I’ve been thinking about writing a book since 2005 when I took a writing class and wrote down a few goals. I didn’t know what shape it would take but that dream has finally become my reality with my first book, Living in Your Top 1%. Many people have been asking me about the process of writing a book so I thought it would be fun to share a few of the questions:
Q. What’s your most meaningful moment of writing your first book, Living In Your Top 1%?
I’m most proud that I said I was going to do something and I actually did it. There were so many reasons why this couldn’t be done and there were so many obstacles along the path that could have derailed me. I looked at every single one of them in the eye and figured out a way to move past them all.
Q. What’s the best part about writing a book?
That I get to write about a topic that inspires me and others. It’s a win-win. This is the first career in my life that I love what I do everyday (well pretty much everyday). Another exciting part is that I will be donating a portion of the profits from each book to several charities that support underprivileged children and groups.
Q. What’s the book about?
Living in Your Top 1% shares the most powerful ingredients for success and translates them into nine simple and easy-to-implement rituals. Combining research from the best thinkers in the field with a collection of compelling stories, I’ve created a comprehensive guide to reaching your true potential. The book is divided into three sections: Assess, Create, and Implement. Each section includes three rituals to inspire you to create the reality you want. The book helps to assess where you currently are in your life, identify the areas that you would like to excel in, and develop your own personal roadmap to get there. The nine rituals will challenge you to think differently, take action, and get results.
Q. What was your writing process like?
I started out by writing an hour a day. Then I tried to write for the entire day but realized it was not a productive strategy. I refined my process to write every morning when my mind was the clearest. Later in the process, I wrote in the mornings for about 3 – 4 hours and then again in the evenings after 8pm. Toward the end of the process, I was focusing on the book about 10 hours a day – pretty much non-stop because there was so much to get done and I wanted to meet a specific release date.
Q. What was the hardest part of the process?
Because I made the decision to self-publish my book, I was the CEO of the project which meant I oversaw every part of the process – writing, editing, designing the cover, laying out the book, and developing a PR/Marketing strategy. Obviously, I had a talented support team along the way (which helped me make this book possible) but in the end, every decision was mine and that’s a lot of pressure. The actual writing and editing process took about 15 months (not including time and research spent thinking about what I wanted to write). The last four months of editing were very challenging for me. I’m grateful for my editor, Lisa Zollner, who helped me take this book to the next level. At times, I thought the process might never end. When you are so close to the project it’s difficult to take a step back and evaluate your own words. I was very protective of what I had written and my editor helped me organize my thoughts in a more powerful method. For that I am grateful.
Q. Was there any drama along the way?
In the 11th hour, I had to change the first designer who was laying out the interior of my book. I was playing a tennis tournament in Palm Springs and I received an email from the designer Friday night. I was already very tight on deadlines so needless to say, this did not help. My social media team, lead by Connor Raus, came to the rescue and connected me with a talented designer, Carlos Moreno, who took over the project. One word, gratitude!
Q. What was the most surprising part of the process?
I knew I needed to secure some big names to endorse the book so I started thinking about who might like the book. During this time, I started attending Marianne Williamson’s lectures in Los Angeles and had the privilege of chatting with her before she spoke one night. We had a nice conversation and I gave her a draft of my book. I saw her the next week and she mentioned she liked the book. I got up my nerve and asked if she would consider writing an endorsement and she very graciously responded “Yes.” My process of personal growth started when I read her book, A Return to Love, so it was a very meaningful moment. The story is a great reminder to ask for what you want to bring into your life.
Q. What inspires you and helps you clear you mind to write?
Exercise, carving out time for myself, and connecting with the important people in my life. To get in a writing state of mind, I like to hike and be close to the mountains and ocean. That’s when my mind is the clearest and I have interesting ideas. When I need to gain clarity or figure something out, I always go for a hike in the Santa Monica mountains. I also carve out time during the week to take a yoga or spin class at my gym, Equinox Fitness Clubs, and play tennis at the Malibu Racquet Club. And most importantly to stay connected, I talk with my mom, dad, and brother most days.
Q. How do you feel?
I feel incredibly exhausted and exhilarated at the same time. This is one of the most satisfying achievements of my life. I’m hopeful that the book can help people make a difference in their life — the early feedback is positive. I’m already working with a couple of charities (Dress for Success and the Milken Scholars Program) and I’m confident that this book can give many people a framework to help them reach their potential.
Q. Are you Living in Your Top 1%?
People ask me this question frequently…I’m enjoying many more top 1% moments now than several years ago, it’s a continuous journey and I’m always striving to improve and challenge myself. It’s really a way of life, so in some areas yes and in others I continue to learn and get better.
Believe in yourself,
Alissa Finerman is an Executive Coach and Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, speaker and author of Living in YOUR Top 1%. She works with managers, C-suite executives and teams to leverage strengths, shift beliefs and achieve meaningful goals. Alissa has an MBA from the Wharton School and a BA from the University of California, Berkeley. She has worked with Ross Stores, Petco, BNP Paribas, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Brookfield Property Partners, Neutrogena, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Dress for Success. To learn more about coaching with Alissa, please visit her website and follow her on Facebook