BABY BOOMERS REINVENTED

According to a local radio station, people who listen to 70’s and 80’s music tend to set their car volume higher than other drivers (and tend to open the roof more often too!). And that brings me to the subject of Baby Boomers. An important new book has come on the scene and I have just finished reading it – you should too.

The Reinvention Equation: A boomer’s Guide to a Reinvented Life by Howard Parsons was released a week ago and I just finished reading it. It’s very easy to give this book a 5 star rating and I have done so on Amazon. As baby boomers, we have witnessed unprecedented and seismic shifts in virtually every aspect of life. The word “technology” didn’t exist when we were kids and look at how it rules every aspect of our lives today. When I was pre-teen, the closest we came to being a techno wiz occurred when we removed the glass tubes from those old wooden radios and went to a store to test them and see if they needed replacing. Communications (other than the sound of our mother’s voice when it was time to come in for dinner) consisted of stretching a piece of copper wire from the back of that same radio, across our bedrooms to a window in the hopes of picking up the rock and roll stations in New York or Chicago to listen to the Big Bopper or Buddy Holly late at night – yep, I’m older than dirt apparently.

We seem to enjoy all those little quizzes on Facebook that demonstrate our advanced years by remembering things like party lines, fountain pens, spankings and various and sundry other nonsense to show our advancing years. But there are some things that have happened to many of us that remain inside and are rarely bragged about. Most of us were sold a bill of goods about how wonderful our lives would be if we just purchased some magic elixir that promised good health, worked for the same company until retirement, remained in a relationship, raised kids, took 2 weeks vacation, bought the right insurance policy, and on and on and on. Sure, some people have created a retirement of travel, good health, great friends, enough money, peace of mind, and everything that we were promised but what about the huge majority for whom this didn’t happen?

What about those people who worked for a company or organization for 35 years only to see it close down due to the aforementioned technology changes? What about those people who sacrificed to put their children through university, care for their own aging parents and now find themselves, at age 65, without the financial means to ride off into the retirement sunset? What about those people who take a look at their current life and say, “is that all there is?”

In the Reinvention EquationMr. Parsons uses the examples in his own life, and the lives of his clients, to illustrate the need to make changes from the inside out. If, like the majority of us, you have not reached nirvana, have not accomplished everything you expected, have not achieved the dream that was promised and expected, there is still a way to find the life that you so richly deserve. In the book, the author shows us, step by step, the process, the thinking, the road map to bringing the dreams we hold sacred and in our essential selves into reality. We find practical advice for looking inside to discover who we really are and how to move from that deeply felt truth to live a life of fulfillment and meaning.

Many of us have had to adapt to the changing conditions of the outside world but doing so has caused us to deny the deeply held essence of our true natures. So much so, that in many cases we have completely lost touch with who we really are. Glimmers of these truths reach the surface from time to time to frustrate and confuse us but Mr. Parsons presents a road map to help us find the meaning and truth in our lives. Combining newly discovered brain science and mixing this knowledge with fundamental principles of change, Mr. Parsons presents a compelling methodology for reinvention and deep, permanent, soulful acceptance of who we truly were meant to be.

This is a must read for any baby boomer who wants to awaken to their true nature and achieve a level of personal success that rises above the mundane and reaches for a connection to their hidden spirit thus allowing their true nature the freedom of expression to fulfill a destiny that, until now, they could only long for.

You can access information on the various formats of the The Reinvention Equation here.

3 TIPS FOR WRITING A MEMOIR

MEMOIRS DON’T SELL.

MY STORY Anyone who has ever broached the subject of writing their memoir with an agent, publisher, coach, editor, anyone, has heard the same reply – “Don’t bother, memoirs don’t sell, unless you are incredibly famous.” So what to do if you are not a former president, A-list celebrity, or much publicized convicted felon? What if you have an interesting story to tell, or you witnessed an event that you feel compelled to write about or simply want to leave a legacy for family and friends? What if you decide that you are going to go ahead and write a memoir, regardless of the advice of all of the so-called experts? First of all – good for you!

Heeding the advice of experts leads to committee-based decision making in which mediocrity becomes acceptable.

