Write Your Book with Dallas Woodburn

Dallas Woodburn is an acclaimed writing coach and “book doula” who founded the 90-Day Book Breakthrough Program to help entrepreneurs give birth to the books that are burning inside them. She is the author of three books, both traditionally published and indie-published, and is the editor of two national anthologies. She also has experience as a freelance writer for dozens of magazines, newspapers, websites, and 30+ books in the popular Chicken Soup for the Soul book series. Dallas received her BA degree in Creative Writing and Entrepreneurship from the University of Southern California and her Master’s degree in Fiction Writing from Purdue University, and was a Steinbeck Fellow at San Jose State University. She has led groups and seminars at a number of national conferences, festivals, and book fairs, and is a frequent guest speaker at club meetings, on podcasts, and on TV shows. Her new novel The Best Week That Never Happened will be published by Month9Books in 2020.

Here are some of the big topics we talked about:

  • If you’re starting to write a book, it’s a weighty question of where to begin

  • Don’t try to think of the project as a whole or get ahead of yourself, just think about one story or message you want to share and write a page

  • Dallas’s dad being a writer made her very aware of the link between writing and book being made

  • While communicating in words was at first exciting, it’s now buried deep inside of us

  • The idea of remembering the magic of expressing anything through words and changing lives of people we’ve never met is an idea that can center you when you begin a new project or sit down to write

  • You can tap into that child-like place with practices like a photo reminder, going with the flow, letting go of expectations, making your favorite tea, lighting a candle, creating different playlists for each project you’re working on, etc

  • Rituals like these can help train your brain to get into special writing time, especially if you turn off your phone, shut down your email if writing on the computer and clear away any other distractions

  • Treat writing as a special time that you have with yourself; it’s nourishing!

  • As you’re writing, think about your ideal reader or even a particular person to write to and create a manifesto for yourself

  • How will what you’re writing help the audience you’re writing for?

  • Use the connection that your words will have with your reader as motivation to keep writing. Remember to ask yourself, “what do I really want to say to my ideal reader?”

  • Not feeling motivated is a normal part of the process, especially when your initial enthusiasm has worn off a little but you are far from the end goal

  • The “muddy middle” as Dallas calls it, is a common place for people to quit writing

  • By adding the phrase, “and that’s okay” to any inner voice, it takes the power away from the criticism

  • When asked what is the hardest thing about being a writer, Dallas replied that her response has shifted from external struggles such as getting published to the internal battles with self doubt, fear, and critical voices

  • These practices are relevant and useful even if you’re not writing a book - it’s a reminder to surround yourself people who listen and support you

  • As a coach she is a cheerleader and book doula - a container of support

  • Her inner voice is calling her to trust and listen to what her inner voice has to say

In Dallas’s Voice

“Someone else who you’ve never met and will never meet can read the words that you write and it can change their perspective or their life.”

“Every time I start a new project I feel afraid that maybe I won’t be able to find or its scary to me because it’s something new. Every book has felt different to me because it’s a different journey, it’s pushed me to grow”

“Writing your book is going to change you. You can’t hire that out. Self exploration and know yourself in the way if you write your book out.”

“It’s amazing how much wisdom we have inside ourselves that we don’t even know.”

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