What I Wish I Knew Before Writing a Book: Part 1

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LaTeisha Clément
LaTeisha Clémenthttps://www.lateishaclement.com/
I am a woman who loves fashion, beauty, love, connection, and romance. At different points in my life, these values may change. I'm also inspired by dope conversations, good food, and things that are aesthetically pleasing. Being a mom helped me to get in touch with my womanhood, so my son is very much a special part of me. I am navigating life while learning how to trust God, which you'll find out more about through my writings. I have experience in fashion, style, parenting, womanhood, and mental wellness.
Reading Time: 4 minutes

The Journey to Writing a Book

I’ve always been someone people could talk to because I had a knack for listening intently and asking open-ended questions.

Whether it was a stranger at the mall picking my brain for fashion advice or friends spilling the tea to get some insight into their relationships. I’ve just always been that go-to girl. So, it’s no surprise I became a success coach for three years at a nonprofit. I had this gift of active listening and my job literally felt like my calling (until I hit a plateau. But that’s a story for another time.). I organically supported clients during their hard times with mental and emotional tools because Your Girl was no stranger to a hard-knock life!  

As I built trust with clients and friends, one or the other would always say to me, “You should write a book!”

This admonishment was well received because I knew I had a story to tell and secretly yearned to be an author one day. It was my destiny! But Impostor Syndrome convinced me there was no “room for me in this world.” Who was gonna read my book, anyway? Plus, as I witnessed other people who weren’t even writers publishing their books, this further solidified the belief system that I was not good enough.

In retrospect, I realized that second-guessing my abilities was toxic because this doubt kept me in the dark for years. Now, I truly believe Impostor Syndrome is an indicator that a certain path is for you. If you feel like you can’t ever attain that dream, but your heart keeps telling you to go for it, then that is your mission! The enemy seeks to distract you from completing the very thing God has called you to do. Tabitha Brown said it best during an interview on The Breakfast Club:

“You know it’s a dream when it won’t let you go.”

You may try to ignore it, stuff it in a bag, or walk away. Yet it stays on your heart or in the recesses of your mind. That’s when you know it’s your dream to be fulfilled.

writing a book
Photo by Michael Olisemeka

Recognizing the Call

I knew I was meant to be an author, which was only confirmed when preachers like Sarah Jakes Roberts and Stephanie Ike Okafur would say things like, “What have you been putting off that God is telling you to do? Is it starting that business, finishing school, or writing that book?“

I am paraphrasing, but every time I heard those words –  “Write that book”,  my heart beat a little faster. The Holy Spirit was tugging at me to write that book.  I couldn’t stay quiet about the childhood trauma any longer.  I had to tell my story. So, the question was no longer whether I should write a book, but when would I start writing it?

The Process: Beginner Steps for Writing a Book

On November 17, 2017, I opened up Google Docs and started journaling my thoughts. The words flowed out of me because I had a lot to say.  My old journalism professor in college would tell us to, “Turn off the Internal Editor.” It’s easy to get in your own head as a writer by trying to formulate the perfect sentence or phrase. Just start writing and let it flow. You’ll have time to tweak things later. 

It took me five years to write my book, and I read it repeatedly until I was blue in the face. P.S. – It will never be perfect. (And that’s ok!) But you will know when it is complete. In my sessions with a client, I remember explaining the difference between being “finished” and being “complete.”

Finishing a task means seeing it through to the end. Yet, being complete is when you are done with a thing! You’ve effortlessly detached yourself from a project, etcetera, and felt a sense of ease, knowing there was nothing more to add. That’s when you know your book is “complete.” (This concept can apply to life lessons overall. But you get the point). There will come a time to step away from the keyboard or pen and pad and simply say, “I am done writing this book! I have nothing more to add, and I am at peace.”

This is how I felt after Year Five of crafting Behind The Face. It was October 2022 and the Holy Spirit said, “That is enough.”

Penning this memoir helped me to purge all that had taken my soul asunder. But that wouldn’t have happened if I rushed the process. The five-year journey helped me identify patterns from previous relationships that kept me running aimlessly in circles.  My therapist kept reminding me I was working on “Kairos” and not “Chronos” time.

  • Kairos is a Divine Timing you cannot quantify, where God is leading the way and revealing lessons you wouldn’t learn otherwise.
  • Chronos is the linear version of time in which we operate, in hours, days, and years.

Kairos revealed so many lessons about my lineage, while Chronos made me think I was running out of time. However, there’s a place for them both. You just need to be still and listen for that knowing.

The Message Behind the Face

My story is meant for little girls to love themselves with all their flaws and be aware of red flags before encountering them. Our agency matters. The world tells women to be silent, but I chose to purposefully unsilence the oppressive voices. I made it my business to be honest about relationships that were hella toxic and how I navigated them, because I was on a healing journey for myself too. It was imperative for me to purge in order for Little LaTeisha to be made whole.

Writing a Book Or Pursuing Any Purpose

Remember that your dreams are worth pursuing. The journey from doubt to authorship is a testament to divine timing – whether it be a book or another project God has placed on your heart.

Join me in Part 2, where I’ll share more lessons and the important steps, including hiring a writing coach, timelines, editing, publishing your book and much more.

Your story matters – stay inspired.

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