How to write a book

I just returned from my New York Publishing meetings. As always, the city was a whirlwind. I don’t really consider what I do as work, because I’m living my dream. And my goal in my writing is to help everyone else live theirs. Traveling to the city was a merging of my two worlds, toddler land and books. As always, I traveled with the two boys in tow. They love the city – especially Times Square. The lights, the stimulation, the energy. We’d experience it all for a couple of hours and then rush back to the hotel, climb in bed, and order room service. I wasn’t feeling well so I had hot tea with honey, and did my best to look human at my publisher breakfasts. McGraw Hill gave me my latest book, which I saw in print for the very first time. That’s always an exciting moment. It’s a gorgeous hard cover of a man in a suit, sitting on the beach in a chair. The dichotomy of that image is great! Because when I was in a suit, in the corporate world, I was always dreaming about sitting on the beach anyways, lost in my head at some fabulous oceanfront resort, in the midst of a sales meeting. Now I get to write about the daydream I had years prior. (Oh, here’s where my publishers want me to mention the name of the book – There’s More to Life Than the Corner Office, and more importantly, The Compass! Please read that one because it will change a lot of lives. More on that later.)

Anyhow, I have escaped the corporate world, so to speak. But now I write about it on this blog. I don’t think I want to escape suburbia, necessarily. I think I should be grateful for suburbia, since it’s a far cry from who I am inside. I’m more of a write in the jungle, write in the woods, write when the kids are throwing ketchup on the walls, write all the time, sort of person, and I’m darn lucky to be accepted in suburbia. It seems no one has discovered I’m an impostor… except for maybe my neighbor, who knows me really well and wants to escape suburbia herself!

New York is a far cry from suburbia. The sea of madness rushes about from one destination, to another, in full throttle, always. I saw homeless guys on the street and was reminded of my homeless friends back home. I gave one my scarf, snuggled up with him, gave him money. My kids are used to this. Back at the hotel, Terry called me from the shelter and prayed for us, because we were all sniffling and coughing. He had five minutes on the shelter phone, and he used it to give me that gift. Last night when I got home Keith called from the same shelter. “Did you have a nice hotel room?” he asked. We talked about my trip and he said he’d see me tomorrow. (He will) By the way, I challenge any reader to join me one Sunday to feed the homeless and meet my friends who live on the street. I’d love to have you go with me.

People often ask me, how do you find things to write about? My answer to that is to look around. If you’re a writer, you see meaning in everything. Any one of the things I just described, is a book in itself. The story in the old homeless man on the corner. Terry’s life, and the cold concrete floor he’d sleep on that night, after he hung up the phone with me, in my hotel room in Manhattan. A writer sees brilliance in the ordinary things. It’s the way you pause, before you answer a question, that I wonder about. When you tell me a story, I wonder what filtered your views on life. Did you have a good mother? Did you get enough love? Do you give, to others? Some writers like to write about things that aren’t so deep, and maybe that’s okay too. Writers write, and that’s how books are made. If you’re a writer, just start writing.

New York Times Best Selling Author