Your Big Beautiful Book Plan Update

The paperback versionI promised that I would keep everyone updated on my progress through Your Big Beautiful Book Plan. Here is my efforts to work through the very first exercise they give you:

The First Step

My book, The Poverty Diaries, is about my struggles to rise up and move out of poverty for good.

The Second Step

They tell me I’m supposed to find three books this book is like and mingle them together into some kind of palatable mixture. More than palatable, it’s supposed to be something that leaves the listener hungry for more. Except that I’m not sure how to do that. So far the best I have come up with is that it’s like Joyce Meyers meets St. Augustine’s Confessions with a little bit of desperation-fueled humor thrown in for good measure. Only that sounds boring, even to my ears – or just, desperate.

I think I’ll take some time to free write and see if I can’t come up with a better answer than that. This book is my life, literally, spilled on the pages. It’s more like an expose meets a meditative reflection with some pointed wit included. It’s my story of poverty, but I’m not a celebrity. I’m just an ordinary person. It’s a rags-to-riches without the riches tale. I’ve never really left the rags behind, even when I thought I was climbing I would get knocked back down and find myself still standing in that pit. The hope of getting out keeps me going but the frustration of it all is maddening.

So, I did a virtual shopping trip through Amazon on the subject of poverty hoping for the inspiration. I find a book that’s number 1 on the best-sellers list for poverty. Reviews? She’s funny, but she’s angry and bitter. That’s definitely not me – but she’s also someone who’s been there, so I can borrow from her. The second book I found – very close second to the sales of Ms. Tirado’s book – was Nickle and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich.

Barbara Ehrenreich took a break from living a life of wealth and ease to go “undercover” as a person working and living on minimum wage jobs to see what it was like. According to her critics – which were plentiful – she didn’t seem to learn much from her experience, though. I will use that one only because it’s the only other book that seems to be at least making the effort to tell the story from the perspective of those who are living it.

The sad thing about the books on poverty is that most of them aren’t being told by people who are living it. They’re being told by people with money who are trying to get a handle on why it’s happening and how to solve it.

“It’s like Linda Tirado’s Hand-to-Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America meets Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickle and Dimed with a dash of faith-filled true confessions.”

I feel good about that sentence.

The Third Step

I’m supposed to fill in the blank on this sentence: “And it’s going to ___________________ the world, so you might want to jump on my pre-sale mailing list at _______________.”

I think this is about my real goal on the impact this book will have on the world around me. Truthfully, what I want from it, is to change the conversation we’re having about who the poor are and how best to help them.

Here’s the sentence I came up with:

And it’s going to change the way we view poverty all over the world, so you might want to jump on my pre-sale mailing list at

I Can Do This

I have to admit, I felt discouraged when I looked through the pages of the workbook. I wondered, “Can I do this?” I wanted someone to sit with me, hold my hand, and tell me the right answers. That, of course, has been my problem all along as I said in the last post. This time, though, I decided to work with what I have and trust in the process…and I did it. Maybe I didn’t do it perfectly or the way someone else would have done it, but I did do it. I crossed a threshold, and I found a way forward.




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