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Starting Your Book

 

Excerpts: A  Peek  Inside  the  Book

An Insider's Look Behind the Scenes of Starting a Book

An Insider's look Behind the Scenes of Starting a Book

An Insider's look Behind the Scenes of Starting a Book

“Writing a book is a joy and a challenge ~

a journey from where you are to where you will eventually end up,

and who you will be when you get there.”

                                                               ~ Naomi Rose

 

On this page are appetizers that only  hint at the feast to come ~ the cornucopia of encouragement and delight that you will find in reading Starting Your Book.

If writing a book is a desire in your heart (whether clearly known to you or stashed away in some forgotten drawer but tugging on your consciousness), reading the following excerpts from Starting Your Book will ignite your hope and give roots to your dream that your book can not only really happen, but also give you something wonderful in the process. 

Included here are excerpts from:

  1. The Foreword ~ by art therapist Shelley Klammer, "Loving Your Book into Being
  2. Chapter 1, "Following the Call"
  3. Chapter 2, "Slowing Down and Listening Inside to Make Room to Receive What's There"
  4. Chapter 9, "Engaging the Linear and Artistic Brains: The Best of Both Worlds"

 

Starting Your Book

 

1.

From the Foreword

By art therapist Shelley Klammer

"Loving Your Book into Being"

"I have always loved books with a passion...."

"I have always loved books with a passion, and have secretly wondered if I could ever write one....

 

"When I discovered Naomi Rose's writing voice, I instantly felt a deep love for her honest and reealing way of writing, and her connection to the sacred in the creative process. It was Naomi's believing voice and heart that got me started. Naomi encouraged me that I could indeed write a book in small, consistent bits....  After reading a few pages [of Starting Your Book], I became enamored with the process of committing to writing my own book.

"...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 reminder that I do have something true to say. We all do.... I realized, through this deep process of book-writing, that I could never fully know what is inside me until I began to express it. I have been surprised at what is emerging. Thoughts that I have never  before committed to writing emerge with a voice that is uniquely my own.

"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 books evolved. I felt a kinship to her very human 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....  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.

"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.' .... [T]he process of distilling my understandings into book form is a profoundly enlarging process unto itself."

Starting Your Book

 

2.

"Answering the Call"

"In any creative act, there is a call to the unknown...."

{From Chapter 2}

In any creative act, there is a call to the unknown.

Some people meet this call by climbing mountains in the outer world. Others stand at the rim of their inner being and make their way inside, accounting for what they discover and bringing back the gifts of the journey along with the account.

If we knew everything beforehand of what we would find there, there would be no journey: no call and response, and no glimmering of the Something that calls us. So we pack our best provisions, sensing that we cannot even know everything we will need along the way. Yet somehow we trust ~ even with trepidation ~ that what we need will be provided, and that we will emerge from our journey wiser, deeper, truer, perhaps even happier. That we will become our real selves.

Fulfilling an assignment (which is how many people initially view the prospect of writing a book) bears little resemblance to answering a call, although some of the qualities needed to fulfill that call may look quite similar (clarity, structure, endurance, and so on). An "assignment" is designed by someone else. Your task is to carry out that externally given script and intention. And while there are reasons for agreeing to fulfill an assignment ~ for example, to progress towards a chosen career via a Ph.D. thesis or clinical report, or to write the family history your parents alwayas wanted you to write ~ agreeing to follow an inner call partakes of a different topography altogether.

When you follow an inner call, you do not proceed from an outline of expectations set out for you by someone else. Nor do you have to meet the standards, methodologies, and stylistic conventions pre-established by an outer authority. Nor (and this can be a great plus) do you have to figure out what the outer authority wants to hear, and say it in an acceptable way. There is only one authority to follow, to please, and to fulfill. And that is the authority within you.

So that's the good news ~ and the bad news.

The "bad news" is that, seemingly, you're on your own, navigating in a vast ocean of unformed possibilities without knowing even how to read a compass, much less the overhead stars.

But the good news is that this compass is within you ~ and so is the vast ocean. "It's not that we are a drop in the ocean of existence," it has been said, "but that the entire ocean is in the drop" [that we are]. The closer you are willing to come to this inner territory, the more precisely it will speak to you, in keeping with your own attunement.

So since you have read this far, it's clear that you have been called to write a book. You may feel unsure, afraid, eager, willing, excited, urgent, savoring, breathless, full of dread, aching, yearning, ready, blank ... any or all of these things and more. Even so, you are here at the horizon of your being ~ your life itself a book, and about to begin a new chapter with you as the writer of a book. You will discover remarkable things if you stay with it.... 

If you stay the course, and learn to listen to what is inside you and follow it again and again ~ and, when you've lost the sound and scent, yet again ~ you will come out of the book-writing process more yourself than you knew yourself to be when you started, the author of your book and of your life. All this and more you will give to your readers, just by their opening your pages and entering into where you have been, where you have gone, who you have become in the process of writing, what it is you have to offer them.

In this way, you transform yourself and your readers. And in this way, you help heal the world.

 

Starting Your Book

 

3.

"Slowing Down and Listening Inside

to Make Room to Receive What's There"

Listening with your ears, your eyes, your skin....

{From Chapter 2}

What’s your image of a writer sitting down to write?

Someone staring at the blank page or screen, fidgeting in the chair, and frustratedly deleting passages and paragraphs? Or someone so absorbed in translating into words her or his inner experience that the fingers fly on the keys effortlessly, giving to the writer more than the writing takes?

Perhaps the process of writing needs to be rescued and reclaimed from the junk pile of stereotypes. You, in beginning your book, are not being accosted by a blank page (often, a seemingly critical blank page, at that). You are giving yourself the magnificent opportunity to bring forth what is in you: to be a creator. And lest you think that you don’t have it in you, keep in mind that, according to the Bible, we are created in the image of God. So, as God can, we too can create. It’s innate. We just have to bring it forth.

