When did you first realize you wanted to write a book?
After I’d been in the workplace for several years and held several leadership positions, I got tired of people asking me about the same things or wanting me to tell them again about a particular leadership principle. I decided to write them down so that I wouldn’t have to keep answering the questions!
What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I write when I’m in the mood or have a thought that I want to get on paper. Unlike other authors, I don’t have a specific schedule because I’m also still working as a consultant. Typically, I schedule time on my calendar as a “writing” period or day. Then, I put on some Mozart music for background noise, close all other applications so that I don’t get distracted by email or text messages and write as I either think, or recreate from handwritten notes I’ve made.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Probably the music and closing other applications. I also jump back and forth between chapters or sections as I think of things I want to say or an example I want to give. I also like to snack while I write – fruit, chips, nuts – anything that’s crunchy and flavorful!
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Because my books are about leadership, almost everything comes from things I’ve done, experienced, or seen. They also come from positive and negative examples of leaders I’ve known.
How do you handle writer’s block?
Stop writing until it goes away!
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
How long the production time is after I’ve finished writing and all that’s involved with bringing the final book to life. Working with David Paladino, our graphic designer to come up with a good representative cover; working with Emily Hedrick, our Communicator to develop a marketing and promotional campaign; getting the ISBN number and bar code for the cover; asking people to be advance readers and waiting for their feedback; and more. All of which sometimes takes longer than the actual writing hours seemed to have taken. There is a lot of behind the scenes work that readers aren’t aware of being necessary in order for them to read the finished book.
How do you come up with the titles to your books?
From the “story” they tell or the “theme” they have. The first book, Why Are They Following Me? is primarily about the people who choose to follow a leader and what characteristics in a leader that makes them want to follow. The second book, What Am I Supposed to Say? is about the leader and knowing how to encourage, commiserate with, and motivate the followers during times of set-back, stress, or change. It’s primarily about the leader and having the wisdom to know how to and what to encourage those who are following. So, the titles reflect the content as well as the purpose of each book.
Do you have any suggestions to help others become better writers? If so, what are they?
Write what you know best. Whether that’s fiction or nonfiction, tell the stories that you’ve lived or seen. That way, your “voice” will be authentic for the reader and for you. Also, read … a lot! Read fiction, biographies, and nonfiction to better understand the music of the written word and the things that other writers do that resonate with you. Do they tell “stories” or do they relate “facts”? Is their writing “lyrical” or is it “presentation”? Figure out what you like to read and what you find yourself putting down after reading for a while. Which authors are the ones you keep going back to; waiting anxiously for their next book? Take all of the input you gain and use it when you’re writing. Most of all, remember that you’re writing for the reader, not for yourself, so don’t gloss over information that you already know, thinking that the reader will know it as well.
Are you on social media and can your readers interact with you?
I have Facebook, SnapChat, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts that I’m regularly on or post on. Other sites that I browse, though.
Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share?
I’m pulling notes and thoughts together for the last book in the Leadership Trilogy – not sure what it will be called yet. The focus on this one will be taking what you’ve learned about your followers and knowing what to say to effectively lead them so that you can create an organization that influences the lives of the employees, customers, users, suppliers, and others who interact with or within. The focus will be on building an organizational climate and culture where people want to work and thrive at work. Those organizations are able to build lasting client and supplier bases that sustain them.
Check out What Am I Supposed to Say? Using the words of authors, movie and television characters and others who inspire us to be our best selves, What Am I Supposed to Say? by Dr. joyce gillie gossom looks at these words through the lens of transformative leadership and creates an opportunity to have a conversation with those who come to us for guidance and wisdom.