How Writing a Book Can Change Your Life with Jane Turner and Leanne Rogers

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Ever felt that you have a story inside of you that you would love to tell? Wish you could write a book but not sure where to start? In the following podcast, I’m taking you behind the scenes from a recent 2-day writing workshop that I attended along with Jane Turner and Leanne Rogers. If you’ve thought about writing a book, this will be truly inspirational and will give you insights on how you can start on your book straight away.

Jane Turner is the author Thrive in Midlife and the creator of the Power Writing program. She is also a speaker, business consultant, and certified master coach. Jane helps entrepreneurs, industry leaders and anyone with a message to tell. Her program teaches and educates you to create, write and market your own book. Jane will share her story, how her life has changed after having opportunities to speak on Australian national television and being featured in a number of magazine publications.

Joel Annesley:                       I’m Joel Annesley, and I’m here with Jane Turner, and Leanne Rogers. We’re here today writing with Jane.

Leanne Rogers:                     We are.

Jane Turner:                           We’re having a great time aren’t we.

Joel Annesley:                       Yes.

Leanne Rogers:                     Absolutely.

Jane Turner:                           Both in terms of how much we’re all getting done, and how good we are in terms of, just as a collective, and it’s that group energy that really works, isn’t it. We’re a small group. This is my mastermind group, but wow. We’re getting there in a big way.

Leanne Rogers:                     Absolutely.

Joel Annesley:                       Definitely.

Look I thought, in today’s video or podcast, it’d be really good to dive into this idea of the power of writing your own book, and how writing a book can absolutely change your life.

Jane Turner:                           Yeah.

Joel Annesley:                       I think if we talk about your background or experience just for a few minutes, how you got on that journey.

Jane Turner:                           Absolutely. I’m a refugee, if you like, from the public service. I was employed by the government for my whole working life, up to the age of 52. Then a perfect storm of events happened. I was A, made redundant, B, went in to menopause, and C, my daughter was going into adolescence, so there was all the hormones flowing around, the financial stress, the general loss of identity that I experienced then. And I had a little plan hatching, knowing what was about to happen in terms of the redundancy, and knowing that I had a small passion project on the side, which is my little coaching practise called the Wellness Coaching Collective.

And my idea was that I would write a book to increase my credibility and authority, and build that up to be known as a coach now. Because of the life phase I was in, and knowing how women in that area are to one extent stigmatised, and to another extent struggling on their own with smatterings of information, but I figured they were a hungry crowd, underserviced.

So, I thought “okay, I’m gonna put myself through a wellness programme”, because my self care hadn’t been great, put myself through a wellness programme, that I would then document how I went with that, and release this as a book. And then it happened. There was thriving midlife. Now the idea was to then attract women in that life-phase into my coaching practise, and I used the book to leverage publicity, and that worked like I could not have imagined.

I was in the Australian Women’s Weekly, and this was a major profile piece. Australian Women’s Weekly, Prevention Magazine, ABC Radio, Today Extra programme on television. So I actually hit all the main markets where women in that life-phase were gonna be hanging out, as it were. And actually morphed myself, changed. The person I was was no longer the person who fit into a small box. I needed a big, bold box. And that in it’s own way was just so amazing to look back on and see how did that happen?

Really, if I can summarise quickly what was an amazing personal journey, and it is clearly a hero’s journey, and coming to terms with Joseph Campbell’s great book, “Hero With A Thousand Faces”, brought me to a place where I realised that I’d been playing small my whole life. That I had been hitting against that transition point, and resisting the transition point, to become, you know, to evolve.

We are on the planet to evolve, and writing the book gave me nowhere to run and nowhere to hide, and that experience, not to mention some clearly cathartic moments, but that experience is the one that I want you guys and my other writers … and not everyone does this intensive deep dive weekend workshop, but it’s a bespoke programme that I run because it doesn’t suit everybody. Some of my clients don’t live in Sydney. But I notice already how much transition you two have had.

Joel Annesley:                       We really have.

Leanne Rogers:                     Definitely.

Jane Turner:                           So I’d like to hear-

Joel Annesley:                       Oh, definitely.

