Joanne: Welcome Kimberly. Learning and Growing with Laughter Salad is such a fun title. When did you first know you wanted to be a writer and was there a particular inspiration to get started?
Kimberly: At a young age, I wanted to be a writer. I loved reading and would spend hours reading Nancy Drew books and more. I distinctly remember reading one quote by Eudora Welty, that granted me permission to be a writer. In her book, One Writer’s Beginnings, on the last page she writes, “As you have seen, I am a writer who came of a sheltered life. A sheltered life can be a daring life as well. For all serious daring starts from within.” Her last words seemed to free me up to know that I too could become a writer. I am still writing, and for some writing, I still feel like someone trying to be a writer. I am grateful for her simple words of encouragement and freedom to pursue my heart’s calling.
Joanne: Do you have a background in writing or take any special writing courses that helped you along the way?
Kimberly: I belong to a writing group called, The Sunrise Circle Writer’s Group. This group of women encouraged me to write, find my voice and tell my story. I have had plenty of writing courses and have had to learn how to write for public relations, education, dissertation research and more. I am always learning to write in a new style and my first book Laughter Salad helped me learn to write in the first person, as a personal narrative. Of course, there is still so much to learn and so much to hone too! The skill I did not know I needed was the courage to put my voice out there and promote my book. This skill seems to be a little tougher to develop!
Joanne: Why did you choose to go the self-publishing Indie route in lieu of traditional publication? What were the deciding factors to choosing your publisher? Would you recommend that same Indie publisher to a colleague?
Kimberly: I chose the self-publishing route because I was in a hurry to publish my book – I had to have it done within a year – and my friends had already used a self-publisher. My first book was through iUniverse – I would never recommend them to anyone. I have since published two books through CreateSpace, which I adore! I work with a wonderful formatter, who is a lifesaver and allows the CreateSpace process to be easy for me. I would highly recommend Judy Loose and her formatting services.
Joanne: Authors and publishers are always talking about finding your “Voice”. Exactly what does that mean to you and how did you find yours?
Kimberly: I am continually finding my voice. In my first book, Laughter Salad I tried to just be myself and speak from a very honest place. Of course, as soon as it was published, I said to my family, “I hope NO ONE buys the book!” I felt so very vulnerable and afraid that people might see my inner feelings. In my second book, Laughter Salad for Little Ones, I was writing letters to children. My school counselor and friend voice came through in my writing and it was fun to see that on paper. For my third book, Learning and Growing with Laughter Salad, I was writing stories and lessons for my colleagues who are counselors, teachers, and parents too. I kept moving from a personal voice to a professional voice – it felt a little unnerving but seemed like what I was called to do. I see that finding my voice also requires much silence, waiting and listening within. The silence allows me to hear the small whispering voice, that I eventually bring to life on the page.
Joanne: It is not enough to write a book and wait for the money to start rolling in. What marketing techniques do you implement to increase your sales?
Kimberly: This is a great question, one I wrestle with weekly! I am starting in small ways. I work with local book shops to have book signings. I enjoy being local and seeing friends that I know. I have also given talks at our local libraries and in schools. I often incorporate my work into my yoga classes too. I am slowly and surely finding my voice in the marketing world. At the moment, I am also relying on serendipity, synchronicity, some prayers and a miracle or two! (Doing more marketing is also my New Year’s resolution! J)
Joanne: What is the premise of your novel we are promoting today?
Kimberly: Learning and Growing with Laughter Salad offers over 60 activities that bring simple moments of peace, relaxation, and nourishment to the lives of children, and the adults who work with them. This is the perfect book for teachers, counselors, parents, and anyone who works with children. The book is divided into three chapters, each one highlighting activities using Nature, Relaxation, and Stories.
These simple lessons are perfect for the classroom, counseling office, or the outdoors. They are easy to use and can be adapted to meet the needs of students of any age. In a matter of minutes students can feel centered, calm, and connected to all that is around them. These mindful activities also help children develop deeper compassion and caring for themselves. If you take a moment to flip through the playful activities within Learning and Growing with Laughter Salad, I promise, you’ll feel nourished, relaxed, and peaceful too!
Joanne: Can you share a few paragraphs from your book to wet out appetite?
Here is a sample activity from the chapter on Relaxation:
Activity #1: Beginning Relaxation Strategies
In school, we want students to be able to handle stress by practicing simple relaxation strategies. We know that with practice, students can learn to calm down, ease anxiety, and easily feel at peace when they need to. These are skills we want our students to have as they take a test, prepare for a big game, make a speech, interview for a job or college, or ease their worries.
