Barbara Sher’s Idea Party

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How Does the Online Idea Party Work?

You have a dream or a wish, and an obstacle to getting there. (If you don’t think you know your wish, work through my kick-starter and read this post. To learn why you must put logic aside to find your dream, read the following.)

The online Idea Party is here to help you – and the other fellow party goers – with your wishes and obstacles.

Voices from Success Teams and Idea Parties:

Having a team to report to and hearing what everybody did each week is very exciting. It’s kept me moving all year. In the past I made some good starts on my own, but found, every time, when the energy ran out, I ran out. Now it doesn’t run out.
Jade G.
Children’s Playroom Therapist, New York Hospital

I would do a painting a year, a sketch a year. If it was only me I know I would never do it. Having to tell you makes all the difference. It’s crazy why I didn’t do this years ago, it’s so easy all of a sudden.
Caroline R. Personnel Executive, Macy’s Dept Store

Post Your Wish and Your Obstacle Here!

And help your team mates out when you can. Use the Reply link to help, the form below the comments to add your own Wish and Obstacle.

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4,325 thoughts on “Barbara Sher’s Idea Party

  1. Hello there… Never have I ever left any comments on a website, but I feel so stuck and desperate, so I might as well try.

    So my wish is: I really wanna travel the world, act in movies or advertisements (but by no means do I want to make a lifelong commitment to an acting career), do some creative video editing, and learn a bunch of new languages (I only speak 2 so far). And this is while still having time to paint, dance, write songs, and do some more exciting stuff… (I suppose I’m a cyclical scanner, a Sybil to be exact)

    My obstacle is: well, I’ve got a handful of those, actually. I don’t have a remote job (in fact, I don’t have any as of this moment), I have zero experience in acting in real projects, don’t have any money nor do I have a clue what job will be a good enough in my case. AND I have a dog, so if I’m gone traveling for a long time I must take him with me.

    All of the above seems extremely chaotic and overwhelming. I feel very lost and helpless, so if any ideas pop up in your head, I’ll be glad to hear all of them.

    Take care ❤️

    • Sounds like you need a job that involves travel. Languages are best learned where they are spoken, so three birds with one stone there. Flight attendant? Travel writer? Tour guide? Retreat assistant?

      For acting, perhaps you could let folks at nearby film schools know that you are available for any student film projects at no charge? It’s a quick way to get a reel of samples of your acting to submit when something more commercial is being filmed in your area.

    • I can give some pointers when it comes to acting. I’m an actor myself.

      First, where do you live? If you’re in the United States and live near Atlanta, New York, or Los Angeles, there’s LOTS of opportunities. But pretty much every major city or metro area will have SOMETHING — even smaller towns occasionally.

      If you’re just starting out (don’t have any headshots, demo reels, or a resume yet), the fastest, easiest, and most fun way to be an actor on set is to be an “extra” or “background actor”. There are companies who specialize in casting extras. One of the larger and more reputable ones is called “Central Casting”. They’re 100% free to sign up and get in their system. Depending on what’s filming in your area and your age, gender, ethnicity, etc, you could be working on set as soon as the next day.

      Their website is https://www.centralcasting.com

      Be very cautious of any “services” or casting agencies that charge a sign-up fee or monthly fees. Most legitimate casting companies get paid by the production company, NOT by the extras looking for work. But there are some legitimate paid services out there too — when in doubt, feel free to ask others online.

      If you’re outside the United States, I know there’s a lot of production in London, Munich, Sydney, and other major cities too.

      If there’s a college or university in your area, odds are they have some kind of film program there (even if they’re not a “film school”). I’ve visited those campuses and found where the TV/film/media classes were taught and looked for flyers posted on bulletin boards. Many students will use Facebook groups to find actors for their film projects too. So search for “film production” + “your nearest city” and see what groups you can find. They may or may not be paid. But it’s still fun being on camera and part of a movie set. And MANY actors actually get started this way. I certainly did.

