One day this will be a story you can share.
Writing a book has been on my ‘to-do list for quite a while now. It all started when I moved to Dominica, and one of my friends told me, Marieke, one day, this will be a story you can share. Referring to the time I lived in the rat-infested house, I wrote an earlier blog about it; click here to read it.
I have had quite some adventures since I moved here in November of 2016. After finally landing on my feet and finding myself in calmer waters, the idea of writing about it kept popping up.
I have done a couple of interviews and podcasts over the years, and people would always tell me; this is a story to share with an audience. The idea started to grow on me, and last year I finally decided I am going to it.
When I decided to start writing, a mountain of questions arose.
Deciding to do it and actually doing it are two completely different things. When I decided to start writing, a mountain of questions arose. An obvious and practical one, in what language am I going to write, Dutch or English? I have chosen English, by the way.
Who will want to read the story of my life and, more importantly, my reason for writing it? I mean all these people who told me, ‘You should write a book about your life, will they buy it in the end?
And what is their reason for buying it? Is my life interesting and inspiring enough to fill an entire book? What about a captivating title? And how do I know my cover image is inviting and attractive enough for others to buy the book. My mind was racing in the beginning.
Unboxable it is.
As often happens in life, mine included, once you focus on certain things, you see ideas and meet people who can help you on your path, appear seemingly out of the blue. Long before I even started the actual writing process, I knew I had found my title.
I went to a convention on the beautiful island of Curacao in March of 2020. Not only was it a very inspiring event, but I also overheard one of the speakers say a specific word, and somehow it clicked. Immediately I knew that was the title of my book. That word paints the picture of my entire story, and that word is UNBOXABLE.
For so long, I tried to fit in a box, a box that others put me in, in an attempt to live up to their expectation and view of me. Until I finally realized that is not me, the authentic me. I do not fit in that box, nor any other box, for that matter. I am unboxable. I am not sure if unboxable is an actual word. If not, I am making it one by writing my book.
Reverse writing technique.
The reverse writing technique starts with writing the text for the back flap first and uses that as a starting point from there. That text has to be both a summary and a teaser for your potential reader. After all, besides the front, most people read that text before deciding to buy a book. Therefore, it has to be concise, appealing, and form a visually pleasing picture with the front cover.
Once you have the back flap text, you write down the different chapters using bullet points and then write a summary of that chapter from there. It should be easy writing from then on.
Even though that structure is a good start, as you already have the outline of your book, you still have to do all the writing. And trust me, that is not always a walk in the park; you need time, dedication, and perseverance. The advantage of this way of working is that you can easily switch when you find yourself stuck in a specific chapter.
I started my book sometime before I began writing my 2 Blogs, this Blog, of course, and the one for the Breadfruit House Dominica Foundation, my non-profit. If you want to read my stories with the children, please click here.
Writing both Blogs has helped me a lot with developing my writing style further.
Freedom is a sculpture.
The picture for the front cover of my book more or less fell into my lap. I signed up for an online workshop with a Dutch writer named Ester Jacobs. She introduced me to the reverse writing technique. As I was the only one in the Zoom meeting, it became a private session. And we mainly brainstormed about the design for the front cover of my book.
We discussed various ideas, like a person jumping out of a stack of boxes. Another one was trying to put something in a box that does not fit in it. Yet, none of them made me think hell yes! I spend an entire day roaming around on the internet in search of the perfect idea, but nothing gave me goosebumps.
Until one day, my coach forwarded me a picture of a sculpture in Philadelphia, USA. The moment I saw it, it took my breath away; I knew, I just knew this was the perfect image for my book cover. After some research, I found out who the sculptor was because I needed his permission to use the picture. I was pleasantly surprised when I received a positive answer within an hour after emailing him. His name is Zenos Frudakis, and his work is stunning. If you want to know more about him, visit his website here.
The sculpture is called Freedom, and what a fantastic image to reflect my story. It depicts breaking free from a situation, a box, whatever holds you back. Below is a quote from Mr. Frudakis about his reason why.
“I wanted to create a sculpture almost anyone, regardless of their background, could look at and instantly recognize that it is about the idea of struggling to break free. This sculpture is about the struggle for achievement of Freedom through the creative process.”
– Zenos Frudakis-
To be continued.
I am dedicating the coming weeks to finishing the first draft of the book, and in the process, I am slowly starting to believe the people who told me that this will be a story you can share one day.
Even though I now had the perfect photo, that did not mean I instantly had an attractive book cover. I got help from a young man from Greece named Joshua, and we went back and forth countless times, with different colors, fonts, the image centered, not centered. His eye for detail is outstanding, and his graphics reflect that. I am delighted with the result.
And I am also looking for an excellent editor and proofreader as well as research what will be the best way for me to publish.
Further down the line, there will be marketing, pre-ordering, launching the book. There are many things to think about when you write a book, which have nothing to do with the actual writing.
So, for now, all I can say is to be continued.