March 22, 2016 Rosemary

Why writing a book is like having a baby

penIn my upcoming book, the Mentor Within, I explore what stands in the way of making great decisions and powerful action, and how we can break through our own blocks. Pondering this, I realized that the very process of writing a book was a case in point.

This is an extract from the book:

Those who write might wonder who’s going to read it and whether it is worthwhile. Those who speak in public worry about making fools of themselves. Those who lead wonder if anyone will follow. Those who run service businesses wonder who will want their services. We worry about what is enough, what choices to make, what will happen if we don’t have all the answers. We worry about making a fool of ourselves, about being ‘up ourselves’ (as we say in Australia), about putting ourselves out there before we are ready. And when we do finally reach a goal we’ve been working towards, we hear ourselves saying, ‘Is that all?’

I’ve heard these comments from clients I’ve coached over the years. Big expectations, big disappointments, strong self-judgement, a lack of belief in themselves and what they have to offer. Their monsters have different ways of undermining their best intentions and life goals. They make people lose their way, and stray from the life they had imagined living.
My author colleagues speak of this. In the process of becoming an author, at every turn, and at every stage of the book, the monster asks, ‘Who will read this? Is it worthwhile? What about all those other books out there?’ Often self-doubt blocks the last stage of writing a book, completing a PhD or finalising a theatre script.
Writing a book, like having a baby, requires a period of gestation where a host of emotions are present, from the early, secret excitement to the announcement that it is going to come out. The morning sickness as we try to get the words out, and the hard time of carrying it around with us, heavy, compelling and all-consuming in its creation. Then the stage of getting a team on board for the labour process (or the launch), the pre-labour work where we pretty up the book with layout and a cover and the preparation for the launch. And finally the labour – where the book arrives, and we stand up to claim it, post it on social media, love it in all its perfection or with all its flaws. And at that stage there is no going back; just like giving birth to a baby, giving birth to a book requires that you live with it and are known by it. It is part of you, an integral addition to your life. Then the feedback starts.
As my husband so often says, ‘You can do whatever you like, but there are consequences.’ Stepping out of your comfort zone and doing something amazing is just that – and you have to deal with the fallout and the joy. The vomiting, in the case of the baby, and the self-doubt and feedback in the case of becoming an author.

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