Breathe. Write. Breathe. - 18 Energizing practices to spark your writing and free your voice by Lisa Tener

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Breathe. Write. Breathe.

18 Energizing Practices to Spark Your Writing & Free Your Voice

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Five 2022 Nautilus Book Award Winners Share Insights and Tips

I have exciting news: The Joy of Writing Journal: Spark Your Creativity in 8 Minutes a Day won the Silver Nautilus Book Award!

Since the Nautilus is an award I often recommend my clients apply for—whether their books are traditionally published or self-published—(and we’ve had several winners over the years!), I always check the list of winners to see which of my clients may have won.

This year, as a winner, I got to check the list early and found two inspiring books that began in my Bring Your Book to Life® Program, as well two excellent books by long-time colleagues.

I’ve asked these winners to share their experiences with us today — from how one writes an award-worthy book to the inspiring reader feedback and impact their books are generating.

Rhonda Spencer-Hwang, author of Raising Resilient Kids

Lisa: What was your vision for writing Raising Resilient Kids?

Nautilus Book Award Winner Rhonda Spencer-Hwang

Rhonda: My vision was vague in the beginning, just a dream in my heart and a faint idea. I was hoping to take my research studying centenarians (folks who’ve live 100 years or longer) and help families build resilience. I had no idea at the time when I was asking the centenarians about their hardships, that I would be learning about their advice for overcoming a massive pandemic. Having lived through the 1918 Spanish flu, and many other hardships, they know what it takes to thrive. Lisa, you helped me to pull the vision from my head/heart and get it down on paper and to get going making it a reality.

Lisa: It was a great joy to work with you. I learned so much. You inspired me to get outdoors with my kids more (and we laughed so hard at some of your crazy parenting stories—I love your sense of humor!)

Lisa: What does it mean to you to win The Nautilus Book Award?

Rhonda: It still has not sunk in that I have received this award yet. And not just one award, but silver awarded in two categories: Parenting/Family category and Rising to the Moment.

Wisdom for the Book Publishing Journey

Lisa: What’s the most gratifying feedback you received from a reader?

book cover raising resilient kids

Rhonda: That they loved my book and actually voted for me to be faculty of the year! (And yup, I did end up receiving the faculty of the year award for 2022.)

Lisa: Wow! Congratulations! What advice do you have for other writers who are looking to write an extraordinary book—one worthy of a prestigious award like the Nautilus Book Award?

Rhonda: Just know in your heart that you can write an amazing book. It takes a little bit of strategy, prayer. Take your book idea and get a great book coach! That is half the battle right there. Second, you never know how events in the nation or around the world will unfold—perhaps making your book even more crucial than ever.

Lisa: What else would you like our readers to know?

Rhonda: It’s a long journey, but well worth it! And so many amazing doors are opening for me! This week, a documentary film company is heading over from the UK and I will take part in the filming, because of my book. I also just wrapped up filming a few videos based on a little of the content in my book for an upcoming national conference. I once felt invisible as a faculty member at a large institution and now, because of my book, people are seeking me out from around the nation and the world. Writing a book is like climbing a mountain and once you reach the top, the view and the celebration is amazing! Take a chance my friends and write a book! 

Hilary Crowley, author of The Power of Energy Medicine

Hilary commuted from New Hampshire once a week for 8 weeks to participate in my Bring Your Book to Life(R) Program back when it was in-person in Narragansett. A year later, she returned to repeat the experience! In that short time, I witnessed her growing confidence in the deep wisdom she had to offer and the emergence of her powerful voice and her storytelling deepened.

2022 Nautilus Book Award Winner Hilary Crowley

Lisa: What does it mean to you to win this award?
Hilary: I work quietly in a office, seeing clients in an intimate healing environment. My book tells the stories from the quiet corners of my heart and from the sacred lessons I’ve experienced through my work. But this acknowledgment from winning a Nautilus Book Award gives me a chance to shout out to the world – looks at what’s happening in healthcare, energy healing! Doctors, surgeons, nurses and patients now can see my book and expand the conversation around all the unseen forces that contribute to our health and wellness. 
Lisa: I love that. This award adds credibility for doctors, nurses and other healthcare practitioners to take a look and see how allopathic medicine can benefit patients by offering these tools. Plus the award adds credibility when people seek relief from their illnesses, but are not yet familiar with how energy medicine can help.

Lisa: What’s the most gratifying feedback you received from a reader?
Hilary: Most recently, my cousin, a very experienced MD, who I greatly admire wrote to me after he read my book and said, “In many ways we do the same work.” That brought me joy and hope for the message of The Power of Energy Medicine

5 Takeaways

Lisa:  What advice do you have for other writers who are looking to write an extraordinary book–one worthy of a prestigious award like the Nautilus Book Award?

1. Don’t rush the process 
2. Surround yourself with other writers
3. Normalize receiving feedback from great teachers (like Lisa Tener!) 
4. Don’t be afraid to cut the stuff you hold most precious…it may be more for your files than for the readers to experience. 
5. Above all, be true to the story you want to tell…and hone the story through careful edits.  

Lisa: This is all wonderful advice. Sometimes a book takes a few years more than you originally anticipate and that can be frustrating, but by taking the time and finding the heart of the book, by polishing and fine tuning, by learning more about the book from writing it, you end up with a better book than you could have possibly written if you’d done it in, say, a year. Thank you for the shout-out by the way. I loved that class you took, which met right on the ocean every Friday. It was quite special. Now I teach those classes solely online but I dream of one day bringing back that in-person magical experience and the longer class time–allowing time to share and get feedback–afforded by meeting in person.

