Despite the fact that 15,000,000 books will be published in the U.S.A. this year, writers are compelled by forces beyond their control to finish and publish books. Niche markets are everywhere and there is a chance a book will sail like a kite into the lives of those who will benefit most from their efforts, but maybe not.
There are valuable lessons for authors who complete their manuscripts, as well as those who don’t.
First there is the joy to watch words multiply as they fill up blank pages one at a time. Writing a book requires discipline. My book editor says the secret to becoming a writer is to, “Buckle yourself into a chair and write.” For me, the greatest reward comes from the act of creation, meeting oneself on the page of a manuscript, or canvas, or dinner plate. All creative efforts demand rigorous presence in order to teach us about life.
Writing is not for cowards or those who seek approval from the printed page, it is an exercise in growing through self-expression.
Writing connects us to other people. Crafting words is no different than preparing food for a dinner party, or painting; creativity improves the quality of life.
“Entering the Abyss” is a blog by a dear friend who lost her son. Lisa masterfully weaves her grief into the core fabric of her story, allowing the reader to experience her loss as their own. Read here.
Some art forms are more transient like cooking a gourmet dinner, but the written word will linger long after the dinner dishes are clean. How you create will reveal how you show up in all areas of life.
Staring at the pile of clothes at the end of the bed, the dirty dishes stacked near the dishwasher, and the trail of leftover clothes from yesterday, it finally dawned on me that I am the common denominator in this chaos. I live alone and don’t have a housekeeper. Looking in you might think slob, but I clean my place from top to bottom on a weekly basis. What is the reason for this disorder?
Every time I submit a new entry my blog editor messages me with, “Skype?” a meaning I have come to understand as, “What on earth are you saying?” My book editor is constantly on the verge of shooting herself in the head. They both insist that I become exercise more caution when crafting my words.
Do the piles in my home have anything to do with the heap of words stacked into wrong paragraphs? Perhaps.
Laziness with words, stacks of clean clothes, stained dishes and dirty laundry have nothing to do with a lack of motivation or drive. My friends know that I am a very hard worker. However, during the process of writing my book, lesser trait are revealed, hovering in my life, much like an unattended child lying in the crib crying out for attention.
I have spent most of my life trying to get others to do for me what I needed to do for myself. For years I have worked fourteen hours a day, six days a week, constantly seeking approval from others. Creating scenarios where other could disappoint me has been a standard modus operandi in my life. The people I surrounded myself were either incapable or unwilling to help. Unsuspecting others who got tangled into my web eventually grew weary and moved on. More often than not I was left on my own to complete my projects.
Old patterns began to shift as I began my book. For the first time in my life I found the right people and hired competent editors. I need both editors, as words flow from my fingers like water from spigot; streams of consciousness that fill boxes of spiral notebooks. Good editors make the literary world turn. Both are patient and supportive as they teach me to become a better writer.
This lesser trait of mine has roots deeper than my written words. Looking at the stack of dishes, it finally occurred to me that I’m the only one here. Why wait until morning to wash my dishes when I can do it now?
A healer in Chile once told me I was “Good for working”. Not once did it occur to me that I could get off my hands and knees, ask spirit for help, and take responsibility for my creations. Spirit was there all along, but I failed to connect the dots.
During the process of writing my book, a tool that I call the “Awakening Compass” emerged from deep within the core of my being. This compass showed me that my desire to create was based on wanting to feed people’s souls. While this desire was admirable, my motive was to be rewarded emotionally for my efforts. Moving West on the compass the reward was recognition. As I navigated the different directions on my compass I realized that it was time to surrender to Spirit and allow it to carry my healing words to those who are suffering.
Although I am convinced that books write us, I also know that a book has a life of it’s own. I am a humble shepherd who becomes healed as the words in “Winds of the Spirit” uplift and inspire others.