Leanne Rogers:                     It’s interesting you mention that when you’re writing a book there really is nowhere for you to run and hide. Putting yourself out there onto this piece of paper, or the laptop or whatever it is, and you’re reflecting back, and it’s just this really eye-opening experience where you go “Oh shit, this is really who I am. This is …” and you’re getting to know yourself in the process. I think that’s a really powerful thing, and it’s important to take the ups and downs with that as well. Just embrace the emotions that you go through.

Joel Annesley:                       Well essentially you’re putting your heart and soul out onto paper, and sometimes that is a very hard thing to do. Writing a book is not an overnight thing. It’s a journey.

Jane Turner:                           That’s right.

Joel Annesley:                       And I think for some it can take months. For some it can take years.

Jane Turner:                           Oh yes.

Joel Annesley:                       And for some they just don’t get it. They never get across the line.

Jane Turner:                           That’s it.

Joel Annesley:                       So from my own journey, when I think about writing a book, I’ve had a lot of mindset stuff that has come up for me in the past. Thoughts like “Am I good enough to write a book? Do I know enough to write a book?” And I think that’s probably very common thoughts that we all face.

Jane Turner:                           Yes.

Joel Annesley:                       And I think it’d be really good to get your perspective around that Jane. If somebody is saying “I wish I could write a book.”

Jane Turner:                           Ah yes. I would say, what are the barriers? What’s stopping you from writing a book? And in fact this is what I came to terms with, with myself. I’m only here, I only get it, because I’ve done it, and the whole thing with the first book about my experience of menopause, it was “Well who wants to read your book?” When Christiane Northrup has written a book this fat about it. And then we hold ourselves to that standard and we think “Oh my god.”

But in fact, what I’ve found, that a book of about 125 pages, 150 pages, is a perfect size book for a sort of a how-to. Mine was a how-to be well through midlife. So there was one thing that I could have been derailed with. There’s the “what if people don’t like it?” What if … And it reminds me of Brene Brown’s great book “Daring Greatly”, where she talks about stepping into the arena. And I’ve done the Daring Greatly programme, with one of her facilitators in Sydney, and we went through and we looked at the arena. Who was in the arena? Who was going to be throwing the tomatoes at us? Who are our supporters?

It’s a powerful piece of work. That’s a powerful piece of work, but then you look at it and you think “But how would it feel to have a tomato land on you?” And then you go “you know what? It’s not gonna kill me, is it? And anyway, who is going to throw the tomato?”

Leanne Rogers:                     They’re throwing tomatoes at themself.

Jane Turner:                           Yeah. So it’s that internal critic, and if you come to terms with that, not only can you write a book, you can do a whole lot of other things. You can go on Today Extra. An introvert, who never talked about their parts of themselves they didn’t like, then wound up writing about the parts of themselves they didn’t like, and that’s the stuff that connects with people, because it’s real.

Joel Annesley:                       From a really authentic place, isn’t it.

Jane Turner:                           And when you spoke about, Joel, the journey of it, and that it’s taking time because you’re exposing parts of yourself that you may not have even recognised yourself.

Joel Annesley:                       That’s right, that’s right.

Jane Turner:                           But those are the books that people will actually not just read the introduction and then never come back to, those are the books that people read.

Joel Annesley:                       That’s a really good insight, and I wanted to just share the experience, when I got started with making that … coming to actually make the decision that I’m going to write a book. Despite all that mindset crap that was going on in my head, I said “I’m going to actually make a commitment to myself. I’m going to do this for me and my audience.”

But the thing that, touching on what you just said before, that the first struggle I had was I’m … I went to Amazon, and I looked at all the other books within the niche, and I thought “It’s all been done before.” How could I possibly produce something? I’m just a nobody, I’m not … I’m the unknown hero at this point in time, and nobody knows about my story. This is my first book, so I’m not leveraging an existing platform, and I think that’s one of the scariest things, is when you’re approaching this from a position of being the unknown.

Jane Turner:                           Can I jump in, and say how real is that, and what’s real, and how did John DeMartini find you to ask you if you could interview him? How did that happen?

Leanne Rogers:                     It’s amazing.

Jane Turner:                           See these are the stories we tell ourselves.

Leanne Rogers:                     That’s right, that’s right.

Jane Turner:                           And I will later this year be launching a new book called “Mindset for Authors: How to Overcome Perfectionism, Procrastination, and Self-doubt.” I was going to say “self-belief” because I’m always talking about self-belief, but it’s how to overcome self-doubt. Because we all have it. Brene Brown would have had it. Believe me, Brene Bran would have had it. Elizabeth Gilbert would have had it.

