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Book Journeys Author Interview – June 20, 2013

Dr. Angela Lauria with Lyn Stankavage Hicks, author of The Lotus Project: The Art of Being a Woman

 

“I was writing about something that is my heart state – my heartsong, so it inspires me to get up in the morning.” ~Lyn Stankavage Hicks

 

Angela:

Well, hello everybody and welcome to a very special episode of Book Journeys Radio. I am so excited to be here with one of my authors. So a Difference Press author, someone who’s published with our publishing label and I am, and I suppose a special book for me as well. So we’re excited… we’re excited to kind of share with you a little bit about the process and a little bit about the book today. I have with me Lyn Hicks and she is the author of The Lotus Project [The Art of Being a Woman] and Lyn, thank you so much for being here.

 

Lyn:

Oh, well thank you so much for having me. It’s a pleasure and I’m very enthused.

 

Angela:

Awesome. So why don’t we just start with giving people just the groundwork. What is the Lotus Project and just tell us a little bit of why you wrote it.

 

Lyn:

Well, it’s a book about living a lifestyle of green, living all types of artistry and things that women naturally want to do. And as I’ve lived green my whole life, I learned and studied a lot of different… traditions and things… that really kind of helped me to express my artistry, my creativity, my more “slowing” way of moving and so I offered it to other women because when, at this time when we’re very busy and things are very crazy, and just some of the things I’d learned in connecting with nature – living green, nourishing myself, nourishing my family, nourishing the community and how that helped balance some of the craziness that I’ve lived with, so I was really wanting to open up the green movement as something about wellbeing vs. the hippie movement or…

 

Angela:

Yes, so why don’t you talk about… when you say… green, to me I picture composting and, you know, front yard gardens and, uh, I don’t know, uh, right, but more… yeah, so why don’t you talk about your… when you say “living green” what does that mean to you?

 

Lyn:

Well, to me it’s a lifestyle, of choices that you make and… going from the foods that you do and as a woman and as a mother, uhm, making food and preparing it for my family, you know, using the best food I can possibly find, and knowing that I’m doing that three times a day so I can enjoy and give them quality and health by that… uhm, what’s in my home, what makes it beautiful, what’s in my heart, what products we’re putting on our body, what we’re using as far as all that goes, and there’s a lot of information on the toxicity, so that to me is… a choice and well-being for myself and my family. You know, reusing and passing things on and sharing rather than just throwing them out… different ways that we can use our energy for ourselves.. we have a lot of things to do and using these Eastern practices… or yoga or the different things I’ve learned in Tai-Chi that have helped me understand my energy and how to get all my tasks done and not be burned out… through the system by learning that, so I think by living green more is like living toward my well which is only the well-being of my family, of course, and then further, the well-being of my community and a stronger connection to our environment or communities… shopping local, buying from stores knowing people that we’re purchasing from and having that connection and that collaboration that… can be in real crazy. So that’s how I see living green. It’s more about wanting to have choices that are the best for me… best for my family, and then course that’s only gonna just spill over into the community and the earth and all of those other things, but it’s not about my lifestyle of wanting quality, wanting care, and wanting to be able to appreciate all the simple tasks you do with a more heartened… sense than just, “Let my buy this toothpaste.” You know, it’s like, “Oh, this is good toothpaste. It’s gonna help me, it tastes better, it’s made from better products, it’s gonna help my children, it’s gonna help my husband, and of course, I’m gonna support people who are more conscious about the way they’re doing business and what they’re putting in it. So I kind of look at it from that angle more than just composting. (chuckles).

 

(Long silence)

 

Helloo?

 

Angela:

Oh, I’m so sorry, uh, I have been talking lots… I was on mute so I didn’t want there to be background noise, uhm… I’m sorry. So this is obviously your personal philosophy and you got through that through your own process. So talk to me about the moment when you decided that this needed to be a book. How did that happen that you said, “ I wanna write a book about this”?

 

Lyn:

Well, I’m part of… I’m an organic flower farmer and I’m part of the green collaboration which is the movement – my town trying to find paper products for myself and others and when everyone knows where they (because a lot of the times when we choose them we just don’t know where they are… and my… girl in fact said, “You know, I really think you need to write a book and become the green expert and share the way that you see this because a lot of people see it as a, you know, a hassle, and more money and all these things, and, uhm, you see it more as a lifestyle and a well-being and she felt that it was important for me to get that out so my local community could understand and, you know, grow all of my businesses that I already have. So it started out with that, really, as, you know, someone in marketing saying, “Hey, this is where you need to go next. This is where your career and your business is going and since you love to write and you love to explain things in a different form or a lot easier to people, I think that this could be very good for you to do.” So I was always writing, I have a million journals… Like every experience I have throughout my entire life… It’s kind of how I learn and I digest information and experiences, so…

 

Angela:

Well that’s what I was gonna ask you. So, when you heard the idea… ‘cause obviously we get a lot of ideas. People say, “You should do this” or, “You should do that” all the time. What made you say yes to that?

