Trust that what you are motivated to write is what you are meant to write.
As part of my series about “How to write a book that sparks a movement” I had the great pleasure of interviewing Susan Nefzger, author of “A Practical Guide to Awareness” and the companion workbook, “Putting Awareness Into Practice.” Susan began exploring self-awareness in the early 80’s as a result of reading “Many Lives Many Masters,” by Brian Weiss MD and attending the author’s workshops. After moving to Atlanta as a member of the Georgia Lottery start-up team, she began a self-actualization quest which included studying many spiritual practices, a favorite guru being Self Realization Fellowship Founder, Paramahansa Yogananda. A veteran public relations professional over a highly substantive 30 year career, Susan traveled around the world seeking answers on her quest and received them in the form of the Conscious Writing and founder Julia McCutchen. This led to attending a retreat in Glastonbury, UK in May of 2015, where the words of this book flowed forth in a torrent of inspiration. Becoming aligned with a creative consciousness provided the impetus to write and complete this book, its companion workbook, “Putting Awareness Into Practice” and beginning a poetry blog, “Seeing Beyond the Ordinary” which is accompanied by her nature photography. Susan resides in Atlanta, Georgia, where she writes, reads, works and take photos of nature. To find out more visit: http://snefzgerpr.wordpress.com.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you share the “backstory” about how you grew up?
Thanks for having me, I’m so excited to share with your audience. I grew up in a large family in South Florida, as middle child with my twin sister.
When you were younger, was there a book that you read that inspired you to take action or changed your life? Can you share a story?
I always felt there was a story in me. I never focused on it, as I assumed it would come through when the time was right.
What was the moment or series of events that made you decide to bring your message to the greater world? Can you share a story about that?
Yes, it is fascinating, actually. I received an email from Julia McCutchen and International Association of Conscious and Creative Writing about a retreat in Glastonbury, England. It allowed for a mix of published and unpublished writers and I felt a strong magnetic pull to attend.
Through the process of Conscious Writing and the setting of Glastonbury Abbey, I began to write the book the very first day of the retreat. I literally walked into the gardens after the morning session and mind-mapping the outline of the book, and it poured out of me.
I knew in that moment that my entire life was changed and that I would have to integrate the changes as I returned to the U.S. to my family and career.
What impact did you hope to make when you wrote this book?
I really did not choose it, I feel it chose me. I hope to assist people discover their gift in order to share it with the world. In becoming self-aware through the deep dive of interactive questions and tenets in the book, you will become more self- aware and understand what that really means. In doing so, you will discover your true purpose.
Did the actual results align with your expectations? Can you explain?
The results of becoming transformed through the process of writing this book cannot be explained. I literally found my true purpose! I share the quotes daily via social media and share the message through podcasts. I help others through self-awareness coaching and workshops which is my motivation now. If you mean did the results align with my expectations of publishing? In the beginning, yes, but I feel it is all in divine order and will evolve as it is meant to do.
What moment let you know that your book had started a movement? Please share a story.
When I shared the writing with others in my Conscious Writing group, and then published it. As I meet people, even younger people, immediately they want to know what they can do to become more self-aware. It really is in the fore front of a lot of movements. A great story is one of meeting a high level professional woman and she kept asking me lots of questions about the book and self-awareness. She was looking very serious about the discussion. I kept thinking this is not good…. Then finally she admitted that she really needed to be present, to find out who she was at the deepest level. It dawned on her as we spoke, that it was a wake up call. And as I say in the intro, it was a wake up call for me for me as well.
What kinds of things did you hear right away from readers? What are the most frequent things you hear from readers about your book now? Are they the same? Different?
Right away, I heard, it was the perfect book at the right time, it was exactly what they needed, it was inspiring and helpful on the journey. As I share the message with listeners and readers the feedback is still the same. They say it is what they need right now to move forward with purpose in their lives. It answers the questions that are there for people who have experienced everything and still find something missing in life. That is — -the truth of who they are at the deepest level- the knowledge of self. So, it is a movement to discover the answers to who you really are at the soul level and in so doing, we find out what our gift is. And we all have a unique gift to share with the world.
What is the most moving or fulfilling experience you’ve had as a result of writing this book? Can you share a story?
There are many, so it is difficult to share only one. I would have to say that the experience of writing it and transforming was the most moving. But also, as I launched the book the overwhelming support and response from my friends and family, people I have known my whole life, was just such a surprise. I was deeply touched by that support and positive response.
Have you experienced anything negative? Do you feel there are drawbacks to writing a book that starts such colossal conversation and change?
Yes, I ultimately divorced my husband and left my home. The parameters of that life no longer fit what my purpose is as it unfolds daily. You have to know that this is what your mission in life is and feel it 150%. No matter what you must believe in what you are doing to help others.
Can you articulate why you think books in particular have the power to create movements, revolutions, and true change?
I think that books have the power to create change because reading is such a personal activity. You have the time and space to integrate the information in a way that you choose. It becomes a part of you in a way that can be like a light bulb turning on, or slowly over time. Either way, the reader has the choice at first. Then, the message takes over and becomes a part of your existence.
What is the one habit you believe contributed the most to you becoming a bestselling writer? (i.e. perseverance, discipline, play, craft study) Can you share a story or example?
I have been an avid reader my entire life which is a big influence, I believe. But as I have been on the journey for a few decades, I have learned to pay attention to my intuition. Also, I think for me, tenacity is a key factor. I experienced many different things during the writing, editing and publishing process. Those include changing careers, divorce, moving, the death of a dear friend and helping her transition. Through all of it, I knew I had to continue on.
What challenge or failure did you learn the most from in your writing career? Can you share the lesson(s) that you learned?
Yes, I learned that you must stay on the path no matter the failures or seeming failures of things not working out exactly as planned. And not to pressure yourself into a timeline because ultimately the book will be finished when it is supposed to be.
Many aspiring authors would love to make an impact similar to what you have done. What are the 5 things writers needs to know if they want to spark a movement with a book? (please include a story or example for each)
1) Believe in your message completely.
2) Trust that what you are motivated to write is what you are meant to write.
3) Share your writing with people you trust.
4) Allow the purpose to inspire and help others.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
On Instagram, @apracticalguidetoawareness, my blog is www.snefzgerpr.wordpress.com.
Thank you so much for these insights. It was a true pleasure to do this with you.