I’m hosting an interview today with non-fiction author Margaret Curley Sanborn. Margaret is the author of self-help book “The Practical Guide to Happiness”. Thanks for answering my questions, Margaret!
1) What inspired you to write The Practical Guide to Happiness?
I am someone who has faced many of life’s significant trials, beginning in childhood. As a result of my upbringing, I found myself to be a relatively unhappy young adult without a lot of answers. I spent many years working hard to change my view of life and learning to take responsibility for what happens to me, regardless of where I have been. It paid off. I have constructed a happiness that persists no matter what events occur.
As a result, I have heard many times that my views, and my ability to convey those views through highly relatable examples and stories, are helpful to many I have known; including employees I have managed during my corporate career.
Last summer I found an old outline of ideas that I had written a few years back that I thought were good. A few months later, they were a book.
2) How long did it take you to write The Practical Guide to Happiness from start to finish?
The outline was written one day a few years ago. Last summer, it took me about 10 weeks to write the book; writing and researching every day. I tend to be both disciplined and prolific; so once I started, I flew.
3) What is the hardest part about writing non-fiction?
My style is not entirely nonfiction. Since the concepts I am discussing are abstract, I find it is much more helpful to tell a story and show the reader the major points I am making, through characters and events they can relate to. It’s one thing to talk about how being “singularly focused on something you don’t have” can be problematic, and another to show two side-by-side examples of people who handle that same situation differently. It allows people to have those “ah-ha” moments were they can see themselves in a situation. When the examples are clear, the nonfiction analysis and discussion are much more digestible and easier to apply.
4) How many hours/days do you write per week?
Unless circumstances are exceptional, I write every day. What and how much can vary pretty dramatically. I still write for business. I write for my own blog on spirituality and consciousness, and I am writing more fiction/nonfiction books. I am also about 125,000 words into a novel that will await completion until after I am finished with my current project.
5) Are you working on another book right now? Can you tell us more about it?
I am very excited about what I am currently working on. It’s another fiction/nonfiction book entitled “7 Things Your Soul Knows that You Don’t”. It explores unanswered questions about our origin, purpose and God. I am about halfway through. As in The Practical Guide to Happiness, for each of the 7 things, I tell a story and then analyze what it means and how it might be used. In 7 Things, each one also ends with an experiment or action a reader can try if they are interested.
So far, my early readers and my editor (a NY Times best-selling author) have found it compelling and inspiring and can’t wait until I have another ’#’ done. (I’m on #4.) I hope to be ready to publish it in January 2014.
Good luck with “7 things your soul knows that you don’t”!
The Practical Guide to Happiness
Author: Margaret Curley Sanborn
Genre: Creative non-fiction, self help
The Practical Guide to Happiness: If You Don’t Like How You’re Feeling, Think Again
Can You Learn to be Happy, with Who You Are, Where You Are and What You Have, Now?
If you are willing, YOU CAN, regardless of the cards you have been dealt.
The “pursuit of happiness” is a human right so basic that it’s named in the US Constitution. Unfortunately for most, it is little more than a pursuit, as happiness is elusive to many. The Practical Guide to Happiness: If you don’t like how you’re feeling, Think Again delineates, in a concrete way, the direct link between perception, thinking and feeling.
By using highly relatable stories, readers of the book are able to form a concrete link between abstract ideas regarding how they perceive and think, and how they feel. Realistic characters deal with real-life circumstances to demonstrate how the same situation and events, perceived and thought about differently, can yield different levels of happiness.
The Practical Guide to Happiness educates the reader on the number one challenge to their happiness, the human ego. The reader learns about the power of the human ego to provide a continuous negative diatribe that makes constantly holding positive beliefs about the future, in the face of the challenges of ordinary life, almost impossible. It explains how the ego will impede and thwart most people who chart a course to manifest the type of results that experts, in leading positive thinking books, cite. It then teaches the reader how to curb the ego, and to Think Again.
By using the Think Again strategies, the user learns to create happiness now, regardless of less than ideal life circumstances.
The first half of the book contains engaging stories that directly address the greatest illusions to American happiness, including: personal weight, beauty, wealth, relationships, work, retirement, and child-bearing.
Through these realistic stories, the reader is shown how even small shifts in perception and thinking create happiness and/or misery for the stories’ characters. The stories do not all have a happy ending as shifts in perception may impact the ultimate outcome, but the point of the book is to show the reader that lasting happiness is not tied to people, events or circumstances.
After drawing the reader through interesting examples of how perception and thinking create feelings, the book shifts to a practical guide the reader can use to identify, analyze and change their own negative thinking. The second half of this book is a detailed guide for changing perception and thinking to increase happiness. This section includes 8 practical actions the reader can take every day to curb their negative thinking, as well as the 6 steps required to Think Again (or change their mind).
Unlike many good books on this subject, The Practical Guide to Happiness does not have a religious bent. Although it acknowledges spirituality and God, it expressly gives readers the ability to proceed from their own beliefs, including atheism.
This book is exclusively focused on empowering the reader to become happier today, regardless of their current life challenges.
Margaret Curley Sanborn has been a spiritual seeker since childhood. Raised in a staunch Catholic family, at the age of 5, she announced her plan to be the first female priest. That began her lifelong quest for answers to the ”hows and whys” of life; never finding answers that made sense until she discovered A Course in Miracles.
Margaret spent years as a corporate marketing executive, knowing that her passion for writing and spiritual truth would someday wind up in a book.
Regardless of your personal faith, Margaret has been able to translate some of the spiritual answers she has found, into practical guidance on how to live a happier life.
You can find out more about Margaret at www.ifuthink.com.
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