When all else fails, write a book

Ever thought of writing a book? Well, it had never crossed my mind until we went into lockdown. Before the pandemic, I was putting most of my energy into facilitating day-long workshops for people in the second half of life. We were exploring together how we could change concerns around ageing and death into meaningful connection and purpose. I was passionate about the work, so it was frustrating having to cancel future workshop bookings.

I started writing random ideas without thinking about an end product. There were no crossings out. No editing. I had thoughts going round and round my brain and I needed an outlet. I didn’t care if it made sense or not. When I got to 10,000 words, I wondered for the first time if I could write a book which I had never considered doing before. When I got to 20,000 words I spent days agonising of chapter headings. Whenever I got stuck, I scribbled a mind map which always opened up a new path for me. When I got to 35,000 I had around 80 mind maps and I started to piece sections together and refine the content.

Once I was in the swing of writing everyday, the book sort of wrote itself but that’s not to say I didn’t have moments of doubt. Who was I to write a book? I was not clever enough.But after a few dark nights of the soul, I silenced the inner critic and got back to work. I wanted to share what I had learnt from running workshops and from the mentors that I've been fortunate to have.

There were many things to consider before publication – the Forward, the Preface, the Acknowledgements and the Afterword. The Notes and the Bibliography seemed to take for ever but I had great help from a professional editor who was so encouraging at a crucial time.

Finally, I had to sort out the content design as I had exercises, case-studies, tables, illustrations as well as the text. I quickly realised I was out of my depth so I handed over the manuscript to Catherine Williams from Reedsy who did an amazing job.

The Power of Ageing – a Guide to the Second Half of Life is now up on Amazon and on 22nd Nov there's an on-line Book Launch with a diverse range of guests.

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