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Writing from the Deeper Self

"Bringing Your Treasures into the World . . ."

 

Newsletter Archive

from the August 2007 issue:

  1. Introduction: "Writing a book is a commonly held dream...."
  2. Article: "Writing a Book Can Be Good for Your Health"
  3. Tip: "Some Ways to Get into the Writing: Changing Consciousness to Sacred Space and Time"
  4. Clarification: "Kinds of Writing You Can Do This Way"
  5. Clarification: "Kinds of Subjects You Can Write About from the Deeper Self
  6. FAQs:
  • "How long does it take to write a book?"
  • "I’ve never written even an article before. How can I possibly write a book?"
  • "What happens after a book is finished? How do you get it to the readers?"

Introduction

“A book is like a garden carried in the pocket.”—Arabic proverb

Writing a book is a deep and commonly held dream, a dream whose call from within can be persistent. Still, it’s a call that often goes unanswered—or is met in only the most formulaic ways, which may get the job done but still leaves the heart wanting.

There is another way, a way much closer to home. It’s right there in your heart, along with the desire. If you can learn to listen closely, you can let the book out—and be healed in the process.

Writing from the Deeper Self is a wonderful, organic process of letting a book unfold, in a way that exactly suits who you are. Indeed, sometimes it even helps you find out who you are. And when it’s time to share your book with the world, you will be giving a precious gift of healing to your readers.

In these newsletters, of which this is the first, I will draw on my experience as a Book Developer and writer, as well as a student of healing, to enlighten and encourage you to write—or consider writing—the book of your heart.

So welcome to the “Writing from the Deeper Self” newsletter. May you come away nourished, inspired, and fortified by what you read here and the services and products that can support you.

 

Writing a Book

Can Be Good for Your Health


Writing a book is like building a bridge across wide waters: not something you can do in your spare time, idly ~ and it won’t get you to the other side until it’s complete. But when that bridge actually exists, ah! the journeys that are possible. And the incomparable views.


It’s been said that over 85 percent of people (in the U.S., at least) believe they have a book in them. This is an astounding figure, on one hand; but on the other, it says something about the human intimation that if we only looked deeply into something, hopefully ourselves, worlds would open up, our lives would take on meaningful, sometimes mythic, proportions, and all the seemingly random pieces and “throw-away” pieces of our experience would form a tapestry of extraordinary and exquisite design.

We humans think of writing a book not only because of pragmatic reasons (like career advancement, more worth in the marketplace, and good old ego-strokes), but also because, innately, our souls know there is a larger story ~ and it takes time, chapter by chapter, to unfold.


Considering this implicate impulse to unfold the meaning of our lives by writing a book, what would make it more possible to actually start writing a book ~ and keep on writing the book until it’s finished ~ and then do what’s needed to get that book “out there” so people could read it, take it into their lives and hearts, and experience that blessing of blessings, the movement into connection with the author, themselves, and the divine?


If you believed that:
~ the key is in your heart ~
~ learning to listen to your heart and its own creative ways is enough to open the door ~

~ you didn’t need to know ahead of time exactly where and how the book was going (in fact, you couldn’t know this, which is one of the great advantages), and ~

~ the process of writing, itself, would lead you ~ not only lead you, but teach you, free you, heal you, bring you home to yourself ~
then perhaps making the commitment to writing the book of your heart would not be so daunting.


If you trusted that writing a book from the deeper Self would bring you (and your readers) just where you needed to go, you would look upon book-writing as a process, a journey, and not some large, bulky, bull-in-a-china-shop item on your “to-do” list. You would look upon writing a book as a sacred calling, and approach it with the same reverence, effort, inspiration, and prostrated need as in prayer.

For many years, as a book editor working with publishers, I was handed manuscripts to “make better.” Duly, I got out my red pencil and rearranged paragraphs, swam into the murky sentences and unraveled their knots, and so on, until the whole product was neat and tidy and gleaming. But always I would think, “Where is the person behind these words? Where is the soul? Where is the place I, as a reader, can connect to intimately, beyond just learning information?”

The more I became adept at the “product,” the more need I saw for a process that would really honor the human being from whom the words came. And so gradually, through a combination of my writing and editing experience, but even more through the healing work I was studying and doing, a healing process that named itself “Writing from the Deeper Self” came to me. It is a process of unfolding, rather than imposing. It is a way of trusting the book that is in you to show itself bit by bit, and for you to learn how to welcome it and work with it in a way that’s uniquely yours.

This is what Writing from the Deeper Self offers ~ a way to write so that, in the very moment of writing, you contact what is deep and true in you. So that, in the very moment of writing, you receive what is yours to receive. The reward is not only at the end, when the book is finished ~ or later, when the book is published ~ or even later, with book promotion, book signings, ardent readers rushing up to tell you how much they loved the book. The reward is what you get back in the very moment of writing. And that is because it is not only about craft, not only about skill. It is about listening to what is there in your heart, and following its lead.