The  Power of Energy Medicine

Lisa: What else would you like our readers to know?
Hilary: As a writer, I think it’s important to respect the time and commitment that goes into reading a book these days. Always write a book that makes the reader’s time well spent. Don’t waste a page of their time. 

Hilary Crowley discovered the healing arts as the grandchild of three doctors. Since 1995, she has studied with leaders in energy medicine and medical intuition. In 2008, Hilary opened her office as a Natural Health Intuitive at the integrative center Whole Life Health Care in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. With clients referred by surgeons, nurses, physicians, and psychotherapists, Hilary uses energy medicine techniques to identify root issues of disease and stress. Her hands-on work involves balancing and interpreting the subtle energy field of the human body to bring wellness and authentic health to her clients.

Bonnie Marcus, author of Not Done Yet!

Bonnie Marcus 2022 Nautilus Book Award Winner

Lisa: What was your vision for writing Not Done Yet!?

Bonnie: I wanted to build awareness about the impact of gendered ageism for women in the workplace and give them the tools to defy ageist assumptions, stay marketable, and have a fulfilling life and careers at any age.

Lisa: What does it mean to you to win this award? 

Bonnie: It’s a tremendous validation not only of the book but it gives recognition to the importance of the topic of gendered ageism.

Lisa: What’s the most gratifying feedback you received from a reader? 

Bonnie: The most gratifying feedback I’ve received from hundreds of women over 50 is that they wanted to let me know that I understand their issues; I’ve given them a voice,  and they are grateful for the sound advice

Lisa: What advice do you have for other writers who are looking to write an extraordinary book—one worthy of a prestigious award like the Nautilus Book Award?

Bonnie: Be clear on your message and write your truth!

Bonnie Marcus, M.Ed is an author, executive coach, podcast host, speaker and Forbes contributing writer focused on helping professional women in the workplace position themselves for success.

John Hanc, co-author of From Survive to Thrive

Arun Singh, MD, Lisa Tener, John Hanc
John Hanc and me a few years ago at Arun Singh, MD’s standing-room-only book signing for the Nautilus Award-winning book, Your Heart, My Hands

While writing this post, I also heard from my colleague, John Hanc, a gifted journalist and co-writer, whose co-authored book won a Silver Nautilus as well.

Lisa: John, I’d love to include you in our interview panel. You’ve won the Nautilus Award before! What does winning the Nautilus Book Award mean to you?

from survive to thrive book cover

John Hanc: Winning an award like the Nautilus is, to me, one of the most tangible and satisfying outcomes of writing a book. 
This is such a subjective business, and the one most obvious yardstick for success—sales—is a capricious and unpredictable measure, influenced by many factors beyond an author or writer’s control. Hence an award provides a sense of validation; some sense that what you spent months creating, assembling and reassembling, is deemed worthwhile.
What makes recognition by the Nautilus Awards in particular so gratifying is its  philosophy. “Better Books for a Better World.” What author or writer would not want to be part of a book that is judged to exemplify such a sentiment? 

Lisa: How beautifully put! “Better Books for a Better World” is indeed a lofty and inspiring goal. And quite an honor to have our books selected!

John Hanc is a New York-based author, journalist, educator and runner, whose 14 books cover a wide range of topics, but usually involve people who do extraordinary, inspiring and sometimes crazy things.

Lisa Tener, author of The Joy of Writing Journal: Spark Your Creativity in 8 Minutes a Day

It might be a little weird to interview myself, so I’ll just share how this honor turned things around for me as an author.

book launch joy of writing
Book launch at Willett Free Library in September

The truth is, I’d been feeling a bit in the dumps about my book sales. I’d gotten COVID a week into launch (Delta; this was pre-Omicron), and knew that rest and self-care needed to take precedence in my life.

Over the next few months, I received some beautiful emails from readers about how The Joy of Writing Journal impacted them—newfound confidence, a daily writing habit, the start of a new book, inspiration for video scripts and posts, a salve for burnout and—the most heartwarming—a mom who shared that doing the journal prompts at night with her son lessened his anxiety and helped him fall asleep!

Yet, despite hearing that the journal made a difference for these readers, of late, a nasty little inner critic told me I should have done better. Done more.

Now, I’m a Believer

The Nautilus Award came to my rescue and told that mean ol’ inner critic to just pack its bags and go home. The award provided outer recognition, much needed at this time, that, indeed, this book has the power to contribute to “a better world” – more joy, enhanced creativity, people acting on their passions and experiencing ease in finding their voice and trusting it.

A little ironic, I know—a message I needed to hear myself!

The Nautilus Award renewed my confidence and my commitment to the book. Now, I’m ready to go back out there and contact all those friends and colleagues whom I never got to when I got sick. I’m ready to ask for support (right now – please share this post! Buy the book! (you’ll love it and so will your friends!).

You can even review it, if you feel so moved. There, I said it. Let’s get this party started!

I hope one lesson our collective stories impart is to trust in yourself and your book’s divine timing. A good book has a life of its own. As authors we’re here to support that life—to get it onto the page and into the world, and to be open to the miracles that can happen when we do.

More About these Authors and Their Books

Read extended interviews with the authors about their book writing and publishing journey:

Read about our 2020 Nautilus Award winning authors!

Lisa Tener

Lisa Tener is an award-winning book writing coach who assists writers in all aspects of the writing process—from writing a book proposal and getting published to finding one’s creative voice. Her clients have appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS Early Show, The Montel Williams Show, CNN, Fox News, New Morning and much more. They blog on sites like The Huffington Post, Psychology Today and WebMD.

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