FearLESS: A Conversation with Nathalie Thompson
This month, we’re interviewing talented women authors from all over the world and asking them about their writing process. We had the privilege of speaking with Nathalie Thompson about her novel, FearLESS: How to Conquer Your Fear, Stop Playing Small, and Start Living an Extraordinary Life You Love. Here’s a glimpse into our conversation.
Tell us about your book! What is it about?
I recently wrote and published a book titled: FearLESS: How to Conquer Your Fear, Stop Playing Small, and Start Living an Extraordinary Life You Love, and it is about identifying and overcoming the fears that keep us from turning our biggest dreams into reality. It was written primarily for women who feel trapped in their current lives; women who know that they are capable of so much more and who want desperately to shine their light and help change the world, but don’t know how to make it happen.
What gave you the courage/motivation to start?
I went through a period in my life that I now think of as “The Cascade of Awfulness”. From 2007 to 2013, I got hit with a series of traumatic events that happened, one right after the other, with not enough time to recover in between. I ended up changing my entire path in life because of it.
I went back to writing and I started playing with blogs, and one of those blogs grew. On that blog I had started writing about all the techniques and strategies that I was using to get through my own struggles with making a big life change and building my dreams, and I had started getting emails and social media messages from people all around the world who found that what I had written was resonating with them.
It dawned on me that if I could find a way of putting everything that I had learned and experienced into one handy reference tool, it could save other people a lot of time, a lot of heartache, and a lot of mistakes. That’s what inspired me to write this particular book.
Did you encounter any problems such as writer’s block? If so, how did you overcome them?
I think every writer deals with writer’s block at some point – isn’t it just part of the job description? For this particular book, my “go to” fixes for writer’s block problems were using my kitchen timer. I find having that deadline — knowing that annoying little beeper is going to start soon – will kick me out of my funk and into writing mode faster than any other trick I use. I also find that a change of scenery does wonders for my creative ability.
How did you go about finding a publisher/getting the book self-published?
The book is self-published at the moment. I used Amazon’s CreateSpace to do it. It’s fairly easy to use, as long as you’re willing to do the leg work of learning how, and all of that information is freely available online in the CreateSpace forums and in other tutorials that people have made.
Did anything surprise you about the whole process?
I wouldn’t say that anything surprised me, but I have learned so much about the whole process of book publishing through all of this. I suspect that most authors never think past the “Woo-hoo, I wrote my book!” part. But the reality is that writing the book is just the first stage, and in some ways it’s the easiest stage. The real work starts once the manuscript is done! My biggest takeaway has been the importance of not letting yourself get overwhelmed by the mountain, and to concentrate on the individual steps instead. If you look at the process of self-publishing your book as a whole, you’re likely to freak yourself out and not do it because there is so much work involved in doing it well.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to write a book, or starting to write one?
Find a mentor. This would be my biggest piece of advice. Find someone who has already done what you want to do and learn from them. If you don’t know anyone who has written a book, start looking for writer’s groups in your area and get to know those people. Just get it done. The first draft is not your end-product. Ever. But that first draft is the sticking point for so many aspiring writers who want their “baby” to be perfect from the moment they start.
Let your perfectionism go, and just get the words and ideas out. You will massage and fine-tune them later when you start editing and rewriting. But you have to get over that first hurdle and get the first draft done. Never be afraid to ask. I got my self-published book into a brick-and-mortar, large-chain bookstore by personally talking to managers and asking them to carry it.
Photo credit for FearLESS: A Conversation with Nathalie Thompson by Unsplash.