I'm Joelle Speranza.

Author. Lifestyle Writer. Publicist. Empowering girls of all ages and life stages.

The Secret to Writing your Life Story

The above photo popped up on my Facebook Memories today and I’m happy to say that I followed that dream and published my semi-memoir, Trash the Dress: Stories of Celebrating Divorce in your 20s.

I wanted to write a book my entire life. I grew up writing stories on a typewriter and cutting out pictures of models in magazines to make them the characters. But it wasn’t until I got divorced in my twenties that I really declared I was going to write a book about my life. I knew there had to be a greater reason for my divorce, and maybe the universe wanted me to put my story into the world so I could unite with and help other women. I’m cool with that. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?

But where do you actually start once you decide to write a book?

Here’s a secret: There’s only one thing you need to do to start writing a book and that’s to start writing!

Everything else is secondary. Don’t worry about securing an agent, publisher, money or developing a marketing plan (well actually, you should start building your own social media presence about one year ahead of publication, especially if your goal is to sign with a publisher). But I digress….

None of that matters unless you have your content.

I spent one year writing my book. I dedicated every weekend to working on it. Because each chapter of my book is a standalone “article” if you will, I didn’t have to worry about writing in sequence.

My biggest challenge? Compiling the stories of the 70 women I interviewed, narrowing down the common issues behind their divorce, reasons they got married and creative ways they celebrated their new lease on life. I went through everyone’s email interview and put highlights on the parts of their stories that I wanted to include in the book. Then I threw each of those quotes into a Word doc on that topic.

By the time I was ready to write, I had all of my notes for each chapter ready. It made the writing process much smoother and less stressful.

Was it hard to give up my weekends? Yes. Luckily though, I had just started dating my now-husband and at the time, he had a job that required him to work weekends. So I used that time to write my book. It also helps that I’m pretty much a homebody and I’d rather stay home and do something creative towards my goals than go out.

Bottom line:

Writing a book should be a rewarding experience. Don’t stress yourself out or put a timeline on when you should be done. Enjoy the process.

Lesson learned from this post: If your goal is to write a book, just start writing and stay dedicated. Everything else will fall into place.

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