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Breaking World Records with Miriam Laundry


Laurie: Hello everybody Welcome back to the Writer's Way podcast

I'm here with Miriam Laundry Thank you so much for joining me today Miriam: Thank you for inviting me Laurie: You're welcome I think we have a mutual friend Charmaine, who was on a few weeks ago when she said, you have to talk to Miriam

So here you are Miriam: Great Laurie: Yay So how about we start with you, you know, take us back to the beginning How did you get started as a writer? Or were you always a writer? Miriam: Okay

Sure No, I was not always a writer I'll take you back to 2012 when I decided that I wanted to write for children, and that came to me mainly because, you know, as a lot of times that happens Um, I went through a tragic experience where we lost my niece to suicide And, uh, and this was, she was 17 and it was the day after I had just given birth to my son

So I was already, you know, full of emotions and this, yeah This just added to it And, um, you know, I was spiraling into my own, into my own hole And my husband suggested that I attend a seminar that Jack Canfield puts out a week long seminar called "Breakthrough To Success" We had attended the previous year

So he said, why don't you just go to that And, um, and just get away So I left my eight week old baby and went because I knew that I needed, I needed something or I was, uh, I may not have been okay So I went to that And I mean, it was a, a wonderful week where you're in a room with 400 people

You're learning about positivity And I mean, all these great, great things Jack Canfield is the author of the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books and the "Success Principles" And all I kept thinking during that week was, this is so good Why aren't we teaching kids this? Maybe if we would have taught

You know, my niece this, when she was younger, we wouldn't be, I wouldn't be going through that So I wanted to get home and teach my children some of these empowering things, and I thought on the flight home, the best way to do it was to write a story about it And that's how I started writing I wrote my first draft to "I Can Believe in Myself", which is my first book On the flight home

I had no idea what I was doing I had never written anything I never thought of being an author, but I got home I contacted a friend who had written several books and then it just all started from there And

I'm sorry, I cannot hear you Laurie: Sorry That was my pause button I was just saying, some of us, you know, some people say, I've been writing since I was five and then I'm more like you and inspired by an idea and sit down and write and you have no idea what's going to happen next, but it just still comes out of you Miriam: That's Laurie: right

So then what? Miriam: So then I, well, I got into the writing platform, looking into how do I write a children's books and children's book? And, um, I mean, I read so many books on it I took a couple of courses Found coaches And um, and then my book was out, was to be released within a year So the anniversary date of, of all of this happening for me, my niece's passing

And I continued to attend Jack Canfield seminars and, and the next one that I attended, I wrote a goal that I wanted this book to empower 100,000 children to believe in themselves And it was a huge goal It was It was so huge Then when I wrote it, I dropped my pen cause I was, it scared me so much

But with any goal, the more you think about it The more you give yourself time My mind started looking for answers How can I reach 100,000 children? And maybe a month later or so it came to me, go for a Guinness world record I was trying to think of what's something big I can do

I mean, I calculated how many schools do I have to visit? And it was really And I set a date for myself Right So it wasn't realistic So going for Guinness seemed a little bit more realistic

Laurie: Wow Miriam: Yeah Yeah So I, Laurie: So what's that process like? Do apply for? Miriam: Yes, yes So, I mean, it took me nine months to organize everything

And to find the people to preregister So many people to participate in this record The record that I have is the largest online book discussion in a 24 hour period So I had schools and families reading the book and then going online and they were just leaving a comment What's something that you can do now? What's something that you're going to go for after reading the book? So yes, that's up nine months of planning

But in the end we got it I, I timed it with mental health awareness week in Canada, which is in May And yes, schools all over Canada in 26 different countries actually were participating and we got the record Laurie: Wow Did you stay awake for the whole 24 hours? Miriam: No, but I barely, Laurie: yeah, cause you're excited

I'm all about sleep Right? I'm like wait a minute! Miriam: Excited and worried What if this doesn't happen? And I've, I have so many people Wanting to know what, what the result is I had the Guinness adjudicator here in my hometown for the, for about two days

