of love and much like a baby, required me sacrificing a lot of sleep! I had two brilliant editors, Jillian and Anna who empowered me with confidence throughout and, skilfully, cut lots out making for a stronger, more concise book. Jillian encouraged me to get as much of me into the book too.

How long did it take you to write your book?
It was a year-long process that I did whilst working full-time as a blogger and vlogger.

Do you stick to a timetable when it comes to writing?
I wrote the majority of the book at night whilst the rest of the house slept. My final draft was written and polished in daylight hours and I took a week off blogging to focus on delivering that final version, even hand-delivering it on the due date (told you it was like having a baby).

What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?
Keeping it as concise as possible as there was so much I wanted to cover but my editors kept me in check! Overcoming self-doubt while ironically writing exactly how to do that. Questioning whether people would enjoy the book and want to read it? Luckily people have.

Having gone through the process of writing a book, what advice would you give to anyone who is currently writing, or thinking of writing their first book?
Just get it onto the page and start. The writing, and magic is all in the rewriting. It’s like a piece of clay, keep moulding. Bounce off your editor and don’t show your work to too many people as everyone comes to art with their own baggage. Trust yourself, and your editor.

What other writing projects do you have coming up?
I’m loving writing my blog as always and have lots of exciting campaigns coming up with global brands and more book tour dates all over the country right up to April next year. It feels like a joyfully creative time at the moment.

I’ve started reading Mumboss and am really enjoying it. If you’re a mum who would like to have it all, then Mumboss is a great place to start with top tips from someone who does. It’s available on Amazon and honestmum.com, as well as other outlets.

Naz Ahsun
Co-founder Vision Maker Press

Writing Non-Fiction – Where Do I Even Start?

 

If you are reading this then chances are that you’ve got a book, article or blog inside you bursting to come out. Over the last few months, everyone I’ve met has had the same burning question: I want to write a book, article, blog, but I don’t know what to write about? This is closely followed by: Do I have anything of value to write about? Will anyone even read it? It can be confusing, like unravelling a ball of tangled wool.

These are common doubts which we all have. We all have a story to tell. Humanity has been telling stories for millennia, so it’s natural that we all have a book inside of us. Yet the hardest part is extracting it and sharing it with the world. Believe me. I’m there with you because these doubts were alive and kicking when I felt the urge to write my second book, ‘The Little Book of Animal Wisdom’. Yet, like so many, I couldn’t quite grasp what I would write about. At first, I engaged my mind, determined to figure out what I could write, wracking my brains furiously to grasp the elusive strands of an idea. And the funny thing is, that the more I reached for it, getting very stressed in the process, the more elusive it became until I gave up chasing this Will-o’- the- wisp and relaxed into my life.

And, most ironically, it was when I gave up chasing and embraced the moment of my life driving down a country road, windows down, admiring the lush green trees swaying in the wind, the warm, rich smell of the summer breeze playing with my hair, so grateful to be alive, that the idea literally dropped in – no effort required. It was like a file had opened and the contents downloaded, in an instant!

So, the first thing is to relax and get engaged in your life. Writing is a creative process and when you get involved in the creative process of your life, it can act as a catalyst for all sorts of creativity. Slowing down and getting interested in your life is a great way to get right into the middle of the action – after all, that’s where it’s taking place.

The next thing is that you already have the knowledge you need to write your book, article or blog. We know so much more than we give ourselves credit for and discount so much of what we know. I am willing to bet that the skills you already have and take for granted, and might not really appreciate, will be a godsend to someone else. Share your gifts.

At the same time, it’s important to be interested in what you are writing about because if you’re not engaged with it, it will be obvious. Plus, you will feel like you’re dragging your heels, or, in this case, your pen or keyboard finger across the page. Here is where you need to disengage your brain, which might be telling you what you should write about, or what is popular to write about, and engage your passion for the things you’d love to write about.

OK, so what happens after the download?

