Patricia Copley O’Connell is a professional writer with a gift for making complex subjects easy to understand. Her previous book for medical professionals—What Part of Menopause Don’t You Understand?–detailed cutting-edge advances in anti-aging and hormone therapy. She has appeared on Dallas area TV and ABC national radio.
Q. Why did you decide to write this book?
A. Because too many women suffer needlessly. I wanted to simplify what I’ve learned from my own research and personal experiences and make it easy for everybody to feel alive and vibrant again.
Q. Do you have any secret writing tips you’d like to share?
A. For any kind of nonfiction writing project I always start out by defining “Who am I talking to and what do I want them to do?” That keeps me on target.
I like to “write to the page.” If I know my final product will be printed in a small format (rather than 8.5×11” letter size pages) I set my margins to limit how much I can put on any given page. So instead of 1” left and right margins, I might use 2” margins and a 2 or 3” bottom margin. This forces me to write more concisely and keep related content on the same page.
Whenever possible, in nonfiction documents and especially instructional materials, I speak directly to the reader (“you,” “your”). This tends to make the tone of the writing more conversational and the content more accessible. It also avoids those awkward “his/her” constructions.
Q. Have you ever battled writer’s block? How do you deal with it?
A. I think we all have what I call good and bad brain days. On good days, I do the hard thinking: building or refining the concept/master plan and mapping out the overall outline (or plot for fiction). On bad brain days, I focus more narrowly on a given small task or subject that has already been defined by the master plan/outline. Research is the perfect task for bad brain days.
Q. What’s your favorite quote?
A. There are so many great ones. The quote that has been prominent in what I call my “Life 2.0” transformation is: “Try not. Do or do not; there is no try.” –Yoda (from Star Wars).
Q. Who inspires you the most?
A. My amazing friends and family. I am blessed to be loved by so many vibrant, funny, smart, curious, brilliant, wise and infinitely caring and supportive people. They all inspire me to emulate their virtues and to be the best me I can be.
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