Yeah, sorry, you jump in.

Leanne Rogers:                     But I think we talk about it though this person would have had it. What if they still do, but they’ve actually learned how to manage it, and they’ve become accepting of that emotion?

Jane Turner:                           Exactly.

Leanne Rogers:                     And it’s not something that was in the past, it’s just they’ve overcome that and now they know how to deal with it when it does arise.

Jane Turner:                           They know what it is, and it doesn’t define them anymore. That’s the thing. Would you like to share, and you don’t have to, what you arrived to our first meeting with?

Leanne Rogers:                     This is brilliant. I look back and I laugh. Basically I met Jane through some work I was doing in my day job. I work at an employment relations firm, and I was giving a talk about employment relations for small businesses, and Jane just happened to be at this event, and we did this activity, 30 second pitches, where we all sat in groups and perfected our pitch. We essentially got exposure to every other individual in the room, and Jane’s pitch was quite compelling, and she went on to the final, and presented the whole room again. And I thought “I need to get Jane’s number.”

I’ve been writing all my life, mostly just for myself, and never stuff that I wanted to share, but actually I got a lot of content. So Jane and I went for tea one day, in Erskineville, and I remember thinking “Oh, this is going to be interesting. This is nervous”, but what I actually brought with me was a big black shoebox full of all these raw notes from some of my deepest depression phases, and we sat there and we looked through a little bit of it and realised there’s all this stuff here. You’ve got a book, it’s just now about putting that into a logical order and that’s what Jane’s helping me do.

Jane Turner:                           And what worried me at the time is that people can drown themselves in notes. And I knew that wasn’t the only box. So there were boxes and boxes. The thing about the hero’s journey is that you’re answering the call to adventure, and it might be the call to run a marathon, it’s not always about writing a book of course. But your call to adventure was. And your notes were actually stopping you from answering the call, you see? So it was about feeling confident, and where did the confidence come from, was about not being alone anymore.

Leanne Rogers:                     Absolutely.

Jane Turner:                           You see? And again, there’s no one size fits all, and that’s why I have a bespoke programme. For some people it just takes 90 minutes one on one with me. For others, this is what works. Coming here, being accountable. Because lack of accountability is one of the things that stops people. There’s forever, so I won’t start today, I won’t start tomorrow. When I’m on holidays I’ll do it, and then when you’re on holidays you need to be having a holiday, so you wind up having a holiday, and all of the endless tomorrows.

But this was you stepped up, because you hooked onto something that would give you accountability and give you structure.

Leanne Rogers:                     Absolutely.

Jane Turner:                           Because that’s not easy. You haven’t written a book before. You’ve written some brilliant articles, there’s no question that you’re a great writer, but it gave you structure, it gave you support, it gave you accountability, it gave you a process of how to start, where to start, what to do next, what to do next, and how to get published.

Leanne Rogers:                     Definitely.

Jane Turner:                           About “how to get published” part of it as well. You can research that, anyone can find that out. Anyone can make the calls. To know that you’re not gonna keep battering your head against a brick wall whenever it comes time to look at options with self-publishing, with hybrid options, with how to pitch to established publishers, really, and we’ve got some in mind.

Leanne Rogers:                     We’ve got some really good ones in mind.

Jane Turner:                           Just knowing how to really fast track that process, too, that that doesn’t then blowout and cost you time, because that can be really, really frustrating. When you finish the book I don’t have anybody going “Now what?” We’ve got the strategy ready before that happens.

Joel Annesley:                       I think one of the big things from my perspective as well, is whether you’re writing a book, or doing anything new for the first the time in your life, it’s very scary if you’re just doing it alone.

Jane Turner:                           Yes.

Joel Annesley:                       And you are faced with that constant mindset chatter, “Can I do this?” I think one of the things I was looking for, is seeking out somebody who had already been on the journey, who could give me that confidence that this is something that is achievable, and these are the steps you need to take.

Jane Turner:                           Yeah.

Joel Annesley:                       But also having that accountability built in I think is very, very crucial. I’m very much aware of that. Your environment is everything, and if you’re just writing at home, and you’ve got the TV on in the background, and you’ve got all these different distractions, you’re gonna find that your progress is really gonna be halted.