      In fact, it’s actually to your advantage NOT to have a job right now. If you want to do acting, you often get auditions on short notice. Student films will work around your schedule (especially since most are unpaid anyway) and only film on the weekends. But other professional projects expect you to be available 24/7 and will often book you with very little advanced notice. If you’re an extra, you may not know you’re working the next day, until after 5pm the night before. I’ve very frequently had less than 24 hours notice, sometimes less than 12 hours notice, when working as a background actor. (If you’re a “principal actor” aka you have dialog and lines to memorize, you usually get at least a few days to prepare.) And professional projects usually film during weekday working hours. So if you want to be an actor, now’s a great time to get started while you’re currently unemployed!

      As for creative video editing, I recommend downloading Davinci Resolve. It’s free AND very powerful. Watch free tutorial videos on YouTube. Professional video editors often use this software. It probably has way more features and tools than you’ll ever want or need or use… but it’s free and just in case you fall in love with editing and want to go pro and do it as a career, it’s an excellent software to learn on and master from the start. There are, of course, simpler video editing programs too. Some free. Some less than $100. Google for reviews and recommendations, to figure out what’s right for you.

      If you’re just getting started, you might want to check out a website called Simbi. People offer all kinds of services there, including creative video editing. But instead of getting paid money, you get “simbi tokens” that you can use to commission other artists for other things on that same website. Since it’s “free”, it’s easier to find your first few clients, to get start and build a little portfolio of sample work and some positive testimonials. Then once you have those, you can more easily get paid, professional work too.

      https://simbi.com/

      And to learn foreign languages, there’s a free app called “Duolingo”. They’ve got a TON of languages you can learn at your own pace. My sister’s been using it to learn Japanese.

      https://www.duolingo.com/

      And who knows… maybe you’ll end up falling in love with acting, book a role in a big movie that films internationally, and get paid to travel the world and act in movies at the same time!

      • Hello David,

        And thank you so much for such a thoughtful reply, I really appreciate it!
        For some reason I received a notification about your comment only about a couple of hours ago, eve though you’d posted it on April 28th…

        I’m starting to think my posting my wish on this website was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for I’ve never met so many amazing and compassionate people in one place.

        As to where I live, – I live in Russia now (hope we can avoid getting all political). I’m trying to balance finding remote projects, and acquiring new practical skills, that would pay my bills; saving money to relocate, as being stuck in one place for too long feels like torture to a traveller’s heart; and actively seeking for some student film projects or other opportunities I can use to enter the industry. Whenever I think of the latter, I get all excited and imposter-syndrome-y)

        It’s not that easy to move to Atlanta or LA due to many factors, including visas and work permits, (and shall we remember I’m broke yet) but I always keep it mind as something I’ve put on a back burner for a while.

        I figured It’d be reasonable to make some quality headshots first, maybe bits of portfolio, at least to create a showreel as my actors access page is as clean right now as Monica Geller’s room could never get…

        As for editing software, so far I’ve been playing with Final Cut Pro, heard they even use it Film Productions. I’ll make sure to check out Davinci Resolve too, sounds like I’m gonna love it.

        Actually, David, I hope one day we get to meet on a feature film set and have tons of fun acting together.

        It was a pleasure talking to you, wish you endless cool characters to play.
        If you have an actors access page on hand or any link to some of your work, I’ll be happy to learn how the Pros do it

        Take care!

