April 10, 2018
Note From Rochelle
I’ve got an unexpected opening in my editing schedule. If you need help getting your manuscript ready for submission or publication, consider hiring me. I’m an experienced editor and can help you get your project ready for a wider audience. If you’re interested in learning more, book a complimentary consultation.
Today I’m delighted to welcome Amy Scher to the blog. She’s the bestselling author of How to Heal Yourself When No One Else Can and This Is How I Save My Life. Read the blog post and then check out how you can enter to win a copy of her new book, This is How I Save My Life.
Writers@Work: An Interview with Amy B. Scher
by Rochelle Melander
Tell me a bit about you—where you are now and how you got here.
I’m currently at my desk writing articles to support the launch of my new memoir, This Is How I Save My Life: From California to India, a True Story Of Finding Everything When You Are Willing To Try Anything (Gallery Books, April 2018). It feels like once you write a book, there is still more writing about the writing of the book. Ha! But before I was sitting at my desk right now?
It’s been a long road to get here. I’ve been writing ever since I can remember, but I never really thought about doing it for a profession. I always wanted to be a veterinarian or a stay at home mom. As I got older, I started getting the idea that I wanted to write a book – but I always said I didn’t have anything to write that book about. I have a terrible imagination so fiction was never an option. Then, in my 20s, I was struck with a terrible illness (chronic Lyme disease) that had me bedridden. That set me up for both something I didn’t want (being stuck in bed and locked out of life), but also the inspiration and topics to write about that I’d always been missing. I started blogging on a healthcare site chronicling my healing journey, which took me all over the world seeking a cure. I self-published two books which didn’t do very well, but definitely taught me a lot; mostly that even with a marketing background, self-publishing wasn’t for me. Once that was clear in my mind, it felt like I was able to forge forward. I’ve now gotten three traditional book deals in three years.
Tell us about your newest book, This is How I Save My Life.
This Is How I Save My Life is about my desire to find a cure for my failing, flailing body. It’s about my need to learn all of the things that only illness could teach me. It’s about traveling around the world—to India and back—to learn that in the end, I had to come home to myself for the cure.
The book is part physical journey of healing and part travel adventure; but really it’s about how we’ll never be able to come into our health, creativity, and joy unless we are able to tell our self the truth about our own life. And I was never good at that. I was good at convincing myself that “everything was fine” in my relationships, my body, and my brain. But nothing was fine. I had anxiety, I was fearful, and I couldn’t make a good decision for myself unless everyone around me approved.
There is no way to live your life, or save it, when you can’t own it.
You went through an incredible journey to save your life and then wrote about it. Can you talk a bit about your writing process? Were you writing while you were living the experience or did you write it afterwards?
I kept a blog during my time in India, when I received one of the dramatic treatments during the decade that I was really sick. So the facts were there. But my writing was terrible. I could hardly get through that time in my life and stay sane, let alone with any grace or good writing skills. I actually self-published those blog entries into a book a few years later. But when I wrote This Is How I Save My Life to be traditionally published, I used some of the accounts from that time, but completely re-wrote them in narrative format. My writing (and my sanity) had vastly improved. It was the perfect timing for the story to be born into a book.
I’m inspired by your bravery and determination. What tips do you have for writers who are scared to tell their story or are frustrated by multiple rejections?
This is a tough one, because our fear can be so big. But I’d say that at some point, one has to choose what’s bigger: the fear or the desire to tell your story. And it’s ok if it’s the fear. That just means it’s not the right time. Because if you hold back your story while you’re writing it, the reader can feel it. I was scared for years to write unfiltered; worried my ex would be upset, people would judge my medical choices, and on and on. They were all legitimate fears, and at the time, bigger than my desire to get my story into the world. But at some point, through learning that the world doesn’t end when people are unhappy with you, I chose writing.
What books helped you write your memoir?
There are four books that helped me: Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert; Wild by Cheryl Strayed; and Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott. They all tell the hard truth. No exceptions. And that’s what I needed to do with This Is How I Save My Life or it wouldn’t be the book it needed to be.
About the author. AMY B. SCHER is the bestselling author of How to Heal Yourself When No One Else Can and This Is How I Save My Life. As an expert in mind-body-spirit healing, she is often lovingly referred to as an “accidental guru.” She uses energy therapy techniques to help those experiencing emotional or physical challenges to heal permanently and completely.
Amy has been featured in major publications including CNN, The Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, and the San Francisco Book Review. She teaches nationwide and has presented to groups such as the Department of Psychiatry at Stanford University, yoga retreats, healing conferences, and more.
Amy lives in NYC with her beautiful wife and two bad cats. Most importantly, she lives by her self-created motto: When life kicks your ass, kick-back. Visit her online at: www.amybscher.com