257: How to Start Writing a Book When You Don’t Consider Yourself a Writer | Larry Winter

Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Heart

“When I started to really be serious about, yes, I want to write a book, I was overwhelmed. I really felt that I needed a coach. I needed some help in getting out what was inside of me.” —Larry Winter

Larry Winter didn’t consider himself a writer even though he had dozens of filled journals and a distinguished career requiring thoughtful and educated writing. Becoming an author was never in his life plan.

But when he needed to retire early, he started wondering what his new purpose and meaning in life would be. His dad suggested that now he had the time, he should write a book about their family’s journey with mental illness. Larry thought that was a great idea and started researching how to write a book.

In this episode of “Authors Who Lead,” I talk with Larry Winter, writing as LJ Winter, about how we ended up working together and about the roller-coaster journey of writing his book, SuperHuman Being: Be Bold, Be Imperfect, Be Present, and Recover.

Just Start

There is no wrong place to start writing a book from your heart. Larry actually attended a marketing boot camp with us here at “Authors Who Lead” shortly after deciding to write his book.

It might seem backward to learn marketing first, but he knew he needed a coach and a community to help get everything out of his head. After the boot camp, Larry joined one of our AWL writing programs and worked hard to write his first draft.

The Difference Is in Your Vulnerability

There are many books and resources on mental illness, but what sets Larry’s book apart is his unique and vulnerable message. He shares how he lived and survived and eventually recovered from growing up around abuse and trauma and mental illness in his family.

Just like authors need a community, people who struggle with mental illness also do. As Larry tells us from personal and professional experience, “Healing cannot be done effectively in isolation.”

To get our authors out of their heads and gently pull their ideas out of their hearts, we at “Authors Who Lead” use a unique way of coaching. Instead of going for an outline first, we use tactile activities like mind maps to encourage our authors to seek what is really in their hearts.

Larry says this “out of the norm” approach was the only way he was able to get out of his head. Even after a lifetime of working in social work and seeing many therapists himself, it wasn’t until he started writing the book that he realized he couldn’t forgive his father for things that happened in his childhood.

Your book is you. It’s your unique message.

In this podcast, Larry also shares with us:

  • Why he chose the green bandana for his cover and why it’s so important
  • That mental illness is often overlooked
  • Resources for anyone struggling with mental illness
  • How the title for his book came to him in an aha moment
  • How every writer has unique ideas and a unique book-writing journey
  • That his writing journey was not easy and it had many ups and downs
  • That it may be necessary to take a break from your book after everything starts pouring out of your heart

What was your biggest takeaway from this episode? Are you dreaming about writing a book, but aren’t sure if you can? Share in the comments below!

That’s all for this week. If you have a message inside of you that needs to be written, today is the day to start. Don’t delay—take action.

Episode Resource: 

Larry’s website
Larry’s Book: SuperHuman Being: Be Bold, Be Imperfect, Be Present, and Recover

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257: How to Start Writing a Book When You Don’t Consider Yourself a Writer | Larry Winter257: How to Start Writing a Book When You Don’t Consider Yourself a Writer | Larry Winter