 

Lyn:

Well, I love to write. (chuckles). You know, it’s like I write… I started a blog for myself. I did all those things – I’d journal, so… I was like, “Oh, I can do that, ‘cause that’s what I love to do.” But I never thought of it in any career way, or any way as a part of… who I was other than like, you know, people have little hobbies and different ways they do things, so writing to me was just how I process; it’s how I would study… In college I’d copy the chapters, you know, synopsis it, and I knew that I was learning through that writing process. It wasn’t that I was gonna read the notes… It was that I was gonna write. So once you get… hit me with that idea, it was like, “Oh, really? Yeah, I can do that. That sounds so easy to me because I’m already doing it… about my life and my experiences.” Anyway, so it was very energizing because it was something that I naturally did and never considered a talent or anything like that, I just considered it… what was part of me. I always write. I love to write, you know, poetry… I love the words, I love to hear quotes, like all those things that are always… my whole life. So I never looked at it as something that would, you know, be able to be part of my career path.

 

Angela:

Mmm hmm. And so did you have a goal or an outcome in mind for your book?

 

Lyn:

No, I can’t really say. I think… The goal was to… I… You know, in my community, locally, I’m involved in a lot of things and there… and, you know, self development the Eastern ways, and the book to me was… the goal was to get everyone to see how it’s really all the same – that’s how I see it. It’s not disconnected. I think the feminine nourishing movement… I think the green movement and the local movement are all about nourishing, so in writing this book about all the… which to me was the way I lived, included those three movements for my local community and they would be like, “Oh, now we get it,” you know? ‘Cause it’s just appeared like in all these different things that maybe weren’t as clearly aligned to somebody else, but to me they were all the same thing. But I think she was wanting me to… you know, the goal was that – to do that – to let my local community know my point of view – all the different things are… how they really are all one connected line… and then understand me and my whole connection because when you stand up and you’re networking and you’re a flower farmer and a co-founder of a green movement and having self development… you just have to start… “What are you doing?”

 

Angela:

Right… I think that’s an interesting perspective. I talk a lot about my book coaching… being specific about their audience and usually that’s a type of person and you are actually thinking locally even though obviously, your book has the ability to have a national or global reach, uhm, almost has a… almost has a… as a bonus… you know just like… the word out… in your community… you meet your personal goals, but then you have this opportunity to hit them… hit some larger goal almost inadvertently, which I think is right. So…

 

Lyn:

Yeah… ‘cause I didn’t look at it in a larger way, but I had… in the writing and the publishing and the process, in the beginning where I was and what I was going to write about and in the end, where I was was way larger, and different than when I started.

 

Angela:

So, is there anything… now that you’re done and your book is published… is there anything you wish you knew before you started this project?

 

Lyn:

Uhm, I don’t know if I wish I knew it ‘cause I’m wanting to think that everything happened perfectly, but I think, and I think the process of writing it made me understand “author” as a career. When I first wrote it I was just writing something local but as I went through the process, I realized that I am an author and maybe if there was something that I could have looked at and might have understood being an author more and what that entails and what that career really is because I don’t… I didn’t know… I don’t think many people do… they just write (chuckles). you know.

 

Angela:

Right.

 

Lyn:

Right, and then when the book…

 

Angela:

…and then when the writing starts, you picture you’re sitting, you know, in a cabin in Maine, or something, but you’re actually writing your book and being… the career of a writer, but it’s actually quite different, isn’t it?

 

Lyn:

Yeah, and uhm, so… I… you know, I never really… yes, exactly. That’s exactly a wonderful way to put it, so I didn’t know all the steps, which I don’t know if I would have done anything differently because I think that was kind of a… of the learning because when I did start to learn about the career, it was then another moment of wonderful energy because it was… I thought, “Oh, I am an author. I will write more books. I will speak and share. I will enjoy community and offering what I know.” There are already things I’m doing in classes, like it all kind of adds another piece to who I am that would be obvious now but then, it was like, “Oh, no. You’re just writing and that’s that.” Uhm…

 

Angela:

Right, and when you say that it has added another piece, has it added some credibility or expert status? What’s kind of changed?

