Let Me Be Weak: What People in Pain Wish They Could Tell You sheds light on the struggles people face during times of loss and teaches us how to respond appropriately, so that we can become more compassionate friends in crisis. If you are uncomfortable in emotionally charged interactions, this book is for you. It will help you understand yourself better, connect with others and become a courageous ally to those in need.
Today I’m chatting with Brittany, author of ‘Let Me Be Weak: What People in Pain Wish They Could Tell You’, a treatise on what can be done to help those in pain. Brittany, thanks for joining me today. Can you open today’s interview by taking us through the spark that precipitated this book?
I am a singer/songwriter in Nashville and was not planning to write a book at all. I was writing a song (https://t.co/UudfQRnlp5) and realized I had a lot more to say about the subject than I could fit into 3 minutes of music. About the same time, I heard about an online summit with a bunch of writers. I watched the interviews and felt compelled to write a book of my own. So, I jumped right in and made a commitment to write by book that week. I decided to use the song lyrics as chapter titles, and was able to combine to two in one big project.
Do you find that your experiences writing songs similar to writing books, or do you find yourself using different strategies for each type of writing?
The two forms of art are distinctly different, but overlap in some unique ways. Songs are more poetic and sometimes more abstract. Books are more linear and you can really dig deep into a subject. I like both and I get frustrated with both at times, but overall I enjoy being able to share my thoughts/feelings in a variety of ways.
Are you very prescriptive about the writing process time wise?
I probably should be more consistent about setting a writing time, but my schedule is often unpredictable and I usually just fit it in wherever I can. That said, I wrote most of the rough draft in the morning. Then, I did most of the editing work very late at night and often into the early hours of the next day.
Did it take long to finish working in this manner?
Approximately 4 (intense) months.
That’s fairly quick. In my mind I’ve always imagined songwriters writing songs by hand and not on a computer or any other method. Do you use a handwritten style to your book writing?
I type. I have several author friends who like to use dictation and I thought it would be interesting to try. I tried dictating, but it was distracting to me. I’m more of a meditative writer and I found it harder to craft the words/phrases without sitting at my computer typing away. So, for now, that’s what I am sticking with that method.
You’ve mentioned that you’re a meditative writer. Did you meditate and integrate things from your own life into the book?
My ideas often stem from personal experience or things I’ve learned through watching others. I’ve done a lot of informal counseling in my personal life and knew I could contribute to that space, and hopefully help a lot of people who are struggling. At the time I was also working on a song idea that resonated deeply with me. I thought it would also connect with others and wondered if I could expand the song into a book. Once I dissected the song, I eventually used the lyrics as a guide and they became the chapter titles of the book. After I wrote a rough outline and realized that I actually did have a substantial amount of information to share and could craft into a book, it cemented the idea in my mind and I started writing.
Was this process of meditation and integration give you the opportunity to learn?
I learned a lot about myself and, on many levels, was able to integrate several interests/skills/different life experiences into this one large project. I also find it very rewarding to hear the stories of how my book has helped people walk through difficult seasons of their lives.
Are you working on more projects in this area at the moment?
I am writing songs and preparing to record a new album. I’m also promoting my book through podcasts, blogs, online summits and speaking engagements where I can further share my message.
You’ve been very successful with communicating your message. Do you have any tips for others wishing to share their own messages?
Join Self-Publishing School (https://xe172.isrefer.com/go/firstbook/brittanybarbera). I’m an affiliate for their program, but only because it works. I’ve been a part of several writers’ groups but none have been as engaged or helpful as the community of writers I found through Self-Publishing School. Everyone in that community was writing a book and following the same syllabus, so it was easier to connect with each other and offer advice because of the shared curriculum. Also, make friends with other authors. Be yourself and don’t try to impress anyone. Believe that who you are and what you have to say matters.
They are some great tips. Do you think that there is a big future in writing and publishing?
I think it takes persistence, and from what I understand it often requires having additional back end products or courses to offer, in order for it to be a profitable career. Book sales are not always enough to make a living, but offer an opportunity to expand your platform and establish yourself as an expert in your field. I am both a musician and an author, so I don’t have plans to concentrate solely on writing as a career (although it certainly is plays an important role).
Did you find that you felt like a successful author when you received your first review?
It’s a great feeling! I am encouraged to hear feedback from so many people who have read the book and were comforted by it. It makes me feel like I have done my job well, when I hear that it has made a felt impact in someone else’s life. I never take that for granted and it’s an amazing privilege.
And a final question before I let you continue with your day, can you leave us with your favourite quote from your book that you think that people will find the most beneficial?
Well, I have a lot of important quotes I’d like to highlight. But, here is one of the top contenders: ” When people feel misunderstood, they also feel emotionally unsafe.”
Thank you very much for joining us today Brittany and I hope that you find many new opportunities to communicate your message allowing you to help others.
Want to connect with Brittany? You can find her here: