When I started writing my first book, I became incredibly adept at putting off the moment when I actually, ahem, started writing.
I spent a month or two reading and analyzing New York Times bestsellers in true overachiever fashion. Why write a book that doesn’t become a bestseller? I created a spreadsheet and tracked my data with the intensity of a forensic detective. Detail turned out to be important. A good narrative was key. Surprises were good. After a month or so of procrastination disguised as “research,” I had finally kicked myself in the metaphorical rear end, closed my office door, opened a Word file, and committed—actually committed—to writing my book.
If I could turn back the clock to those precious hours spent huddled in my beachfront office trying to get started on my first ever novel, there are a few things I would tell myself.
First of all, I think I would say, “Susie, make sure you revel in these precious moments! You spend an hour every morning walking the beach with your dogs, and you fall asleep in your husband’s arms every night listening to the soothing sounds of the water caressing the shore. You are one lucky lady!”
But beyond that, I think I would also say this:
Stop stressing about this book project. It will emerge in perfect timing.
Your first task will be to coax the ideas, the stories, the wisdom, the strokes of brilliance, the compassionate thoughts, the surprising coincidences, the sweeping insights, the memories, dreams, and more, out from where they’re all hiding and spill them onto the page. All of that is resident within you right now. And it all might come out looking quite messy, even though you love orderliness. That’s okay. You can fix that later.
Your book is a beautiful coalescence of the efforts of both your creativity and your methodical nature. And all parts of you, including your Higher Levels, are supporting you.
As you bring the content out onto the page, you will start working on turning all of that imperfectly perfect content into orderly paragraphs that accumulate into chapters…while communicating with your readers’ sense of possibility. That’s a big job, and you will be going over your manuscript countless times in order to create the coherence you seek. Prayer helps. And long walks. So does time in Nature. And lots of sleep. Be good to yourself.
You will write and rewrite, move things around, tinker, explore, start over, review, cogitate, and improve. If you were three years old, you would call that “playing.” Playing is important.
When you have all the content in place, and you have taken your manuscript as far as you can, you will hand it over to an editor. That editor’s job is to work with you to polish the content, so it says what you want it to say in a way that aligns with your ideal reader’s hopes, dreams, problems, and aspirations. And yours, too. That editor will take all of who they are and add decades of experience with the written word to leverage their brilliance on behalf of yours. In service to your reader.
Then you will publish your book.
There’s more involved in the process and we’ll look at what comes next in the last blog in this series – so please stay tuned!