    • Dear Marinela,
      I know someone who became a Hollywood actor, who also didn’t want a lifetime career in acting, who did it this way: He started out dead broke, but he had the dream. He didn’t even have money for bus fare to Los Angeles. But that didn’t stop him. That dream was pretty powerful. So he hitch-hiked to get there, and he was coming from Minnesota. (Pretty dangerous these days, though. I wouldn’t recommend hitch-hiking anymore.) He got a job at a greasy spoon restaurant, making and serving up endless amounts of chili. This was enough to get him some cheap housing in a room in an ugly old building.
      He wanted to get hired very badly, so he found out the contact information of the studios and some of the executive producers. He kept calling up, every 20 minutes! Until one of the producers yelled, “Hire that guy, willya!!?! He’s driving me nuts!” This is how he got hired as an extra for the film industry in Hollywood. I don’t know if you have to be that pushy to get hired as an extra. But I know it’s possible, and it’s one way of beginning an acting career. He started out as an extra.
      You know, those people you see in crowd scenes, or, say, sitting in a restaurant, or in a saloon in a Western, who just sit there and don’t say anything, are the extras. Then he advanced to getting bit parts–one liners. Then, he advanced to getting roles as as a supporting actor. In the movie, “The Robe,” about the life and crucifiction of Christ, he was one of the three Roman soldiers who gambled for Christ’s clothing at the foot of the cross. He branched into television, and worked in a lot of Western shows, like Wagon Train and Broken Arrow. That’s how his career advanced. It was a matter of being at the right place at the right time and keeping an eye open for opportunities. He did stunt work, too.
      He was able to give up the restaurant chili job once he started getting acting roles. I have heard that a lot of Broadway actors (and artists of various fields) have day jobs as waiters or waitresses while they moonlight at their acting work or their art. So you aren’t lost and helpless, you are on the right trail, you see. Dog? It isn’t absolutely a foregone conclusion that you Must take your dog with you. I have made good money at times by house-sitting for people who were gone to India for say, six weeks at a stretch, and they needed someone (me) to be at their house and to take care of their 28 plants, 2 cats, and a dog while they were gone. Someone wanted me to take care of her donkey, her herd of goats, and a pig while she was away. I told her that I didn’t babysit farm animals because I didn’t grow up on a farm!
      So there’s one dog solution. Of course you’ll miss him, but, just think of the love you’ll be able to express when you get back home to him again! Ah, Yes!
      When my actor friend decided that it was time to move on from acting in Hollywood, he did. When it was time for his life to take a different turn, he just picked up and did it. That’s how he was. Barbara Sher always used to say that the key to overcoming Resistance (fear and self -doubt) is for your desire to do the thing (or things) you’re after is for the desire to grow stronger than the Resistance, and then momentum grows, and movement forward happens. You’re in the right place. You’re on the right trail. Patty has some good ideas about travel.
      Oh, and, some movies are shot on location. They’re almost always wanting extras. One was being shot near where I lived one time, and a guy I worked for, who was the owner of a pet store, was hired as an extra for that movie. It was merely a matter of connecting with the film people and finding out who to talk to about being an extra. So I held down the pet store while he was in the movie. Sometimes things come just by the asking, and as far as I’m concerned, that’s the sweet fruit of life. You’re a Scanner, all right! Like Barbara herself, like me, and so many others. We simply cannot do just one thing! Impossible!
      New Languages: Some people are much more talented at learning new languages than others. I know someone who speaks seven of them. But he has always been very talented at learning languages. Me? It is beastly hard for me, and so I also speak French, some Latin, a little bit of Italian, a tiny bit of Hawaiian, and a smattering of Lakota, which I have learned by bumping elbows with a lot of Lakota people. I think Patty is right–it really helps to learn languages where you are at. That’s how I learned Lakota. I’ve never had any written down study in it. (It’s a Native American language.)
      It looks to me like one of the main themes weaving through your life is about travel. That has to do with traveling, learning languages, and even acting, to some extent. Another TV actor whom I know of has filmed on location in a number of places, including Vancouver, B.C., and was once boarding a plane to go film in Latvia, of all places. They were filming on location in Latvia, and he had to be there.
      It seems that the good enough job for you would be what you are passionate about, and if you are flat broke, get some restaurant job or something or other, the way other actors and artists do, at first. Both of the actors I know had restaurant work to begin with. And dropped it when their acting careers took off. You have to be where the film industry is for it to really take off, where the opportunities are, rather than being in some mundane place where nothing ever happens. This was true for both of the actors whom I know. In the second case, he did some Broadway acting at first, and wasn’t successful. In fact, he went flat broke. But the passion was in him, so he got some help, relocated to Hollywood, and started over in the television industry. It was the difference between night and day for him, and he became a multi-million dollar star. Not without tons of hard work, but it happened. Life really opened up for him. He pursued his passion and he pursued it to the hilt. It’s more than ambition. It’s a burning fire within you, that refuses to be put out. And That’s what gets you past the Resistance, every time.
      I love what you’re doing. Sometimes it’s a matter of jumping off a cliff and flying, and finding out that you’ve been given wings!

