Here’s a screenshot I used on the home page of this site. There’s a little backstory there.
That letter excerpt wasn’t written in response to my Rebecca Davis WordWorking business.
It was from someone I had just met. She had invited me over to her house after I spoke at a conference, and she wasn’t interested in writing a book.
So why do I give it such high priority here?
Because this letter embodies how in my profession, active listening is a vital part of what I do.
The praise this woman offered spontaneously—for something as simple as listening—I consider to be one of my most golden tributes.
My response to her, back then?
Yes, this woman was sharing with me what it was like for her family to be in a cult and then come out of one.
(Of course it was a cult that looked like a wonderful church, because I still haven’t met anyone who wanted to join a cult on purpose.)
That “cult abuse” listening is a skill I began honing in 1999 after we had been in a cultic church for a year.
We got out and then listened as others wanted help getting out of the same group of churches.
At that time I was clueless as to why talking about these things would cause a muscular military man to coil into a fetal position in front of me.
But I’ve been doing a lot of listening since then. As well as a lot of reading.
Another friend was my first teacher about domestic abuse in the church, beginning in 2006. Later she said to me, “The whole first year of our friendship you said hardly anything.”
I was doing almost nothing but listening. Trying to absorb and understand the dynamics. Not even sure what questions to ask.
And reading whatever she handed me. Twice. With highlights. And questions in the margins.
The first friend who taught me about sexual abuse in the church (beginning in 2012) asked me to research the things she was telling me.
I dove into it with a will.
I have never stopped learning.
I have never stopped listening.
And no, trauma- and abuse-related books are not the only kinds of books I work on. But this is the niche where I find that my work is most needed.
When you partner with me on your nonfiction work, you’ll find that I offer a panoply of professional services.
~ I’ll help you hone in on your target audience. (Someone a little more specific than “everybody.”)
~ I’ll help you zero in on your purpose. Almost everyone I work with wants to help others, but we can get more specific.
~ I’ll help you find a winning format. Memoir? Self help book? Devotional? Bible study? Blog? Stage presentation? Something else?
~ I’ll get any disorganized snatches of writing organized and orderly. Should a memoir be written in straight timeline fashion? Should it bounce back and forth between childhood and adulthood? Should it be presented in a stream of consciousness format? How should the topics in straight nonfiction be presented?
~ Does your book need headings? Footnotes? A bibliography? An appendix? I’ll take care of all those things.
~ If you want to self publish, I’ll help you get a beautiful book up on Amazon and other outlets.
~ And most important, I’ll help you shape your words to communicate powerfully. That’s what good writers do.
Oh, did I say most important?
Well, that’s the most important thing when your writing is actually on the page or website.
But when we’re working together, there’s something else I consider far more important.
I don’t listen passively, simply waiting for you to get done so I can ignore you and do what I was planning to do anyway.
I’m listening for your story. I’m asking questions to help me understand your unique message.
As we talk, you might find that you actually have more clarity on your story than you did before.
As your story takes shape before your eyes, you’ll find that you develop as a stronger person.
And there is where you’ll find that the nonfiction journey, no matter what form your work eventually takes, is a truly life-shaping experience.
In all the best ways.
I look forward to hearing from you.