Listening to what is in us is a profound and true way to bring forth our treasures in writing. Listening before we demand of ourselves a perfect book all fleshed out on the page. Perhaps even listening before we write anything.

Listening will bring us close to ourselves, will quell the chronic buzzing of our worries, thoughts, and doubts, and make it possible to hear the autumn bird that is singing right outside our window. Listening is the gift that brings us into the present, and lets us hear the ever-present guidance of the Divine in ways that are native to us.

How do we listen? We begin by slowing down.

 

Practice ~ Slowing Down

Sit comfortably in a chair, with your feet flat on the floor. Close your eyes (after reading these instructions) and begin to notice your breath. Just by noticing it, it will even out; become deeper, fuller, more refreshing. Notice your breath coming in and going out. Notice your breath, breathing itself. Notice yourself being breathed.


As you begin to experience this quieting, notice how the thoughts in your mind become more conscious. You may be aware of the buzzing of thoughts, or of energy in your forehead or somewhere around your ears. As you begin to become aware of this, notice how the rest of you is more relaxed. Put your attention into the places that feel more relaxed, breathing into them. If you wish to, put your attention into the congested places, too ~ the places where the thoughts are all bunched up (“I can't do this writing … this is stupid … why did I think I could write a book? … I'll never…,” and so on.) There is magic in becoming conscious of what's going on. Once you notice it, it loses its hold.

You are beginning to listen to yourself. Now you are connected enough to your inner experience in the moment to bring your attention to your heart, in the center of your chest. Feel your heart beating. Experience what it's like to be aware of that rhythm. You might wish to breathe in that rhythm. Breathing in a regular rhythm is like an inner vacation, like being at the beach and watching the waves come up to shore and then recede, and return again.

You are slowing down enough to pay attention to small and subtle things. You are listening.

Can you hear your breathing? Can you feel the temperature of the air on your skin? With your closed eyes, can you see colors or patterns or little dancing motes of light on your inner screen? All this is part of listening.


If you can do this, then you can write from the deeper Self. You will be able to cast your net and bring up whatever you need in service of your writing. You will be able to listen for what you need, and notice from where and how it is coming to you.

From this place of listening, you will be able to hear what it is inside you that wants to be written, and how it wants to be written. That “what” depends entirely on what is most alive within your heart. And that “how” depends on who you are, and how the creative process works, uniquely, in you.

Starting Your Book

 

4.

"Engaging the Linear and Artistic Brains ~

The Best of Both Worlds"

{From Chapter 9}


The part of the brain that's responsible for linear thinking and verbal expression, the Linear Brain,

is good at describing, making lists, figuring things out in a sequential way. If you're writing a stepwise how-to book, with declarative statements (such as this sentence) and explanations, it will be your Linear Brain that you're using. This is the part of us that is good at making conceptual structures: outlines, lists, chapter headings, and so on. It is a good, reliable workhorse, our left brain. We could not live in the world without it.

But it has no poetry.

Poetry, whether written as poetry or as poetic elements in prose writing, skips over the sequential ladders that the Linear Brain likes to work with. The right brain (I have renamed it the "Artistic Brain") ~ where poetry, music, art, inspired writing, and so on takes place ~ sees connections where the Linear Brain sees separate, discrete things.

The Artistic Brain's propensity for seeing connections, even among seemingly disparate things,

is what allows it to seek ways of describing experience that turn out to be poetic, even if they are not originally designed for that purpose. A metaphor (which we all learned about in school, perhaps coming away with a rote sense of metaphor as a grammatical-type convention) is, at its best, a way of evoking an experience that simply cannot be reduced to more prosaic explanations.

When your Artistic Brain is allowed space in which to explore and dicover its own nature, you will find yourself ~ in the course of finding ways to articulate in words something that also underlies or is beyond words ~ swimming in the language of metaphor, imagery, phrases put together of unlikely things that turn out to go together: "a shower of kites," "unlettered pain," and all sorts of other bondings in language that take you by surprise.

This being taken by surprise is a sign that your Artistic Brain is in charge, and one of the reasons people write by choice at all: because the breadth and depth of what you are capable of when freed from the constraints of the Linear Brain, of the ordinary (though immensely useful) mind, can astonish you into reverence for a realm you had not remembered as possible until just then. You can find yourself writing something you had never thought of in that way before, which makes you want to kneel at the feet of ~ Something.

To write from the deeper Self, you need the willing, adept use of both brains. A book is too long a project to limit yourself (perhaps even bore yourself) to only descriptive, didactic, explanatory writing.

Even if you are writing a nonfiction book (like this one) ~ which is intended to impart information, or a point of view, or a philosophy, or a solution to a problem, and so on, and therefore is mostly piloted by the Linear Brain ~ it helps your readers (and you, too, as the writer) when the Artistic Brain is invited to visit. It is the Artistic Brain that engages the feelings and the imagination, giving readers the opportunity to enter into the experience, not only to know about it in a theoretical or data-based way.

Likewise, even if you are writing a work of fiction, or even a collection of poems, you will benefit by allowing the Linear Brain some entry ~ not to run the show, but to be a friendly advisor, suggesting good possibilities for structure, direction, chapter content, titles and headings; making sure there is a logical sequence between one chapter and the next, one idea and the next.

As the author, you need the grounding of the Linear Brain, and the inspiration and journeying capacities of the Artistic Brain. As the possessor of a brain, you have both capabilities. You only need to try them out, and use them again and again, until you feel proficient (Linear Brain) and willing to see what treasures your explorations into the unknown pull in (Artistic Brain).

Starting Your Book

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