Know what you want to write about. Take time to clear your head when you need to. Don’t give yourself a deadline sooner than 1 year. Getting overwhelmed can and will cause costly and timely mistakes. Research the things you don’t know before adding them in your book. Look it up, study it and make sure you are giving your readers accurate information. Reward yourself when you are finished with your creation and then get ready for the really hard work, getting it out there!
As part of my interview series on the five things you need to know to become a great author, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dana Artzer.
Dana Artzer is the CEO of Arizona Insurance & Retirement Services and the author of I’ve Got It Covered. She is a licensed Medicare Specialist & Retirement Advisor that loves to help people.
Through her grief and tears, she has created something truly amazing that is bringing families together and giving them a sense of peace in this crazy COVID world we now live in.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you share a story about what brought you to this particular career path?
As a Retirement Advisor, I meet with seniors on a daily basis. A big part of my job is making sure my clients are educated all things retirement: Social Security, Medicare, Asset Preservation, Life Insurance etc.
Can you share the most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career?
Well, I have had a few careers in my life, so I have some pretty interesting stories. The one that I will always tell people is the reason I created I’ve Got It Covered and everything that has happened since it was published. When my mom died, I had no idea that what I sent her to fill out would become something so important. It has been a whirlwind ever since. In less than a year, my guide is in 47 of the 50 states as well as Australia, France, UK & Canada. We have a nationwide I’ve Got It Covered — 30 Days to Get Prepared Challenge that started in August that has over 250 participants nationwide. People are excited to do this!
What was the biggest challenge you faced in your journey to becoming an author?
Hmmm…That would probably be trying to format a book when I knew nothing about how to do it! I am completely challenged when it comes to technology.
How did you overcome it?
I paid a professional to do it for me! 😊
Can you share a story about that that other aspiring writers can learn from?
Well, since this is my first book/guide I don’t know what I could say other than if a story is in your heart, you MUST put your pen to paper! For someone like myself, there were many times that I just needed to stop what I was doing, leave my office and clear my head in order to keep my sanity. It can be so frustrating when you have no idea what you are doing or how to do it. But, by the grace of God, and with my mother guiding me through every step I prevailed!
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting?
LOL, Yes, that would be writing the entire 50-page guide in Word Doc. I thought it looked fabulous! It was centered, straight, spell-checked, cover designed and ready to go. That was until a professional graphic designer saw it… The first thing she said was “you did this yourself didn’t you”? I proudly said yes, I did and then she offered to make it presentable for me. Wait, what? I thought it was presentable, I thought it was perfect! What I saw as perfection, was far from it.
Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
From what I know at this point (and that is only a little), Adobe (PDF) is the most efficient way to go. I am a novice at this whole writing thing, but I am sure there is professional software out there that would have made it easier for me. Unfortunately, I probably wouldn’t know what to do with it if I had it lol.
When professional a graphic designer offers to help you at a very reasonable price, JUMP ON IT!
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
The I’ve Got It Covered 30 Days to Get Prepared Challenge. I have partnered with Serena Arpiah of Thrift Dive 30 Day Challenges. She is a blogger and has over 335K followers on her YouTube channel. When she saw I’ve Got It Covered she reached out to me and the Challenge was born! Our first challenge started 8–1–2020 and goes thru 8–30–2020. Our challenge is nationwide with over 250 participants in 47 of the 50 states. We have weekly ZOOM meetings to keep them motivated and share stories. At the end of the Challenge, each participant will get a Certificate of Completion. My hope is that both I’ve Got It Covered, and the Challenge will open the lines of communication within families and give peace of mind to people everywhere! Who knew that end of life planning could be fun?
Can you share the most interesting story that you shared in your book?
When I found out in 2017 that my mother had congestive heart failure and her heart was only functioning at 40%, I typed up a booklet that would contain all of the information I would need to close her life. I sent it to her in October of 2108 and asked her to fill it out and send it back asap.
3 months later, on January 18, 2019, I finally received the guide back. I called my mom to thank her for completing it for me. She was very tired and was going to bed early, so I told her I loved her and would talk with her tomorrow. Tomorrow never came, my mom died that night.
When I sat at her kitchen table to begin the arduous task of closing her life, I opened the booklet and soon realized that all I had to do was make phone calls. The booklet told me everything I needed to know, where every document was located, every account number, phone number. Contact name, policy number etc. . It was just like my mom was holding my hand, guiding me through the whole process. It was then that I realized I had created something very important and had to share it with others
What is the main empowering lesson you want your readers to take away after finishing your book?
How important it is to keep the lines of communication open with your loved ones and prepare in advance, especially now with COVID-19 bringing so much devastation to families all over the world.
Based on your experience, what are the “5 Things You Need to Know to Become a Great Author”? Please share a story or example for each.
- Know what you want to write about. For me, writing I’ve Got It Covered was a no brainer after I saw how much it helped me when my mom passed. It was what carried me through my grieving process. I truly felt that she was there with me guiding me through every page. Sometimes even laughing at me lol…
- Take time to clear your head when you need to. I was so intent on getting I’ve Got It Covered to copy write on my mom’s birthday (less than 8 months from the day I started writing), I put myself under an enormous amount of pressure. There were times that I had to redo a page 2 or 3 times just because my mind would not cooperate with my fingers typing lol.
- Don’t give yourself a deadline sooner than 1 year. Getting overwhelmed can and will cause costly and timely mistakes.
- Research the things you don’t know before adding them in your book. Look it up, study it and make sure you are giving your readers accurate information.
- Reward yourself when you are finished with your creation and then get ready for the really hard work, getting it out there!
What is the one habit you believe contributed the most to you becoming a great writer? (i.e. perseverance, discipline, play, craft study) Can you share a story or example?
I never gave up. There were so many times I was in tears because I was so overwhelmed and frustrated. At the same time I was writing I’ve Got It Covered, I was running my insurance business, starting my own publishing company so I could publish my own book, taking care of my family and keeping my house clean all at the same time. Never once, did I consider not finishing the guide. It was not an option for me. Everything I was doing was to honor God & my mom.
Which literature do you draw inspiration from?
Honestly, the only thing I have time for as far as recreational reading is The Bible. Why? It calms me…. It gives me direction… It shows me the way I need to go…
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I really think I have already started it with the 30 Days to Get prepared Challenge. The comments that people are leaving me what let me know that I am doing the right thing. People are desperate for anything that will give them peace of mind right now and that’s what I’ve Got It Covered is doing for families all over the US!
How can our readers follow you on social media?
I am in the process of making my YouTube channel and should be finished by the end of August.
People can purchase I’ve Got It Covered @ www.davapublishing.com
DAVA Publishing (DAVA stands for Dana Artzer & Vivian Ankrim-my mother)
Thank you so much for this. This was very inspiring!