And, uh, I mean, there's always problems, right? Are we had, um, a time that it started the 24 hours started, so I emailed everybody, now's the time So our systems crashed, of course Laurie: Oh no Miriam: Yes, but I mean? So what happened was our website company opened two other servers to be able to take in all these comments But in the end, Guinness only approved one of the servers So our record, I think has 33,000 comments, but we know, I know in my heart we had 103,000 people participate, so we still got the record

Laurie: Wow Congratulations That's fantastic Miriam: Thank you Laurie: Oh, and are you still coming down? Miriam: This was in 2014 and I have to say my, the reason why I did it was out of my, my want to do something for my niece and to honour her

But in the end, looking at it now, it was a great marketing thing I didn't think of it of that at the time, because I had 103,000 people participated Knew about my book Were purchasing the book It was easier to get into schools

To do workshops and presentations So it was, if you're teaching about marketing, I say, think big and go for that and go for that And when you Laurie: Oh sorry, go ahead Miriam: I'm just going to say when you align it with something that's meaningful to you, people want to help

I had people come out of everywhere just calling, emailing me I heard through a friend that you're doing this for children for mental health What can I do to help? So when you think bigger, you attract more people Laurie: And people want to help, but just they don't always know how So you have to tell them

How? So, I'm curious logistically, like how did, how did people in 26 countries hear about you? Where are you calling? Where you emailing? Where you Miriam: Well, I was, every day I was calling mainly schools I figured if I focus on schools, then I can sign a couple of hundred people, a couple of hundred children to do this

So the teachers would be doing it with the students Sometimes schools had a thousand kids in them, but I, I told everybody I knew I was doing this and I continued to take courses through Jack Canfield So I met a lot of people from different countries and it was them that took it other places I'll, I'll share quickly There was an organization that reached out to me

Uh, they're called Nikken and they're, um, um, multi they sell things Um, what is the word? Like a multi, not multimedia company, but you know, you have people that sell under you and all, all this sort of thing And so they were able, um, they completely supported me So they have representatives, sales people all over the world

So they had me on like they took me on as if this was their project So they had me on calls with people in different countries all being translated Interviewing me Why I was doing this Completely supported me

In the end, they opens a crowd funding campaign to pay for the Guinness adjudicator to come So that really helped in spreading the message Laurie: Right They got behind you cause they believed in you In your purpose and your message

Miriam: Yes Multilevel marketing That was the word I was looking for Laurie: I haven't heard of Nikken Miriam: Yeah

Laurie: Okay So I'm curious because you talk about dreaming big and thinking big, and this is huge Like what did you do before? So I know, you know you had children What did you do before? Did you have any marketing experience? Or any like, was that your job? Miriam: The marketing? No, was never my job I did have a business previously

I've always been self employed for the most part I started buying real estate when we were, my husband and I met in college and we started buying real estate So that's always been, we still do that And then for about seven years, I, I sold a product called Alphabet Photography So I met this girl that was starting this company and I just asked her if I could partner with her, cause I really believed in it

So she would go around and take photos of objects that look like letters of the alphabet All together to make words Last names So you are the first in Canada I, her and I separated our businesses, but I had the rights to sell it at craft shows

So I actually went to Alberta many times to the big craft shows to Art Fest, um, Circle Craft in Vancouver, lots of the, One of a Kind in Toronto So I did that for seven years Yeah Laurie: Oh, wow So you had a bit of a business background, but not necessarily the marketing, but Miriam: Not necnecessarily, the marketing just always business

Laurie: Just always business I think that would help a little bit When I started, I was, I had been a teacher, which isn't businessy So there was a lot to learn There's still is

Miriam: But you had the children already in mind Laurie: Yes That's where my inspiration came was from, seeing the changes in children over a 10 year period I taught kindergarten And, um, so you and I actually write about similar things cause your books are all "I Can" books, right? And uh, my first one was "I Can Handle It"

