Christine Kloser is a force of nature. As a leader in the burgeoning field of transformational writing, Kloser is an award-winning author and teacher known to thousands of students around the world as “the transformation catalyst,” an entrepreneurial powerhouse whose mission is to help authors “unleash their authentic voice, share their message on the pages of a book, and make a difference in the world.” Combining emotional and spiritual guidance with nuts-and-bolts writing, publishing, and marketing expertise, Kloser provides an oasis of can-do encouragement and positive reinforcement in a field of creative endeavor not known for congeniality or optimism. In contrast to the defeatist messages dominating the publishing world—where authors are viewed as Quixotic crazies, too often, and books as failures waiting to happen—Kloser is convinced that producing a book is a rite of passage that connects a writer to personal power and deepens his impact on the world.
As a professional author for 30 years, I was curious to know more about Kloser's positive approach to the business of writing. Following our interview, she invited me to take part in her Transformational Author Experience in Baltimore, where I was impressed, and pleasantly surprised, by her intelligent, down-to-earth teaching style and uniquely intimate bond with her students. Over 100 people had flown in from around the world to spend three days with their writing guru, sharing their stories, voicing their conflicts, and basking in her down home charisma. This was not a woo-woo crowd; the Baltimore ballroom was filled with psychologists, professors, executives, scientists, doctors, mind-body healers, and other serious-minded folk determined to get their books done and learn from this master of creative self-realization. Part workshop intensive, part revival meeting, part encounter session, the Experience left me deeply inspired as well as convinced—lifelong skeptic that I am—that Christine Kloser is the real deal.
Mark: Why is writing such a transformational process?
Christine: Writing forces people to dig deeply into themselves, and to step into the courage, confidence, and clarity of who they are and what it is that they want to say. There is one level of transformation that happens when someone does that in their journal—in their most private space—but there’s another depth of transformation that happens when someone’s willing to share the gifts. It ups the ante in their own healing process—their becoming process of who they were really born to be.
Mark: Why is writing more transformative than, say, oral storytelling?
Christine: I think because of the permanence. When words are spoken, they are sometimes remembered but often times not. But when you write it down in words on a page for others to read, well, that exists forever.
It increases the sense of wanting what you write to really matter. You want to make a difference. Putting it on the page also opens you up for judgment and criticism… so that’s where you’ll need to call upon your courage.
Mark: It’s more vulnerable-making?
Mark: Is it true that you came to this work through your own personal struggle?
Christine: Yes. I actually started working with authors back in 2004. My first book came out in 2005. It was a collection of inspirational stories from women and I thought that that was it for me, writing that book. Like, okay, check that off the bucket list. (laughs). I got published! I thought that would be the end of the journey until that book was reviewed in the print edition of the Entrepreneur Magazine soon after it came out and then people wanted me to do more anthologies. So I was in the publishing world from 2004 until 2010, but always held it at an arm’s length because it was never really what I was passionate about. I was passionate about transformation.
Mark: More than writing, per se?
Christine: Books were something that people came to me for because I knew how to do them. But it wasn’t fully aligned for me because it was just about the book, rather than the transformation. I had built a separate part of my company around conscious business coaching but I later discovered that that wasn’t truly aligned for me either. I had the belief that the way to make money was to teach other people how to make money. I had to support my family so I wrote a book called The Freedom Formula: How to Put Soul in your Business and Money in your Bank. Most people would consider it to be fairly successful. It brought in a decent amount of money, but I, personally was miserable because it wasn’t on the mark. It wasn’t what I was born to do and I couldn’t keep doing it. And because I couldn’t make myself keep doing it, I ended up losing everything… I knew that was a risk I had to take in order to not do something that felt like selling my soul. Eventually I ended up filing for bankruptcy and went through a terrible dissolution with a business partner. I lost my house, lost my identity, really. I could lose it all materially, but the most transformational part of it all was losing who this persona was—that I had created—thinking I needed to be, do, act, teach a certain way in order to be successful. But, when I was on my knees, you know, not quite sure what I was supposed to do next and feeling really lost—I asked God for help. I prayed ferociously with every bit of my heart and begged to be shown what was next. Because I didn’t know.
Back in 2010 I had come up with this name for something to do with my former business partner called the ‘Transformational Author Experience.’ And I just thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. I’m like, oh, I love that! So I brought it to my most successful colleagues,—all six, seven, and multi-seven figure business owners—and they all said it stunk.
Christine: Really. They gave it a big “thumbs down” and said I needed a catchier name like, ‘Successful Author’s Secrets.’ And I soon agreed to go with their new name to produce an event with my former partner.
