writing process

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!



Just When I Wanted to Give Up. Dancing in a New Portal. I Welcome it!

Dancing in a New Portal. I Welcome it!

I love this from author, Susan Branch (who I adore!) and for me I’d replace kitty with doggie (grin):

Now I get to organize them into some sort of sense that spells B-O-O-K.  Don’t ask me how, because I don’t know yet.  I compare the process to sweeping the kitchen floor.  All the tiny bits and pieces are scattered to every corner, I sweep and sweep and the crumbs and kitty hairs come closer to each other, I sweep some more until they are one solid thing in the dust pan.  That’s book writing.

Yesterday I finally had the chance to walk through a new portal – and a very welcome one at that.

On Monday I had many thoughts running amok in my mind – thoughts that had me wanting to throw in the towel and quit. I wondered if this writing books business was all worth it.

My books written to date have felt quite a bit different than the one I’ve been working on for the past three years, Wisdom Found in the Pause. I felt like Susan writes that there were many pieces scattered and I wasn’t quite sure how to fit them together, or if I even had a story to tell – or one that others would want to read. In other words, I’ve had much more self-doubt with this one.

It also took longer for my manuscript to be returned from my editor than I had anticipated or experienced in the past. From what I understand, in part, do to her work load. It was definitely a test for me to hang in there – and not let my mind run too crazy with wild (and likely not true) thoughts.

Mid-morning Tuesday when I opened my inbox to see an email from my editor with my manuscript attached my heart started to beat faster. This. was. it. It. was. finally. back.

I took a deep breath and opened the file and quickly scanned it. I let out a sigh of relief. I’ve got work to do, but I feel much more confident about putting it out into the world – which my hope is still by year end – if not sooner.

And my whole psyche has shifted to now feeling excited and ready to hunker down and do the work. I welcome it!  In fact, the editing process is one of my favorite parts of the writing process. This is when I see my words whipped into shape and it’s like dusting the furniture seeing a new sheen come to the surface.

I also enjoy the process of putting all the other pieces together such as working with a book cover designer, who I’ll be talking with next week, and then putting the interior layout together, too.

There is much to be done, but I’m so happy to be dancing in this new portal!

The photo above is of my friend Miss Marie’s gate that leads to her front porch. Most days in the summer you will find me out on a morning walk and this is one of my favorite sites to see. There is something so mysterious, but comforting at the same time about it. Just like writing a book – mysterious when you are putting the pieces together and oh, so comforting when it starts coming together!

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Frankie the Walk ‘N Roll Dog Heads Back to School – In a New Way.

Frankie the Walk 'N Roll Dog Heads Back to School - In a New Way.

Two weeks from today I’ll be visiting Fair Park Elementary School in West Bend, WI.

It’s been a long time since I set foot in a school. I’m looking forward to talking about the writing process, life as an author, Frankie, compassion, empathy, and making a difference. And most of all encouraging students how important writing and reading is in their lives – whether they pursue writing as a career or not.

Of course, I won’t have my side-kick Frankie with me. It’s been almost four years since she has been gone, which is how long it’s been since I’ve done a presentation also.

But her message is still one kids and adults can learn from. And this time I’ll be talking more about the process of writing, which will be a new experience for me, and one I’m looking forward to.

I bought a stuffed dachshund toy to use for demonstration purposes and to show how wheelchairs work for dogs. I’ll be tying this in with talking about empathy. I really wanted a brown dachshund, but couldn’t find one big enough. So black and tan it is and will still make the point.

When the principal, a friend of mine, contacted me before Christmas, asking if I’d visit their school, I wasn’t sure I was up to doing it. Those old nerves certainly never seem to go away no matter how many times I’ve talked in front of a room of people! But a part of me was curiously open to the idea and wanted to give it a try.

Yesterday I received the list of questions the students prepared for me. We will be doing this mostly as Q & A sessions which I love to do. I’ll work on preparing photos to go along with some of my answers to add a visual component.

I’m so impressed with how organized the school is for the visit with an agenda they also sent me. In the morning I’ll talk with the K-2 students, then a lunch and learn with staff, and in the afternoon will meet with the 3-4 grade students. It will be a full day!

So…..here we go Frankie….in a new way!

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