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Writing from the Deeper Self

"Bringing Your Treasures into the World . . ."

Book Development

with Naomi Rose

"Writing from the Deeper Self" Newsletter

Taking out the mystery

about what it takes to write a book

and making room for the Mystery

that's at the heart of the process.

 

December 2007 issue:

1. Introduction: "The Gift of Darkness in Bringing Forth Life"

2. Client Kudos: Celebrating the Creative Successes of WFDS Clients

3. Feature: Something Good to Read: "Shelley Klammer's book review, 'The Art of Writing a Book:  Reviewing Naomi Rose’s Starting Your Book:
A Guide to Navigating the Blank Page by Attending to What’s Inside You
"

 

 

Introduction: The Gift of Darkness in Bringing Forth Life

This is the last Writing from the Deeper Self newsletter of the year. By the time the January issue comes out, it will be winter. I have been hearing and receiving, from outside and inside, guidance to slow down and move willingly into the darkness. To make soups of root vegetables, to allow for rest and sleep and even hibernation, and to allow the illumination and regeneration to take place that only darkness will allow. And this being the seventh night of Hannukah, which offers eight nights of candle-lighting to dispel the darkness, I am reminded that generative dark and illuminating light go together.

Writing from the Deeper Self, itself, originally came out of darkness and then whispered its existence to me over 20 years ago. It had been gestating under the surface for a long time. I was pregnant with it, uncomfortably full without knowing what it even was. Nameless and formless at the time, it took root in me and told me only that it had a life inside me. I walked the city streets with it knocking and turning inside me, wondering what it was that was being born.

And then one day, while I was walking by the side of the road, I heard the inner voice: “Writing from the Deeper Self.” And instantly I knew that that was what it was, and that it was a gift from a place much deeper than anything I could have dreamed up on my own. Like my own child’s name, when I was physiologically pregnant years before, it announced itself to me with the certainty of the angel Gabriel, so that I recognized it beyond all doubt. (And indeed, “Gabriel” was the actual name offered for my son.)

In so many aspects of our lives, we are called upon to trust the darkness; to move into it without knowing what it will bring, to welcome the blanket of stillness that its form-masking presence offers. To simply dwell in it, to breathe inside it, to allow our busy-day-dazzled eyes to rest and shift into another, more sensing mode. To learn to see in the dark. Rather than persist in our modern habit of extending day until all hours through artificial light, what would it be like, this winter, if we went willingly into the darkness and listened to our heartbeats, and encountered whatever was to be found there—which, come spring, would likely show itself springing up from the undergrowth as anticipated and unexpected blooms?

Writing from the Deeper Self is not only a place from which to write ~ a deep, divine place beyond our limited self and small-identified concerns ~ but also a way to write. It is so universal and yet unique to each person that I have never been able to establish a template for it, or a set of rules; and yet there are guidelines for encountering this depth of being and bringing it forth into nameable, formed writing. Sometimes, in working with clients, I have had the great privilege of sharing this approach in all its mystery and exaltation. Other times, I have acceded to the wishes of the client who just wants to get the ideas down on paper, irrespective of what to me is the great, “like-God” process of creating something from “nothing.” And one could say that this is finding the light in the darkness, as well.

If one is actively interested in the creative process ~ that is, how does something come into being from “nothing,” and how does it happen uniquely in oneself? ~ then the Writing from the Deeper Self approach can be a wonderful, exciting, alive journey into the very nature of your own being.

How is it that you can begin only with a wish, a desire to find and express something ~ in a book, in an article, in a painting, in song ~ and then, by paying close and subtle attention to what arises in your heart, begin to provide the inner conditions for this desire to take root like a zygote and grow into itself? That is precisely the nature of the birth process, the artistically and spiritually evolutionary process of Writing from the Deeper Self.

And because it begins in such inner darkness, the warm, fecund, womb of your heart, it will not (ordinarily) announce itself fully formed in King’s-English paragraphs and outlines at the outset. It will grow as it grows, telling you what it tells you through the narrative pathways of the heart and the body senses well before it makes its way into words. That is, Writing from the Deeper Self does not, for the most part, begin as words. It begins as evidence of inner knowing, which shows up in not-yet-verbal ways, as anyone who has done inner emotional healing and body healing work knows.

