In last week’s episode of Book Journeys, Dr. Angela Lauria interviewedauthor Maxine Attong about her first book, Change or Die: The Business Process Improvement Manual. A Gestalt Organizational Development Practitioner, Certified Professional Facilitator and Management Accountant, Maxine shares how her childhood dream of becoming an author as well as her passion on business process management has led her to write the book. While it is a solid business book, Maxine’s writing emphasizes the importance of recognizing the creativity and intelligence of human resources as a means for an organization to empower its own people, and in doing so, implement change, reduce costs, and improve productivity. Maxine believes that in contrast to the common practice of hiring consultants, companies should instead develop their own people to harness their potential in creating and owning the processes and pushing them to completion.
Maxine was working full-time as an accountant in an oil company when she wrote the book and narrated how she disciplined herself to write for about four hours every evening after coming home from work, then putting in more hours on Saturdays, but making sure that she would have Sundays as her rest day, which helped to re-energize her. At the start of her writing, she also asked a friend to make a book cover for her, which she then put up on her refrigerator. Seeing this visual everyday inspired her to stay focused and to keep going with her writing until it was completed.
Coming out with her first book brought Maxine to the realization that nothing is impossible and she can achieve even more of her dreams. Now with her second book on the heels, Maxine admits that her writing experience for both books was quite different. With the first book, she focused more on the process of writing and was conscious of keeping the structure as well as the deadline. But writing her second book became more of a joy to her rather than a task, and admitted she was a lot less afraid to let her voice and opinions be heard this time. She calls the first her head book, and the second, her heart book.
Maxine’s advice to aspiring authors is to find people cheering them on and encouraging them because writing a book is a long process. At the same time she advises that a writer should not let others dictate what they should be writing, but rather, let their own experience come out in the book because only the writer would know best what they want to write. In Maxine’s words, the big thing in writing is allowing yourself to be vulnerable and letting people see who you are.