So I’ve found Writing With Jane has been a fantastic experience, and I think I’ve really been given that push that I’ve needed to have to make that commitment. We’re often dipping our toes in the water, reluctantly going “Oh, maybe I can do this. Maybe.” I think that’s the mindset that I’ve gone through, saying “No, this is the commitment. I’m gonna make it happen.”

Leanne Rogers:                     I definitely resonate with that as well.

Jane Turner:                           And in terms of spaces, you know, the place to write, big shout-out to City of Sydney actually, because we are in one of their creative spaces that they’ve set up in the … Let me get my directions right. This is the western end of Oxford Street in Darlinghurst. I’ve got that right haven’t I? Eastern suburbs that way.

Leanne Rogers:                     Yeah.

Jane Turner:                           We’re at the western end of Oxford Street. In other words, we’re right near Hyde Park, in the City of Sydney creative space at 66 Oxford Street. Every month, the end of every month, I should say the last weekend of every month, we have the two day, deep dive intensive writing workshop, and there’s something about this space, isn’t there?

Joel Annesley:                       It’s very powerful.

Leanne Rogers:                     Absolutely.

Joel Annesley:                       What I wanted to just dive a little bit deeper into, if somebody loves the idea of writing a book, but doesn’t know where to start … For example, I know you cover in one of your introductory-

Jane Turner:                           That’s right, yeah.

Joel Annesley:                       -seminars, you outline the process. But if you were to, ’cause I know we don’t have forever on this video, but if you’re able to maybe sum it up. Some of the key steps that they could take just to get..

Jane Turner:                           To get started, absolutely.

Joel Annesley:                       What would you say to them?

Jane Turner:                           Well, the very first question I ask my clients is “Why are you writing the book? From your own perspective, what do you want to achieve from the book?” You are both transitioning from being employed people, to running your own businesses, and this is your vehicle to build your profile and launch your business, and that was in my own case as well.

Other people are writing legacy books. They want their story documented. They’ve overcome great adversity of some kind, and they want to inspire people like themselves. Other people are doing it for healing, and my god it can be a very very healing tool as well.

So be very clear about why you’re writing the book, and then envisage your reader. Why is your reader then going to be wanting to read the book. If you get those two perspectives aligned, you’ll save a lot of wasted energy and uncertainty from your own point of view. Whenever you’ve gotta remember back. And then make a short video of yourself. Just imagine that you are talking to your prospective reader, and you’re telling them what they will get from reading your book.

You want to address the four key learning styles. I borrowed this from Bernice Murphy’s … Gosh I hope I’ve got her name right. Anyway, it’s the 4MAT system. It’s the number 4, and then “MAT”, and it’s about learning systems. So it’s about, you’ve got your “why” learners, your “what” learners, your “how” learners and your “what if” learners. So you want to be able to answer the questions, that even unconsciously, those readers are going to be asking before they’ll buy your book.

They’re gonna want to know, if they’re a “why” learner, “why do I want to read this book? What’s in it for me? What will I get out of it.”

A “what” learner is gonna want to know “What specifically is in this book?” And sometimes the why and the what’s hard to get a handle on, but the what is … Let’s say it’s a book about losing weight. Well they might be getting healthy recipes, they might be getting statistics about what works and what doesn’t, they might be getting information on the latest research. So that’s sort of the “what”.

“How” learners want to know “How do I make this work for me?” I think that’s straightforward enough, hopefully. But it’s things like, if you read this book with an open mind, and a preparedness to change, you’ll find that it is much easier to take on board behaviours that you might find stuck in at the moment. It’s that kind of language. You want to say “To make the most out of your reading experience … “. “What” learners … “What you will find in this book is …”  “How” learners want to hear “I share this information with you because …”

And then the “what if” learner is just the flip side of the “why” learner. They might need to hear something like “I know how hard it is to change your behaviour around X, Y, and Z, because I struggled with that myself for years. But then when I finally did make the change, and got over my resistance, the benefits for me were huge. And what I want for you is to experience the same thing.”

So does that … I know it makes sense to you guys, because that’s the way you’re unpacking your information. I hope it does make sense to your listeners, Joel.

Joel Annesley:                       Well just an insight on that, or my personal reflection. It’s often, you know, you’ve got this great … you might come up with a great idea for your book, but sometimes you get stuck on “how do I actually get started?”

