• Paris Woods

Why I Wrote My Book

Updated: Mar 6




Where did my book journey begin?


Today I'm answering one of the most common questions that I get asked about being the author of The Black Girl’s Guide to Financial Freedom. And that question is, "what inspired you to write the book?"


I want to talk about one of the inciting events that caused me to begin writing the book and that was the creation of a vision for my life.


It All Started With A Vision


Around this time, last year. I was participating in a syndicate program–a collection of Black professional educators who were pooling money to contribute to philanthropic endeavors. We were education leaders-turned-philanthropists participating in a program to help us identify and clarify our personal investment philosophy.


One of the activities that we had to complete as a part of this program, was the creation of a 20-year vision.


Now, personally, I am a dreamer. I love to create visions for myself and it has helped me figure out my very next steps in life. Growing up I used to create very long-term visions. I think I had sort of imagined being a psychologist when I grew up. I had identified that as one of my strengths and was very interested in helping people.


So I planned out this whole vision of going to college and graduate school and becoming a psychologist. But, all of that went by the wayside when I got to college and actually started taking psychology classes and it was not what I expected. At that moment, as an eighteen-year-old sort of deer in the headlights, I wondered what to do now because my well-laid plan had not come to fruition.


I sort of made the decision that it didn't make sense to make these long-term visions anymore. I had to pick up a new toolkit, so for me that tool became let's figure out our very next steps.


So if that sounds like you and you're like how in the world would I know what I want to do years and years down the line, it actually is quite helpful to think in bite-sized pieces and say, okay I may not know what I want to do 20 years from now, but I can at least think about what I want to do next. Believe that after I take that next step, I'll be able to take another and another, and I will continue to get clarity of vision on my very next steps as we go.


So in general, that is how I approach planning and life. But I had joined this program and they asked us to do something different from what I had grown accustomed to, which is to think in the long term and name a 20 year vision. The first block that came up was memories of having set that very early vision and then having to abandon it earlier on in life.


The other thing that came to mind, you know I’m 37 today, and so 20 years from now would put me beyond the age when both of my parents had passed away. Both of my parents lived until their early 50s and 20 years from now put me into my late 50s.


I had just a mental block around creating a vision for life that extended beyond the years of both of my parents. So it actually took me a quite a while to complete that assignment.


I put it on the back burner and said I'll do it when I'm ready. I'm not going to force myself to do something they may feel uncomfortable. So I waited until I really had a light bulb moment of some things that felt clear enough for me to commit to paper to actually write down and say this is part of my life vision.


One of the things that stood out to me was this interest in financial Independence and financial freedom that I had been talking about for years. The leader of the Angel Syndicate knew this about me and would often refer folks to me.


If you want to learn more about FIRE, you should talk to Paris.


And so I had sort of acknowledged that this was important to me, important to my identity and to my future. If I had a 20-year Vision, obviously FIRE would be a part of that.


But beyond the impact on my own life, I knew that I wanted to have an impact on the broader community. So that became a cornerstone of my 20-year vision.


What I named was not only had we created a movement to allow a generation of young people to both gain knowledge about financial Independence, but also receive support in achieving it, but also that I was able to lean on my strengths.


I love being a facilitator. I sort of envision being a board member and supporting and bolstering this movement. There were other things in the vision as well, but that was an important part of it.


This is something I think we should all do whenever we set a particularly long-term vision for ourselves. We've got the long-term vision in mind. The next question we have to ask is what about that vision should be true today.


Starting Immediately


How can I pull some pieces of that vision from the future back into the present? What action steps can I take immediately to start walking down the path toward making that future vision a reality?


One of the things that I named in my vision was that I had written a book about FIRE that had had a tremendous impact on the people in my community.


So the writing of the book became my immediate first action.


Seeing that vision come to fruition is a really important process and it's what I want you to take away from this story.


Now, it’s your turn.


So here is the challenge that I have for you. First, I want you to create a vision for yourself. If 20 years into the future feels way too far away, I understand. Start with something smaller like a 10-year or 5-year vision.


What inspires you? What excites you? What makes you feel really motivated to walk toward that future for yourself?


Think about that. Commit it to paper. Write it down.


The next step that I want you to take is to look at your vision and think what action steps do you need to take immediately to put yourself on the path to achieving that future vision.


Start taking action today. It could be the tiniest step–doing research, adding something to your calendar–but I want you to choose that immediate action today.


I cannot wait to see what comes out of this process for you.


For me, a best-selling book came out of it, and I'm so inspired and motivated and excited and humbled by the response I've gotten to this book. Who would have known?!


I just wanted to write a book that was reflective and authentic of my experience and the vision for myself and for my community.


So let me know what you decide and I cannot wait to hear what comes into your life as a result.

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