My first co-authored book with Golden Brick Road Publishing House is coming out this Spring.
It has always been a dream of mine to get published.
The book is called “Women Let’s Rise”. My story is about mastering my mind — learning to accept what I cannot control and challenge what I can. I can’t even tell you how excited I am that my name will be printed on a book cover. 2020 is already shaping to be a Milestone Year.
When I told my parents I wanted to be a writer, they became very concerned with what my future held. But I also know a lot of people who have finished their secondary degrees and fall farther behind than me. So, I ignored the advice.
If it wasn’t for my sheer unwillingness to let go, I wouldn’t be in a position to write anything for that matter. I just kept going. Yes, it was hard. Yes, there were moments where I stopped. Yes, imposter syndrome hit me hard. But I didn’t want to live in a world where I didn’t have a voice to lend.
Even if my parents were right—which they’re not, lol—and I couldn’t make a living out of writing, I knew I would have to have a career that could support my passion for it.
So, here we are.
I spend most of my days writing and thinking about what to write next.
The oddest thing about writing is that you can start somewhere but ultimately end up somewhere else. There were so many pieces I’ve written that were meant to be light-hearted but almost always end up dark and brooding. If we’re going to recount the times, I never thought that by writing poetry, letters to myself, I’d ever be published.
And now, my moment hath come!
I’m getting published!
But it’s not all glitter, gold, and cake. It’s so much work. I actually couldn’t believe the amount of work that I had to put in. Luckily, I had some great support from the GBR Publishing Team and my co-founder. They are the MVPs who helped me find my voice to share this deeply personal story.
After all of that, I finished. Now, I obviously have to write about the experience. Here it is, what I realized/learned in becoming a co-author:
Designate time to write
This sounds weird but you’re going to need it. There is a time and place for everything. It’s like you think you can get sh*t done until things get frustrating and you no longer feel motivated. I was definitely there. It took me a few months to un-frustrate myself but it took a lot of work to get there.
To move past this or avoid it as much as possible, you need to stay true, committed, and disciplined. Monday to Friday at 08:00; for an hour? Pencil it in. Etch it in stone. Do whatever it takes.
Blocking or designating a time on your schedule will help immensely with concentration, flow, and kicking Writer’s Block in the ass.
Re-write as much as you need to
I completely underestimated the level of difficulty of writing about myself. It only dawned on me when I realized I’ve never written a life story. Let alone write 2500 words about it. The only personal piece I did write was about my ex-boyfriend. And surprise, surprise! It’s still sitting in the drafts.
It also doesn’t help that I’m easily distracted. Not by people, but my own f*cking thoughts. I’ll be writing, my train of thought will switches rails midway, and suddenly nothing makes sense anymore. You can imagine the torment I put myself through daily.
TLDR; I’ve restarted my story from scratch about 5 or 6 times before I figured out the right tone and clarity of my message. And that brings me to my next point:
Don’t rush it
Good stories don’t just happen. It takes time to plan and execute.
In “Women Let’s Rise”, my chapter is about how I challenged myself and rose to the person I am today. There’s a lot of details involved. And depending on what details you decide to leave in, focus on, or take out. They all help the reader feel more connected, understood or whatever message you’re trying to get across.
One thing to keep in mind: there’s more value in sharing a story that people can relate to, learn a thing or two, or share an emotional connection with. And that can’t be rushed. Let the reader experience—or relive—it with you.
Find your voice
Just like singing, you have to find the voice people will listen to.
Writing a book, or any written work, is like that, too. It was hard for me to find my voice because I felt like every part of my life was narrated differently in my head. It can get pretty heavy. It can feel exposing but remember, your readers are also human. If you show them vulnerability, you’re really showing them strength. Dig deep. Find out what makes your story a great one.
If you have trouble finding your voice like I did, talk to your editor (if you have one), or ask somebody to help you. Others tend to view you differently than you view yourself.
Flexibility is key
When I started writing my chapter, I believed my story was about staying true to myself, how I’ve never been completely myself until recently and that was my power. I quickly realized, as I was writing, that my superpower was something else. You’ll have to buy the book to find out lol.
I was very flexible with my message because my superpower was a direct correlation to staying true to myself. So, I wasn’t too far off. Regardless, make sure you’re good with whatever changes because I can almost guarantee that change is a damn good thing.
Staying flexible doesn’t mean you let your story flip-flop, it still needs to have consistency. It just means that when ideas change or shift, go with the flow. It might lead you somewhere you least expected but it could be exactly where you need to be.
Annie Ngu is the co-founder of the Women United Project, a writer and a Lead UI/UX designer at EnergyX. She lives in Toronto, ON spending so much money on streaming services that she doesn’t even remember the total number of subscriptions. She’s on Twitter @AnnieNgu