The inner self can speak in words. But the deeper you go, the more likely it is that this embryonic book will tell you things in images, whether fleeting or residual. That it will speak to you in body senses. That it will have an inner musicality, a tone, a sound, a range of harmonics. Something not yet formed is forming inside you, when you open to this approach (which only gave its name to me, but could not possibly patent the process, which is universally human). And this unformed something cannot yet declare itself categorically on the stage of a debate team, or justify its publishability and coherence in a point-for-point outline, to be followed through to the letter. Not that there is anything wrong with linear, rational thought, God knows; but this is not where Writing from the Deeper Self begins. Rational thought can have its place later on, helping to give boundaries and trajectory to your writing.

But the joy, the natural birth process, the juice of Writing from the Deeper Self is not in following an outline; it is in following the aliveness. And there are ways to do this, if this process fascinates you, as it does me. I know of few things as breathtaking, moving, and sweet as tenderly housing and accompanying the embodiment process of what began without form. This is creation, active and passive participation in creation. It can’t be beat.

So perhaps this winter will be a time for you to allow what wants to be born in you ~ whether a book, or some shorter piece of writing, or simply the exploration of your inner being, eventually expressing itself in some way ~ to come forth in darkness and whisper its names to you. If I can help with your journey, it would be my great honor.

As you may know, I am a Book Developer with over 30 years in the publications field. But you may not know that I am also a Creativity Coach, based on my own explorations and accomplishments as a professional singer and visual artist. Since the source behind the expression of all these artforms is the same, I can guide and support you in making music or visual art as easily as writing. And I can even share with you the joy of using all of them to support all of them! (Music + sketches assists the pre-verbal writing to come out. Words + music = song. Art + music = healing.)

What kinds of wonderful gifts of art, spirit, and life would you like to give to yourself in the coming year?

 

Client Kudos:

Celebrating the Creative Successes of WFDS Clients

It may be that every writer’s biggest dream is getting the work published and into the public arena. I certainly support this, and share this dream, myself. So I want to acknowledge and celebrate the creative successes of a few of my clients, as well as myself.

(These are the successes that I know about. If you currently are, or have been, a client of mine and have a success to report, please do so and I’ll include it in a future newsletter.)

But before opening the door of gladness and possibility in terms of these specific, and somewhat large-scale, successes, I want to encourage all of us to be aware of and to celebrate our smaller successes, as well. If we only wait for the “Big Bang,” we will miss the subtler sweetnesses, surprises, and gifts along the way. Indeed, it is the accumulation of the awareness of small successes that bring about the larger ones ~ and that ready us to receive that change of fortune gracefully, rather than (like lottery winners) become overwhelmed and perhaps unhappier than even before.

What is a small success? There is no end to the potential list. If you looked right now, you would undoubtedly find some. Simply having a dream to write a book. Putting down some words on paper. Receiving with gratitude something that you yourself have written. Feeling happy to be expressing what’s in you. Making a gift of your work-in-progress and sharing it with a friend. Excerpting a passage from your work-in-progress for an article online. Receiving an unsolicited testimonial.

The journey to publication takes many, many steps ~ from the inception of the wish to create all the way to its packaging, distribution, and sales, and eventual reader response. All these steps need to be celebrated, not only the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Celebrating, in fact, reveals that gold to be already inside us. When we realize that our success is as much an internal experience as an outer event, then we have something to celebrate!

That said, let’s celebrate the following pot-of-gold (or near pot-of-gold) successes.

CLIENTS WHO ARE BRINGING THEIR TREASURES INTO THE WORLD
1. Kathleen Dunbar’s CD
2. Leah Steinberg’s book proposal
3. Naomi Rose’s book on how to start your book

Celebrating Kathleen Dunbar’s New CD, “Finally Home”
This month, I want to honor Kathleen Dunbar, a Marriage and Family Therapist who has just come out with a CD of original songs, “Finally Home.” The songs match the title; they call us back to ourselves hauntingly and insistently. Kathleen’s voice is perfect for her home-brewed material, and the backup instrumentation can make you want to get up and dance.