Please note that the activities suggested in this book require adult assistance and supervision. If you have any doubts or questions about the suitability of these exercises for a student’s social, emotional, or physical needs, please consult a healthcare practitioner. Below are some very simple and basic strategies to help with relaxation:
- Awareness of Body Tension and Feelings – First, we have students take a moment to see how they feel, physically and emotionally. Students are asked to notice how they feel while sitting at their desks. We ask them to notice muscles that feel tired, sore, or energized. We also ask them to notice how they are feeling – happy, sad, concerned, tired, etc. We want them to know that they have the ability to change how they feel, but first they have to figure out what is happening and what they need. We also encourage them to talk with a trusted adult if they need help with any of their feelings.
- Postural Awareness – Students are asked to become aware of how they sit at their desks. We help them notice when they may be slouching and when they are sitting up tall. We point out how much more oxygen and breathing is possible when students sit up straight with good posture. Sitting with good posture can also allow them to feel more confident, alert, and energized throughout the day.
- Simple Breathing Techniques – Next, children are encouraged to take a deep breath. So often throughout the day, we don’t even think about our breathing and we forget how relaxing a long inhalation or exhalation can be. We practice taking a large inhale and then allow the breath to “travel” all the way down to our feet before exhaling. This long exhalation is the key to relaxing. When students are practicing just two or three breaths, we also ask them to be silent and notice sounds in the room, which will enhance their listening skills, concentration, and awareness.
- Progressive Relaxation – We also talk about progressive relaxation, which is used by professional and Olympic athletes, rock stars, corporate CEOs and more. Students are taught to tense muscles when inhaling and then relax them while exhaling. We start with our feet and tense and relax knees, stomachs, backs, arms, and shoulders. This simple act of tensing the muscles and relaxing them creates a more relaxed state as the body releases tension. Students notice a difference as they hold the tension in their muscles and then relax. This is also another good technique for managing emotions, preparing for a test or competition, or releasing fear or worry.
- Imagination – When students are done relaxing, we ask them to use their imaginations to think about a peaceful place or an image of their “best self.” We encourage them to see their best self – with as many sensory details as possible. The images they share with us are always positive and encouraging. They have said, “I saw myself as smart and confident.” Or, “I saw myself as being a doctor, which is what I would like to do when I grow up.” We also talk about how professionals use visualization to see themselves making the perfect foul shot, scoring a touchdown, or auditioning for a Broadway play.
- Staying Positive, Positive Self-Talk and Reframing – We also speak with students about positive self-talk. In their visualizations of their best self, we ask them to choose three positive words to describe this image of themselves. We want them to notice the words they use when speaking about themselves. If the words are negative, we want them to know how to change those words to something positive. For example, if a student is saying, “I’ll never be good at math,” we want to help them reframe the words into something positive, like, “I am able to learn math in my own way and my own time. I am very capable of learning lots of new things.”
- Other simple ideas that will help students stay positive include:
o Laugh when you can, especially if you feel nervous.
o Try to think in new, creative, and positive ways.
o Use kind words, eye contact, and politeness to build a bridge to others and be an ambassador of peace. Your kindness will help others too.
o Take good care of yourself by getting lots of sleep, eating well, and drinking water. The extra effort will keep you strong, smart, and happy!
o Tell someone – a friend, a teacher, or any trusted adult – if something is bothering you. Telling someone is taking a positive step to help yourself.
o Think positively about yourself. Everything that you do matters! You never know how your kindness or help can have a positive, lasting effect on the people around you.
o Try to learn something new. When we stretch ourselves, we realize that we are capable of great things, even when we make mistakes.
o Take one moment (or two or three) to just take deep breaths!
o Take one moment (or two or three) to know that you are an amazing person with unique likes, dislikes, talents, strengths, and needs!
o Take a moment to celebrate your gifts, strengths, hopes, and dreams too!
Learning and Growing with Laughter Salad: http://www.amazon.com/Learning-Growing-Laughter-Salad-Celebrating/dp/1489579125/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392335562&sr=8-1&keywords=Learning+and+Growing+with+Laughter+Salad
Kimberly’s Website, The Encouraging Works: www.TheEncouragingWorks.com
Kimberly’s Art: http://kimberlyannborin.zenfolio.com