Written by JJ Barnes
I interviewed author Tara Knowles about her new book, Perspective, I’m An Emotional Woman, Not A Weak One. She describes what inspired her, her writing process, and how she went from idea to publication.
Tell me a bit about who you are.
My name is Tara Knowles, I am 30 years old, I am from south east London. I am originally a shoe designer and also a mindset coach and mentor. I set vision board sessions and also have a selection of affirmation cards which is sold in a solid set of 52. There’s so much in life we are unaware of and the first thing for many is themselves. This is how my story started anyway.
When did you first WANT to write a book?
I wrote this book for two main reasons. I felt an overwhelming need to get my story out of my head and onto the page. Doing this has been a massive relief, lifting a weight off my shoulders and clearing my mind. Anyone who struggles to talk about their thoughts and feelings, I can’t recommend writing enough. The second reason I wrote this book is to use my story to help others. People are rarely honest in life about the dark times and negative emotions they’ve experienced. They’re not often spoken about, which can leave us feeling very alone. I wanted to tell my story so that if anyone ever felt alone they may feel less alone.
More than this, I want the reader to relate to what I went through and find new ways of coping with and approaching difficult situations in your own life. Basically, I wrote the book I wish I’d read when I was struggling with life. There have been times in my life when I couldn’t see light at the end of the tunnel. When I couldn’t even come to terms with how and what I was feeling. I was overwhelmed and encumbered by a feeling of powerlessness that prevented me from seeing my problems, let alone dealing with them.
When did you take a step to start writing?
Properly – last year October, but also had used a selection of notes one or two lines to some paragraphs of emotions, thought and feeling.. I had so many questions about life but no one to answer them. So I went in search. By the time I started the book writing in October 2020 I had gathered loads of information and managed to even include some bits from my emotional notes.
How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?
I thought about writing a book in late 2019 when my relationship was spiralling. I write questions that I knew he wouldn’t ever answer. But I needed answers. I started gathering these questions and formed a list of everything I could think of I had experienced within a relationship. From kidnapped to physical and emotional abuse.
I left my relationship in Feb 2020, a week later I was out having conversation interviews with men. In which we would get together – never no more than 4 in total – including me, we spoke about everything from red flags to marriage, what’s accepted and what is. After months of interviews and conversations relating to relationships I realised it’s not necessary about the relationships. It’s about ourselves. What we do and who we are and what we tolerate and what our boundaries are for ourselves and others. We teach people how to treat us. If we don’t treat ourselves well, don’t expect other people to.
This became the theme of my book, not to only discuss relationships but also how to HEAL ourselves, spot sticky situations and be able to move on with lessons learnt but not stay and tolerate stuff because we love them, we have to love us more and have the boundaries in place to do so. Sometimes we will encounter people who will push our boundaries, some people may even request you move them. Everything’s a choice and we have that choice 99.9% of the time dependent on circumstance.
I started writing properly on the 1st October 2020 and completed it 23 days later.
In between I had done loads of research and was able to tell my own story but also relate my story’s to ones I knew resonated with others. Like having anxiety, mental health, how we think and feel things that are not spoken about. Relationships and the drama that can come with them – if you tolerate it, – we teach people how to treat us.
What made you want to write Perspective?
The world needs healing. But we have to heal ourselves first. There’s so much information I’ve found on my 6 year journey of even being more aware of myself. There’s so much we as humans are oblivious to but we know how to add and spell but we don’t know about ourselves and life and emotions – from how many we have to how we deal with them. To understanding our body and also our power – whether that’s intuition or just the power of knowing self that another can’t rock you with their opinion. There’s so much more I can go on forever, which was the point of Perspective.
What were your biggest challenges with writing Perspective?
Battling with the opinion of what other people thought of what I was writing about. Only my opinion mattered and it took me a while to get round that part. But this wasn’t just a book of information this is a book of example, and discussion and sharing and understanding – which is the point of my book.
The editing, I have dyslexia and dyspraxia, so it don’t matter how many times I can go over it I need someone who can spot it, there’s even a couple mistakes still left in the book and I don’t that on purpose – 1) For myself, I am most definitely a perfectionist and that’s something I am also trying o break. there is nothing perfect. 2) because no one is really going to even notice it – even if it was 1 in 10,000. The words and sentence is still read-able. That was enough to me to be able to see the mistake, be able to change the mistake – and choose that I’m imperfect and so is my book. It’s perfect now to me.
So this part of sending it to editors then them sending it back for me to check!
I ended up Having 4 editors for it still to have a couple small mistakes. The couple mistakes are small things. I had the option to change before release, I said that I wanted to keep it with the small errors as nothing’s perfect and I used to want everything as perfect as can be.
What was your research process for Perspective?
I’ve interviewed or spoke to via phone many couples or individuals about their experiences and what they’ve gone through. Most importantly how they’re dealing with it
How did you plan the structure of Perspective?
I had loads of topics and decided that I would use a handful at a time and started writing on each subject in the best way for me to also understand, but to be able to share the story with the reader in a way that’s relatable, some people would cringe to write about themselves the way that I have, and at times I have questioned if I should share based off embarrassment – which there’s even a chapter on that in my book. I have shared the good the bad and the ugly.
Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did Perspective need?
I hired about 4 editors – and realistically any editor you hire – unless they’re recommended, anyone can have a great profile and 5 stars. Can they do what YOU need though? You won’t know until the job is ‘Done’ and by then is payment time and checking time. I had to go over the many times which didn’t help me as I found repeating the book over and over was becoming draining for myself. The new editors managed to do somewhat a good job, but if you have read the above you’ll know there’s still some mistakes – so again – no work is perfect and nor is any editor 😉
What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a book?
Go with your plan and don’t even share it with anyone else unless they’re fully aware of your vision – even then its your vision – the only way you can share it is to write it.. When you don’t know what you need to hire someone that does. Or go find the advice of what you need.
But don’t let outside influence move your vision. It wasn’t theirs to see or move.
Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?
Im soon to qualify as a life coach and mind coach, so I would like to create a perspective part 2 with a little more coaching than story.
And, finally, are you proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?
Absolutely, I just kept going no matter how many hurdles was put in my way, this was the end goal and I’ve done I in excellent timing. Even with becoming amazon bestseller status within 48hrs was my goal for 3 months following the release. So new goals for me, but id like to help others create their books and in also great time with great planning. Which is available on my website for a free 15 minute consultation.
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