Dr. Laura Maciuika is a clinical psychologist, author, teacher, and transformation mentor. She specializes in helping people transform their lives from feeling stressed and stuck to experiencing new levels of calm, joy and success. Dr. Maciuika is the author of the book Conscious Calm: Keys to Freedom from Stress and Worry. She holds a doctorate in Human Development and Psychology, and certifications in energy psychology including EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques). She has over 20 years’ experience working with adults individually and in groups, and in settings including community mental health, companies, universities, workshops and seminars.
Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Laura. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?
A: Thank you, it’s good to be with you. Conscious Calm: Keys to Freedom from Stress and Worry is my first book.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about Conscious Calm?
A: Sure. Conscious Calm is a guide to help people get free from the inner stress traps we often fall into without even noticing. It’s a book that addresses the often overlooked, inside story of stress – the ways we can stress ourselves out more with unnoticed inner choices, and how to get free from those patterns. The book combines information from psychology, neuroscience and information from East and West, and shows people step by step how to avoid inner stress traps and experience more inner peace and happiness in their lives.
Q: What let you to write the book?
A: There is a lot of information available about stress, which is a good thing, since there is a stress epidemic going on. But the information itself can be overwhelming in terms of what to do for stress relief. I have heard from so many people who have been stressed and felt frustrated trying different techniques and ideas. Many techniques focus on changing things on the outside. There is less understood about the inside story of stress, which is what I focus on with people. I decided to gather up the most common internal stress traps, describe what underlies them in simple terms, and describe for people some steps to avoid those traps or get free from them to feel more centeredness and calm.
Q: Who published your book, and what was that process like?
A: Once I decided to write the book, I felt impatient to get it out there as quickly as possible. But I wanted it to be a physical book, not just an ebook, which would have been the quickest route. After researching the options, I decided to start an independent self-publishing company. This allowed me to work directly with the cover and interior designers and editors, and be involved in the entire process. It also allows Conscious Calm to be available at online booksellers in much of the world through Ingram, since I chose Lightning Source as the distributor and printer.
Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?
A: It felt great to have the book out and available. I’m afraid I didn’t really stop to celebrate for that long – there was too much going on with the promotion and the holidays coming up and some other projects I was involved in.
Q: If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?
A: It’s a steep learning curve to take on the publisher role as well as the author, and I’m still early in the game. But I enjoy the flexibility this approach gives me, and I liked the fact that it was only five months between finishing the book, assembling the publishing team, and having the physical book available.
Q: Looking back since the days when you were working on Conscious Calm, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?
A: I’m not sure I could have sped up the writing process; that took a while because I was trying to synthesize information from several fields in non-jargony language. It was just slower writing. I was also writing on top of all of the other work I do, so there were not many open stretches of time. Looking back, I might have delayed the release of the book to have more of a comprehensive marketing plan in place, although I was glad to get the book out into the world. The nice thing with being part of an independent self-publishing company is that the book won’t go out of print in a few months – it can take longer to build the audience and you don’t have to rush as much.
Q: If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?
A: I’m already in those professions, working with people individually and in groups on changing what holds them back internally and teaching how to be happier and more effective in their lives. It’s gratifying work, I love it.
Q: Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?
A: For me, being an author was an addition to the work I already do. It’s a way to reach more people with important information that can help change lives for the better; that was a big part of the motivation for me.
Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?
A: I would say to get really clear on your underlying motivation for writing. What the “why do it” behind your desire to write? The clearer that is, and the more you connect with your passion about it, the easier it will be to keep going and persevere when the going gets tough so that your book finds its way out into the world.
You can follow Laura Maciuika’s blog at http://consciouscalm.com . Connect with Laura through www.lauramaciuika.com , and at Twitter @lauramaciuika and facebook.com/lauramaciuika. You can download a sample chapter and the TOC of Conscious Calm at facebook.com/consciouscalm.