Jane Turner:                           Yes, yes.

Joel Annesley:                       You know, do you open up your computer and just start writing …

Jane Turner:                           The lucky few.

Joel Annesley:                       Yeah, the lucky few.

Leanne Rogers:                     Consecutively.

Joel Annesley:                       But what I learned through Jane’s programme is following that model, doing that for over all your book, and then fleshing out each chapter-

Jane Turner:                           Yes.

Joel Annesley:                       It gives you everything you need, ready to actually start writing. So you’ve got everything planned out and ready to go. I found that very, very powerful, and if you’re struggling with it, having a call with Jane was really, really insightful because you’ve got that coaching relationship where it really helps you to go to that deeper level that you wouldn’t necessarily do on your own.

Jane Turner:                           This is right.

Joel Annesley:                       It’s that breakthrough sometimes you need. Because we’re talking about the stuff inside your head, you know?

Jane Turner:                           And the beauty of it is, is that language in that way, and writing it in that way, lands with a much bigger audience than it would otherwise, but what’s more, it actually gives you access to more information than you would. A lot of the stuff that you’re just assuming everybody knows because that’s your learning style, it can work both ways. It can either be that you’re forgetting to say important stuff because it’s so obvious to you because that’s your learning style and on the other hand, that you’re potentially not addressing the other learning styles properly either because you’re just not even considering it. You don’t think people think that way necessarily.

Leanne Rogers:                     Absolutely.

Jane Turner:                           So I love this stuff. And this is not my intellectual property. In full disclosure, I learned this on my journey, and I’ve done various writing programs as well, so this is the amalgamation of everything running around in my head, the whole hero’s journey, stumbling on that in my coaching training. We come to a point where we finally know what we need to know to get something important done, and that’s what I’m so happy to be able to share with other people now.

Joel Annesley:                       Yeah. I think that’s a really good tip in itself. Essentially that, don’t think when you write you have to create new knowledge.

Jane Turner:                           That’s a big one.

Joel Annesley:                       This feeling of “I have to create something that hasn’t been done before”. That’s the challenge I think a lot of us face, and when we can get beyond that to realise a lot of the concepts out there will be in one shape or another. All we have to do is put it in our own voice.

Jane Turner:                           Absolutely.

Joel Annesley:                       And I think this is the journey. It’s all about thinking about the message that we would really love to share, that’s really close to our heart. Who we’d like to connect with. And think about how you can share it, the type of stories that you’d like to share with your audience.

Leanne Rogers:                     Absolutely. And that really ties into what we were talking about the other day. “Are you speaking from experience?” Or are you speaking from expertise? And a lot of writers, particularly when they’ve got these perfectionistic traits go “Well I need to know everything about this topic before I start writing” and so they got bogged down in the research process, and that’s where imposter syndrome kicks in, because there’s always gonna be someone who’s got more academic accolades, or more experience than you, and more knowledge, but what makes your story unique is the fact that only you know what it is. You’re essentially the expert in your own experience, and that’s important to take away from it.

Jane Turner:                           Lovely. Lovely.

Joel Annesley:                       To get rid of that myth, or the mindset challenge, and this is something that I’ve had, that you’re either too young to write a book, you don’t know enough-

Jane Turner:                           Ow. That’s one I never had. As I wrote my book about midlife.

Joel Annesley:                       Or that feeling that I’ve missed the bought, you know? That I could have done this years ago. That’s another one that you can get rid of, because regardless of where you are on your journey … we just have to make the most of now.

Jane Turner:                           That’s it. That’s a beautiful statement, isn’t it?

Leanne Rogers:                     Yeah.

Joel Annesley:                       And that’s what we’re doing this weekend. I think the more that we share-

Jane Turner:                           Yes. Yes.

Joel Annesley:                       The more that we work together, our own stories get stronger.

Jane Turner:                           That’s beautiful.

Joel Annesley:                       And that’s really the advantage of what we’ve got instead of just doing this alone.

Jane Turner:                           Absolutely, yeah.

Leanne Rogers:                     Absolutely.

Jane Turner:                           It’s great. So writewithjane.com if you’ve got a book bubbling away that you just don’t think you can do it on your own, well you don’t have to, is the point.

We hope you got great value from this podcast. If you have any questions for Jane, Leanne or myself, leave a comment below and we would be happy to continue the discussion.

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