Mind, body, spirit writing at it’s best, has the capacity to speak to people wherever they are on the planet, which is pretty exciting. That’s why such writers as Louise Hay, Deepak Chopra, medical medium Anthony William and Eckhart Tolle have been so successful. They tapped into issues and themes we all struggle with, or are intrigued by. So, when considering trends, look at your material – as a therapist, naturopath, intuitive, or someone with a powerful personal story to share – and draw out the universal themes and insights there.
As former publisher of Allen & Unwin’s Inspired Living imprint, my readers were looking for books that helped with family and relationship issues, how to get out of a rut, deep sadness or stress, how to ‘read’ life better; or to understand more of such ancient wisdom systems as astrology, tea-leaf reading or tarot. There was also great interest in new approaches to the full gamut of health issues too.
To be fully relevant as mbs writers, we need to have an intimate knowledge of what’s going on around us
All these themes remain constant – what changes is the backdrop. So, to be fully relevant as mbs writers, we need to have an intimate knowledge of what’s going on around us – environmental issues, financial instability, uncertain workplaces, a breakdown in families and relationships – and call on these and other themes in the examples we share. This is what makes our writing relevant – delivering a swift ‘aha’ moment for readers as they recognise themselves on the page.
Unfortunately a lot of mbs manuscripts are a rehash of well-known authors and teachers. If we want our work to be powerful, we must own it. That means knowing our material thoroughly. There’s nothing wrong with building on the insights of others – expanding and tweaking them along the way. The essential ingredient is in knowing intimately how these understandings play out, and by so doing you shape them into something useful and, hopefully, unique for the reader.
In this genre more than any other, people are looking to see their lives, their issues on the page
In this genre more than any other, people are looking to see their lives, their issues on the page – to have the reassurance that you ‘get’ where they’re at – and that you can offer them something substantial to deal with a health issue, a loss, an aspiration. When you achieve this, you’ve achieved something powerful and tangible for yourself and others.
Maggie Hamilton is a writer, publisher and social researcher. As a former publisher at Allen & Unwin, she created and ran the Inspired Living imprint, producing over 75 books in the mind, body, spirit genre. Her own books, published around the world, include, Coming Home, Magic of the Moment, A Soft Place to Land, What Men Don’t Talk About, What’s Happening to Our Girls?, What’s Happening to Our Boys? and Secret Girls’ Business. You can keep up with Maggie on her website, here or her blog here.
Join Maggie Hamilton on Saturday 2 November for her workshop, Writing Mind, Body and Spirit at Writing NSW, 10am-4pm.