Personally, I didn’t have a good author mindset in place when I wrote my first book, and I didn’t have a vision of myself as a published author. I had no process for stepping myself towards publication and I had no accountability program and no community of other writers to cheer me on. I didn’t see my book as an act of service in a world that is desperate for the leadership a book and its author can offer and, in fact, I had absolutely no interest in leadership or service beyond whatever of either was involved in the parenting of my wonderful little family. Despite the fact that I was an accomplished writer, I had no clue what I was doing as an author.
My husband and I ended up having a ridiculously bumpy life together, and now that I look back on it all I realize I have probably been teetering on the brink of exhaustion for most of my adult life. It’s almost a miracle I finished that first book, and it makes complete sense to me now that it took me 13 years to get there.
Most of the time during those years of emerging as an author, I looked at my book as a Vanity Project that was taking time and resources away from my family and probably wouldn’t get published anyway. Ergo, what’s the point? I didn’t have an identity that included the concept of published author and I see that’s true today of almost every one of the people I work with who have embarked upon the storm-tossed voyage called “writing a book.”
Think about this for a minute: isn’t it easier to do something when it is part of your identity? Our identity sets the boundaries for our behaviour. If I self-identify as an honourable person, I have almost automatically established the range of behaviours that are okay for me and the range of behaviours that are not okay for me. An honourable person is truthful. They do what they say they are going to do. They are fair. They care about other people. They give credit where credit is due. They don’t lie, cheat, or steal. They don’t take credit for someone else’s idea. And more.
Similarly, if I self-identify as a great athlete (which, by the way, I most definitely do not), I will behave within the parameters of the behaviours that align with that identity. A great athlete gets up early and trains at least four hours a day, six days a week. A great athlete eats healthy food and keeps their weight in line. A great athlete has a performance coach to help keep them on track. At the same time a great athlete does not smoke two packs of Marlboros a day. A great athlete does not come down with the “24-ounce flu” three days a week. A great athlete doesn’t skip training.
And a great author? Stay tuned for my next post in this series to hear what I think about that idea!