How To Strategically Read Books When You Are Writing One As A Mom Gasping For Air

Melissa Llarena
4 min readJul 15, 2022

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Shopping for a car in this market feels closer to a hostage situation than a car commercial traversing the Autobahn in Germany. One where prisoners are melting from the heat. That was this week. We are settling in Austin and finally have a lease in place and schools decided for my family. That process was clunky back in Australia and here is just the same. It’s honestly no wonder many families stay put. Relocating to another country for an adventure is more of a DIY experience than doing it on the behalf of an employer. We opted for the thrill ride. The re-entry back is as complex. The paperwork, as American citizens, has been like being in a tunnel and having 105 degrees Fahrenheit wind-blown in my face. Thought I’d use that analogy because the current weather in Austin feels this way.

So how did I fare this week on my book-writing journey in light of this context?

As a writer, it’s important to read. If you desire to write a book one day then intentionally reading will be a critical strategy. So this week I’ve shifted my attention to reading more and editing less for the reasons noted above and because my editor faced her own challenges this week. My goal is to keep moving every single day. Some days I can sprint and push out 2,500 words and others I shift gears; my eyes need the screen break too.

When it’s come to how I intentionally read these are the insights that you may find helpful to apply:

· Pick an interesting book that comes recommended and start there

· Pay attention to the way the author transitions between paragraphs

· Highlight the sentences that gobsmack you in the face in a good way

· Think about the chapter names and see which ones are compelling

· Read the names of the editorial team if you REALLY like the writing

The book I’m reading today is The Dreaming Path: Indigenous Thinking To Change Your Life by Paul Callaghan with Uncle Paul Gordon. It was recommended by a podcast guest Joe Williams who taught me about First Nations people and their mental well-being insights that we can all use. Some of the sections include stories that personify elements of nature. Other parts include exercises that are unlike any I have seen in self-help books. The transitions help me vary my own transitions. Sure I can check out the editorial team in this book yet I had already done that to find my editor to date. I did that snooping based on another podcast guest whose book I enjoyed for its creative writing; Jenny Herbert’s The Art of Being a Tourist at Home Expand Your World Without Leaving Your Home Town. Ultimately, when you want to write, you’ll need to read. In my case, I attribute this dynamic duo to helping me quickly push out words.

Are you thinking of writing your own book? What’s your topic? I’d be curious and would invite you to add it in the comments below.

Ultimately, this I know to be true: the book-writing journey will be an adventure. You might feel like I have felt during a car shopping situation sometimes. Heck, you may even look like this tiny bird that I was watching hovering over a car for sale in the lot that was struggling to push through high-speed winds. Yet, having this creative output to look forward to has helped me stay sane and anchored during what could have been an otherwise crazy time.

About Melissa Llarena

Melissa Llarena is an author and coach who helps ambitious moms use their imagination as a superpower to launch businesses and take back control of their income and sanity! She has a podcast called An Interview With Melissa Llarena where she helps curious souls go from imagining to living a bold life. Melissa’s background includes a psychology degree from NYU, an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, and she holds a Transformational Coaching Academy certificate. She is a native New Yorker who lives in Austin, TX with her husband and three sons (in that mix are identical twins).

About An Interview With Melissa Llarena the podcast

Do you remember how curious you were as a kid? Some of us never grew out of that and it’s made all the difference. Pick from any of 100+ episodes to learn from humans who courageously and creatively went after their curiosities, and made an impact, so you can too.

Each week, personal development coach, business coach, and “warrior” mom Melissa Llarena helps you go from imagining to living your best life. In this podcast, you will learn how to believe in yourself, unleash your biggest potential, leave perfectionism behind, and build a fulfilling life. You deserve the best. Learn from entrepreneurs (Suzy Batiz, Beth Comstock), creators (GaryVee, James Altucher), world changers (David Meltzer, Asha Curran), beacons of hope (Raphael Rowe, Dr. Joel Fuhrman), and world-class storytellers (Cal Fussman, Jordan Harbinger). Tune in to discover how you can overcome life’s biggest challenges and embrace its wonderful surprises.

Follow Melissa @melissallarena on Instagram for daily pep talks and behind-the-scenes insights. Follow An Interview With Melissa Llarena and share the show with someone who wants to step into their greatness.



Melissa Llarena

I coach executives on how to dissect & deliver a perfect #jobinterview @TuckSchool Author of №1 #HR interview @Forbes @LinkedIn #mom