And it's, um, all those little issues that if we don't teach them that, you know, they can try and attempt and tie their own shoe and, you know, sharpen their own pencil If they don't Uh, if they're not given the opportunity to do that for themselves, then they're not gonna be able to handle bigger problems when they're teenagers So, so similar motivation to you without the heartbreaking, um, impetus there So, Miriam: Yeah

Well, it's exactly the same I don't talk about mental health or suicide in my books But the idea behind, "I Can Believe In Myself" is teaching children to let go of the word can't Because I believe the word can't is, it's the worst word in our vocabulary It stops us from even trying, right? So that's what I teach in that story is just letting go of that word can't, and going for the can instead

And actually going for it And I mean, there's so much around it, but Laurie: Yeah And you've done that, you've lived that yourself Can you share about cause you also have a book written with Jack Canfield

Miriam: Yes Laurie: So can you share how that happened? Miriam: Sure, sure So I, uh, okay I wrote the story for "The Big Bad Bully" It's called "The Big Bad Bully"

I have it in front there And I wrote the story probably about four years ago When my, my 12 year old was standing in front of a full length mirror Saying things like, mommy, why are my legs so short? Why is my hair so frizzy? Why do I have so many pimples? She had just started breaking out And as moms, you know, we're always saying, what are you talking about you're beautiful? Laurie: You're beautiful

Miriam: But nothing, this time nothing was working She just continued to criticize herself So I finally went up to her and I, I grabbed her by the shoulders and I said, stop it You're bullying yourself And she just completely stopped, like just, just stopped

And I could see that she understood and she was thinking about it because the last thing she wants to be is a bully So the thought that she was doing it to herself was enough to get her to stop And that started a long conversation between us, about, you know, the way we talk to ourselves is bullying Sometimes the things we say to ourselves in our minds Is bullying

We would never say that to a friend So why is it okay for us to say it to ourselves? Laurie: Yeah Miriam: So after I was finished with her, I thought, okay, if, if she is going through this And I mean, I've been working with her for years on all these things Then there's going to be a lot of kids going through this

So I wrote the story of "The Big Bad Bully" And, and when I had the, I had it written and I had it edited, I thought, okay, this one I'm going to send to a publisher because I wasn't in a hurry with the first three books in the "I Can" series I always felt like I was in a hurry to get them out I wanted to do it for my niece, so I didn't want to wait the years that you wait with regular publishing So once I had it all done, I just allowed myself that morning to think big

I was about to send it to a Canadian publisher And I thought, okay, if I was to think bigger, who would I send it to? Okay, a big publisher in the States is what came to mind And then I thought, okay, well what if I was to think even bigger? What would I do? I would ask Jack Canfield to coauthor it with me So I sent him an email and I said, Jack, I wrote this story It's everything you've taught me

It even has one of his exercises, the mirror exercise, which I did with my daughter that night And I said, I'm about to send it to a publisher But I'd love for you to coauthor it with me and add more exercises And I said, but I need to know by, I think it was tonight, tomorrow night, cause I'm ready to send this And he emailed me back, and he said, let's talk tomorrow! Laurie: Wow! Miriam: Yeah

So that took several years to actually get it published It's four years later So we have the book It was worth the wait Laurie: Oh, congratulations

Miriam: Thank you Laurie: So, which a publisher did you end up going with? Miriam: We went with HCI books healthcare inc, which is, um, um, they're the publishers for the "Chicken Soup for The Soul" books that Jack did Yeah It is difficult to get a publisher I have to say that even with Jack's name, we were rejected by a couple of publishers

Laurie: Oh really? You didn't start with that one cause you had that past experience Miriam: Yes No, because they had never published a children's picture book Laurie: Yeah Miriam: He wasn't thinking them

But Laurie: Can you Oh, sorry I was going to say, can you open it up? Because when I, when you held it up, it actually looked like a chapter book So is it a picture book? Miriam: It is a picture book and it's a little story It's just, it's 400 words long but in the back