 

Lyn:

Well, the shift is in me and who I am in that, I was like, I never really considered writing a part of a career, a way to make money, a way to tie things, and when you understand that an author is as well, a speaker, and, you know, can further get people involved and read more of their things, and all of that, uhm, I was like, “Oh, okay. We’ll that’s in line with what I’m already doing,” and that’s… I see myself as that… I am an author, and, uhm… So I’m really new on the journey of it, but I’ve to change more for me in looking at the whole project for a book and the whole career path and, you know, it’s a two-year thing and nah nah nah nah, that… I didn’t know when I started it, so, I would say it was more my shift within that is often… than without, you know…

 

Angela:

Right. Absolutely. And so, throughout the… throughout the process, where there times… uh, well actually, let me go back… What was your writing process like from when you got this idea – I’m gonna turn this into a book – until you had a finished manuscript… How long was that? How often were you writing? How frequently? When? Where? Tell us about your writing process.

 

Lyn:

Uhm, well, it was probably about a year-and-a-half [or] two years… uhm, you know, just like what’s happening in many projects, but it was so easy for me because it’s so who I am… what I wrote about… It’s my life experiences… the way I see the world. So it was very easy to begin, and then… it just kinda flowed out of me and I allowed that, uhm, and also during that time, I ran into some parts of my life in teachings from schools that I’d learned from. So they kinda added more to the book as I was going along. I think that, uh, the hardest, or the thing that was really part of the processes… the editing… ‘cause when you free-form-write your thoughts… you know, there’s dan da dan da dan da dan and… uhm, all of those kind of things… it’s like really getting down to like, “What are you saying?” So, to me… the actual beginning part of the writing was easier… was more of the digestion, uhm, I was like, “Okay, this is what you wrote… you said that’s… you say it once right,” and more of that editing to really say what I’m… you know, saying what I wanna say. So I wrote a lot. I worked a lot on all the chapters, you know, we’d go back in and then, we’d like… “Oh, no. We don’t want this… fix that.” But it was very fun for me. It wasn’t a pressure, like, “Oh, go get this book done.” It was like uh…

 

Angela:

Were there times? Where there times you felt like stuck or stopped or blocked in any way?

 

Lyn:

Not in writing. Uhm, you know, it life, because I didn’t have time. But no, I did not have to experience that at all in this book. I, uhm, you know, just wanting to say what I meant, uhm, and finding the right words to say it, uhm, would be more of my challenge, but I didn’t have a block ‘cause it was just – this is who I am; this is how I live; this is how I see that; this is how I’m nourished by it, so it was very very simple. I didn’t… I didn’t, at all. I didn’t find that as a problem, because I was writing…

 

Angela:

And why do you think that is, when for so many people, writer’s block is a problem.

 

Lyn:

You know, because it’s so much of what our love [of what] I was writing about, and it’s how I live. It’s my lifestyle. It wasn’t like a topic. It was about what I’m doing; how it affected me; how I saw it helped me and supported me, so it was very much of my experience I was sharing. I mean, like, you know, I could talk forever about this. (chuckles)

 

Angela:

Right.

 

Lyn:

So I think that would be it more. I wasn’t writing on the topic. I was writing about something that is my heart state – my heartsong, so it inspires me to get up in the morning. So, I’m using that energy to live, so I was just kinda shifting it to writing. So I wasn’t blocked about it. It’s the core of what I live about. So maybe that’s why?

 

Angela:

Right. Right. So is there any advice that you would give people as to how to structure writing a book in a way that, like it was for you – it’s kinda of fun, laid back and not a stressful experience?

 

Lyn:

You know it’s just… pick something that’s really… what you want to share about, because to me writing is about that. Uhm, as well as… you know, obviously… I had my topic and then I thought of chapter titles and I began writing those chapters and played in and out of them a million times… and added more… But it really, just define something that you’re so “joyed” about and that you really feel must come out that you wanna voice about that you like, would make it as fun as it was for me, uhm, it was really just who I am, you know, what I’m doing and the causes that I like and why I like them and the things and why I think they’re important for other people to pay attention to. So, often something that you have… towards…

 

Angela:

Yeah. I think that’s great advice. I mean a lot of people are trying to write something that they think they should write instead of what they’re most passionate about and finding… finding your passion is definitely one of the keys to making writing an easy process. So… what, a couple of months ago now, what has been the reaction… the people you have shown it to? You remember the story of the person you first showed your book to?

