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Conversations with Bruce Hurd

Today we’d like to introduce you to Bruce Hurd.

Hi Bruce, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start, maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
After completing a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding 30-year Air Force career, serving as a pilot and in other leadership positions, I retired from the military at the rank of colonel in 2007. I then reinvented myself as a successful software development program manager at a large technology company in San Diego. In 2015, I voluntarily went to part-time status with my employer to focus on a more inspirational activity: writing my story.

My intent was to put in words all of the amazing events and people in my life, especially family, friends, and all of the people and adventures surrounding my Air Force career. I expected my book to focus on all of the amazing people and wonderful experiences I appreciate in my life, and that’s where I started. What I discovered was that I kept being drawn to write about traumatic events that occurred in my life, often when I was a child.

I was inspired to explore the feelings and emotions surrounding my growing up with an alcoholic mother, a humiliating incident with a beloved six-grade teacher, going through a wrenching divorce in my late 20s, and other painful experiences. Most importantly, I wanted the focus to be on what I learned from each of these experiences and how they helped me succeed throughout my Air Force career and beyond, rather than seeing myself as a helpless victim.

In September 2019, I published my memoir, “Aim Point: An Air Force Pilot’s Lessons for Navigating Life,” which became an Amazon #1 bestseller. During the book signing events I held (prior to Covid), I discovered there was enormous interest from audience members in writing and publishing their own stories. Easily, the #1 question I was asked was, “how can I do what you did?” There’s so much mystery surrounding the book creation, editing, and publishing promise, the vast majority of “would-be” authors are too intimidated to even begin.

This is why I created the “Make Your Book a Reality” writing program in 2020. My program is focused on helping first-time authors write, edit, and publish their books from an inspired, creative perspective. While much of my focus is on helping veterans – and many of my clients are veterans – I am helping a wide variety of men and women from vastly different backgrounds and creative intentions with diversified writing styles.

I teach the same processes and techniques I used to create my story. My program involves participation in a virtual weekend writing retreat followed by my one-on-one coaching sessions with individual authors. An important part of what I do is helping inspire writers to follow through on their commitment by holding them accountable through regular meetings and emphasizing the primary benefits of becoming a published author: Boosting credibility by demonstrating knowledge and expertise; Increasing self-confidence by proudly mastering a lifetime goal; Providing much-needed service to others; and Giving themselves the gift of self-therapy by expressing their truths in a genuine, heartfelt way.

I am very pleased to report that in less than one year, two of my authors have published their memoirs: Doug Davidson (“Power from the Heart” – already an international Amazon #1 bestseller) and Bob Hendrickson (“Crossing” – #1 new release in Air Force biographies on Amazon). I could not be prouder of both of them. They each explored both the highs and lows of their lives to write compelling stories full of adventure and emotion.

I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. I earned my bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of California at Berkeley and my master’s degree in Systems Management from the University of Southern California. I am also a graduate of advanced courses in professional military education: the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and the U.S. Air Force Air War College.

We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
My biggest challenge in creating this new career for myself was writing and publishing my book. While I got off to a great start by learning the inspired, connected writing technique I now teach, I found that after I had created the core of my book, I felt at a complete loss as to what I needed to do to finish my book in a way that was honest, emotional, and compelling to readers who weren’t familiar with me or my story. I also was intimidated by the entire revising, editing, and publishing process.

80% of adults in the United States feel they have an amazing book within them – and they’re right. Yet only a fraction of 1% ever complete their books and publish them. People have very legitimate reasons why they don’t follow through on their desires – I’m not questioning that – but at the heart of their reasons, it almost always comes down to one thing: fear of failure. They are afraid that they will be judged, especially by family and friends. They are afraid that what they write won’t be engaging and people won’t find them interesting. They are afraid of committing to completing their books and not finishing because it’s too hard and there are too many unknowns. And the list goes on…

I also had many of these fears. I was compelled to write about growing up with an alcoholic mother – an addiction she carried well into my adulthood before finally conquering it at the age of 66 after many failed attempts. I also wrote about other traumatic events, such as a very painful divorce in my late 20s and a searing public episode involving a much-admired 6th Grade teacher. As I thought about what I was writing, I was afraid of what my brothers and sister and all my many beloved friends would think of me describing these experiences, often involving things that had never come to light because of the shame that surrounded them. What I found, after the launch of my book, was that family and friends were almost universally supportive (even enthusiastic) about my story. It was extraordinarily uplifting.

