Azul Is Interviewed by Steve Vannoy about His Current Books
“That shift really allowed me to have confidence that what I have to say actually matters, and becoming an author actually gave me a whole new world of opportunity to talk to people because people saw me differently.” —Azul Terronez
Have you ever had thoughts that maybe you were an imposter and weren’t meant to do what you’re passionate about? And that maybe if someone found out who you really are, they wouldn’t appreciate you, or admire you, or want you? Being a writer is like having imposter syndrome attached to you at all times. Letting go of that is a big part of becoming an author.
On this week’s episode of “Authors Who Lead,” I show up feeling like an impostor. It’s so easy for me to be behind this microphone and interview others and tell you all what to do, but today I’m interviewed by Steve Vannoy. He asks me about the current books I’ve been working on and uncovers what happens behind the scenes with me. I’m an author and the one you hear from on this podcast, but you don’t hear much about my own writing. It’s a vulnerable moment for me.
Steve and I envisioned and created our Authors Who Lead program together, and we both know that it’s definitely a journey writing a book. Our methods are a bit nontraditional but yield transformative results in both the author’s lives and their books. In this interview, Steve asks me about going through this process that we’ve created together, as an author myself this time.
My book, The Art of Apprenticeship: How to Hack Your Way into Any Industry, Land a Kick-Ass Mentor, and Make A Killing Doing What You Love, was written in thirty days with a specific purpose in mind. I’ve also ghostwritten books and helped many authors through their journeys. But this year, not only was it time for me to finish writing a book I’ve had on my heart and mind for many years, but Steve and I also came up with an idea for a historical fiction series based on stories his dad would tell us.
The NaNoWriMo Novel
This year, it turned out that I ended up writing two books at one time. The first one is the fiction book I am coauthoring with Steve. I wrote it during the month of November for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). NaNoWriMo is where you have thirty days to complete your novel of a minimum of 50,000 words. I now can call myself a novelist!
The Book from My TEDx Talk
My first book, The Art of Apprenticeship, opened up doors for me to do a TEDx talk in Santo Domingo. That TEDx talk, called “What Makes a Good Teacher Great,” then opened up doors for the second book I’m writing, which is a nonfiction book called Great Teachers Eat Apples.
Steve knows how much I’ve struggled with this book and how I’ve tried multiple times to write it. I just had so much resistance, doubt, and fear that it wasn’t going to be good. After creating my TEDx talk, I found a unique perspective on all the responses from students I had collected all those years for the book. I asked myself questions like, “What did I notice now?” and came to the realization that my unique idea was not to say how great I was, but the fact that I was never really listening to the kids in the way I should have. Once I understood that my mind opened up to the book’s true form.
Writer’s Block of My Own Creation
Other than not really having the right focus for my book, in the beginning, I also struggled because someone put expectations on me. Dan Roam, author of the New York Times bestselling book The Back of the Napkin (Expanded Edition): Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures, told me at a conference that my proposal for the book born out of the TEDx talk was an amazing idea, and he even had an agent I could submit the proposal to. I was excited when he told me this, but I also got sick to my stomach, and when I went home to write the book, I couldn’t. Every time I sat down to write, I felt like it was just garbage.
I was so focused on thinking the book had to be good that I forgot about just enjoying the book. So I created my own block for years. Then one of our clients told me that we mess up our productivity and ability to create when we focus on things that are outside of our control. This is exactly what I was doing. Once I realized that becoming a bestseller had nothing to do with me, that I can’t control who buys my books, I was able to concentrate on what I can control: writing and editing the book. I allowed myself to just write a messy draft, and the book finally flowed out of me.
Coauthoring a Book
Steve is the coauthor with me on the fiction book, so what does that look like? Even though I wrote the first draft of our fiction book during NaNoWriMo, we both did the interviews with our dad together. We discussed the themes, time period, characters, and how best to tell the story. We’ve learned over the years that when we work together on a piece of writing, it works best when I do the first draft. I’m dyslexic, so I’m not great at grammar and spelling, even though I was an English teacher. Steve will then pick up where I left off and improve the writing as well as ask me questions and add nuances to the characters and the setting.
This book will be a creative and fun process, and we’ll report back on our progress. This podcast will not be our only solo episode. We’ll talk more about blocks and feelings and resistance we face as we move forward on our book-writing journey. We’ll have Steve back on to talk about his revision process and how our book is coming along.
I hope you enjoyed this episode of me sharing my vulnerable journey and what happens when authors interview authors. What was your biggest takeaway from this episode? In the comments, share your biggest challenge to writing your book. Are they blocks you’ve created yourself?
That’s all for this week. If you have a message inside you that needs to be written, know that you can write the book that’s been on your heart. Don’t delay—get out of your head and put words on the page today!
Azul’s Art of Apprenticeship Book
Azul’s TEDx Talk
Dan Roam Book: The Back of the Napkin (Expanded Edition): Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures