Doretha Howard White is an educator, entrepreneur, author, publisher, speaker, business coach, and digital course creator. She is the creator and founder of 4 successful online courses: Quarantine Queens™, a women’s entrepreneurship mastermind group, Self-Publishing on Steroids*”, an accelerated publishing course for new authors, Start-Up Challenge™, an entrepreneurship cohort for new business owners, and All the Stuff Your Parents Meant to reach You But Never Got Around To It’ a private mentorship and coaching program for teens and young adults.
Before taking the leap into entrepreneurship with her husband Michael in 2003. Doretha enjoyed a gratifying career in education as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, teacher development specialist, and college instructor. she and Michael now own 3 thriving businesses:
Dream Big Youth Travel. Inc. a college campus and educational tour operating company founded in 2003, Dream Big Custom Cargo Trailers, Inc. a concession trailer dealership, and Doretna white Entities. inc. the umbrella organization for her writing. publishing, coaching, and digital courses. As a serial entrepreneur, Doretha reads everything she can get her hands on about business, leadership money, and success. When she is not focused on her businesses, you will find her spending time with family and friends, enjoying a trendy new restaurant, listening to classical, smooth jazz, old-school R&B, or gospel music, traveling playing piano, playing with her two dogs, Chewy & Django or engaged in one of her community service projects. Doretha lives in Atlanta with her husband Michael and two adult children Sade’ and Michael Taylor.
First things first, how did you develop an interest in writing?
I have always loved to read and write. My mom was a teacher and I remember her reading bedtime stories to me every night. My love for reading morphed into a love for writing because reading and writing go hand-in-hand. In the 9th grade, my English teacher, Mr. Heddleston took notice of my writing skills and recruited me to write for the school newspaper. He boosted my confidence in writing. My career as a teacher and administrator required a lot of technical writing, which seemed to come easily for me. As an entrepreneur, I have created curricular lessons and activities to go along with the educational field trip venues visited by my husband and my company Dream Big Youth Travel. You can say that both reading and writing have been a big part of my life.
When did you realize you had a story that the world needed to hear?
When the pandemic hit, that was the first time in 20 years that I could actually sit still and focus on my passion for writing. That is when I sat back and thought, this is an opportunity for me to work on some new projects that have been lying dormant within me. For years, I had been thinking about a guidebook for young adults. “Adulting” is very challenging and I have witnessed firsthand some of the difficulties experienced by my own children and their friends. I decided to start by making a list of adult responsibilities that we as adults do on “autopilot” but young adults find challenging. The list grew to around 115. I started sharing my idea with close family and friends and everyone agreed that this book would be a much-needed resource.
What was the writing process like, did you come up with your title first and build around it or did the manuscript come first?
That is such a great question. My process included blocking off 3-5 hours every couple of days to read, research, and write about each of the 101 lessons. The writing took about two years. I was about halfway through the first manuscript and I realized that I didn’t like the tone of it. It sounded too technical. I went back and began to organize the lessons into 8 categories and I began writing it in a voice that I would use when speaking to my own kids, nieces, nephews, and other young adults. The title came last. I had a few other titles early on, but I wanted the title to “grab” my potential readers. So, it is “All The Stuff Your Parents Meant to Teach You But Never Got Around To It.” I think the title really embodies exactly what this book is about. All that stuff!! All of the information, good advice, and life hacks that your parents meant to teach you but probably never got around to it.
What is the message behind your title?
The message is that this book provides you with all the life hacks that you need to navigate your young, independent life. Sometimes, young adults are ashamed or embarrassed about the things that they don’t know. They don’t want to look foolish, immature, or dumb. This book is like a pocket translator for the adult world.
Can you share 3 takeaways you would like women to take away from your book?
1) My book is about taking control of your adult life. It is perfectly ok to not know things and to not have all the answers but please know that to every single one of your adulting challenges, there is a solution.
2) My book helps you prioritize what is important. Self-care is important. Taking take of your responsibilities as a young adult is important. Your health and wellness is important. Working on your self-improvement is important. Getting your finances in order is important. Mapping out your academic/professional path is important. Working on your relationships is important. And keeping yourself safe is important. These priorities are the areas that you want to be focused on as a young adult. Everything is just a distraction that can take you far off course.
3). It is important that we as adults send the elevator back down for the next generation. It is not enough that we make it, we learn, and we succeed. We must help others. My book is about mentoring others.
At any moment during your writing process did you experience writer’s block, what tips do you have for overcoming it?
Of yes, most definitely. I would put the writing aside sometimes for days or weeks at a time. Writer’s block is a very real aspect of the writing process. Every writer experiences it. My way of coping with it was to move on to a different topic to research and write about and then circle back around to the area that was giving me difficulty.
Take me through the first moment you held your book in your hands, what did that feel like for you?
I cried. It is surreal to see your book go from something that only existed in your imagination to something that you can hold in your hand and share with others. It is an amazing feeling and such a great feeling of accomplishment!
What would you say was the most challenging part of your writing process?
Because my book is rather lengthy – almost 400 pages, my greatest challenge was just seeing it through to the end. I started in March 2020 and this is almost March 2023, so almost 3 years to the day from concept to bringing it to market, it was very challenging at times to stay motivated. There were many challenges along the way. There were days when I really wanted to just give up. I even questioned if God wanted me to do this or not. But every time, I became discouraged, something positive would happen to encourage me to keep going. I am so happy that I did. This book is going to empower so many teens and young adults!
What key tips do you have for marketing your book and getting it out to the masses?
As an author, I think that it is important to build a strong team around you. I have an excellent PR team behind me who are helping me obtain opportunities such as this one to have conversations with influencers about the importance of my book and the value that it is going to bring. I also am bringing on board a marketing manager, someone whose area of expertise is marketing. She is a young 20-something-year-old woman and I am looking forward to her expertise being brought to the table. Lastly, I believe that authenticity is the most important and main ingredient for marketing. Letting potential readers know who you are and what you stand for allows them to identify with you and feel as though they know you.
What audience is your book written for?
My audience is teens, high school students, college students, & young professionals ages 15-25+.
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