As a Book Developer (or “midwife”) working with clients, most of whom have never written a book before, I listen to these writers. I hear what their deepest wishes are, their deepest fears, how material from one part of their experience could come together with material from another part. In listening, two magical things happen: (1) The writers relax and feel taken seriously, and (they begin to trust that there is no “right way” to write a book, but that they can follow what is already in them. So they learn to listen to themselves. Once that relationship is in place, they are off and running (or, some days, off and crawling ~ but that works, too).

Is this therapy? Of a sort. So many of our ills come from not knowing how to listen to our deepest nature, not feeling listened to. So much sickness, from physical to soul, comes from feeling separated from ourselves and one another. Writing a book from the deeper Self is good for your health in that it mends the broken parts, it brings things together that have been scattered to the winds, it brings compassion for yourself and others in to the picture, reconnecting you to the entire universe of being. If you leave a writing session touched, or moved, or sweetly weeping, or feeling like at last something has been laid to rest, that is good for your health.


If you set out to write a healing book, on whatever level, so your readers would “get” and perhaps experience the healing you intend ~ but you, yourself, did not get to experience that healing ~ your book would remain at the level of an intention, an idea. It is only by having the depth of experience yourself, in the writing, that the truth and energy of your experience and understanding can permeate the words and transmit that healing to your readership. This wholeness has integrity, and is healing not just because you want it to be but also because you actually experience that healing.

And there is another way in which writing a book from the deeper Self is good for your health: It lets you know when you are “on target.” When we leave our own healing out of the equation in writing, it’s often difficult to know whether what we wrote was “good.” Riddled with doubt, assailed with ideas about the “right way” to write (from school, for example), and sure that we’re not doing it right, and so on, we remove our own welcoming, our own friendliness from our writing, and leave ourselves vulnerable to criticism and praise by others to tell us whether what we wrote was valuable. Praise tells us we “succeeded”; blame tells us we “failed.”

But when we experience the reality of the healing for ourselves, in the very process of writing, we know what is real; we know where we are moved by what we have written, even apart from the fact that we were the one who wrote it. Being present in the moment to the writing, and receiving its healing, enables us to move into a healthier place, which we know by being there. This boosts our “immune system” to others’ reactions, because we know what we know.

Finally, we contribute to the health of our readers by sharing our healing writing with them. Not an exhortation, it is more of a gift, freely given and freely received. The real hallmark of a book that has been written from the deeper Self is not pats on the back but gratitude ~ profound, inexpressible gratitude for your taking the journey, building the bridge, so that readers may have the true and healing gift of themselves through your gift of yourself.

May our world be filled with such treasures, such books.

 

TIP:

Some Ways to Get into the Writing:

Changing Consciousness to Sacred Space and Time

~ Listen to music

~ Sing your own music
~ Do deep breathing
~ Say a prayer
~ Write down your intention for the writing, and for yourself, before beginning. Then, when you’re done with the writing session, read your intention and see if it was met. Realizing that it was, in some way, will build your trust for the next time you write.
~ Take a walk, and empty your thoughts. See what falls into the space.
~ Take a walk in nature and look, smell, listen, sense the beauty around you.
~ Have the intention to be compassionate to yourself in the writing.
~ Let yourself be aware of the effect you want the book to have in your own life, and in the world.


CLARIFICATION:

Kinds of Writing You Can Do This Way


Book genres that lend themselves well to the Writing from the Deeper Self approach:
~ Fiction
~ Memoir and Biography
~ Nonfiction
~ Narrative (Creative) Nonfiction
~ How-To’s
~ Journeys
~ Poetry
~ Articles
~ Inspiration
~ {Fill in the blank}

Kinds of Subjects You Can Write About

from the Deeper Self


~ Spirituality, religion, and consciousness
~ Psychology
~ Healing
~ Health and holistic health
~ History
~ Science
~ Gardening
~ Cooking
~ Soulwork
~ New discoveries
~ The work you’ve been doing all these years
~ {Fill in what you want to write about, here}



FAQs

Q: How long does it take to write a book?

A:
Although some people have written a book in as few as 3 months (full-time), writing a book can take as long as 1-3+ years, depending on factors like how much time the writer has, the scope of the book, how often they meet with me, whether that person tends to be more expansive or more succinct, and so on.

To really get and give full benefit from writing a book, you need to view it as a long-term commitment ~ a marriage of sorts ~ and therefore (a) write only something you love well enough to make that kind of commitment to, and (b) come to enjoy the ongoing process of writing. The more you get from the writing, the more will you’ll be to stay the course. Learning to listen to your heart’s guidance is a large part of this.


Q:
I’ve never written even an article before. How can I possibly write a book?

A: Believe it or not, there are ways in which writing a book can be easier than writing an article. Longer, yes; more involved, yes. But a book gives you more room, and more side-roads, to explore the vast and fascinating territory that is your life, and/or the subject of your interest.

