by Alvin Ramirez June 14, 2012
After taking the previous week off, Angela Lauria and Book Journeys returned with author, professor and motivational speaker Jane Bernard as their guest. Bernard teaches writing classes, as well as holds workshops for writers; she has also delivered talks about how to deal with and overcome writer’s block. She joined the show from New York City, and started things off by talking about her first book, Fine Tuning: Connecting with Your Inner Power.
Jane talked a bit about how her book came about; She related how she wasn’t originally planning to do a book, but eventually warmed up to the idea after going through a rough patch in her life and losing her passion and motivation to write. Fine Tuning, Jane said, was formed by way of different small clippings here and there that she eventually collected into a single volume. She managed to self-publish the book and shopped it around to talk shows until it got picked up by the Montel Williams Show. Jane observed that working under a traditional publishing arrangement tends to be more restricted and suffocating, as compared to the creative freedom allowed by a self-published title, aside from the more obvious benefit of having the profits from the sales of the book go directly to her.
During the interview, Jane shared some profound observations about writers and the process of writing. She believes that writers are delicate people, and as such, need to exercise a bit more care in choosing someone to share their work with before it gets published. She advises to keep from talking to anyone when writing, except people that the writer trusts and respects.
She likewise shared some tips from another book that she wrote that could help anyone suffering from writer‘s block to overcome it. The first rule, she said, was for writers to stop burdening themselves with guilt. The next one is to trust your instincts, to not write anything that feels wrong to you, and to channel your creative and emotional energies by working in short ten- to fifteen-minute bursts. Her third rule is to just stop writing if you feel that you are still blocked, and to not think of it as not working, but being at an intersection. She shared a wonderful quote on the subject, saying that “If you focus on respecting your process, you can free your creative energy from the tyranny of the ego.” She also gave a few practical tips for writer’s block, saying that the best way to overcome mental difficulties like it is to program oneself by allotting short spans of time to simply write, and by using tools like voice recorders to catch and capture thoughts.
Before closing the interview, Angela asked Jane how her expectations of being an author matched up with how her life has been since becoming one. Jane said that the biggest difference is having to do everything herself, and that a writer’s life doesn’t change just because he or she wrote a book.