‘Steps To Health, Wealth & Inner Peace’ is a self-help guide with all the tools you need to get all fired-up and get healthier, wealthier and find inner peace – indeed make a success of your life. Includes self-hypnosis, creative visualisation, a guide to meditation and Buddhist essentials towards improving one’s spiritual life.
Francis O’Neill has kindly set some time aside today to chat with me about all things writing centered on the recently released self-help guide ‘Steps To Health, Wealth & Inner Peace’. Francis, thanks for joining us today. Let’s get straight down to business, as I am curious about where this book originated and how the idea grew and developed. Can you tell us a little about this process?
I have been writing articles around this topic/area for sometime and I decided to write an aide-memoire to myself to remind me of what is important going forward. It started as a series of bullet-points but as I began to pull things together it occurred to me to turn it into something others might find of interest and use.
I like the idea of taking a tool or an aid that you’ve developed for yourself and then wanting to share the benefits around. It feels like you’re sharing little bits of yourself around. Were these notes largely drawn from your personal experience or from research?
I did use my personal experiences a lot, particularly in the section steps to using creative visualisation. The articles I drew on for the content did include some research – and in the book I discuss in some depth one piece of research I did back in the 1980s.
I like that combination of the old and new. It kind of feels like you’re pulling gems from the past that have been forgotten into the future. As a reader I find reading material pulled or support from disparate sources really rewarding. What did you personally find the most rewarding aspect of getting this book written and published?
I’ll answer this with what I said in the book’s Introduction: “This book has been a real joy to write, particularly as I have been thinking, experiencing and writing around the topics covered here for some years, and now have a chance to share them with you.”
Out of all of the topics and ideas that you share in this book, was there one key take-away that you hope that audience really takes to heart?
The importance of bringing mind, body and spirit (or soul) together. As I say in the book, it is “a reminder of the simple steps one can take – indeed steps one really ought to take – in order so as to keep life and soul together, to be true to oneself and successful in one’s endeavours.”
That is a wonderful statement. Speaking of endeavours, what’s next on your plate?
I have a number of books in mind. It’ll probably be “The Soul Agenda” I have a few things to say about our spiritual situation. It’ll be a follow-up to my other book, “Life and Death: Making Sense of It.”
As you have a number of ideas in mind how do you pick what to work on next? Do you pick the book where you already know the ending that you want to reach? Or are endings less planned when you write?
I have an idea of what I want to discuss but probably not so certain how the book will end. I leave that to be discovered.
How does that discovery process unfold while you write?
Let’s put it this way I work everyday on the job. I spend a lot of time at my desk, on my computer. I set targets for my day but never regard how much writing or words I need to achieve in a given day. The writing is only part of the job. I can spend as much time on research and publishing as writing. My first book took over three years pretty solid writing and research. I then spend a good chunk of a fourth year trying to get it published before realising my best hope was to be self-published.
What have you learned from your self-publishing journey that you can pass on to others?
- Write what you know about or are passionate about.
- Get a professional editor to help you improve your book.
- People do judge a book by its cover. It is subjective but get the best cover you can get.
- Consider you are writer and publisher of your works – and what that entails.
- Get a website and build a mail-list.
Do you find that working in subjects that you have passion for helps prevent writers block?
Fortunately I haven’t had this problem thus far.
You are very lucky!
Maybe it is because I have been sitting on my ideas for so long and it is all wanting to just pour out at this time. How I can get inspired to write is another thing altogether. I can get that from music, good humour, but taking long walks in the countryside has always helped.
What kind of music helps?
Well I would have to say my partner’s (Annie Locke) music. It is good to relax to. Even so, I don’t normally listen to music while I’m working. Indeed I’m not bad at switching off to the world around me.
So, when you are switched on and working, how does the editing process unfold for you? You mentioned professionally editing earlier.
The books I have written so far I have edited, I do seek to avoid repeating words too often – and will look for synonyms/alternatives. I have also had them professionally edited. I will no-doubt continue along these lines.
As you will continue with the professional editor you must see a benefit. Can you try and explain what the professional editor can give an author?
It is so helpful to get another (professional) person’s input on my writing – I can be too close to it.
It’s hard not to be close to something that you’ve developed and grown from a few simple words on a page. What motivates you to sit down and go on this journey from a few simple words to a completed book? Why do you write?
Although I have written throughout my life, it has mostly been articles, user-guides and reports. Writing a book was a new departure for me (this one is the second) that I’ve really only begun doing since leaving the 9 to 5 behind. I’m officially retired, which means I’m working harder than ever. I write about matters of spiritual health, self-help and wellbeing. I write to help make a living. But writing is really a means to an end for making a contribution in the areas I’m interested in.
As this book is about bettering yourself, I feel that you must have at least one personal philosophy that ties these areas of health, self-help and well-being into an idea for daily practice or a general attitude of life. Do you feel like you live by a personal philosophy?
Yes it is a spiritual one now – it hasn’t always been. It lies somewhere between Buddhism, Taoism and Hindu and none.
And finally, do you have a favouite quote that you think might try to sum up these ideals?
I don’t have a favourite but one I have used more than once is: You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body. C S Lewis
C.S. Lewis had some pretty solid ideas. Francis, thank you again for allocating a little time with me today, I also enjoy and appreciate the time I spend with authors. I wish you the best of luck on your life journey and I hope to hear from you in the future when you’ve finished ‘Soul Agenda’.
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