“Perhaps the greatest lesson any of us has to teach as an author is to touch our readers in such a way that they can remember their spiritual identity, and we do that as much by the relationship we establish with them as by anything we say about a particular subject. Put simply, the quality of the relationship we establish with our readers may well be our greatest message.” – From Writing Spiritual Books
Have you survived unusual life circumstances and thought, “Boy, I could write a book!” Or perhaps you’ve written some articles and reviews, and your readers have told you “You need to write a book!” Maybe you’ve experienced the creative stirrings deep within your soul, feeling “I’ve got a book in me…somewhere.”
If any of these scenarios sound familiar, writing coach and author Hal Zina Bennett gives you the tools to make successful publication a reachable goal in his book Writing Spiritual Books. From knowing your mission to finding models to follow, mapping out your book to creating a solid proposal, Bennett inspires potential authors with insider tips, friendly advice, and helpful resources.
Writing Spiritual Books boosts confidence, largely by affirming that there are many approaches—and many formats—for writing New Age, self-help, self-improvement, or “spiritual” books. From biography to memoir, visionary fiction to channeled material, the author gives examples from published books from well-known authors to show readers exactly how—and why—they work.
Bennett emphasizes that “writing a book can never be a waste of time, whether it is ever published or not”, and maintains that tenacity and the act of writing itself can be a rich reward.
From identifying your target audience to empathizing with your readers, providing relevant anecdotes to imbuing prose with sensual imagery, the author not only shows writers how to connect with their audience, but also provides practical guidelines for organizing ideas, themes, and chapters. He also encourages would-be authors to value the power of personal experiences. In fact, he points out that journaling, reflection, and “clustering” can help you mine the jewels from your life for inclusion in your book.
As a bibliophile and reviewer, I tend to get aggravated with books that tell you “what” you’re supposed to be doing—but never provide the tools for HOW to do it. I was thrilled that Bennett pointed out this truth to potential writers by saying, “…we must not only point readers to the mother lode but also supply them with the tools and the light to uncover the treasure.”
• How to overcome resistance to writing a spiritual book
• Step-by-step brainstorming exercises
• How to be a storyteller
• Using memorable quotes to articulate difficult concepts
• Writing authentically and responsibly
• Creating experiential exercises that grab the readers’ attention
• Anticipating what the reader is thinking and feeling
• Determining how—and why—your book is different from others
• Getting published and what comes afterwards
Bennett also provides a listing of spirit-friendly agents, as well as publishers that seek spiritual books, online writer’s resources, books to take your further in your writing journey, and author-friendly bookstores across the U.S. for book signings, promotion, and talks.
I find myself consulting Writing Spiritual Books on a frequent basis these days, and Bennett’s engaging tone and hard-won wisdom excites me with possibility.
Even my reviews and articles have benefited from his sage advice. I enjoy conveying information, but this bit of insight on communication has aided me tremendously:
“Communication always includes caring about what’s going on for the person you’re communicating with…Information focuses, instead, on facts, with little or no concern for human factors that may be involved.”
He pairs this great advice with a story about a cross-country trip he took as a college student. A breakdown left him stranded in the middle of nowhere, hundreds of miles from home and with very little money. He shares how the kind, caring voice of the wife of the tow-truck driver on the other end of the payphone made all the difference in the world to him that night as he stood on a busy, noisy highway.
If you’re considering writing a book or perhaps creating articles with spiritual themes, Writing Spiritual Books is a must have guide! Hal Zina Bennett serves as a writing coach, cheerleader, and tour guide through the often arduous and daunting terrain of book publication—providing us with a clear map, gentle encouragement, and realistic expectations throughout the writing journey.
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