Kathleen engaged me to help her fine-tune the lyrics of one song (“Invocation”), which turned me into a “Song Developer”! I’m thrilled that she acknowledged me on the liner notes ~ my first CD credit.

This is what she has to say about it: “ I am delighted to announce the release of my CD, ‘Finally Home.’ It’s got me singing 17 original songs and an awesome pantheon of musicians playing guitar, mandola, banjo, bass, fiddle, my Griswold frying pans, an Irish whistle and a trombone! I have been blessed in every step of this and with all of the folks I’ve worked with. I’m so happy to share this with you. You’ll recognize songs you’ve heard me sing – thanks for all of the support! You can check out four of the songs on my myspacemusic page. Here’s the address: http://myspace.com/kathleendunbarmusic.
If you’d like purchase it, email me at thewildwoods@earthlink.net and I can mail you a copy. It’s $15 plus shipping and handling = $17.25.”

Kathleen is a Marriage and Family Therapist whose healing work is called “River of Life.” Her website is www.kathleendunbar.net. Bravo, Kathleen!

Celebrating Leah Steinberg’s Book Proposal
Leah Steinberg has just completed her book proposal and sent it out to an interested agent and an interested publisher. This would be a success under any circumstances, but even more so considering (a) that this book lived as an insistent urge in Leah for over ten years, demanding that it be written, and (b) the subject is not an easy one for a writer to address in a personal way. Yet Leah courageously surmounted all the obstacles, and put together an extremely powerful proposal for this potentially world-healing book.

The book, In the Shadow of the Bomb: Children of the Manhattan Project, is one of those books that give the reader an intimate, insider’s view of something that has affected everyone’s life, yet only been talked about from outside, in large political terms and also one of those books that has the possibility of providing a collective healing for us all.

This is the story of what it was like to be the children of scientists who worked on the first atomic bomb ~ The Manhattan Project. Leah, a poet and accomplished writer, uses her skill to paint a picture of this secret world, in “a place that never existed” (Los Alamos was just a P.O. Box at the time), and its ramifications within the families of the scientists whose work had such unbelievable repercussions. Using narrative as well as interviews with other adults who grew up “in the shadow of the bomb,” Leah evokes a very particular and seemingly private world that is actually the shadow of what we all grew up with, in the Cold War and beyond, as well. Leah hopes that bringing readers inside the experience in a personal way will not only deepen understanding but help to dissolve defenses in our collective psyche and the outer world as well.

Leah completed the book proposal recently, including two full chapters and photos of then-secret sites. I have every trust that a perspicacious publisher will see the human value, the literary value, and yes, the sales value in this book, and offer her a very good contract. Thank you, Leah!


Celebrating Naomi Rose’s book, Starting Your Book: A Guide to Navigating the Blank Page by Attending to What’s Inside You. Published by Writing from the Deeper Self.

One of the nicer things about self-publishing, I am finding out, is that a book’s presence in the world can grow at its own pace. A book doesn’t have to be trumpeted as the latest quick fad, but ~ due to the author’s persistence and belief in the book ~ can come to people’s attention in a more organic, slower way, and remain in people’s awareness, if even on the back burner.

The slow-cooking promotion of my book, Starting Your Book, is a case in point. I wrote the book relatively quickly (for me!), because the material had simmered inside me for many, many years. Then, having a visual art background, I designed the text, put together a cover, hired a proofreader, and decided to go all the way and even bind it myself, buying a binding press from www.gigabooks.com. With a modest number of books in hand (though more could be printed at any time), I started to tell people about it. People often ask me, “How do you start writing a book,” and this would be my segue into mentioning that I had a book that would likely help.

The next, organic, step was to ask the publisher of a wonderful online magazine called “Creativity Portal” (www.creativity-portal.com), where I am a featured author writing about book-writing, if my new book might be reviewed there. The publisher, Chris Dunmire, welcomed the idea, and suggested that another of their featured authors, Shelley Klammer, might be just the one to write the review. Shelley writes about creativity from the viewpoint of collage and self-discovery, and has become one of my clients, so she knows my work well. (Shelley’s book is tentatively titled Collage for Self Discovery.) I too thought this a perfect fit, because Shelley had purchased Starting Your Book and was actually using it very closely for her own book-writing.

