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#101 Ezzie Spencer + Meaghan O'Connell

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A writer is faced with so many dilemmas when creating a book. 

Two of the most common that I encounter in my coaching practice? "Do I go for traditional publishing OR publish as an indie author?" And "How can I write about the people in my life without damaging those relationships?" Writing is not for the faint of heart, not only because you have to tell the truth on the page, but also because it requires so many decisions that force you to look very closely at who you are and what values you stand for. 

I was delighted, therefore, to realize that this week's pairing of authors is all about staying strong through a book's dilemmas: Ezzie Spencer, who you'll remember from Episode 42, talks about how traditional publishing took her by surprise and all the choices she had to make beginning with her Australian book release all the way up to being distributed in the UK, the US and beyond. She is open and honest about how her relationship to the book has changed, both from needing to replenish after the first book launch and how she now feels the book has a life of its own, which allows her to start writing something new. I adore chatting with Ezzie and know you'll love hearing from her again. 

Our second guest, Meaghan O'Connell, recently published her first book, And Now We Have Everything: On Motherhood Before I Was Ready, to wide acclaim. (Many of you will have heard Mary Laura Philpott raving about it on last week's episode and then saw me freaking out about how much I loved it all over the internet). Meaghan talked with me about the process of writing such a vulnerable story, how it impacted her marriage to write so frankly about postpartum depression, and the irony of wanting to escape your baby to write about that same baby. If you were once a baby or know anyone who's had one, this book is a must-read. I'm delighted she was able to join us and share more about writing this incredible book. 

Happy listening everyone! 

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Discussed in Episode 101 with Ezzie Spencer:

  • Lunar Abundance is out. Now working on other/future projects.

  • Came out in Australia a year ago. US a couple weeks ago. UK just last week - as of time of recording.

  • “I took the opportunity to have a break.”
    On the downtime between the book being published in different markets.

  • “I feel like my boundaries with the project changed.”
    On coming back from time away from the book, and talking about the lunar abundance practice.

  • “The book felt very much like my baby.”
    On teaching the lunar abundance practice just after the initial book release.

  • “Now it’s out in the world, it’s just going to go and do its own thing.”

  • On not having to always be your book's cheerleader.

  • “My own sense of achievement or happiness doesn’t rise or fall on that any more.”
    On drawing a boundary once the book is published.

  • Enjoying the space allowed by such a time difference in the publications.

  • “That was a curve-ball for me. I had not thought that I would go down a traditional publishing road.”
    On Ezzie's reaction to a publisher approaching her.

  • Had intended to self-publish but publishers came calling.

  • Expected traditional publishing to be difficult. Had a great experience with it.

  • Continued lunar abundance practice while writing & then promoting.

  • Ultimate intention was simply to get the book in the hands of as many people as it could help.

  • “Sometimes the really good, deep work takes time.”
    On not rushing the writing.

  • A book is a commercial item and you need to be okay with sales and marketing as well as creating.

  • Self-funded her US book tour. Trip of a lifetime. Loved it.

  • Since finishing Lunar Abundance has written a second non-fiction book but has no plans to share it. Too personal.

  • Has her next book in mind, but is taking some time before starting it immediately.

  • “It's not necessarily a comfortable place to be, that in-between space.”
    On the limbo between projects.

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Discussed in Episode 101 with Meaghan O'Connell:

  • In the first draft, thought of it as her own secret document that didn’t need to be published. So she wouldn’t self-edit at that point. 
  • “I can always go back and have a personal reckoning.”
    On treating her first draft as for herself only. 

  • “You just sort of know when something feels a little dangerous, just to give yourself permission to keep going.”
    On letting your first draft go as deep as it can go. 

  • On subsequent drafts you have control over how you say things. 

  • Wasn’t planning on writing a book about having a baby. Sent the first story out as a TinyLetter. Response was really nice.  

  • A year to write the book proposal. A year to write it. A year to edit it. 

  • “I’d be with my baby, wanting to get away from him so I could write about him.”
    The ironies of writing about motherhood in real time. 

  • “I think in a way it was possible because I didn’t have that much time and there was this external obstacle.”
    On how constraints can increase rather than inhibit productivity.

  • “Feel less bad about feeling bad.”
    On what readers, parents, might take away from the book. 

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