 

Lyn:

Uh, yeah. I actually was… a partner of mine in green collaboration and she… the Bahamas in the Winter and she was so excited, and took the picture of it on the Kindle, because…

 

Angela:

No.

 

Lyn:

Hers, specifically, was like, “Whooo!” and then she read it and throughout the process of her reading it, she… on me and said, “This is really good… this is really good,” you know, and, “Oh, no. Lyn, this is a really good book!” as she went through it. And because we’re in the green heart space together, uh, you know, we were in a collaboration, it was… because that was… for someone who already knows green and lives green, to really enjoy the way I put it forward was just, you know, “Yeey.”

 

Angela:

Right, and sort of like in your vision… for who you wanted to share this book with.

 

Lyn:

Well, my vision is more to share with someone who is not green. To have someone who is, to say, “Well this is an old news,” or the way you put it… You know what I mean? Rather than this is Junior. This is for beginners,” you know.

 

Angela:

Right, right, right. That’s awesome. So…

 

Lyn:

Yeah. So that means you’re really good, ‘cause green people as well as people who are not green but maybe wants more health and well-being, uhm, and is a woman wanting to take care of her family, I’d also inspire them easily, uhm, and not just green.

 

Angela:

Right.

 

Lyn:

… it’s about nourishing, so… uhm, you know. To me that’s how I see it.

 

Angela:

So what are some of the other reactions that you got from people, be it friends or family or people who have, seen the book, what… have you gotten any feedback that surprised you or excited you?

 

Lyn:

Well, everything has been really positive. I would say, I would have thought I would have had more support, like from family and friends reading it.., immediate, but, you know, like my family is like, “Ah, lovely!” you know. Which is nice and they always support and love me, but you know, I would have expected more like, “Oh, my gosh. Let me read it… Let me tell you,” and I didn’t really get that as much from my family, as I thought.

 

Angela:

Mmm. Interesting.

 

Lyn:

But, you know, our families are always different than we expect. Uhm, but as far as other people, I think, a lot of my friends… and things like, ‘”d know they bought it and they’d send me pictures and, you know, I mean it’s so beautiful in the outside, my cover, uhm, it’s just so inspiring. So people love all of that and I put it on Facebook, like which cover and stuff like that. I’ve only gotten really wonderful, uhm, response, but not a ton. Uhm, it’s more like… ‘cause it’s so new and I’ve just really started this process and I am a grower, so… Although it came out on Earth Day, in time for an event. I had… I really put my time into planting, so I haven’t gone out and really expressed this journey in the way that I see I will next month. Uhm, so, you know, I can’t say I have…

 

Angela:

Well, what was it like… what was it like for you when you held your book for the very first time?

 

Lyn:

Oh, my god, it was the greatest feeling. It went so wonderful. My girlfriend came up with a bottle of cocoa… champagne… and we just sat there and we’re like, “Aaah!” And I’m some… you know, I’m forty nine, so for me the actual printed piece had so much more value, especially because I love the paper, and to me, I like that… and I’ve seen it on the computer… writing and writing on the computer… computer… nananananana… it was all just… So to see it in this real form and your name… Lyn Hicks, was just like, “Oh, my gooosh! Look what I did!” So…

 

Angela:

It’s not… it’s a pretty interesting… I know you haven’t had a boring life, by any means, but it’s an interesting feather to add to your cap and once you become an author, you can’t ever not have been one. You know that’s something that…

 

Lyn:

Yeah, you know, you don’t know… I didn’t… Yeah, I didn’t know any of that. Like I was just writing a book. (chuckles) I didn’t identify that that I was an author, and so I… and even now it’s still kinda sinking in how I really… investigated what an author is. I really didn’t have… it was an idea… wasn’t in my being. Whereas now I feel like, “Yes, I’m an author!” Like I can say, “Oh, I’m an author!” which, you know, sometimes, in the beginning, I was like, “Oh, you forgot to say you’re an author.”

 

Angela:

Right.

 

Lyn:

So, for me, it’s been a very transformational process in many ways. Uhm, but, you know. I’m sure everyone’s path is different but it was exciting and since I love to write, it’s like, “Oh, the glory of writing!” you know, instead of just writing and no one ever seeing it. I would write if they did or didn’t, but that people could see it and [I] could support them… and it’s a love of mine and… could it help them…? [It] was just, “Whooo, this is just sooo joyful!”

 

Angela:

Yeah, it’s… I mean, I think that’s ultimately… we’re all trying to make our own impact or own difference and there’s something permanent and concrete about a book that has so much potential for being able to help people.

