on writing

What I’m Giving Up to Write a New Book

What I'm Giving Up to Write a New Book
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What I’m giving up to write a new book is something I never thought I would. What I’m giving up is this notion that there is a right, or wrong way for that matter, to write a book.

I can’t even begin to tell you how much time I’ve spent in the past reading and listening to the “how to’s” from the industry and also from other writers and authors, and their process. Telling myself that if I just did it their way it was what I needed to do, instead of opening to what was right for me.

Now don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy hearing about the craft of writing and other’s process. But now when I do, I hear it more as oh, that’s cool, and it’s inspiring to know other’s like me are out there following their creativity.

I’ve come to realize so much of this trying to figure out how something should perhaps be done was just my own lack of trust in myself, tied to my own need to feel worthy. Have you ever felt that in your life? This need to prove your worthiness?

At times, it has been quite painful to be in this place of feeling not good enough. That the way someone else does or did something is viewed as better.

I’ve had the thought of writing another book for close to two months now. Before that it wasn’t anywhere on my conscious radar. At times, I didn’t even think there was another book in me.

But today I began and wrote 2,365 words. And I’ll be honest, part of it came from two blog posts I wrote last year. 

This morning as part of my process not only for writing, but for the benefit of my life really, I’ve started a new experiment with my meditation practice. Normally I listen to a guided meditation or to music. But I’ve decided to just sit in silence. My goal today, a big one, as I wanted to try and meditate for one hour. I’ve never done that before and the longest has been thirty minutes.

But I am curious about what it is I might discover if I just learn to be with me more. Now I realize for many that sounds scary. It was for me too in some ways. And I’ll admit, the first couple of minutes felt almost like torture. I wanted to wiggle right out of my chair! But I opened to the uncomfortable. Pretty soon my shoulders dropped back down from around my ears and the butterflies in my stomach found a place to rest, and I heard myself taking these welcoming, deep breaths. It felt so good.

In that space, though I didn’t make it an hour, and sat for forty five minutes as I had to go to the bathroom… Okay, maybe too much information here, but I just had to go. 🙂  At any rate, it was in that space that it came to me how to begin my book. I’d been searching for a way in, that first line of a book that would start to carry me to the next and would begin the momentum.

The reality is that my process really began quite sometime ago, though I didn’t realize it then. But it’s been in the experience and growth I’ve had the last four years that has brought me here.

Then over two months ago when that idea of perhaps there might be another book in my future, it didn’t begin with the actual sitting my butt in my chair and clicking away on the keyboard. I just started to observe and capture thoughts that were coming to me (which I continue to do), keeping track of them on post it notes, or on paper, and then transferring them to Evernote.

Last week, a few times in the wee hours of the morning, I had more thoughts flowing. This weekend I realized it was time to just begin and made the decision it would be today. And so my experiment with sitting in silence in meditation to listen for what I might discover as the first line to begin…and it came. Now I’m not saying it will stick just as it is, but it was a start! And I welcomed it!

What I’m giving up to write a new book is to stay open to my process, however that will unfold. For now it’s a day-by- day process. I looked at my schedule of things to do this week and for now, added in two more one hour writing sessions. If more calls to me to do so, I will.

Part of my giving up also began when I recently wrote about my desire to give up my mindless scrolling of Facebook and how I didn’t even realize I was using it as a distraction. While I’ve decided to keep my personal profile page and will continue to link my blog posts there, it’s about as much as I will do with Facebook for now. It’s freed up an incredible amount of energy and I’m sure enjoying how this feels.

I’ve set no deadline for now on when this book will make it out into the world. I trust myself now that if it’s meant to be, I’ll keep writing. When I get stuck, I’ll honor that and do things such as walking or meditating to find my way back to the page.

I’m giving up everyone else’s process and the getting sucked into the “how-to” of industry standard. Instead, I’m embracing my own authentic path, which I have to say feels quite liberating and empowering. Yes!

Thanks for being here and reading!



On Writing a Book. Question from a Reader. My Insight.

On Writing a Book. Question from a Reader. My Insight.

I often get asked how to write a book. Recently I received this question from reader, Jennie: “I have felt for several years there is a “book” inside of me but I just can’t seem to put it into words.”

So I thought I’d share my insight here to not only hopefully help Jennie, but to help others who face this question too.

I want to first start by saying that I feel there is no right or wrong way. The key, I feel, is to find out what your best practice is for accomplishing a goal such as writing a book.

But let me back up for a moment and share some writing advice I’d heard a few years ago. It resonated with me, so perhaps it will you, too.

It really is quite simple – just begin.  Put your pen or pencil to the paper or your fingers to the keyboard and begin. Everything we do, no matter what it is or whatever art form, you have to just begin, right?  Brush to canvas, hands to clay, one foot in front of the other.

Some other advice I heard at one time is this:  Start with 15-minutes each day. Just write. Don’t edit. Send that critic who will no doubt show up, out for coffee.  And while the critic is heading out, send the perfectionist along with her, too. If you start with 15-minutes each day that roughly equals one page per day. If you did this for 365 days you’d have more than enough for a book at the end of the year. Now, this isn’t something you can publish as is. But this is then where you begin to edit, revise, and hone in on how you want it to take shape. Of course, if you want to accelerate the process you will have to write for more than 15 minutes a day.

That analysis simplified it for me. I realized how often we tend to look at an end result and how huge it can feel, instead of taking that first small step and just beginning.

I’ve found that there is also something to getting into the motion of beginning to write, and then the words will come. While I am definitely one who feels I must be inspired to write, I’ve also come to understand that if I sit my butt down in the chair, even if I have to stare at the blank screen for a while, that eventually I will begin and words will follow one after the other.

I tend toward the side of perfectionist, so this has taken practice for me to know it will not be perfect the first time I sit down to write. Nor will it be perfect the second, third, or fourth time. Nothing will ever be perfect. But if I put my best effort forward, and I continue at that without judgement of myself (which believe me, isn’t always easy!) I find that I’m quite happy that I made the effort. I started. And starting creates this forward movement.

Just the other day I was also talking with an author who just released her first book. We had a great discussion!  She said at the beginning of her writing career she tried to write like how one or another writer writes. Or got hooked into the “10 best ways” to write or the oodles of articles on writing that are out there. I shook my head enthusiastically as she talked as I could so relate!

Like this author, I no longer do that. I follow my own inner impulses and try to stay as tuned into them as possible. Outside distractions are always going to vie for our attention, so you have to know what makes you tick… or not tick, for that matter. And this, my fellow friends wanting to persue writing, is a practice – an ebb and flow – and give and take – a seek and find.

All these insights I’ve shared above have come clearer into view as I finished my manuscript recently for Wisdom Found in the Pause – Joie’s Gift. I had fits and starts. I beat myself up internally for not being where I thought I should be with it at certain times. I wanted to throw the towel in a handful of times. But I kept at it not truly knowing if it would turn into something or not. It took me three years to write it. I didn’t write everyday. But I thought about it an awful lot, though there were times I didn’t want to think about it at all.

And I realize sitting here today that this was my process for this particular book I’ve just finished writing. It wasn’t meant to surface fully until now. There were things I still had to learn and experience that became part of the manuscript that make it feel complete to me now.

So just begin. Be curious about where it will take you. Be gentle with yourself. And most of all….enjoy the ride!

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