Tracey West is founder of International Downshifting Week and author of The Book of Rubbish Ideas and the Diary of Divorce: for Women and Men. She chatted with Life Is Short Magazine about how to found a week, getting published, getting through divorce and lots more.
Tracey started her writing career as a columnist writing about downshifting and living an environmentally friendly lifestyle. “I started Downshifting Week, as I wanted to simplify the process of simplifying your life. To take the rose-coloured spectacles off what the media were portraying it as. I wanted to take the freaky out of eco.’”
From this, The Book of Rubbish Ideas came about and became a sell-out success.
However, life has thrown Tracey a few lemons including a painful divorce. But instead of letting bitterness seep in, Tracey has used humour and writing to make lemonade from her life lemons (so to speak!).
“Writing was my predominate coping mechanism. It was wonderful. My fingers would just itch to get a big long story out of my head. When it was done I could go asleep; it was great and it turned into a book and I realised if it’s helping me it will help someone else.”
“Writing can lift you out of the darkness. Buy yourself a notebook and keep it for the purpose of spilling out the rubbish from your head. That way you can close the book and stick it out of sight, but you know it’s there when you need it. It’s a very powerful and useful thing to do.”
Diary of Divorce: for Women and Men is a practical therapy journal that helps you through the difficult times while offering practical support. There are practical pages where you fill out the details of your solicitor, counsellor, doctor for easy reference, then there are memory pages where you recall the good times and the bad and then there are the humorous pages such as ‘Draw your ex naked and then add spots and boils to all the places you would like them to erupt!’
“I wish that the book that I’ve written was available during my divorce. The author is the person who buys it. It’s your private journal, your private thoughts,” explains Tracey.
“A divorce is only ever two people wide; it’s that unity coming to an end. Your story is private and individual to you; it’s private, it’s your story. This book is about you coming out of the darkness and finding humour as well.”
“We can go through our lives as either a survivor or as a victim. We all struggle with stuff and you have to reach out to other sources and get yourself back on track and then find the chink of light in it and use it to help other people. It is about spinning your perception of whatever has happened to you on its head and saying, ‘You know what, I’m not going to let it beat me’.”
During her interview (Click to listen now) Tracey gives lots of solid advice to self-help book authors:
“There are millions of books on Amazon. Ultimately, it is down to you the author to make a noise about it otherwise it will just join the queue of millions of other books, so you do have to put yourself out there. It’s not impossible; you need to work out your unique points of your work and then you need to bang a drum about it, create a website, put some stuff out there and let people know about it.”
Websites and things mentioned:
Publisher: Magic Oxygen