      • Dear Mary Ann Leberg,

        Thank you so very much for your reply! I wish you could feel how moved I am by your words. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on my situation, and telling those beautiful actors’ life stories – I find them extremely inspiring.

        I even shed a tear and copy-pasted your words to my digital notes app, that’s how encouraging I found your message!

        I think you are absolutely right about the importance of being where the opportunities are, and tolerating a job of some sort until I am able to afford living off of the money I get from doing what I love. So far I’ve figured teaching English and Russian online would be a better fit for me, rather than waitressing, but we’ll see how it goes.

        For now I am putting all my effort towards regularly doing some -any at all- progress in the things I love, and saving enough money to relocate in the nearest couple of months.

        Once again, thank you very much for your reply. It was a pleasure meeting you! Hope all of your dearest dreams come true as well.

        Sincerely,
        Marinela

        P.S. You speak impressively many languages for someone who’s having a hard time learning them!)

        • Dear Marinela,
          Thank you for your thank you! I hoped that the two actors’ stories would have been helpful, and I’m glad they were. The first one, I knew him personally, some years after he had quit Hollywood and was doing other interesting things, and the second one I know of, but we don’t know each other
          personally–yet, at least! The first one was an actor and became a technical advisor to the Westerns he was playing in. The second one, after going flat broke (thirteen cents! Can you believe it? Thirteen miserable cents!) got help, relocated to Hollywood, and went on to not only become an actor but a director of the television shows that he was in, and a star. The point is that both of them had a fire within them–a burning passion for their work–and no matter what happened, that fire could not be put out, and it could not be denied. In both cases, the transitions they made in their lives into what they loved were not easy at all. People assume that highly visible and successful people like that have easy lives, but the reality is, at least for these two, not at all.
          I think you are completely right. Teaching English and Russian would more than likely be a better way to go than to be a waitress. It gives you some flexibility that you will need, unlike being tied down to a 9-5 office job. That sort of thing won’t fit. I think that’s why so many actors and artists are attracted to the restaurant jobs when they are building their careers. The two actors whom I know just jumped into it. They simply jumped in headfirst.
          My immediate dream is to be a life coach. I’m struggling to get the business launched at this point.
          As to my languages, the two that I have, really, are English and French, and Latin lagging behind as a third one. In my formal education, we were required to study at least two foreign languages. The little bit of Italian I got from being a musician. Music is loaded with it. And the tiny bit of Hawaiian has been picked up by being there and picking a little of it up. The Lakota has been picked up by rubbing elbows with different Lakota people, and becoming involved with them, their culture, their ceremonies, their ways of life.
          If I had been even closer and more into their culture, I would have learned a great deal more.
          I think it’s about jumping in headfirst as much as possible.
          Talents, dreams, and purpose are all closely connected.

          • Just wanted to add, I’m pretty sure you have what it takes to be a great life coach, as you’ve managed to encourage and support a complete stranger on the internet to pursue her dreams!)

        • Dear Marinela and Mary Ann!

          Hello! I recognize a lot of the same themes:)

          Marinela, may I recommend that you look the 1) Trusted Housesitters—they may allow to bring your dog on assignments; 2) Flexjobs for a remote job in multiple sectors; 3) Stage 32 for creative networking, classes, advice, newsletters. You can also ask them about on-the-go acting jobs; 4) communities like The Nomadic Network, Remote Year, Remote Insider snd Location Indie.

          Mary Ann, excellent advice! Do you know John Spencer Williams? He can help you with your coaching business. A scanner himself, he is the author of “Screw Work, Let’s Play”, “Screw Work, Break Free” and “F.. Work, Let’s Play.” The latter is also the name of his FB group. He has a YouTube channel and can be found at theideaslab.org I think you will help a lot of people!

