While I began reading Your Someday is Now by Gail Alofsin as part of my Internship at Write Your Book with Book Coach Lisa Tener, I immediately realized how helpful the book will be in my own life as a recent graduate and one looking for a full time job in Public Relations and Event Planning.
The day I began reading Your Someday Is Now my best friend came over and said, “That looks like a book I should be reading at this point in my life.” As recent graduates we are unsure of what comes next in our lives. We are so worried about getting a job, making a living and starting a family.Your Someday is Now made it easier for me to get motivated to start my life. It is like a road map to life and one that helps you live in the moment. My friend and I agreed that while this book may have been written primarily for business people, it would be an amazing book for graduating seniors and graduate students, in addition.
Here, I interview the author, Gail Alofsin, on writing a book and how to find time to write, as well as self publishing.
Janine: Were there times when you had to take your own advice from your book (in order to find time to write or just in general)?
Gail: Yes! I had the privilege of interviewing over 100 business professionals – most of them friends. Among my favorite advice? “Always be the calmest person in the room.” – Bob DiMuccio, Amica Insurance and “Don’t ‘what if’’ your life,” by Nicole Bertrand of Cox Communications.
Janine: What are the top 2 or 3 tips that you give in your book that you used in writing your book and to find time to write it?
Gail: Mark Twain professed, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning,” which means do your hardest task first. I work full time as a sales and marketing executive, teach at the university and have a vibrant speaking business. Therefore, I would do my best to carve out time two to three weekday mornings (5:00am-6:45am) and Saturday mornings (7:00am-9:00am) in an effort to maintain precious time with family and friends.
Another tip, “Nothing begins until you start,” from our son, Sam. I found myself able to sit down and start writing each morning surrounded by that wonderful morning light. I looked forward to the mornings that I wrote – literally sprung out of bed!
Janine: Were you ever challenged writing this book? Were there obstacles to overcome? If so, did that process in any way help make the book better?
Gail: We had several family tragedies – health and death that were enormous in their depth. The title of the book was derived from a eulogy I delivered in August 2010 about the “Someday Syndrome” and how “Someday is NOW!” I believe that we live overcoming the obstacles and the positive focus of the book reminded me to choose wisely – we are our choices – in regard to time and commitments – in order to LIVE every heartbeat.
Janine: Writing a book is on people’s bucket-list but many people never get to it. What’s your advice to make it happen?
Gail: Determine the reason, the “why,” for the book. There is an expression – “When the why is evident, the how becomes easy.” My main catalyst for the book was to be a high school graduation gift for our son, Samuel. While the book offers advice and best practices for all ages, I wanted to capture all the info that I have shared with my classes for 30 consecutive semesters at the University of Rhode Island so Sam would have it as well!
- Top 3 time management tips:
- Be Where You Are. Put your phone down and be present with friends, colleagues, family. Make the moments count.
- Busy is not a contest – You are your choices. Make those choices wisely!
- Be the “Go To/Make it Happen” guy/gal. Set goals. Write them down – do your best to ensure they happen. No one appreciates or respects “big talkers.”
Janine: Who is the target audience for Your Someday Is Now? Did that change over time? How did you decide on target audience?
Gail: There is not one target audience. Your Someday is Now is designed for all people interested in personal and professional development.
While presenting at conferences for close to two decades, audience members would ask when I would be putting the material into a book. Those people served as a blessing and an inspiration! In my classroom at URI, the students wanted to take the semester with them to share with friends and family – they actually brought friends and family to class sometimes!
A positive message backed up by authenticity is welcome by several different target audiences – do we ever stop evolving and improving? Kaizen is a Japanese expression for continuous improvement: What can I learn and improve today?
Janine: How does your personal brand come through in this book?
Gail: Interesting question! There are so many answers to this question- I will distill it to two:
Personally – My priority is as much time as I can garner with family and friends. With a very busy career, vacation time is carved out and LIVED. I also subscribe to putting the phone away at family activities inclusive of our son’s baseball games.
Professionally – I truly believe that “You are your Company.” In some cases, people may only meet you as an employee of the business. Represent your company with integrity and intelligence. Always have positive words to say about your company, colleagues and clients.
Janine: When reading YSIN I found it so relevant to someone just graduating college like me. My friends also asked about the book and wanted to borrow it. Any plans to market to recent grads and grad students?
Gail: Thank you for your kind words! There is a great deal of advice for young professionals in the workplace in addition to the seasoned personnel. Please let your friends know that the first 1,000 copies are being sold to benefit nonprofits. The book was launched May 20th and to date we have sold over 700 books (over $15,000!) with 100% of the sales benefiting nonprofits inclusive of Haitian Health Foundation, Martin Luther King Jr. Center, Boys & Girls Club of Newport, the Tennis Hall of Fame and International Festival and Events Association.
In regard to marketing the book to students, I am speaking at several colleges – undergrad and graduate school and welcome more. Any suggestions?
Janine: Lisa mentioned that you had lots of readers give you feedback. What are some of the questions you asked your readers to give you feedback on the writing?
Gail: I had a few friends read the book for editing purposes. I did not ask for feedback on content or my writing style – perhaps I should have! That will be for the second edition.
I have received quite a bit of emails and letters from people who read the book inclusive of two people who left their jobs as they felt stifled and unhappy. I am not sure if this is a good thing! Another friend bumped into me in CVS and said after reading the book she booked a “Spanish immersion course” in Mexico – alone! How great is that?
Janine: Were you clear from the beginning what your book was or did it change over time? How?Was there a turning point, event or milestone that made you write the book?
Gail: Great question! I outlined 10 chapters during my 25th college reunion at Tufts. I was staying in a dorm (fun!) and decided that weekend that I would be returning for my 30th with a book in hand as Sam’s 18th birthday/high school gift. While I was writing the book, five more chapters emerged and to date I have three more chapters to add to the second edition.
The goal of the book is encouragement. There are no perfect lives. Would you really want to trade yours with someone else? You can reinvent yourself at any time, start again and as my mom always tells us – “LIVE every heartbeat!”