Location: Seattle, WA
Sum up the mission of the work you do: All of my work is focused on conscious and creative business in the wellness space. I most recently wrote and self-published a children’s yoga book called “Lily Finds Her OM Way: A Child’s Introduction to Yoga.” The mission of this book is to inspire children to see the beauty, connection, and lessons of the natural world and how it weaves into yoga. We all have something to learn from nature if we just listen close enough!
IG handle / website: @lifebylilia (personal) and @omwaybook for my book :) / www.lifebylilia.com
One word that best describes how you work: Playful
Take us through the steps you went through to create this illustration book. Did you write first and then find an illustrator? Have a concept and work simultaneously with one? Were there any drastic changes?
The process was more like write, edit, re-write, edit again, etc.. 😅 After multiple revisions, I felt ready and confident with the story. From there, I decided to search for an illustrator. I quickly met Elif, an illustrator and yogi who lives in Turkey. She so smoothly and beautifully interpreted the story and brought it to life with her playful and colorful illustrations!
What would you differently the next time around?
I would document the creation process more! I wish I had more photos and videos of myself writing and working on the book from the beginning. At the time, I was so engrossed in the creative process that I wasn’t even thinking about documenting the journey to have as a memory. I think that would be really sweet to have, and I’ll *try* to remember that for next time too!
From start to finish, how long did it take? If you had to create another children’s book, how long do you think it would take?
Four years total!!
Ideating and writing the book took me about six months. Then I sat on the book for a while I went the traditional route and had a literary agent in NYC. After some time, I decided I didn’t want to work with an agent anymore and wanted to have control of the creative execution of the book. From there, it was a journey of final editing, finding the illustrator, waiting to get illustrations back, and the printing process. Looking back now, I am so grateful it took as long as it did because it allowed me to grow and learn so much over that course of time. It allowed me to be in a better, more aligned place once the book actually came out.
What was the best part about this process? For me, the best part of this process was seeing the book come to life (actually holding the book!) and the influence it has had on children to practice yoga! So many creative projects are ongoing and endless journeys, and you don’t always complete a creative endeavor that you started.
As an indie writer, what's the best advice you've received?
The best advice I hear in the indie / self-publishing world is the overall notion that as an indie writer, you choose yourself. You are not waiting to get validated by an agent, publisher, press, etc. In the indie route, You choose your work as worthy, and You are the only one whom you need permission from. There’s a different element of power and choice in indie authors that is completely empowering. If you’ve been working on a creative project but scared to pursue it, go for it. Here’s a reminder to choose yourself and not wait for anyone else to choose you!
What’s a big misconception about writing? That writing a children’s book is easy! 😉 The book is so short, which means that every word counts. Cutting down words is much harder to me than adding them!
What part of the process was surprisingly easy? Getting the idea and storyline for the book, as well as the title, “Lily Finds Her OM Way”, came to me instantly.
What do you wish you knew before embarking on this journey?
I wish I had known more information about printing a book, the costs associated with it, and how to find the best printing company. For me, it was hours and hours of researching these things on my own to figure it all out! It worked out in the end, but just took me a good chunk of time to get there.
How do you wind down for the night, especially after a hectic day? With a nice bathtub soak with epsom salts, my kindle, and a candle lit. A bit of guided meditation through insight timer and a cup of rose tea have also helped me to unwind.
Where are your favorite chill-out places in your area (Seattle)?
What’s in store for 2020? In the next year, I’d love to start working on a series to add to the OM Way Collection, and potentially see how to expand the book into other media outlets (would be the total dream to bring it to a TV show) or into more bookstores! I will always be someone who works on creative projects, so 2020 may bring me into more wellness-inspired businesses and endeavors.
Where can we find "Lily Finds Her OM"?
My ideal # of hours of sleep is: 8
Sleep season for me is: Fall & Winter
How many pillows: 6 pillows on my bed, but only like to sleep with one
AM or PM?: AM
Nightcap?: For a chill night, an herbal tea. For a night out, a hot toddy.
Bad sleep habit: Checking my phone in the morning in bed - guilty - although working to break this habit!
Good sleep habit: Diffusing relaxing oils in my bedroom to relax.
Side/back/stomach sleeper: Back
A book you can read over and over: The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker
Fav podcast: How I Built This With Guy Raz & The Expanded Podcast with Lacy Phillips
Software/tool/app(s) you can't you live without? Google calendar, Evernote, Insight Timer, Libby, Spotify