          • Those are some very useful resources, thank you so much for sharing! Stage 32 is something I’ve never heard of, website looks very promising)

      • Mary Ann! It’s been a while. Thank you for once again sharing from your extensive personal history. You have done so much and known so many!

  2. First, thank you Patty, I look forward to connecting with the SpeakWrite group soon regarding the communication tools book I desire to write. It will help people create a loving and mutually supportive communal home. I have already created the outline and started on the first chapter.

    Second, I saw the request below regarding remote work … I told myself I would only ask for help regarding my book from the Idea Party but things are getting tight. I am a technical (IT) project manager, having done IT engineering years ago and I now do work managing IT projects. I did check PHI the site (Patty posted below) and I am applying to a remote administrative opportunity. If anyone has any possible leads on project management opportunities, I would greatly appreciate the help and many thanks in advance!

    • Evan, I hope something has turned up by now. I’m sorry no one here was able to assist.

      I am especially looking forward to your book. A loving and mutually supportive communal home sounds like a very important and instrumental goal. We begin again next March. May you find some very lucrative (but not all-consuming) project management work before then.

  3. I have been working a remote job for approx. 13 years. I love to travel and wish to do it full time and work from anywhere in the US. I am looking for a smaller motorhome with a bed in the back.

    Obstacles: 1. RV centers raise the prices up especially in the spring. 2. As a female, I am leary about buying private owner and getting a lemon (not being mechanically inclined).

    I love Barbara’s work. So happy to see her followers carrying on her legacy. Truly inspiring and encouraging.

    • I would go with a private owner and ask why they are selling. Many are wanting an upgrade to a bigger model, and just want someone to love their camper as much as they did. We got a used camper van that we created many memories in….The retired couple we bought it from was amazing and took time to show us how to work everything before we bought it. When we sold it, we did the same. The man who bought it was from South America, travelling in the US on a motorcycle, and wanted a “house” to return to from smaller adventures and a “camper” to go on longer adventures. He didn’t speak English, so we had a third party help with translation. We were happy to sell it at an awesome price, to support the van giving someone adventures and memories like we had when we traveled. The camping community is very honest for the most part. Good luck!

  4. Re: Well paying remote position for Ivy League graduate

    Hello!

    I worked in Washington, DC for the Federal government for many years. But recently I moved more than 1.5 hrs outside the city and the commute is killing me now that we’re physically back in the office.

    I am looking for fully remote or 1-2 days in the office per week jobs that I can do from anywhere. I have worked in women’s rights and human rights advocacy, public policy, international relations, as well as journalism and teaching at the graduate level.

    Ideally I’d like to be creative in my work but my priority is a remote position. I am open to other Federal agencies but have not seen vacancy announcement that fit my skill set.

    Thank you in advance for your wonderful ideas and support!!

    • Marie, I hear you and am in the same boat. Have you looked at Flexjobs? For 49/year you get access to their database of remote jobs (no affiliation). Also, the Muse, the Ladders.

      Might also be worth talking to a careers coach to figure out the name of the position.

      Wishing you success!

      • Hey Marie and Natalya,

        Flex Jobs is a remote work job board but they don’t work to place you. if you decide to sign up, fill out the entire form but before signing up click on the upper right hand drop down and it will cut the price of your subscription to just $30 for a year.

        I would also strongly suggest going on LinkedIn and connecting both with people you know and recruiters from various companies. The best way to find a job is via referral so let everyone know that you are looking! Barring being referred, recruiters have direct access to hiring managers so I suggest creating a profile on LinkedIn and a nice resume, and then reach out to as many recruiters as possible to let the universe know you need help now!

        Once you make a profile on LinkedIn, connect with Pat Romboletti and you will get an invite to a free Thursday evening Zoom call where literally hundreds of job seekers, and people looking to make certain they are well connected if they become unemployed, gather to both listen to Pat’s great advice and to network with each other. I highly recommend this group as well for adding people to your network who are happy to connect. The more people in your network the more recruiters will see you on LinkedIn and reach out with opportunities!