Jack has added, I think about six self-esteem building exercises For kids to do, or for teachers to do with their students Yeah So in the back, no photo, no pictures, but just more of the exercises Laurie: Oh, that is so needed

That is so needed today In our schools and Miriam: I agree And so are your books I was, I did a quick look at them Exactly

We need more books that empower children Laurie: Yeah It's that it's that self talk, like you said, we have to change that while they're young Hopefully, you know, make the new tracks for them to follow when they're teenagers And

Miriam: Yes and hopefully there's not as much cleanup, like when we're adults This is why I go back to, I love going to courses where I'm learning about positivity and how to talk to myself And how to, you know, daily comments on building ourselves up because we weren't taught that as kids Laurie: And it is ongoing, isn't it? It's something, you know, especially as women, I find with my hormones, you know, like I, I know all the good stuff and then I can wake up one day and still be a bully to myself unintentionally, until ya know something triggers and wait, wait, what am I doing? But it's like, it's a never ending process, sadly Miriam: And I have to tell you, I've been told many times that this could be a book for women

Also, like we, we, we still go through that I'm not saying men don't But I mean, I don't relate to them, so I don't know what they're thinking Before the book came out, I had a couple of years before it actually came out So I would go into my children's schools and other schools and read it to kids

I wanted to know What the great, what the best age for them was and who related to it the most And I have to say a lot of boys related to it Even though the main character, is a girl For them, it's things like, I didn't make that shot in hockey

I didn't get that goal I didn't get picked for the team So there's, they still have that negative self talk, but girls share it more Laurie: I think so, yeah And it's more about our own selves, like our bodies

Miriam: Yeah, Laurie: Like the appearance Miriam: That's right Laurie: It's our culture, I guess So you've had the experience with self publishing and traditional publishing Do you have a preference or pros and cons of both? Miriam: Well, I, I have pros and cons, but I think it's too early to tell The book just came out October 29

Laurie: Oh, okay Miriam: Very new I mean, pros and cons, we all know them With self publishing, you, you have complete control of your book You own all the rights

And this is what I really liked And with a traditional publisher, they own the rights to the book And in the end they could have said, this is what we're going with Luckily with HCI books, they let me be the creative person behind it, and choose was the illustrator and then approve each one of the illustrations with Jack But I know that most publishers don't let you do that

Laurie: Yeah, that was good Miriam: Yes, and I mean, in terms of who owns the copyright, they do So we'll see how that goes It's still very early It is really nice to have the support of somebody else

You know, self-publishing it's me doing everything and including all the marketing So, so that has been nice to have a little bit more support I mean, you still have to market your own book, even though somebody else is helping you It's really up to you, right? Laurie: Yeah, absolutely Always

Sadly Miriam: Yes And I feel another pro and con is that with self publishing I was able to do to publish them quicker Usually it would take me about nine months to publish a book, to finish it from beginning to end

And with them it took a couple of years Um, yeah, so there's pros and cons for everything I would say try both And see, so ask me again next year Ok, Laurie: I'll have you back

How did you find your illustrator for your "I Can" books? Miriam: The "I Can" books, I went on to a, actually a Canadian website that has a lot of illustrators I'm not able to think of the name right now, but I just looked at portfolios and reached out I remember I reached out to 10 illustrators and asked them for some, if they could draw my character and only a couple of responded So I knew from there I was very lucky for the "I Can" series is that, look, I chose a local illustrator and I love everything she did For this one because, Jack and I chose it

We used an agency and the illustrator is actually from Spain So that was interesting And it was nice It was nice also And she did a great job

Yeah Laurie: Oh good Yeah It looks beautiful Miriam: Thank you

Laurie: It looks really nice Would do you have, um, you know, something who stands out as good advice for Well, I know that you advise authors, so is there one piece of advice that you would give to somebody starting out on their writing and publishing journey? Miriam: Yes I mean, I have two The first one that came to mind is to align yourself with people that are already doing what you want to do

