I don’t say anything for months and then I pipe up to tell you I’ve got a book contract!
I can hardly believe it either.
Here’s how it happened: Remember the temp work I was doing at the publishing company? Well I started out doing basic data entry. Normally, the idea of doing data entry all day would fill me with dread. But this was different: I was entering royalty figures. (I won’t reveal what those figures were because I’m not sure I should, but let’s just say it was an eye-opening experience and quickly dispelled any illusion that I would become a millionaire from writing a book anytime soon.)
I progressed from data entry… to editing PowerPoint presentations… to liaising with photographers… to doing picture research… and finally, to writing pieces of content for some of the health books.
All of which, I loved.
Then, a few weeks ago, the commissioning editor casually sauntered up to me and asked if I would be interested in writing a little book for them about sugar.
(A whole book. Sold in bookshops. With my name on the front cover and everything!)
Did I spring from my chair and high-five anyone within a 5-mile radius?
Nope. Not quite. My first reaction was… FEAR.
And then, just to make myself feel doubly crappy, I beat myself up for feeling scared.
(Welcome to my brain.)
Luckily, the more rational side of me kicked in: it’s not like they picked some random person off the street and asked them to write a health book. I am a health writer by trade. (Weird how I managed to forget this.)
I have spent the last 12 years researching and writing articles on health, nutrition and psychology for blue-chip companies, working as a copywriter for wellbeing organisations and healthcare advertising agencies, and writing booklets on ‘healthy eating after a heart attack’ and ‘how to look after yourself if you’ve got type 2 diabetes’.
(Hello? Are you listening brain?)
I also happen to be a qualified personal trainer, Cognitive Hypnotherapist and NLP Practitioner, with a degree in Experimental Psychology (which involved lots of studying of rats in mazes) and a Masters specialising in Human Resource Management.
You could say I have more than a passing interest in health, psychology and nutrition. (What’s sugar got to do with psychology? A lot as it happens, but I’ll save that for the book.)
Do you know what Brian Tracy does when he writes a book? (He’s a bestselling author of over 60 books, including Eat That Frog! which has sold over five million copies.)
If he’s wants to write a book on time management, he’ll spend two years devouring anything he can get his hands on about time management. He’ll read ten books, go to six seminars, buy ten time management programmes and listen to six time management audios. And then he takes all these ideas and… “I just synthesise them in a whole different way.” (If you want to read his whole interview, it’s in Celebrity Authors’ Secrets by Stephanie J. Hale.)
This really inspired me.
(I calmed down and said ‘yes’ to the publishers.)
There’s lots of information out there about nutrition, but much of it is confusing, overwhelming and off-putting (PhD in chemistry anyone?) All I need to do is what I have been doing for years; research a topic and make it simple, engaging and easy to apply to everyday life.
There’s also another reason why I am perfectly suited to writing this book – I’m pissed off. For years the powers that be (the ‘experts’) were telling me that was what a ‘healthy diet’ was and I was dutifully passing this information on to my clients. But it turns out, they were wrong. (That muesli with chopped fruit and glass of orange juice you have for breakfast… it’s not as healthy as you think.)
Since starting the research for the book, I’ve been shocked by what I’ve discovered.
So now I reeeally want to write this book – to share what I’m learning. And, rather selfishly, so that I can get my eating back on track again (I’m still smarting about the muesli and juice.)
The deadline for my first draft is August 11th.
I have to write 25,000 words by then.
P.S. I’ll try to keep you posted on my progress and any other interesting facts I learn about the publishing process (without betraying the confidence of the publishers). Of course, this mean my children’s book is on hold for now but interestingly, writing this book has changed how I feel about writing my novel.
In a good way.
I’ll talk more about this in a future post but for now, I just wanted to say ‘hello, I’m still here’ and tell you the good news!
Who would have thought a temp job would lead to this??