“So, what’s it like to write a book?”
Oh, I do love that question. I imagine it is a bit different (or perhaps wildly different) from writer to writer. Now that I am working on my third book, I have found that my process is akin to working on a 10,000 piece puzzle without benefit of the guiding image on the lid of the box.
Last February, in a funk, I recognized that the large and cumbersome package filled with my burdens and many questions, which I had begrudgingly lugged around for years, was actually a cleverly wrapped gift. When I awoke to this fact, I paused to inspect the wrapping which was torn to reveal a simply adorned box. Casting aside the wrapping, I clearly saw the cover on which my highest self long ago scribbled in crayon, ‘Open Me NOW! It’s time, Elizabeth.’ (With colorful smiley faces in the O’s.)
Holed up in the darkened bedroom on a gloriously sunny Arizona Sunday afternoon, I upended the box and looked curiously at the contents that tumbled out in a messy pile on the bed. Puzzle pieces! Scads of them! More than I could count. Another look at the box cover confirmed there was no guiding image. Nope, nothing. Bupkis. What a conundrum.
In an angsty little snit, I kicked the figurative pile aside and reached for my journal. As you perhaps read in my previous post, my world was about to change just a few minutes later when Yoga Expression Spirit -‘Y E S!’ – showed up in my journal. My gaze moved from the tantalizing new insights in my journal to the pile of puzzle pieces and the discarded box with a message from myself.
And then I knew…
This pile of bits, this collection of the many pieces of my life to date, paired with my new insights, would become my next book – Yoga Expression Spirit – Tools for Authentic Living.
In the past 14 months, I have been busily working on this puzzle. I’ve turned all the pieces upright, located the edges and even assembled most of the frame. More recently, I have set about the hard work of assembling the inner image.
This, my friends, is what it is like to write a book. In this case, I have found that the absence of a guiding photo on the box cover has provided space for vast amounts of creativity. My guiding image comes from within not from atop a cardboard box.
What you may not know is that I am not a full-time writer. That’s right, I still have a day-job. While my day-time focus is squarely rooted therein, I steal precious creative moments each day in the wee early hours, after dinner dishes are done and of course on weekends. As the wonderful and wise Elizabeth Gilbert urged in a recent Big Magic podcast, I sneak off daily and have a hot and sweaty affair with my creativity. (Uh huh.)
You see, I simply have to do this. My authentic life depends on it. My well-being depends on it. My very happiness depends on it. And, in some not-unimportant way, the world depends on it.
I have come to know that our authentic inner nudgings, when unexpressed, are not benign. Now in my fifties, it is no longer acceptable to ignore my authentic self and leave things undone. To do so would be an act most unkind, even cruel. Regarding kindness as I do as deeply important in this world, this self-cruelty will no longer do. So, create I must, each and every day, as an act of self-care.
Therefore, my friends, I am writing a book and assembling the many pieces. The process is messy, joyful, rewarding, wildly creative and deeply satisfying. I am grateful you have joined me for this adventure but PLEASE don’t let it stop there. While you may not feel the need to write a book, there is most certainly something within you that is seeking expression. What is that something? By all means, stop ignoring it! Your authentic life depends on it. Your well-being depends on it. Your very happiness depends on it. And, in some important way, the world depends on it too.