So in terms of hiring a coach or finding mentorship, finding a little tribe of people that are doing the same thing What happens is that a lot of times, we work on a story we, we perfect it and then we lose momentum and we throw it into a drawer and then we forget about it So, I mean, it happens for everything, right? With exercising With dieting With picking a course

It's, you have to find your little tribe To help you through it To keep you motivated So that's what I would suggest Looking, looking for some help or people that are doing the same, same things, positive people that are doing the same things

Laurie: Yes Miriam: And then the other thing that came to mind is, um, remember your why It was my why, my reason for writing and the thought of what happened to my niece and not wanting it to happen again with my children That kept me going And I mean, there are times when you get tired of doing something or things don't work your way

It's very easy to give up But if you remember why you started It's going to help you until the end Laurie: I love that So many people say that, you know

Remember your purpose always because the easy to forget and the day to day grind, right? Miriam: It's so true When I was going for Guinness, I mean they were long days And I just kept thinking like I'd be getting up earlier and earlier every day because I thought I only have another month Or I only have another week And why am I really doing this? So, so that's just, it keeps you going until the end

Laurie: So now the Guinness record was five years ago Are you still riding a wave from that or, or is it kind of over and done? Or how do you feel about that now? Miriam: Oh, well, I'm glad that I did it I like to have a big project I don't know There's something about that that I like

I like to do things that are a bit different Like Guinness With this book, we planned the virtual book reading I thought that was really cool So for, "I Can Believe", I'm sorry for "The Big Bad Bully" Jack Canfield, and I actually did a virtual book reading where we read the story and then Jack took the participants through different exercises

Self-esteem building exercises So, the whole idea of the summer was to get people preregistered for it So I liked that it's, we're providing value and then we're also, it's a bit of marketing We're also capturing leads People that are interested in what we're doing to be able to offer them something else down the road

So I'm not sure that, does that answer your question? What was the, what was the initial question? Laurie: I don't know About the Guinness world record because I feel like, like for example, a few years ago I gave a TEDx talk and so people hear that, you know, they're, Oh wow But you know, like it just seems like it's so long ago and then you move on There's so many more things And so when I heard about your record

It was like what! But it was five years ago So I was just curious if Miriam: Yes, well people still bring it up Like you just did I had another interview earlier today and they brought that up Some, doing something out of the ordinary that most people don't do was good

I did a TEDx talk a couple of years ago and I agree People forget about it because we're not out there promoting the TEDx talk, right? Um, it's still a nice little thing to have under your belt That you, you've done that a lot of people want to do a TEDx talk, so it's really neat that you were chosen to do them Laurie: Yeah Yeah

And you Just one of those goals, I guess, like, Oh, I should do that That's right Miriam: And it all helps, right? It helps us become better people Better speakers

Offer more value So yeah Not everybody has to remember it, but when they see it I think they, they think, okay, that's cool I'll look into you some more

Laurie: And so you mentioned the mentoring and getting a coach and all that, and you actually provide those services for people Do you want to tell us a bit about that? Miriam: Sure Well, I just chose I was I just chose my six authors to work with in 2020

So, um, my deadline was last week So, when I started writing, I wish I could have had a mentor Like somebody that would have helped me from beginning to end Because I found myself, I mean, I read a lot, I went into different, I took different courses I hired different people

But nobody helped me from the beginning until the end, and I wish I could have found that because I would have absolutely hired them I feel like I spent way too much money and I would've saved myself time and a lot of money had I had somebody's expertise to help me So I decided to offer that this year I mean, through the years, I'm sure, you know, people always call or email, can I pick your brain? Can you give me an hour of your time? And I've never said no to anybody But my husband was keeping track like how many hours have you spent? And really lots of hours

But I want to help people because I was there So I, I'm was offering this year, mentorship 10 months where they come with their stories I would help them perfect it Take them through the whole process And in the end, I would publish, I will publish their books under my company, Laundry Books

So I'm, I'm really excited about that Uh, I was looking for empowering children's stories, because I want these books out there for my children I know that other people are looking for them But I will be offering it again mid next year So again, looking for more authors to mentor

