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What does Writing a Book Have in Common with an Iceberg?


You may think that writing a book has nothing in common with an iceberg. Here’s my take.

  1. When you look at a photo of an iceberg, you see an ice island floating in the water. The part of the island of ice that you see makes up about 10 per cent of the total iceberg. This 10 per cent is like the completion of the manuscript. Are you finished the first draft of your manuscript? If you said yes, you are about 10 per cent of the way toward finishing your book.
  2. Writing a book takes time. It takes following through on your commitment to complete a long-term goal. It may have taken millions of years to make the iceberg. It can feel like it is taking millions of years to complete the manuscript and you are still not done. It can feel like it could take another set of millions of years to work through the editing process. By the way, the editing process is the most important ingredient in the development of the book.
  3. In its entirety, the 10 per cent above the water is added to the 90 per cent of the iceberg that is below the water line. And so it is with your book. The general public never sees the 90 per cent of the work behind the scenes that goes into making your manuscript into a book.
  4. Eventually icebergs completely melt out of sight and so it is with some manuscripts. They get written but never find their way to being a book. Their authors keep the work out of sight never to be shared with the world of readers.


Whether you are at the manuscript development stage or the publishing process stage or the marketing stage or the launch stage, there are things you can do on your own and there are resources available to help you. My 90-minute coaching session could turn out to be exactly the kickstart you need to take the next step in getting your book out there. Send me your most burning question in an email here.


Donna Dahl is a self-published, self-empowerment author. She has written four books and will be releasing her fifth book in the summer of 2019. She is a member of the Puerto Vallarta Writer’s Group and she was awarded the Woman of Inspiration Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2016. She is a popular choice as a coach for authors wishing to write their manuscripts and self-publish.



Is There a Tortoise in Your Future?

frontcoverAre you more like the Tortoise or the Hare? As I point out in my book, Aesop’s Fable about the Tortoise and the Hare continues to have value in today’s world.
Some readers think of themselves as having qualities of both the Tortoise and the Hare. Sometimes we race for the pure joy of running and sometimes we choose to be deliberate and pensive…almost halting before making a decision.

My book, Lessons I Learned from the Tortoise, continues to receive strong reviews for contributing positively to self-empowerment. Tortoise, as I like to call the book, gives you a powerful glimpse into the way I approach my empowerment coaching process with you.
Here are some of the things that people have written on Amazon about this book:Lessons+I+learned+from+the+Tortoise
“A thought-provoking, generous, gem of a book that had me smiling throughout.”
“…not a book that readers would read once and put it aside.”
“…has already helped me to re-frame the way I look at my career path…”
My favourite quote from the book? “Challengers inspire us to take giant steps long before we might ever become giants.”
The reason there are two covers is because I ran out of copies on my first print run and took advantage of the opportunity to play with a slightly modified cover design after winning the Woman of Inspiration Award.

If you are looking for a book that goes beyond self-help and into a realm that is personally engaging, Tortoise might be just the book for you. Tortoise is the book that keeps on giving. If you are the kind of person who likes to physically turn the pages, the book is available through the library system in Calgary, Alberta, or by way of purchase through me here on my contact page. You’ll find the ebook version and the reviews here:


Making Yourself Memorable

remind-1556610_1920How is it that we come to remember some things better than other things? Think about the strategy you use to memorize the words to a song or to remember the five items you were going to buy at the grocery store on your way home without making a written list. My favourite strategy is to say things over and over out loud. If I say the words over and over again in the same order, I will eventually remember the words. I might have to work at it. Some things take longer than others. It’s the same strategy I used to learn the words to the John McCrae poem, “In Flanders Fields.” I am reminded of the words to the poem every November 11thRemembrance Day. I remember most of the words to this day.

How do you make yourself memorable? How do you help those you meet to remember who you are and what you do? Is there something you could say that could play like an earworm in their brain to help keep you top of mind?

Remember that string on the finger thing that was supposed to help you remember to buy the loaf of bread on the way home? That’s what I am thinking of except I want you to think of the string on the finger in reverse.

What if you meet a man and he says his name is John, you may or may not remember him. After all, you may meet a lot of men named John. He introduces himself by telling you he is no ordinary John. He says his name is spelled with no H and two Ns. Are you more likely to remember him because of what he told you about the spelling of this name than you would if he didn’t tell you any story at all?

