My guest this week is Kathy Pooler, whose memoir, Ever Faithful To His Lead was published in late July.
First, her bio.
Kathleen Pooler is an author and a retired Family Nurse Practitioner whose memoir, Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse, published on July 28, 2014, and a work-in-progress sequel, Hope Matters: A Memoir, are about how the power of hope through her faith in God helped her to transform, heal and transcend life’s obstacles and disappointments: domestic abuse, divorce, single parenting, loving and letting go of an alcoholic son, cancer and heart failure to live a life of joy and contentment.
She believes that hope matters and that we are all strengthened and enlightened when we share our stories.
She lives with her husband Wayne in eastern New York.
Kathy and I have been social media friends for a year or two now. She’s the type of social media friend one wants, too: filled with knowledge about this new world that can sometimes seem overwhelming — knowledge that comes from her doing it for a lot longer than I have — AND she’s approachable, responsive, and generous with that knowledge.
Plus, she likes my sense of humor.
Here are the many ways she’s connected via social media:
Google+: Kathleen Pooler
LinkedIn: Kathleen Pooler
Pinterest : krpooler
One of her stories “The Stone on the Shore” is published in the anthology: “The Woman I’ve Become: 37 Women Share Their Journeys From Toxic Relationships to Self-Empowerment” by Pat LaPointe, 2012.
Another story: “Choices and Chances” is published in the “My Gutsy Story Anthology” by Sonia Marsh, September, 2013.
Over the months, Kathy and I have had many conversations. I’m pleased to feature her once again (read her earlier And So It Goes guest post here), in a conversation about “Connecting with your Purpose.” Specifically, Kathy is talking about connecting with her purpose in writing her memoir, Ever Faithful to His Lead.
I don’t think we’ve shown the cover yet.
JANET: Nice colors on the cover, Kathy. That Kazakh flag blue and yellow combination is popular this year.
KATHY: That is interesting. I tried to match the colors in the picture (blue outfit) and found this color combination the most appealing. To explore this on an even deeper level, the blue represented the underlying blue mood and the yellow gave some glimpses of hope in the midst of the blueness.
While I’m talking about my cover, I’d like to give my publisher, Paul Burt, and Min Gates, the graphic artist he assigned to my project, my praise and appreciation for how they encouraged and guided me throughout this entire process. Their goal all along was to help me design a cover that delivered the message and mood I wanted to convey.
JANET: I can see why you’re justly proud of it. You’re on a blog tour since your book’s publication, Kathy, and I’m so pleased you asked to stop by And So It Goes once again. Let’s get to it.
KATHY: In order to do that, I had to connect with my own purpose for writing my story.
JANET: The “why?”
KATHY: Yes. Everyone has a story to tell, but not everyone feels the need to write about it. Or maybe they don’t feel they have a story worth telling.
I think it starts with believing we have a story to tell.
JANET: You’ve written about “writing my way to my purpose.” Can you say more about that? Maybe describe your process?
KATHY: Sure. I’d say it involved many years of journaling, four years of taking writing classes, writing vignettes, going to conferences and hours of pondering and shooing away my inner critic.
The story that begged to be told revealed itself to me over time and through many hours of doubts and detours. I’d put it aside for weeks at a time, then feel the nudge to revisit it, each time digging a little deeper. The story was always with me.
It’s kind of like cleaning the house in preparation for the cleaning lady.
JANET: The last time you were my guest, you offered us a list of the nine steps you took to find your way back to connection with your son. And, I’ve noticed you’ve offered lists of various sorts from time to time. Any chance you have a list for us again?
KATHY: It just so happens I have a few tips I’ve learned about connecting to my purpose in writing my memoir.
1. I had to find ways to get past my inner critic. You know, the one who says:
- What makes you think anyone will want to read your story?
- Your story isn’t unique.
- You can’t write that well anyway.
- Who cares?
I had to put my inner critic in her place. Her name is Gertrude. Here’s how I did it by writing out a dialogue with her
2. I needed to show up and write on a schedule. Sometimes just the act of writing words unlocked the creative juices:
- Free writing helped when I felt stuck. Writing words even if they don’t make sense.
- Journal writing too. Getting my thoughts, feelings, and reactions down on paper helped me to clarify and focus.
3. I needed to trust in the process. Sometimes when I’d start to write, I had no idea how the story would unfold. I’d start in the middle and if I let the writing flow, I eventually found the beginning and end. After I showed up, I needed to get out the way of the story and let the words flow. I could and would go back and change later.
JANET: Let me cut in here, just a minute. I know you have more on your list. It strikes me that these are steps we can all take to discover our “purpose” no matter what it might be.
In your case, it was to clarify the story of your memoir. For others, it might be finding new direction in life, clarifying an important decision.
Isolating that inner critic — I can picture her in Time Out — was a big one for me in deciding to end my first marriage. Learning I had a right to be happy, I had a right to my own opinions, those were the result of learning how to stifle that inner critic. And journaling every day helped me do just that. OK. Let’s get back to your list.
KATHY: 4. Taking time to pause and think has helped me be clear on my purpose. This has helped me to tap into memories and make connections about their meaning from my adult perspective. Sometimes my best ideas flowed when I took time to walk in the garden or sit in church. As writers know, we really are working when we’re staring out the window.
JANET: Or raking leaves.
KATHY: Yes, of course.
5. Connecting with my purpose helped me to identify the main themes of my story. When I connected with the purpose for writing and found the heart of my story, I was able to identify the themes to shape my story around. This made it easier to stay true to the themes, which became the foundation for the story structure.
6. I needed to keep my overall purpose in mind as I revised. Being clear on my main message and the audience I was targeting enabled me to approach suggestions from editors and beta readers with a sense of purpose, staying true to my story while remaining open to constructive feedback.
7. Connecting with my purpose for writing helped me get to the finish line. I took the time to write it right because I do believe that I have a story to tell and that I am the only one who can tell it.
JANET: Thanks, Kathy. I look forward to more conversations in the future.
Although I’d warned Kathy that I married the person I’d had a last face-to-face with, still, she welcomed me into her home for own first face-to-face last April.
Here’s a photo her husband Wayne took of us then.
How about you? How has connecting with your purpose helped guide you?