Why We Don't Write Our Books


by Suzanne Falter-Barns

In the ten years that I've taught people how to get on with their books, I've noticed a phenomenon that I'll call "Author's Block" Would-be writers can, indeed, sit down and work when pressed to it. The problem is that they're not so sure they want the pressure of being an author. But they do want to. But they don't. And so on.

Ah, the agony of getting on with your book. Well, I'm here to diffuse that situation with a list of what I think are the key reasons we don't immediately set down to write. Perhaps this will help the next time you find yourself polishing doorknobs instead of sitting down to write.

We lie to ourselves about why we can't write the book. We think our stalling is about lack of time, or too much pressure at work, or not enough solitude in the evening. But guess what? Chances are a deeper, darker reason may be at play, like ¡¥I'm not supposed to be bigger than Mom' or ¡¥What if this thing really takes off?'

We fear the impact our book could have. Sometimes when I coach writers in my self-help author's crash course, I'll ask them what's impeding progress. And after some probing, it will come out that they're afraid of the big exposure a book can have if it takes off. I'm here to assure you that should that happen, (and chances are your book will not unleash wild mobs of millions) you will be able to handle it. How do I know? On that deep level where psyche meets karma, you won't create a reader more than you're ready to receive.

We think our book doesn't matter, so why bother? One writer I know put this so succinctly: "I've tried getting up at 5AM to write, and staying up late, and leaving my home, but none of it works. I have this tired feeling that none of it's going to amount to a hill of beans.¡¨ In fact, writing and publication can be an entirely self-determined activity these days. If the publishing pundits don't go for your book, there's always self-publishing and e-books on your website. In other words, your book does matter, and you really have no excuse. (Acid test: if the book keeps on patiently urging you to sit down and write it for months and even years, chances are you'd better do it.)

We think we don't know how to write a book. Guess what? Neither does any other first time writer. And that may be a wonderful thing because you don't com in with a carload of expectations and demands from your process. You're just open, like well, a nice blank book. All you really need is your intuition, and the will to write your book as honestly as you can.

We have no support. You need someone in your corner, cheering you on, to get through the long and somewhat tiring process of birthing a book. That's why my Self-Help Author's Crash Course is not an e-book (believe me, it would be easier!) but a 12-week teleclass series. Because these writers need a place to show up and be accountable for their progress. They need someone to keep saying, ¡¥Yes, you really can do this.¡¨ That's how tricky and difficult our minds are when it comes to big challenges.

We're afraid we'll run out of material. There isn't a writer out there who hasn't had this fear. And I'm here to say that if you just stay loose and open, and willing to receive the ideas, they will show up. All you have to do is commit -- really sit down, and begin to bring that book into being -- and the work will magically appear. Sometimes it won't flow that easily, and sometimes it will scare you with it's speed and power. But it will, indeed, show up.

We think "Who am I to write a book?" And yet, you are the perfect person to write your book, because you're the one chosen to receive this material. (You don't have to be spiritually inclined to believe this.) I personally believe that books are given to us when we're ready to receive them and when we do, our lives are changed by that process.

We fear uncomfortable moments. Ah, but that's the most exciting thing about writing your book. You will be given challenges and lessons that just seem untenable along the way. And if you're committed enough, you'll rise above them and so become stronger in the process. This is especially true for self-help books: we write what we need to learn.

I'm here to urge you to just get on with your book. Not only do you deserve it -- so do we.

For more information on how you can find the support to turn your book idea into a publisher-ready book proposal, go to http://www.howmuchjoy.com/selfhelpbook.html



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