How To Write A Book With Your Daughter: a good topic since ours comes out in 9 days

First, get a daughter. Next, make sure that she’s a great writer. Then, write a book. That’s all there is to it. The real title to this post should have been “what’s it like to write a book with your daughter.” Now, that’s something I can talk about. I guess I am kind of an expert. I am not going to say that the entire writing process with Lawren was a cakewalk but I will say that it was an experience I would not trade for a billion dollars. “Wow! That’s a lot of money,” you say. “Are you sure?” Yes, I am sure. Here’s why.

It all started in 2002. Lawren was 12 and playing Annie in Annie at Springfield Little Theatre. I was a busy trial lawyer in those days with a heavy docket of criminal cases to occupy my mind and time. I think I went to all of her rehearsals and all of the shows but I remember one night in particular. I was with Caron, sitting in the 4th or 5th row, and Lawren belted Tomorrow to the back wall of the theatre and the whole thing just came over me. It was one of the first times I was teleported (not really but I can’t think of a better word) to heaven. I remember telling Caron that night right before we went to sleep that if I did not wake up all would be well with me, that I knew what heaven will be like.

Little Lawren Annie

Fast forward 5 years, then 10. My chocolate factory in full swing, the courtroom behind me, and Lawren working with me full time right out of college. She helped write copy for our website when she was 15. Today, remotely from Austin, she’s our Chief Marketing Officer and my trusted confidant on pretty much all strategy matters related to the business. When a real opportunity crossed my path to write a book about 3 years ago I knew that I would want Lawren as my co-author. She is a gifted writer and storyteller. Look at our little company today and the sense that you get about us is her handy work.

I did most, not all by any stretch, of the original writing. Lawren edited my writing; in some cases heavily and in others not as much. But there’s more to the story. She helped me articulate the thoughts in my head by asking me questions upon questions not only about the business model ideas but my own personal story that gives context to all of it. It’s a surreal moment when your daughter helps you write about painful times in your life. She did that for me. She helped me uncover what I was really trying to say. Not just a story of this happened and then that happened. She helped me give the story deeper other meaning.

Given that we’re both pretty intense people you can imagine that there were some arguments and hurt feelings along the way. We mended those quickly, often within minutes or hours of the strife. The book I hope you read is better because of this intensity that we share not in spite of it. I wrote the book because I had something to say with hope you’ll find something in it just for you. I also wrote it on purpose, with Lawren, so someday her children and their children will have this little book that we both worked on together with stories that mean something.

When I first held the book in my hands last week with our picture together on the back flap, for a moment I was carried back to Annie, Tomorrow, and heaven. That’s what it feels like to write a book with your daughter.

Lawren Shawn back flap