Somehow, people have come to be daunted by the idea of “writing a book”; but if you think in terms of how a seed grows into a plant, and that plant into, say, a rosebush, and how the bush produces buds, and the buds open and flower, this gives some metaphorical sense of what it is to “think in chapters.” There is a whole, great story (even in nonfiction books) to be unfolded, chapter by chapter. The book ~ what you are used to thinking of as a book, as pages bound between covers ~ is the end product of that great exploration.

If you have a true interest in discovering what is in you, what might illuminate your questions, how pieces can be woven together to form a seamless whole, you should not rule out writing a book. The passion to seek will take you far. For the rest, having adept and loving help, and learning some of the writing craft you may not know yet, will take you the rest of the way.


Q: What happens after a book is finished? How do you get it to the readers?

A: This “getting your book to market” is a whole other phase from the deeply inward experience of actually writing the book. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just on a different level, with different challenges, learnings, learning curves, and blessings. Some personalities love this “getting out there” part, while others would just as soon stay home and write. Yet when you have invested so much of yourself in writing your book, it’s spiritually as well as literarily (and, sometimes, financially) important to see the project all the way through. Sharing your book with your readers is, after all, the heart’s gift, and it needs to be offered in order to be received.

Getting published can happen in a variety of ways, and each has its own path, mystique, and requirements. I think it’s important to keep the destination of reaching your readers in mind. That’s the second reason why you’re writing the book, isn’t it? The first is to reach your Self; the second, to reach your readers with what you have discovered and put onto the page.

How you reach your readers depends on which publication route you want to take. Here are some of the paths (there may be others, as well). (For more detailed information on external publishing and self-publishing, click on the “Getting Published” page on this website.)

Getting published by a book publisher (external publishing). This involves finding one who loves your book enough to put their money into it and publish it. Getting an acceptance from a book publisher, if you go the conventional route, involves writing a book proposal (a shorter sales tool, for fiction books), then writing a Query Letter to appropriate literary agents and/or publishers to interest them in your book.

What is the “unconventional route”? I think it has something to do with prayer, wishing, and magnetism. (More on that in a later newsletter. For a fascinating account of my own book-publishing journey, see my blog, www.writingfromthedeeperself.blogspot.com.)

Self-publishing. These days, this is a very frequent and reputable choice among authors. In the past, self-publishing was considered “lesser” (although some literary giants began that way ~ Virginia Woolf, Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass,” Stephen Crane, and many more). Now, though, with the publishing marketplace in flux and the Internet democratizing people’s access to the public, self-publishing is a viable option.

You can pay to have book printers print you a small run (I think it’s a minimum of 500 or 1,000 copies), or you can go to the POD (Print on Demand) places. I understand that these vary considerably in their offerings and prices. Some will get ISBN numbers and copyrights for you (and charge for it), and require a fee. Others, like “lulu.com” and “cafepress.com”will print what you send them without charging anything up front, and take a percentage of each book’s price as their payment.

Note: Two valuable aids for self-publishing are (1) Peter Bowerman’s excellent book, The Well-Fed Self-Publisher (www.wellfedsp.com), and (2) Dan Poynter’s industry standard, The Self-Publishing Manual (www.parapublishing.com).

Online publishing. Some writers are using the Internet as their main place of book promotion and sales, often through websites and/or blogs, as well as articles and reviews on other sites. E-books (electronic books, in pdf format) can easily be sent and sold online. The Internet can be an exclusive or supplemental source for publishing books.

Those writers who work with me as their book developer can look forward to having their books featured on my website and newsletter, linking to their own websites, and even selling directly through mine. This is a win-win-win, because I only work with writers whose books I am passionate about, so it is as pleasurable for me to give those books exposure as it is for the authors to be featured in that way, and a great gift to the readers who buy the books.


Other facets of getting your book into the hands and hearts of your readers include:
Book promotion (these days, authors are an essential part of promotion, even if their books are published externally), including media interviews, writing press releases, getting reviews, selling books at your workshops, etc. Believe me, there is a plethora of information about how authors can get PR, etc. One good source is Francine Silverman’s online “Book Promotion Newsletter,” which you can get for less than $10/year by contacting franalive@optonline.net.
Distribution. External publishers handle this part for the author; self-publishers need to find small-press distributors; online distribution is ~ sometimes overwhelmingly ~ up to you, though eminently possible.
Placement of your book. This is especially necessary for self-publishers, but even external publishers like it when the author can suggest “out-of-the-box” places to sell their book, such as in colleges and universities, specialty stores, as tie-ins with other products, etc.

The main thing to remember is that your job ~ and probably your vision ~ is to bring the healing of your book to your readers. If you keep that vision in mind, the “hows” will be easier and clearer.

If you write the book of your heart in a way that really nourishes you, you will have the stamina and desire to see it all the way through to reaching your readers. The book, and what you put into it and have received from doing it, will be your touchstone. In that way, to quote a great spiritual master, you can be “in the world but not of it.”


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