And what that looks like is through masterminding So every other week we get on a call It's keeping, it's about keeping the momentum and learning along the way And making it to the finish line Laurie: Yes

Sticking with it And you narrowed it down to six So was it difficult to? Miriam: Yeah, it was a little bit It was I have to say, but I chose stories all different All about empowering children

Laurie: Oh, I love that That's great You can never have too many empowerment books Miriam: I think we need more and more That that's where we're headed, right? It's the whole growth mindset

It's teaching them young Laurie: Yes Yeah When they'll still listen to you because they don't listen once they're teenagers Miriam: Absolutely

How old are your children? Laurie: My eldest is 11 So he's still the, it depends on the day, right? Right now he's making his case for a, for a cell phone and I'm very resistant, cause it's just a can of worms, but we'll see He's, he actually, he pulled out a really good point on me He said, mom, I need to learn this while I'm still young, like before I'm a dumb teenager Cause I've always said, you're going to lose your brain when your a teenager, like, it's just going to happen

You know, there's no, there's no avoiding it And he said, well, before that happens, I should learn now And so my husband was listening And he said, Oh, he's got you there Miriam: Oh yeah

My children, my oldest ones, I have a 16 and a 14, 14 year old twins Um not twins, teenagers I'm sorry Teenagers They have

I have heard them before, quote me on one of my books Didn't you tell us that we should Laurie: My kids every once in a while they go, Mom, can you handle that? You know when I'm not handling something? They pull that out Well, played Well played, yes Okay

Miriam: At least they're listening, right Laurie: They're like, yeah, they're listening to some of it, right? They choose Okay, so where can people find you, Miriam, if they want to look for your books? Or look for your, your mastermind maybe in the middle of next year? Miriam: Yeah All the information is on my website miriamlaundrycom

Laundry, just like it sounds, think clean laundry Miriamlaundrycom or find me on social media and follow me I like to put a lot of good content out there Laurie: Oh, fantastic

And I love that you Canadian Yay for Canadians Did you I am curious to where a lot of the authors you worked with or you chose, cause it's new, like are they Canadian? Miriam: Actually they're half, half Three are Canadian

Three are American Laurie: Okay Curious I always feel like it's like needles in haystacks and people find me and, Oh, you're Canadian Because there's, yeah, I just ends up, I work with so many Americans, but Miriam: Yes, because it's such a big country

I think the population is so large in the States that's, that's Laurie: That's probably it Yeah Everybody's online [unintelligible] Miriam: It doesn't matter where you're from, right? Laurie: Oh, I know

I've worked with somebody in Greece and somebody in Guam And that was definitely the most unique I was like, where are you? That's so exciting But the time difference, it didn't work very well for calls, but it just, yeah, it's a whole new world, right? Like the internet just, I sound like such a old lady when I say that, but I just love it because you know, you meet new people all the time Miriam: Yeah, and I mean, I think that's one of the greatest things that we do, right? We're able to work from home from the most part so that we can be home to be with the kids or go to different events, sporting events and all this

This what I'm finding So I have four, I told you the two teenage girls and then two boys, 12 and seven Laurie: Oh wow You have a spread Miriam: I have a, I have a, I have a good spread

And they're all super active But I love them It's fun Yeah Laurie: Yeah, that's good to keep them busy and Miriam: lots of creation for books

Laurie: Yeah I always say I'm the parents at swimming lessons with a notebook as my kids are screaming in the pool It's ok! I'm just gathering intel for my next book I don't know It's always swimming lessons

Well, thank you I won't keep you any longer It's been a pleasure chatting with you and getting to know you and I'll share all that info in the description Miriam: Thank you Thanks so much, Lori

I appreciate the call Laurie: Oh, thank you Me too Okay, bye bye Miriam: You keep doing all the great things you're doing

Laurie: Thank you Thanks I will Miriam: Thanks Bye

Bye Laurie: Bye

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