The most important thing I learnt from my own journey and how I started mapping my book was by asking myself these questions:

• Why did I want to write this book?
• Who was I writing this book for?
• What did I want to write about?
• When was I going to write it?
• How was I going to write it?

These are important questions to consider before you do anything else because they will give you the clarity you need when it comes to planning and writing your book, article or blog. Also, consider your reader in all of this because they are the ones who will be reading it. What journey do you wish to take them on?

From these questions, you will be able to map out your chapter headings, and from your chapter headings, you can begin to fill in the content. The same thing applies with your article or blog.

Finally, remember to have fun with it – don’t get so caught up on whether it sounds right or looks right, simply write what comes to you. The art of writing is re-writing and if you’re looking for the perfect moment to start, the perfect moment is write now.

Happy writing,

Naz Ahsun
Co- Founder of Vision Maker Press

You can buy, ‘The Little Book of Animal Wisdom’ from Amazon. For each book sold, a donation goes to Oak and Burrows Wildlife Rescue Centre.

Meet our New Author Ian Banyard

Our latest Author, Ian Banyard, shares his passion for Nature and Mindfulness in his new book, Natural Mindfulness.  Join Ian on his writing journey and discover some great writing tips too.

What inspired you to write this book?

I am passionate about sharing the message that we need to reconnect with Nature in a mindful way. When we connect to something, we care about it and want to protect it. By disconnecting from Nature we have also disconnected from a part of ourselves – our true nature. Knowing that my book can share this message with a global audience inspired me to write it.

What exactly is Natural Mindfulness?

As I say in the book, I prefer to suggest what Natural Mindfulness ‘could be’ rather than claim to know definitively what it is. I believe our deep connection with Nature and our true nature is a unique experience for each of us. Rather than tell people what it is, I invite the readers to set out on a journey to discover what it is for themselves.

How have your Natural Mindfulness walks been received?

Since launching my first guided walk in Summer 2014, interest has rapidly grown. I have had interest from all over the world. There is a group of wonderful ladies just outside Lima City in Peru who are guiding walks, based on Natural Mindfulness walks and I’ve been invited to Finland in the Summer (2018) to guide walks at the International Forest Therapy Days Retreat. I also have a very active community on Social Media that is growing worldwide where we share events, articles, photographs and videos promoting Nature Connection.

This is your first book, how would you describe your writing experience?

I wrote the book using the same approach I used to develop my Nature Connection business – intuitively. When it felt right I would write, when it didn’t feel right I stopped and did something else. A lot of the inspiration and words came to me while walking in Nature and in the early hours of the morning when my mind was clearer and quieter. I made videos and had a notebook by my side constantly to capture the ideas when, and if, they came.

How long did it take you to write your book?

It’s been over 2 years since I first put pen to paper. With rewrites and some long breaks in between.

Do you stick to a timetable when it comes to writing?

No. My intuition and insight doesn’t work well under the pressure of a timetable.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?

Finishing off! My challenge is I have a changeable mind and want to constantly rewrite, update and improve the book. Of course with that approach a writer would never finish.

Having gone through the process of writing a book, what advice would you give to anyone who is currently writing, or thinking of writing their first book?

Love what you write about.

Get to know your subject really well.

Trust that if the book has value it will flow out of you when the time is right.

Find a publisher who gets you and your message.

Enjoy talking to people about your book and get excited about it so that others can tap into that excitement too.

What other writing projects do you have coming up, if any?

I have two projects.

One is a story for young boys about a hermit crab who overcomes a series of fears and insecurities in order to leave the security of his shell and discover his true nature. I’ve had the idea for over 15 years! The other came to me in a dream and took less than an hour to write. Both feel right to get published; my first book leads the way.

Ian’s book, Natural Mindfulness will be available from July 2018.  Ian will also be appearing at the Avebury Literary Festival on 28th and 29th July. Contact The Henge Shop for more details – https://www.hengeshop.com/.

If you’d like to know more about Ian’s Natural Mindfulness walks then do visit his website https://www.ianbanyard.com/home/ for more details.

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