        Much Successs! 🙂

  5. RE: dental work done with dental tourism providers.
    I would love to know more about the dental details please. I think judy mentioned dental tourism in Mexico? I have serious war going on in my mouth and in a serious overwhelm.
    I wanted to find a place where i won’t have to pay in us dollars too since I’m stuck paying 35% more with the currency but if i can pay in their local rates hopefully.
    Can that person who know about this topic reach out to me at bealovewarrior@gmail.com…however there is disruption in my gmail accounts and don’t seem to receive all my emails can you leave your email too please or FB name etc. ty i really need to find a solution. ty!! i appreciate.

  6. My wish is to get dental implants. I grew up neglected in my family and wasn’t provided with a toothbrush or many necessities so my teeth are really bad as are my gums. My obstacles are that I don’t have money, and I’m scared of dentists because I know how bad my teeth are.

    • Do you live in the United States? If you’re low income, you may qualify for state-funded health and dental insurance, depending on which state you live in. (I’m not sure how it works in other countries.)

      Google how to apply for food stamps (called “SNAP” — Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program) in your local state or county. On that same website or form, you can select just medical coverage and/or both medical and food stamps (as well as any other benefits you may qualify for).

      Again, depending on your state and personal income, you may get 100% health and dental coverage. For example, I was living in California and had very low income. I needed a root canal. The state insurance fully covered my dental visit, cleaning, and root canal procedure 100% — I didn’t have to pay one penny for any of that. Oddly though, the insurance didn’t cover the replacement crown. But at the dental office, they had a payment plan. My new crown cost around $1,000 as I recall, and I paid it off over time at about $30 per month.

      So I don’t know if the low income state-funded insurance will cover “everything” — but it’ll fully cover MOST things you need, including dental stuff. What it doesn’t cover, you may be able to finance and pay off slowly over time.

      You can talk to your dentist about which things are necessary, recommended, or entirely optional. And explain about your insurance and financial situation, and they’ll work with you. They’re dentists. They WANT to help people have better teeth and gums. It’s their chosen career. Just explain your situation to them like you did here with us and let them know you’re wanting and trying to take better care of your teeth and gums now, going forward.

      • I have dental insurance, along with my medical it doesn’t cover much. Because I have a job in retail they tell me I make too much for government assistance even though I’m barely making it check to check.

        • What state do you live in?
          There are small groups that fund free dental care periodically in lower income areas. Mostly xrays, fillings, cleanings, possibly root canals. They couldn’t do crowns in a weekend.

          Also there are individual groups that offer sliding scale services for for more expensive work. You can check your local dental schools as well.

          Then there are Medical Tourist programs where you go to another country for lower cost care. Just below Yuma,Az is a city in Mexico with 350 dentists that specialize in dental tourism. Los Algodones. I have been looking into and saving for a trip there or Belgium or Argentina.
          Want to talk?

    • Dental schools usually adjust the cost to your income. Students get to practice their skills (and implants will be done by graduate students who are already licensed dentists) while you get the benefit of one or more dental school faculty members checking every step of the process and holding their students to high standards.

    • Start by becoming as thoroughly educated as you possibly can about NATURAL dentistry. Learn about the diet that heals and builds teeth, and learn about the practice of “oil pulling” and start doing it twice a day.
      Be very skeptical and take everything you read with a grain of salt. Even the natural dentistry proponents disagree with each other about various things. But at all costs avoid “regular” dentists. They just create more trouble! imho
      Don’t forget prayer, faith, & (yes!) a positive attitude. For that, check out peggymccoll.com or any of peggy mccoll’s videos on youtube. Miracles happen and you can learn how to make them happen! God bless you!

      https://www.westonaprice.org/dentistry/#gsc.tab=0

      https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/dentistry/guide-to-holistic-dentistry/#gsc.tab=0

      https://orawellness.com/

      https://askthedentist.com/

      https://www.blodgettdentalcare.com/meet-the-doctors/

  7. I’m thinking about what it’s like to use Success Teams in a self-help / support group for coping with chronic illness. I’m looking for someone who has any experience with this and could tell me a bit about it.
    Do you have any experience with this or do you know someone who does?