 

Lyn:

Yeah, and I think… when it comes to easy… you know, which it did for me… It’s almost like you don’t really consider it as much of accomplishing as it really is.

 

Angela:

Mmm hmm.

 

Lyn:

You know.

 

Angela:

Yeah, I think that’s true.

 

Lyn:

Yeah, like the gardener… It’s not a hassle to weed, but for someone who hates to weed, it’s a major accomplishment, like, “Wow, you weeded all that?” Uhm, so I think for other people, it’s like, “Wow, you wrote a book!?” Whereas to me it was like, “Oh yeah, I wrote a book,” so I think… we’re in a field of gifts… a lot of times, it’s so easy so it’s so easy so it’s not work, so then we don’t really know how big an accomplishment it is to someone who doesn’t have that as a gift and that’s wonderful when the world shows you that.

 

Angela:

Yeah, absolutely. So, any other… any other advice that you would give to somebody who would want to write a book… uhm, has it as a goal but hasn’t been able to finish it?

 

Lyn:

Uhm, you know, just to… down with the process. You know there’s so many things that we try to do in life, we’ll block the… times nine, and uhm, if it’s you know, something that you really are enjoying or really wanting to accomplish, it’s so worth to keep going… keep going… keep going… you know?

 

Angela;

Yeah.

 

Lyn:

You know, even if you have to put it down, you know, a family crisis comes, or other things that take precedence… step back to it and keep going because when you actually see the print and you actually get into the next part of the process, it’s really wonderful. It’s more wonderful than you know, ‘cause you’re still in the writing.

 

Angela:

Right, right. So, okay, so that’s… I… just in the last few minutes, uhm… If somebody… when they do finish their book, they have some tough decisions to make about publishing. Why don’t you talk about… how do you publish and how did you come to make that decision?

 

Lyn:

Well, I, you know, was gonna do the self-publishing, you know, through Hay House, which I think a lot of people in my area have done that… Uhm, and other people have done that locally, and, uhm, at the time, it was, you know, the pricing and everything was beyond where I could be. It went towards…

 

Angela:

Pretty significant. Usually… and when I tell people… 10K is… is a good ballpark.

 

Lyn:

Yeah, and I think that’s a very costly process as well. So…

 

Angela:

Right.

 

Lyn:

Uhm, you know, it’s like, “Whoh!”

 

Angela:

It’s a significant financial commitment to self-publish that way. Now you could consider to teach yourself design and try and do everything yourself and learn how to publish and spend less than ten thousand. Which is possible, but that’s a little… another challenge…

 

Lyn:

Right, and, you know, most people are already doing something.

 

Angela:

Right. Exactly.

 

Lyn:

So, they’re sitting there writing in, uh, and then… as I was going around, you know, finishing it, uh, you know, it was one of those things, like to me, life is very purposeful, and a girl I was working… in support of one thing… something…. a colleague, uh, you know, happened to know you and what you do… and she was going to see you… uhm, whatever learning, uhm, she went down there to…

 

Angela:

Yeah, we had a conference.

 

Lyn:

Okay. Different then, where I  lived, and, uhm, I was like, ‘Oh!” You know. But we met on that… both of you and I were on her virtual birthday party, you mentioned how there were different options available to people to publish with you…

 

Angela:

And so, what was… we’re tight on time… what was attractive about the Difference Press approach to publishing?

 

Lyn:

Ah, well… financial and that you, uhm… as good word of mouth.

 

Angela:

Right. So, the thing I’d say about that is there’s just so many different ways to publish. So, if you’re feeling like, “I’m not getting enough callbacks from agents,” or if you’re feeling like, “Wow, I can’t afford 10,000 dollars… whatever your… whatever your publishing challenges are, just keep looking and keep your ears and eyes open because there are so many publishing options out there, and you can get your book into the world. And by being open to different and unique ways to make that happen is… I think is, they key. So, uhm… Anyway, we’re overtime, but you can definitely learn more at differencepress.com and Lyn, I meant to get your, uhm, your website in, uhm, Lyn Hicks… L-Y-N-H-I-C-K-S dotcom (lynhicks.com) and you also haveLotus Project dotcom don’t you?

 

Lyn:

Yes, I do. yes.

 

Angela:

So, either one of those sites, you can learn more about Lyn Hicks’ book, The Lotus Project, uhm, lotusprojectbook.com or lynhicks.com… Lyn, thanks so much for being our guest today.

 

Lyn:

Okay, thank you very much. It’s wonderful to talk with you.

 

Angela:

Absolutely!

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