Making yourself memorable by having a memorable story is a great way to capture the attention of your audience. Pointing out something that stands out about your company, or your unique selling proposition, or that figuratively and literally leaves a sticky note on the mind of the person you are meeting could make you the “go-to” person who lands the contract.


Is There a Book Shepherd in Your Future?

I was recently named Book Shepherd of the year by one of my clients. What Does a Book Shepherd do? A Book Shepherd is a special kind of coach who works with you as you develop your book from start to finish. Just as every book has a beginning, middle and end, every book development project has a beginning, middle and end.

And, of course, every book has a uniqueness about it. Every author comes with a different range of experiences and skill sets. Some authors require more support than others to complete their preparations for going to press. Book Shepherd Services involve working with you as you create your book and give it birth. Some Book Shepherds include everything you would ever want or need when it comes to publishing your book:

Manuscript development

Front and back matter elements

Writing according to your strengths

Editing for a variety of purposes

cover and interior design






book signings

marketing tips, ideas and support

distribution possibilities

When you work with me, you choose the individual items. The idea is to guide you to the best of my ability in the most time-and cost-effective manner possible with respect to getting your book done. I particularly enjoy the pieces that are part of the book development process. And because I am not an expert at all the things that go into making a book, I’ll gladly tell you where my skill boundaries are, and I will be happy to connect you to resources that will guide you through the next phases of the self-publishing process.

Are you a writer? How much are you able to commit to paper each and every day? Perhaps you have encountered one of those promises for you to write your book in 90 days. I have come across some that say they can guide you through getting your book done in the space of a weekend. Maybe you are one of those writers who can complete the manuscript for your book in 90 hours. My first book took me a year and a half to self-publish.

I don’t make any promises about the amount of time it will take for you to manifest a book never mind completing just the manuscript. It could take six months. It could take two years and six months. It could take five years depending on the type of book you are writing and the amount of time you are able to commit to the project. It could take several months alone for your editor to get back to you. It’s a journey. It’s a journey with a series of moving parts and it’s not a book in print—paper or ePub or both—until all the parts are done and you are ready to go forward.

Whether you are nearly finished your first draft or you are seriously thinking about writing a book but don’t know where to start, a Book Shepherd may be a good fit for you. If hiring a Book Shepherd is in your future, I invite you to explore your options with me. What I can promise you is personalized one-on-one attention. Whether you choose just one item from the list above or you prefer a start-to-finish approach, I would be honoured if you chose me to be a member of your team. I can be reached here.


Are you ready?

0Are you ready? Are you ready to step forward?

Before the world was discovered to be round, the world was thought to be flat. The prevailing belief at that time was that If you sailed far enough, you would fall off the face of the earth. Evidence to the contrary delivered by those had returned after having sailed out of sight, changed and expanded the perceptions of what the world was. Someone had to have the vision and the courage it would take to test the truth or the fiction of the teachings of the day. That person brought courage and commitment to a new belief. That person not only changed the course that ships took when they set sail but also changed the course of history. One of those persons had to have been Christopher Columbus.

Moving forward over a few centuries Albert Einstein might be considered the giant change agent on the subject of Physics. Before Einstein arrived on the scene, Physics was largely treated as a science that was grounded in lab-based research. Experiments and their results ruled the subject and its teachings. Newtonian physics was at the heart of studies. Einstein arrived on the scene with questions, questions and more questions. He then sought ways to answer his questions…the answers to which did not always come from experimentation in laboratories. It was Einstein’s novel curiosities that changed the study of Physics forever. He eventually received a Nobel Prize.

Do you have to be brave and courageous to take on change? Is change necessary? Do you encounter spaces and places where change could and would make a difference? Do you consider yourself to be ready for change? Do you welcome change? Do you accept change with enthusiasm? Do you consider yourself to be an agent of change?

Are you ready? Are you ready to make changes? Are you ready to influence change?

Have you been holding back? Have you been waiting? For how long? For what?

Whenever I meet people at a networking event, I like to ask them if they are holding on to a dream that has been sitting on a shelf. Holding on to a dream is important but so is taking action to manifest that dream.

Are you ready to tackle your dream? Are you ready to take action?

The first 30 minutes are free but only for a limited time.  Send me an email.