So, if you have decided to write your memoir anyway ( it’s a great place for early stage writers to get their feet wet), then let’s see if we can make it the best that it can be. Good principles of both non-fiction and fiction writing can be applied to help the process and we will deal with three of them here:

  1. WHO WILL READ IT AND WHAT VALUE WILL THEY RECEIVE?    Before you start any writing, consider who will be your target readers and what should they expect your book to deliver in the way of value. How will it make their life better, easier, more interesting? What will it cause them to stop doing, start doing or do differently? Include this thought process even if you are writing your memoir purely for the benefit of your offspring and don’t expect it to ever find a public audience. There’s nothing worse than taking your children for granted with a boringly told tale without a purpose.
  2. LIST FIVE HIGHLIGHTS THAT YOU WILL WRITE ABOUT.    Name the highlights or events and target your writing to revealing the interesting or unknown parts about them. I was once asked to work with a man who had written a 650 page family history but could not name the major events. He was also convinced that he didn’t need an editor because he had “spell-check.” I promise you that no one will make it through your opus unless you respect their need to be not only informed, but entertained, as well. If your life has been so eventful that it requires dozens of separate and unconnected events to be explained fully, consider a follow up book. “FIVE” is a target but a reasonable one to offer your readers a glimpse into your story. No, I didn’t take on the “family history” project – he knew better than I.
  3. USE DRAMATIC TENSION TO MOVE THE BOOK FORWARD – JUST LIKE A NOVEL.    So, you need to be careful here – if you make up something in the story that is not true – it’s not a memoir, it’s fiction based on real life events (see A MILLION TINY PIECES for what can happen here). The only way to keep the reader interested is to create, or reveal, the drama in the events so that they can understand that the protagonist (you?) ran the risk of either losing something significant or not getting something that you really wanted or needed. Maintain the idea of suspense throughout your writing and let the reader be relieved or peeved with the results. They will want to read more if the outcome is in doubt.

Memoirs are kind of a hybrid writing project based on actual facts and events but in desperate need of a good dose of excitement, challenge and plotting. Start with an outline and look carefully for those ways of pacing your story like a novel with suspense, and the possibility that life doesn’t always work out the way you planned. Have fun with it – who knows where it could lead.

One last thing, write from who you really are rather than that public persona you have been wearing and your readers, no matter who they are, will become your fans.

(previously published on “Book Mentor” with my own permission)

CENTRAL MESSAGE OF A BOOK

Writing a book, regardless of topic, creates an intimate or personal experience between its author and reader. Sometimes this experience transcends the ordinary to become something of great value, beauty and importance. It is the author’s responsibility to make this possible and it starts with knowing what the “central message” of the book is. The central message is different than the subject, genre or purpose of the book. It is at the core of the author’s need to create his book in the first place. It is much more about feeling than doing. It is more than a marketing slogan; it is more like a mutual need or sharing between the author and her audience. It is where the two come together in common purpose.

book pileThe central message could become the theme of an entire lifetime of books written by an author or could be the core of only one.
So, here’s some points about “central message”

  • it resides in your heart rather than brain
  • you talk about the message beyond the idea of writing a book
  • it represents something in your personal philosophy
  • you feel excited when you think about it
  • it is what is behind your purpose, the book’s purpose, the title, etc.
  • “central message”  wakes you in the middle of the night with a new thought or sentence

It is this “central message” that sets your book apart from others on the shelf. For instance, you might be writing about how to make simple electrical repairs around the house. Your real mission or message is that the average householder has the ability to effect these repairs. In addition to the instructional function, you spend time in your book encouraging your reader to attempt the repair. You are more than a “how-to-er,” you are also a cheerleader and encourager. You are passionate about the ability of your reader to be successful in this endeavor and you show it.

I feel the same way with this blog – my central message is to encourage readers like yourself to put aside their fears and write it anyway. There are incredible opportunities in this golden age of writing and I absolutely believe that you can create the book you have dreamed about. In other words, it is about much more than step-by-step instructions, details and technicalities – “central message” represents an emotional touch point that the author/creator wants to share with people around him.

It is the starting point of any book that seeks to rise above the everyday idea of how to accomplish a task. It goes beyond facts, process and instruction to guide both the author and reader toward a mutual sharing of mission.