As Shelley gave her time and attention to writing the book review, and gave me emailed progress reports, I realized how incredibly blessed I was to have this kind of reception. For she was taking her time with it, making it her own, testing the book’s words of encouragement against her own inner experience of writing, and bringing all of this into her review. I felt absolutely treasured, by the process alone; and when I read the final review, I was moved and quite delighted. I wrote Shelley, “I cannot imagine that any further reviews will be this satisfying, offer me this level of pleasure and communion. You gave yourself to the writing of this review with the depth and degree of honesty and self-exploration that you give to your book writing, and the you that infuses the pages gives a beautiful fragrance.”

So I am celebrating my success in bringing the treasure of my book into the world in a way where everyone who is participating in the process (at least so far) gives their whole heart to it, and thereby blesses me and everyone else concerned. This is “book promotion from the deeper Self”! And I am grateful.

Starting Your Book: A Guide to Navigating the Blank Page by Attending to What’s Inside You can be purchased in “The Creating & Comfort Store,” www.essentialwriting.com/bookstore.html. Print version, $17; e-book, $12.

What can you celebrate today? How small a success can you become aware of?

 

Feature: Something Good to Read: Shelley Klammer's book review, "The Art of Writing a Book:  Reviewing Naomi Rose’s Starting Your Book: A Guide to Navigating the Blank Page by Attending to What’s Inside You"

In this feature, I happily present you with something good to read that's been written from the deeper Self. Sometimes the writer is me, sometimes it's one of my clients, sometimes it's just something wonderful I've read somewhere and want to share with you. And at some point, it may even be by you.

Considering what I just shared with you about Shelley Klammer's review of my book, [In “Client Kudos”] Starting Your Book: A Guide to Navigating the Blank Page by Attending to What's Inside You, I thought that this would be the perfect "good read" for this month. Of course, I hope it moves you to buy and use the book; but in addition, I just want to share the joy of what an intimately written book review can be like (someday, you may receive one for your book), and also highlight how she is using the book to write from the deeper Self (evident in the review as well as her book).

Shelley Klammer is the author of a book-in-progress, Collage for Self-Discovery. She teaches creativity and collage workshops in the Vancouver area. (Website: www.collageforself-discovery.com.) She also chronicles her creative process on her weblog at www.intuitivecreativity.typepad.com.

The Art of Writing a Book
Reviewing Naomi Rose’s Starting Your Book:
A Guide to Navigating the Blank Page

by Attending to What’s Inside You

By Shelley Klammer


 

I have met a kindred spirit right here on Creativity Portal. She is Writing from the Deeper Self coach Naomi Rose. She has become my book developer and I want to share with you what I have learned from our co-creative relationship. Since I have often taken a teaching role, I have been reluctant to ask for help. It is sometimes a lonely place to be. I have always been a fiercely independent creator, determined to figure everything out myself. Recently, however, I decided to ask for the support to write a book. I simply did not know how to begin.

I have always loved books with a passion, and have secretly wondered if I could ever write one. As a child, books lifted me out of my quiet suburban existence into new creative possibilities and realities. While everyone else in my family was crowding around the television set in the family room, I read book after book in our quiet, pristine living room. I roamed the world, traveled through time, and engaged in the adventures and lives of my characters. Reading other people’s words provided me with solace and inspiration. Books imbued me with a sense of deep connection to inner worlds, feelings and experiences beyond my own. I can honestly say that in my younger years, books were my best friends.

As a teenager, I began to hunt through bookstores, hungry for the secrets of self-expression. I wanted to say something true and unique about myself, but I did not know how to find the words. I began instead to express myself non-verbally through paintings, drawings and collages. A few years ago however, the urge to express myself verbally began to emerge again. I began a creativity weblog to figure out how to eloquently express the essence of what I was creating. My first posts took hours to write as I struggled to find my authentic writing voice.

Three hundred blog essays later, the idea of writing a whole book about my creative process began to nudge its way into my awareness. When I discovered Naomi Rose’s writing voice on Creativity Portal, I instantly felt a deep love for her honest and revealing way of writing, and her connection to the sacred in the creative process. I was stumbling in my commitment to begin a book about how to re-discover the authentic self through the art of collage. It was Naomi’s believing voice and heart that got me started.