I was also intimidated because of the complicated process surrounding the revision, editing, and publication of my book. What steps were involved? Who could I turn to for help? When would I know my book was done? How could I make it interesting? All of these questions conspired to create a feeling of helplessness. I was afraid to take the next steps because I wasn’t sure what I needed to do next, much less how to do it. In the end, I hired the agency who taught me to create the core draft (roughly the initial one-third) of my book for assistance. They were able to hire some subcontractors to help me with the technical steps associated with editing and publication. I also reached out to authors I knew within my extended family to provide some help – and they gave me some extremely useful, macro-level advice. Finally, I took a focused course from UCSD Extension on writing non-fiction, a course which I found especially helpful because it not only put into words many of the writing techniques I was intuitively aware of it also gave me some great ideas as to how to help first-time authors.

The last big challenge that comes to mind is the entire process of creating a business, designing a course offering, and marketing what I have to offer. I have had modest success in this area; however, I freely admit it is definitely a work in progress.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I am also proud of how well-received my course has been by the numerous authors who have attended my retreats and have signed up for my one-on-one author coaching. I have video testimonials posted on my web page (www.colbrucehurd.com), and I’ve had some heartfelt written testimonials from retreat attendees and authors who have successfully completed the program and published their amazing books: “What an amazing day, Bruce! Thank you so much for spending time with us. Honestly, this is the best day I’ve had in five years. I’m so excited. Just read what I wrote today and I’m amazed. Can’t wait for tomorrow & working with you beyond this weekend. Just wow! You’re awesome. Thank you, thank you!!! See you tomorrow.”

“Without Bruce Hurd, this entire project would have been stillborn. He patiently edited my work as I hacked away at my keyboard. He gave me the encouragement I needed, demanded things of my narrative I did not know I could write and made this all possible. Thank you, Bruce.”

“This partial list (of acknowledgements) includes Bruce Hurd, who showed up with his magical book-writing course, Make Your Book A Reality, at the perfect time. Not only did his course give me a great foundation for writing, his hours of coaching and editing were essential to getting this book published. I hope I do you proud.” And the list goes on…

What makes my course different, what sets me apart from all other writing programs, is that not only do I work in a small group setting for my retreats (typically no more than ten authors at a time), I offer specialized individual one-on-one coaching on a biweekly basis. Our confidential discussions and my detailed suggestions help to keep authors on track and show them just how insightful, creative and inspiring they can be. I have not yet met a writer who I haven’t helped in a profound, positive way – this is by their own admissions. I also offer my services at an extraordinarily reasonable price. No one else I know offers what I offer: a complete, start-to-finish process that guarantees a published book at the end that an author can be extremely proud to call their own.

If we knew you growing up, how would we have described you?
I grew up in Los Altos, CA (a suburb community on the peninsula south of San Francisco). I was #4 of five children born very close in age – the five of us were just seven years apart from the youngest to the oldest. I was a pretty normal kid. I did well in school, but I never was a threat to become valedictorian or compete for other academic awards. I was well-liked within my circle of friends but was not a part of the “in” crowd at school; although, I got along really well with those guys, too, even though we pretty much ran in different circles.

I liked sports, especially baseball and football, and I was reasonably good at both. I was even on my high school teams early on, until the bigger and more skilled athletes at my very large school pretty much took all the spots on the roster and left me out in the cold. This was a big blow to me when I was a sophomore/junior because I pretty much identified myself with the student-athlete crowd and that was being taken away.

In the end, though, it turned out to be the best thing that could have ever happened to me. I helped start a YMCA high school club with my friends. I was elected president of our club my junior year and, in my senior year, I was elected president of all YMCA clubs in northern Santa Clara County (i.e. “Silicon Valley”). I discovered I was a leader. I could inspire people to positive action and have fun doing it. It was so much fun. And it helped inspire me to seek out an Air Force ROTC scholarship to college, which would lead to a commission as an Air Force officer.

This experience also helped me compete for admission to the University of California at Berkeley. In the end, I was accepted at Berkeley and was awarded a four-year Air Force ROTC scholarship. After I graduated from Berkeley and completed my officer training requirements, I was trained as a pilot in the Air Force, leading to a very adventurous and enjoyable 30-year career as an Air Force officer.

Pricing:

  • Make Your Book a Reality writing retreat is $197
  • On-on-one Author Coaching post-retreat is $200 per month

Contact Info:


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