"Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it."
I recently began writing my second book.
By 'recently' I mean three years ago.
By 'second book' I mean second and third books, using one as an excuse for, then escape from, the other.
By 'writing' I mean, not writing.
(Isn't language fun?)
Now in fairness, these last few years I've been finishing graduate school, coaching, writing articles, and giving workshops. Still, there's been something else holding me back, halting me from the progress that comes so effortlessly in other areas of my writing and work.
Any doubt about this was resolved during a self-imposed, six week book-writing sabbatical last year, in which- though progress was made- little was actually accomplished.
Recently, playing around on Facebook, it hit me what was going wrong (other than spending too much time playing around on Facebook). Hopefully these lessons will serve to get you off of the couch or computer and into action on your own projects.
#1: Get rid of the stories! I find it so easy- and exciting- to envision and write articles. Why should a book be any different?
The answer is the ideas I have about 'writing a book'. Even with one already under my belt, there's something in my head that resists such a large project.
That a book is a large, hard, or daunting endeavor isn't actually true. It is an opinion, evidenced by the fact that it's one not shared by everyone. My friend, happily trucking along on her first book, wonders wide-eyed at how I'm able to write 5 articles a month. I'm equally baffled by seeing her latest chapter in my inbox for review every week or so.
Two people, two different perspectives, two different realities.
#2: Get rid of the significance! I love coaching, lecturing, and writing. I love it. It really matters to me to make a difference in peoples' lives, and I wake up each morning excited about the opportunity to do so. Yet there's a dark side to doing what you love: having your sense of personal value and worth tied up with it.
Like so many of the singers I coach and work with, I want and even need to do a great job. And there's nothing wrong with that... except when needing to do things right trumps the desire to do things well. There's joy, freedom, and lightness in the latter. There's control, frustration, and stagnation in the former.
#3: Get started already! A book- like all creative projects- is a living, breathing document. Sitting around thinking and getting stressed out about how to design it, craft it, frame it and execute it is a bit like sitting on the side of a pool and wondering how to swim, or standing next to a bike and analyzing how to ride it. Buoyancy and balance are concepts that don't and can't come to life until you take action.
The same is true for writing a book. You have to jump in and swim around. When you do, the ideas, words, and structure- and fun- come to life before your eyes.
To do this, you have to...
#4: Get rid of the control! Control as something you can possess is an illusion. Real control, useful control, is a result you achieve, not a position you start from.
To get it requires surrender... of your stories, significance, stalling, and stubbornness. Let them go. They're not serving you any more than they were serving me.
An update: Both books, I'm happy to say, will be finished within a year. :)