Denise Gabel wanted to write her book, but discovered, like many aspiring authors, that life had other plans. She needed a timeout when her soulmate and life partner Dennis fell gravely ill and passed away. Her world was rocked.
After a one-year sabbatical, she decided she was ready to move forward with her book, but had a new thesis and focus. “A lot changed for me, and I realized I had a new message to share with readers and with my audiences,” she confided to me as her book coach.
“Do you want to be a part of an experiment?” I asked Denise. I shared my concept for a VIP writing experience that would take place in my new home in Punta Gorda, Florida, and Denise was all in.
We began with another strategy session on Zoom to recalibrate the strategic underpinnings for her book, and re-established her purpose and use for the book, her thesis, target reader, and content outline with her new message, “Can-Do-ology,” “I just knew I needed to position myself in this new framework, and that you were the perfect guide to lead the way,” she shared.
I picked up Denise at the airport, and our event began with dinner together to state our intentions and goals. I got clear on what she wanted to accomplish, which was no small feat: to complete the first draft of her manuscript by the time she boarded her flight to go home (even though she had never written on this new topic).
Day One began with the post-it exercise, and I asked Denise to not only write down the topics and content headings, but also the stories and tools she wanted to include in the book. Using the sliding door to the lanai as our workspace, we created the detailed content outline for this book.
“What I found really helpful was that you were able to ask me questions about content that I could repurpose, based on our conversations of more than one year ago.” I had asked Denise about repurposing a transcription for one of her favorite presentations on a related topic that I thought might work. With this realization, Denise was able to amass a remarkable 12,000+ words toward her first draft, and it was only 1:00 pm on Day One. “That’s when I knew this was the perfect strategy for me to finish my book.”
Denise mapped previous content to her new outline to determine what pieces of her story had yet to be written, and she began by writing those stories which seemed easily accessible. “By writing these pieces first I got my writing muscles working again, and it just started flowing.”
Things were definitely flowing, and by the end of Day One, Denise had hit her initial goal of 20,000 words! She could rest easily knowing that this biggest chunk of writing was complete.
Day Two began with a discussion of insights Denise had received through the night and made notes of what she wanted to do. She also created a punch list of stories to write so that she could cross these off the list—providing fuel for her momentum.
One of the things Denise appreciated about our working arrangement was her ability to stop mid-sentence and voice a concern, ask a question, or read a paragraph. “The extrovert in me appreciated the ability to share in the moment and move the process seamlessly forward.”
By early afternoon of Day Three Denise had finished her first draft of over 33,000 words, and we were able to print it (front and back with page numbers) so that Denise could begin the first round of edits on her flight home. We also scheduled an initial call with a publisher so that Denise could understand the process of getting printed copies in hand. The day after she arrived home she had a proposal in hand from the publisher.
“It’s been an incredible journey,” states Denise. “If you want to get your book across the finish line and need focused, one-on-one time to get it done, this is the perfect experience.”