I was doubtful that I could begin and finish writing a book. I lead a busy life. I am studying to be an art therapist, I work full time, and I teach collage classes in the evenings and weekends. Naomi encouraged me during our first phone meeting that I could indeed write a book in small, consistent bits. I was eager to find out how to deepen into the process of book writing, so I ordered her book, entitled “Starting Your Book.” Naomi writes in such a tender and encouraging way. After reading a few pages, I became enamored with the process of committing to writing my own book.

Naomi has a true gift for “loving books into being” and I began to thrive on her encouragement. I started to get up a little earlier each day to read a few uplifting words from “Starting Your Book” before beginning my writing session. It is difficult to explain the feeling you have when you read something true. It feels like love, or gratitude, or a connection to something larger. This is how I feel when I read Naomi’s writing. The deeper place that her words emerge from serve to invite and induct me into a more heart-full and connected place within my own writing.

Her book has been a source of solace and a reminder that I do have something true to say. We all do. I have often doubted my own inner experience and invalidated myself as a writer because I have no formal degrees or fancy credentials. I realized, through this deep process of book writing, that I could never fully know what is inside of me until I began to express it. I am surprised at what has been emerging. Thoughts that I have never before committed to writing emerge with a voice that is uniquely my own.

Writing from my deeper self seems to inform and organize my priorities. Invariably, I awake an hour earlier and approach my writing as a form of meditation. I only have time to write for about an hour on most weekdays. Some days I just re-read my work and make small revisions. Each day, however, I clarify my experiences and understandings though my writing a little more, and I am growing into what I stand for. I am learning how to offer the best of myself to life.


The time that I spend on my book in the morning follows me through my day, and I am blessed with answers to my deeper questions. Even though I only work an hour at the very most in a day on the book, I have begun to deepen around what is emerging. I have discovered, for example, that if I maintain a deeper level of inner silence through my workday, insights flow, and my writing voice is more distilled. This encourages me, and I begin to trust what is moving through me even more. New knowing percolates, and enlarges me. I ask myself often, “Am I creating this book or is it creating me?”

Since I started writing this book many months ago, I have had periods of overwhelm and fear. Voices crop up to taunt me. “Who are you to write a book? You will never finish! You are wasting your time! What is the point?” When I feel discouraged, I turn to the section of the book on fear and Naomi invites me to “Transform fear into bright willingness.” To be brightly willing to take action on what is true within is the most beautiful of notions. This bright willingness is intensifying within me, gently prodding me to continue, to be patient, and to trust. It is an enlivening and hopeful feeling. Writing a book is helping me to love my own life.

Naomi’s book is precious to me, and I revisit it often. “Starting Your Book” has shown me ways of taking my writing to a deeper place, from someone who knows these deeper places intimately. My favorite part of the book is how she describes her own very process of writing “Starting Your Book.” This offered me an inside look at how her book evolved. I felt a kinship to her very human process of stumbling at the beginning of the creative process, and then gaining momentum.

I was touched that Naomi cared enough to share her own inner critic’s voice. This, more than anything, inspired me to begin, and continue. I was encouraged to learn that she does not start with an outline when she writes her books. This gave me permission to relax and follow my intuition. Naomi aptly illustrates the “chaos before the order” in the process of book writing. My ideas, after a time, also seemed to find their own place and purpose. The chapters and a structure began to form all on their own.

A few weeks ago, I received my first chapters back from Naomi. They were covered with her careful editing marks and suggestions and I was overwhelmed with excitement. I carried my precious envelope with me all day, taking time out of my workday to peek at it with anticipation. I felt rich and overflowing. I realized with a strange suddenness that I am the author of my own life! With such a connection to the deep art of writing a book, I am creating myself!

It is just as Naomi says: “Someday, reading what you wrote, your eyes will fill with grateful tears. ‘Did I write that?’ you’ll ask yourself, and sigh yourself back into realization.” Beyond my hopes to eventually get published, the process of distilling my understandings into book form is a profoundly enlarging process unto itself.

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