Request an appointment. Let’s chat.


A Book like the “Energizer Bunny” of Books


Who would have ever thought that a book like “Lessons I Learned from the Tortoise” would be like the energizer bunny of books?

In the book, I introduce you to Tenacity the Tortoise. If you recall, Tenacity was the one who won the race. Tenacity is still going strong. Even after five years, Tortoise Lessons continues to rank highly among similar books. Like the energy bunny, according to a continuous stream of reviews, this book is still giving and giving and giving.

Thank you to all the readers who took the time to share their comments. Reviews always welcome.

Here are the Amazon stats for this timeless book for Tuesday, July 24, 2018. Check this out.

Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars   19 customer reviews

Amazon Bestsellers Rank:

#660 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > Personal Transformation

#779 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Self-Help > Motivational

#1310 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Self-Help > Personal Transformation

These numbers are inspiring. They reflect a significant accomplishment considering that the book was released more than five years ago. The majority of reviewers continue to say that reading the book once is not enough. A review I received just today used words like, “The book makes you think…” Even I find myself going back to read this book several times a year to keep what I wrote fresh in my mind.

Are you familiar with the story of the Tortoise and the Hare? I wrote this as part of the description of the book that appears there: “This delightful, motivational book uses a beloved, well-known story to help you cast reflections on your inner qualities – qualities that may not be readily apparent in the mirror. It illustrates valuable insights into examining your reflection of yourself as you are playing in the game of life. We are all players in this game. Some of us play more like the tortoise; some of us play more like the hare.”

If you are looking for a book that serves up opportunity for self-reflection with uncommon dignity, this might be the best book you ever read.

It’s available here

eBooks aren’t your thing? If you prefer to physically turn paper pages, you’ll have to send me an email to order your copy. Would you like your copy signed?


Tweeting for Twitter Beginners


Tweeting for Beginners empowers the Twitter beginner to unravel the mysteries of Twitter and Tweeting in plain and simple language. The reader will learn about:

  • Questions worth Answering Before you create an Account
  • Is Twitter Right for You?
  • How many Twitter accounts should you have?
  • Does Twitter require you to tweet?
  • What might be the advantage of being on Twitter and not tweeting?

Read More


3 Secrets to Paint Your Own Umbrella with Personal Empowerment

“Paint Your Own Umbrella” speaks to capturing your uniqueness and your individuality and demonstrating it with confidence and, perhaps, even flair. A few shots of gusto and enthusiasm thrown into the mix might help as well.

“Paint Your Own Umbrella” was originally the title for my workshop on personal branding. When you paint your own umbrella, you choose


  • the colours that represent you,
  • the core components of your circle of influence, and
  • the way you choose to manifest your persona “out loud.”

Read More


Every Coach’s Coach


Author Guest Writer

Is there a book in you?

Is there a book in you? Have you ever thought of writing a short story or a children’s book or even a screen play? Have you dreamed of seeing your name as the author of a book?

I have a number of accomplished writers who call on me to help them with their writing. I’ve learned that as a member of the writing community, it’s important for writers to have access to friendly, frank feedback. It’s just part of growing as a writer. In this light, my participation in the Puerto Vallarta Writers Group, for example, has significantly contributed to expanding my experience.

Sometimes writers come to me for coaching.  Sometimes fellow writers are seeking ghost writing support. Sometimes writers just want me to read their “stuff,” share a few comments and request feedback. There are many ways in which writers can support other writers.

Is there a book in you? Are you prepared to commit to writing?

Are you prepared to commit to writing 500 or 1000 words a day? Are you prepared to commit to working with a team of editors? No writer is ever truly an island. Even if you spend the next six months writing on your own for eight hours a day, you are likely to emerge seeking feedback on your work.

Whether you have an agent who represents you to publishers, a deadline set by your publisher to finish your next manuscript or a target as a self-publisher to finish a section for your editor, you, undoubtedly, benefit from everyone on your publishing team. A writer without a team will remain a writer and is likely to never become an author.

Is there a book in you? How will you know if you don’t put the question to the test?

Donna Dahl enjoys working with authors. Donna is an energizing and imaginative professional coach with over ten years of experience serving both private citizens and members of the business community. She has written several delightful self-help books in support of personal growth and start-up business development.