    • Fran, if you check our list of leaders on shersuccessteams.com/findateam.htm for notes in parentheses after the city name, you may find one or two.

      I’ve run both Success Teams and self-help programs for folks with an autoimmune disease, and I think it would be interesting to merge the two. It would take the focus off the problems of a chronic illness and put them onto how to deal with these obstacles (and all the usual ones) to go after a goal. For example, I noticed a lot more of our group were sick in Septembers than other months. Good information for making a goal calendar (or my program calendar). Also, high stress brought on attacks, so schedules for deadline events like a performance or a publication date should include a two-week buffer as that date arrives. I am also reminded of when my son went to India on a junior year abroad program and was told to put six nonworking weeks into his plan to finish his project and paper, to make sure malaria (if it hit him) would not derail his timely completion of this important goal.

      I think it would be great!

      Patty Newbold
      Director, Sher Success Teams
      President, Barbara Sher Online

  8. Self-publishing is easy and free these days. Just write your book and upload it at Smashwords.com, and they will distribute it to the Kindle, Nook, Apple, public libraries, and more. You can upload your ebook directly to the Kindle at http://kdp.amazon.com as well. But if you want to be traditionally published in print, then your best bet is to find an agent and have them submit you to publishers. All of those options are 100% free (they just keep a percentage of any sales).

    As for your second book idea, I believe as long as you keep other people anonymous (use fake names, no personally identifying info), you can share your personal story, experience, and lessons learned from your own point of view. I do not recommend allowing a bunch of other people to edit the drafts — just have one editor, whether that’s you or a professional book editor.

    • Hello David,

      Thank you so much! The approaches you recommend are all super helpful, I had never heard of Smashwords.com, and will look into it directly. Fran (in her reply below) also concurs with your suggestion to self-publish my first book about the tools to have something to present to an agent and publisher ahead of writing my second book about the commune where they were incubated. Luckily I have a lot of life experience with the communication tools having taken lots of risks using them in our day to day living, I have even done talks to groups on how to use the tools. I could write the first book entirely from my own perspective, a learner/teacher, making the work more personal and grounded, full of real world experiences.

      Your suggestions on how to write the second book are also very helpful. I agree that having everyone who participated in the commune also editing the book could result in a free for all (a hinderance that I most fear) as well as a rehashing of the community (I imagine not everyone will have fond memories). That said, being that I only have the perspective of my therapist, and there were over a dozen other members, I would still prefer to interview those who are willing and piece together a history, as you say, from my own perspective. It sounds like the best approach would be to record these conversations (again a great suggestion by Fran) and get their sign off at that moment to use whatever is recorded. Further members of the commune were and still are quite secretive about having participated, for both personal and professional reasons, so pseudonymous all around would be the best approach and will make it easier (only those who participated will be able to figure out who’s who).

      Thanks again, I really appreciate all your suggestions on how to move forward and your wonderful support!!

  9. Hello Everyone,

    I have chosen to embark on a journey I never thought I would, not being a big book reader myself (though I do listen to loads of books including “I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was” and I am reading “Wishcraft”) … that said, I would like to write two books.

    The first detailing the amazing communication tools I have been taught by my therapist, which she helped develop as part of a women’s commune here in Los Angeles decades ago. These tools have saved my life and my sanity and with her permission I would like to share them with the world.

    The second is a more complex book about the women’s commune where these tools were developed and tested. One hinderance to both books is I presently can’t afford the Writerspeak program. It’s own hinderance as isolation is the dream killer.

    In the case of the first book, the challenge of getting it published is a hinderance, while I believe writing it should prove a labor of love having lived using the tools in my home successfully (where I have openly shared space and power with my housemates) for over 5 years.

