Worlds of Power, Worlds of Light
By Jenna Walsh

Other Interesting Projects By This Author
Dharma Center Meditation Center

Interview With The Author

Why did you decide to write a book?
I began using writing to help me process different life experiences when I was 12 years old. The words came out initially in short poems, and then scenes from a variety of stories started popping out. I always knew I would write a book, and after reading Carlos Castaneda, I knew I wanted to write a book like his. I have a whole crate full of story parts, but nothing even close to being finished. Meeting and studying with Rama and his students was the perfect catalyst to get me to stick with the story I just had to share.

What did you learn by writing a book?
I’ve heard it many times, but never really believed it until I got all the way through my first manuscript – writing a book to share with others is really about re-writing and re-writing and re-writing… And of course, if you’re using the computer, save often!

Do you have any suggestions to help others publish their books?
Determine your target audience. If it’s small, then self-publishing with an on-demand printing service is probably the best bet. If your book has mass-market appeal, then you’re best bet is to find an agent who believes in your work and let him or her market your book to publishers. Beware of “agents” who charge a reading fee; if they making money from lots of authors, there’s not much incentive for them to work at selling your book to a publisher. Before publishing, always make sure that your book is the best it can be – have someone who has little interest in your topic read it, because that’s the person who will be able to see the holes.

How do you inspire yourself to write?
I write in a journal on a regular basis – nothing structured; the purpose is to just get thoughts and ideas that are floating around in my head on to the paper. Most of the time it’s just babble, but once in a while, something special does pop out.

Answering questions via emails from students also tends to get my creativity flowing.

I found a wonderful writer’s group in Ocean Beach that is incredibly supportive. The woman who runs it has set it up as a mini-class and workshop. She brings in a poem and an excerpt from a story that shares a similar theme that we read and discuss. Then we write for about 15 minutes; we can write on the same theme, or anything that comes up. Some wonderful pieces have found their way into my notebook through this process. During the second half of the meeting, we critique whatever people have brought in that they’re working on. Participating in the critique process teaches you ways to improve your own writing.

Do you have any funny stories about things that happened while you were writing the book?
Rama worked with his students by having them work on different projects, and by observing how these projects turned out, Rama would offer a critique of the student’s level of attention. The book I wrote was one such project. When I finished the first draft, I sent it off to Rama. After a week or two, ideas and corrections for the book would fill my head. We hardly spoke verbally about the book – but every time I sent him a copy, I would have all of these things that I just had to change in the book. It was a very strange process. The critiques would hit me quite unexpectedly – in the middle of a business meeting, on the train, etc. I would stop whatever I was doing and start scribbling. Sometimes it was a bit like being hit over the head!

Do you have anything else that you would like to add?
When you embark on the long journey of writing a book, let the story flow out of you completely before you edit. Don’t worry about the grammar or sentence structure or even the word choice – get the first draft down on paper. Once it’s down and you’ve printed or saved a copy, then go in and begin to edit. Remember that the muse and the editor are different parts of you, and they don’t always get along – so don’t make them both look at your story at the same time!


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