Note: Authors frequently reach out to me to talk about an idea they have for a book and to learn how I might be able to help them self-publish. My services range from ghostwriting to writing coaching to copy editing and book design. Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking with Kevin Arnold about his book project, and we engaged in what I call a Discovery Session. Basically, I discovered more about Kevin’s book project, offered him feedback on his writing to date, and offered suggestions, recommendations—and a hearty thumbs up to keep writing. My intern Kaitlin Carmichael interviewed Kevin about the experience; his responses appear below.
What are you working on as a writer at this time?
I am working on a book that details a mountain bike accident I experienced and the events that occurred after the accident. I ended up injuring my spine and went from being paralyzed to on the current road to recovery. The book offers the story of the accident, the injury, and the follow-up to where I am today.
What inspired you to write this book?
I know this is cliché, but I always wanted to be a writer. I used to write songs and partial plays in the past. I never really got motivated to stick with it until my accident. People kept asking me if I was going to write a book and encouraged me to tell my story. It got me thinking. As soon as the injury occurred, I was laying on my back on a mountain, unable to move, thinking, “What am I going to do with my life now?” Writing was at the top of my list. I know there is technology that can help me write. I knew this was something I should do! My goal in setting the story down is to inspire others.
What prompted you to have Janice review your memoir in progress?
I hadn’t written a book before. I like writing, words, and wordplay. Janice had an ad in the local paper, the Conway Daily Sun. My wife worked there so I again saw this as a sign to write my story. There will be times in your life that a doorway or a pathway will open, and you can choose to open it or go down it or not. I chose to open that one up.
What were you hoping to learn/get out of the Discovery Session?
Interesting question. I wanted to hear that I should be writing what I’m writing. I want to write this anyway, but I wanted Janice’s opinion. With her background and experience, she was either going to tell me, “Don’t waste your time” or “Yeah, do it, and here are my suggestions for making it better.” And the latter feedback is exactly what I got. Janice said I have a great story, and I’m off to a great start. She gave me tips on how to improve my writing.
Name three things you learned from Janice that were helpful.
One thing I learned from Janice—and in other aspects of my life—is “Keep on doing what you’re doing.” Janice told me that. I know we are far from a finished project, but she encouraged me to keep going. Another thing is that this—writing—feels like something I should be doing. I realize I actually like sitting down and writing. Writing memoir is easier than writing fiction because everything is recalled.
Any other specific tidbits that will now help you to move forward?
Janice told me not to worry about getting it right or over-editing at this point; just get the words down on paper. Something Janice pointed out was that I need to offer more details. I didn’t want to bore people with a lot of detail, but it seems I left out more description than I should have. Janice said details make the story.
How has your writing been coming along?
I try to write three days a week. My career is my full-time recovery from the accident. I do a lot of stretching and workouts aimed at recovery, but I make sure that I leave time to write. I move 20 times slower than I used to. It’s surprising how much time I don’t have in a day!
Did you feel you made a connection with Janice? If yes, in what way?
Oh yes. When I read about her, I went back and read all her blogs and articles before contacting her. Now, Janice keeps tabs on me just to check-in. She is really flexible with working on my schedule.
Anything else that might be helpful feedback for Janice or someone thinking about working with her?
For someone who is thinking about working with Janice—just do it. Just talk to her. She has years of experience. I’m so glad I decided to do this.