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On The Table Read Magazine, “the best book magazine in the UK“, author and musician Sammy SweetSpirit shares what inspired her to write her new book, Look At It This Way: The Blind Leading The Sighted.
Written by JJ Barnes
I interviewed blind singer/songwriter and author about her life and career, being inspired to write her book, Look At It This Way: The Blind Leading The Sighted, and her creative writing process.
Tell me a bit about who you are.
I’m Sammy SweetSpirit, a blind singer/songwriter and author. Through my writing and my music, my aim is to showcase my advocacy for deeper understanding and connection. Passionate about inspiring inclusivity and self-discovery, I share my unique experiences to resonate with people globally, to help the world see how connected we all truly are.
When did you first WANT to write a book?
I was told by several people that I should write a book, but I didn’t really see myself as a book writer. I wanted to write a book when I started writing it, which was Presidents Day of 2020. I had gotten my phone stolen on a train a couple months before, and I was also in the middle of a grueling job search where my blindness was focused on more than my job skills. What I had discovered is most people don’t understand blind people, so they unconsciously make assumptions before having a conversation with us. I wanted to write this book to show the sighted world what they have been blind to.
When did you take a step to start writing?
Presidents Day of 2020.
How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?
What made you want to write Look At It This Way?
I wrote “Look At It This Way: The Blind Leading The Sighted” to bridge the gap in understanding between the sighted and the blind. As someone who has been blind since birth, I’ve experienced firsthand the misconceptions and stereotypes that pervade society’s views on blindness. My book aims to demystify these misunderstandings by offering insights into the lives of blind individuals, challenging the notion that blindness equates to a lesser life. It’s not just an exploration of blindness; it’s a call to see each other beyond physical abilities, to recognize and relate to the humanity we all share. Through my story and the stories of others, I invite readers to shift their perspectives, fostering a world where true connection and inclusivity thrive.
What were your biggest challenges with writing Look At It This Way?
My biggest challenge was knowing when to stop editing and making changes. I had so much to say, and I wanted to make the book Clear and understandable for the readers.
What was your research process for Look At It This Way?
I spoke to the blind community, asking them what they felt were the most pressing things they wanted sighted people to know. I wrote a chapter on SSI, a program provided by The Social Security Administration, I did internet research as well as researching their manual to make sure I had facts correct.
How did you plan the structure of Look At It This Way?
I wrote an outline containing chapters for each subject matter I wanted to discuss. Then I wrote the book based on my outline.
Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did Look At It This Way need?
I hired a blind copy editor from Canada. She definitely helped make what I was trying to say more clear and understandable for the average reader who is learning about someone who is blind for the first time. I also had a blind friend who is a professional writer assist me in editing as well. I was also lucky enough to work with world renowned spiritual author Neale Donald Walsch. He assisted me a great deal in editing the book. When it came to the audio version, I had a blind audio engineer edit the audio recording of me reading the book.
What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a book?
Just write. Even if you only write two sentences a day. If you believe in your message, that’s what will drive you. Try not to worry about structure and formatting in the beginning. Just focus on your content. It will be edited and made clear later. The most important thing is your content, and what you have to share with the world. If you get writer’s block, stop in the middle of a sentence, or even in the middle of a word, before you continue again. You most likely will remember where you left off. Try your best to make it so your reader can’t put your book down. Start with what you think will interest your reader.
Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?
I’m still in the process of promoting this book. It’s a message that is so important for all humankind. I haven’t made any official plans for the next book, but it will have to do with self development. Healing our most stressful painful thoughts, so we all can live our best life possible. Almost like, healing from the inside out. Or maybe healing me to heal you.
And, finally, are your proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?
Of course. I really feel like this book could change the world. Society unconsciously views blind people as superhuman or subhuman because they don’t understand how blind people live life. I am here to explain the things that seem different, to make the differences make sense, to create a space of greater connection, whether we can see or not. Writing this book was a lot of work, but so needed for our world to thrive.
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