The Magic of Community and Connection

I've been head down in book edits for Life is as Magical as You Make It, which launches into the world on June 19. My Beta Readers have given me such valuable feedback and insights. I know the book would be nowhere near as good without them.

I'm not always a fan of feedback with my books. To be honest, at first, I wanted the group mostly for the marketing benefit - to have a large group of people giving me reviews on launch day and telling others to buy my book would help sales. However, as people shared their feedback, things changed for me. 

I had honestly anticipated feeling my feathers being ruffled as people told me what was and wasn't working, what was or wasn't resonating. Something shocking happened. Shocking for someone who is used to going it alone and not needing help from anyone, ever, anyway. 

I wanted their feedback. I looked forward to the constructive criticism. I was surprised how much I wanted (and needed!) their help as they began sharing. I welcomed their connection to me and my words. 

Maybe because this was nonfiction that the feedback felt different? If people were not understanding something, or were confused by a timeline or a the writing, it was crucial that I listen and fix those things. This was my story. If people did not understand my story, it was not them, it was me. I wasn't telling my story well enough.

As this is my first nonfiction book, I can't really be sure. Maybe it was just because this group of strangers, most of them not knowing each other, came together for  little ol'

The past few weeks, I have become so close to my Beta Readers. They saw this book in its rawest form. They saw me at my most vulnerable and gave me the safe space and feedback I needed to hear. That is what true friends do - they tell you the truth, even if it might be difficult to do. These readers proved that you can tell someone hard truths in a gentle way. I am so grateful for them and this process.

Over a few Zoom sessions, I also realized I was able to share this story so easily because I can honestly say I feel no shame around it. I decided to tell my truth, say it out loud, and I refused to feel shame while I do it. But maybe I don't feel shame, because my readers accepted me exactly as I am. Many shared how grateful they were for my raw honesty and told me, and others in group posts, how it helped them. It helped them to feel that they too, do not need to carry the burden of shame. However it happened, I am so very grateful for this group. 

I have always felt like a bit of a loner, an outsider. My life looks very different than many people. I have a very solitary career as a writer. I only have ever had a handful of friends. But that has changed. I now have a huge group of people whom I honestly consider my community, my people, my friends. They created a place where I feel like I belong

I hope more than anything, they have all feel that as well. We all belong to each other in that group.

I hope once the book launches, we can change the group's name and have it be a community where I drive readers of the book. We can all be there for each other and welcome new people who don't want to feel alone anymore. 

This is my first book for adults. I enjoyed this so much that do not think it will be my last. This book, this group, has created a community for me, that has been nothing short of magical. I can't wait to see what comes next for all of us!

Here's to all the new beginnings and wonderful 'what ifs' ahead for all of us this summer!


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