So when I was going through the worst of the worst in January 2011 and begging to be shown, this concept of ‘Transformational Author Experience’ came back to me loud and clear, and it was not just a tap on the shoulder, it was a shove. The event name that everyone had said was horrible, now felt like the ONLY thing I could do. It was the only thing I felt aligned with and felt powerful about while I was going through such a difficult personal time. I couldn’t promise anyone that I’d show them how to be “successful” and I didn’t feel like I had any great “secrets” to share… but I sure knew about coaching people to write book, and I knew about transformation—even more than I had before. So, the name Transformational Author Experience just kept calling to my soul. I couldn’t escape it!
Mark: It was a bonk on the head.
Christine: (laughs) Yes. It was a bonk on the head and looking back now, I realize that my colleagues were really my divine angels sent to protect that name for me (back in 2010) because when my business partner ended up with my previous publishing company, that name would have gone with it. So, in February of 2011 I started building the Transformational Author Experience, started talking about it publicly, inviting people to be involved and within three months, there were almost 10,000 people signed up to participate in the very first ‘Transformational Author Experience.’
Mark: That's remarkable.
Christine: And aspiring authors found out about it from many of the people who told me that the name stunk! So, it was successful; I, got my family back on our feet and just recently hosted my third annual Transformational Author Experience in May 2013 for nearly 15,000 people… it’s been amazing to see it grow! It has doubled in revenue and it’s just crazy.
It’s really been blowing me away. Sometimes I just sit back in awe of how it all unfolded and how God’s grace has guided the whole thing.
Mark: Spirituality is obviously very important to the way you look at the ‘Transformational Author Experience.’ How do you speak to a large crowd about spirituality without getting religious and help—do you tell people to listen to the small voice within, I mean, what is your advice around spirituality and creativity?
Christine: Actually, I simply help them tune back into their own heart, tune back into their own truth. I stay focused on seeing the brilliance in someone when they can’t see it for themselves and keep returning them to that point of truth. They start spinning out, getting all crazy (“I can’t, who’s going to read it, blah blah blah”) and I just bring them back to what they do know, which is that they have a divine spark in their heart and an important message to share. The truth is that they are someone who was born to make a difference. Someone who is the expression of love. And so much of what I do is just returning them to what they already know. They don’t not know it; they just forget it. They disconnect from it. They get busy. They get scared. They worry because the words don’t come on the page. I tell them not to force the words. Go take a walk. Go sit at the lake. Go meditate. Go read the book that inspires you the most. Go cry. Then come back to the writing.
Mark: Do you get involved with their personal issues?
Christine: What do you mean by personal?
Mark: For instance, in a workshop, when someone starts talking about feeling blocked, do you go into the biography?
Christine: I get enough of it for them to feel seen and understood and then I move them into the truth. Everything comes up when someone writes a book. Anything that’s there to be stirred up, gets stirred up. At least if they’re writing a transformational book that really is a heart-based process for them and is important for them. So many of the people I work with, their families don’t know who they are. The people closest to them can’t even begin to understand the depth of their heart, the challenge of their journey, what it means for them to be sharing their truth and sharing their wisdom - or that their truth and wisdom have any value to another human being.
Mark: That’s the revelation.
Christine: It sure is. And I’ve experienced it with my own family. I still don’t think my parents or sisters have an understanding of what I do and really how I help people transform their lives. It’s been painful to not feel seen in that way, so I understand it and can “spot” it when I see it in my clients. They yearn for someone to just see, appreciate and love them for who they are. And I’ve been blessed with my own personal experience—and ability—to help people feel that way.
Mark: In your work, you’re not focused on teaching technique so much as empowering people to be changed by their writing journey. Is that correct?
Christine: Right. I do have a very systematic process I walk people through in my signature Get Your Book Done® program. Why are you writing? Why are you the best person to write this book? Who are you writing for? What problem do you solve? What questions does your book need to answer? How can you clearly communicate your message in the 200 words that go on the back cover of a book? I teach people how to get the ideas out of their head, onto their page and into outline form and then I just love them through the writing process and tell them to work with an editor to get it perfect. I’m known as “The Transformation Catalyst.” That’s how I’ve coined myself and people experience me as that so it must be right, because I do catalyze them. I love them, I guide them, and I give them the structure that they need but don’t really work with anyone one-on-one on their books. I have colleagues that I refer to for the publishing piece, private coaching and editing because I’m best one-on-many, whether in person or on the phone. There’s something that always feels magical when I work with a group of people - that just brings a lot more joy and energy into my heart..
Mark: These can be books about anything, right? They don’t necessarily need to be memoirs or books about a spiritual journey to be transformational.
Christine: Exactly. It’s not the subject—it’s the process. I’ve had clients write books about what people can learn from their dogs; financial planning; dating and relationship; how to survive your first year of college, etc. And, of course, I work with a lot of people who do write spiritual, self-help, and personal growth type of books.
Mark: Are you writing another book?
Christine: I am. However, it’s not words on paper yet… I’m “pregnant” with it. It’s about the power of discovering and freeing your true authentic voice. I’m feeling my way into it and letting it percolate… after all, it’s the process that births the transformational book. I’m excited to see where this next writing journey leads me leads me.