Who am I to write a book?
First things first, let’s address the crazy-making mind chatter we all live with every day. Over the last ten years, I have heard that voice in your head called many things: the ego, the inner critic, gremlins, Resistance, the saboteur voice, the itty-bitty-shitty-committee, and the monkey mind. Great books have been written about this phenomenon, including The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, and Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. Trust me, every single human being has heard a voice inside their head ask, “Who do you think you are?” We all get paralyzed with the fear of not being good enough, having enough education, or having a unique story.
The only counteraction to that voice that I have ever found is to ignore it. The whole “feel the fear and do it anyway” outlook on life. Finding the courage to push through despite the inner critic requires connecting to your inner knowing and wisest self as well as your “big why”. This is the first thing I ask all of my clients: What is the purpose of your book and how will the reader be changed? If you are working in service of the reader and not as a slave to the inner critic your book will get written.
Essentially, we are the ones who hold ourselves back the most and only we can fix that. We all have fears and doubts. All. Of. Us. Those of us who succeed are the ones who turn down the volume on the negative self-talk and push through to get things done despite our fears.
What if people read it?
What if you’re an amazing writer? What if you get published? What if your book becomes a bestseller? Then what? Full disclosure here: This has been one of my biggest obstacles. It’s enough to personally choose to bump yourself up a few notches on the priority list, and it’s a whole other thing to have your priority list hijacked with book signings and world tours.
I am here to let you know that you have full control over your own life. Don’t let the rags to riches archetypal stories scare you. You can always be your authentic self, and you always have choices.
What if people actually read my book? What if people read into my characters and think I wrote about them? What will my family think about what I chose to share about my own life and its lessons? You own your story. What other people read into things is their perception of life through their world view. You will never be able to please everyone and you will never be able to control how other people perceive life. This is art. Art is subjective.
When will I find the time?
Women are renowned for putting their wants and needs at the bottom of their priority list. Stop it! You matter. Your hopes, your dreams, and your guilty pleasures matter. You do not have to wait until everyone else around you are perfectly happy and well fed, or your house is spotless, or your boss thinks you walk on water to allow yourself to take some time to write. Because, let me spoil it for you, if you don’t take a stand by putting yourself first in life, no one else around you ever will.
I’m not saying to let your responsibilities fall by the wayside. I am saying be realistic about what you are choosing to do vs. what you absolutely must do. Do you have to volunteer on a board, volunteer for every school trip, volunteer for every bake sale? Do you have to spend 4 hours an evening watching television or scrolling Facebook?
The best way to find time to write is to schedule it into your calendar, and have someone holding you accountable for an expected work count every two weeks.
How to finish the book
My best advice is to get a writing coach who can silence the inner critic when it gets too loud, who can challenge your “what if” thoughts and can hold you accountable to your word count. An added bonus would be work with someone who has a lot of experience specifically coaching writers until they write The End on their manuscript—someone like me! I can offer one-on-one support or you can join our Write With Me group coaching program that starts in September. Either way, don’t let your inner critic, demanding boss and the judgemental PTA stop you from writing and stifling your dreams of becoming a published author.