    The second book is more challenging, the hinderance is gathering all the source material, organizing it into a historical work while getting sign offs from all the participants in the commune and allowing them to edit the drafts. This second book could prove overwhelming, yet I feel this commune did amazing experimental work, creating great communication tools and their work is super inspiring. I feel all their efforts and accomplishments shouldn’t be lost to time!

    Any suggestions on how I should proceed and thank you in advance!

    • Oh, yes! I am thrilled that you want to write these books, Evan.

      You have more than a year to earn the money for WriteSpeak, as Patrice and I are taking 2023 off from WriteSpeak. I hope you’re on our Barbara Sher mailing list, because I really want to help people this year who need cash to pursue their dreams. It’s not that hard to find if you know where to look and you make the time to earn it.

      And it’s great that you have that extra year. We can help you get your book written and published. Barbara strongly recommends self-publishing for a first book, so you have something to sell during that long year or more between signing with an agent and holding a book in your hands, but we’ll gladly help you with the slower process if you like. WriteSpeak takes about ten hours a week, and many Scanners with lots of different interests find themselves falling behind. But here’s what you can do to speed things up a lot: first, record your therapist explaining her methods to you and to newer clients before you join WriteSpeak. Interview her for stories about people who benefited right away and those who misunderstood or found the methods difficult to grasp. Record everything (as opposed to taking notes), because you want what Barbara called living language.

      If you’re going to be a popularizer, as opposed to her co-author, start speaking to other people about her techniques and record yourself, too. Then transcribe all of your recordings of her and you. If you use those words in your book, it will sound more alive and direct and be a lot more helpful than if you try to write from scratch. Your best content is likely to be what you say when you realize a real, live human is misunderstanding you or facing a problem you’ve never face. You can still edit what you said aloud, but you’ll be starting with a lot of great content, and WriteSpeak will teach you Barbara’s wonderful methods for organizing all of your recordings into a book.

      If you want a marvelous model for a self-help book, there is none better than I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was. Pay attention to how she organizes it, where she puts exercises, how she leads into them and segues out of them, how she makes sure those who skip doing them still benefit, and how every single one of them makes you feel better about yourself.

      As for the second book, I am sure there are many in your commune who would love to be authors, too, but haven’t the time for it. Be the editor, not the author. You write the forward and the intro and the final chapter. Get them to work together to be part of the book, writing a chapter about something they were involved in or interviewing someone who is not interested in writing but has lots to share. You’ll want to do some fundraising before you finish this book (and it will take a while, with so many authors), so you can afford a top-notch book editor to create your book proposal and turn the chapters into a marvelous, coherent whole that a publisher will want. You can get them started while you’re working on the other book.

      • Hello Fran,

        Oops, sorry I thought I sent this a week ago!

        I want to thank you for all the great suggestions! I am on Barbaras email list and would love to learn ways to raise money to achieve my goals! You can contact me directly and I would also be happy to participate in a group event to learn more about fundraising methods.

        I love the idea of recording people, I get all the marvelous details, time to mine the gems and write the book from living language. Regarding the first book, I have also been a big advocate for the tools, bending anyone’s ear who will listen, so I guess I would be a popularizer. I believe my therapist will be happy to be recorded and I will discuss recording conversations with both past and present participants in our mini community. I agree with you, get everyone’s perspective on the tools will reveal what worked and why as well as what didn’t work and what we did to adjust the tools or the situation (adding our own experiences to the narrative).

        Regarding the second book, it will prove more challenging as the women who participated in the collective, where the tools were incubated, remain quite secretive to this day. I like what David said above, suggesting pseudonyms for the participants (even for my first book) and then piece together a narrative from all the interviews (something that I could be doing during the writing of the first book).

        I would love to have all the participants write something and that could still happen in a limited form but having everyone write and edit their material sounds like an overwhelming task to manage. I think I will leave these decisions about how to organize the second book till after I interview all the former commune members. It’s possible a common narrative will reveal itself once I have gathered all the material, how does that sound?

        Thanks again, I look forward to learning more about self publishing and fund raising very soon!

        Warmest Regards,
        Evan Hughes

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