I’ll just jump right in a say it: I’m scared to write a book. But, let me back up and give you some context.
I started working on my book in May using a three prong approach: voice, audience and book.
I’ve explored my voice: what do I have to contribute, how is my contribution unique, is there a conversation already taking place that I can add a few ideas to?
Through this exploration I discovered how I want to show up: authentic, kind, loving, vulnerable and knowledgeable. I also discovered that I have an important perspective to contribute to the infertility community.
I’ve explored my audience: who needs to hear my message, where can I find those people, what are they searching for?
Now I know where I want to show up and for whom: on Instagram, on my blog, on guest blogs and in a monthly newsletter for women who, however they arrived at the decision, decided to stop trying to conceive. My primary audience are women who are choosing to live a good, full life in the midst of infertility. Some secondary audiences are those who love and support women with infertility and anyone learning to live in the midst of grief.
I’ve explored my book: what content have I already created, what ideas are brimming to the surface, what stories do I want to share, what topics are off limits?
This work resulted in discovering unifying themes, writing chapter summaries and putting them in a particular order. After further exploration of those chapters, I did some rethinking, reorganizing and put them in a different order with an overarching theme that holds it all together. I may even have a book title and an image for the cover is swirling around in my head.
In the last several months I agreed to be a monthly contributor at the Held in the Heart community journal. I was featured as a guest blogger on two sites and submitted two other articles for consideration.
For my own website I’ve decided to post a new blog every Friday, which is different from my past writing. I would write as the Spirit led — no set day, no set amount. This new structure is a discipline for me and I’m leaning into it. I’m also adding a monthly newsletter that will highlight a practice that will help people discover what living a good, full life looks like in the day-to-day.
I write thousands of words each month between my own blog, guest blogs and social media captions.
Have you noticed what I haven’t done yet?
I haven’t started writing my book. Now, to be fair, the process is such that I get the chapters in order and summaries in place then begin writing sample chapters. So, according to the process I’m following, I’m right on track.
However, I’m noticing something about myself. I’m really enjoying working around the book. I like thinking about what it will look like. I like talking about it. I like building the audience that might want to read it. I like creating engaging social media posts. I like keeping busy about the book.
But here’s the truth I’m beginning to recognize: I’m scared to write a book.
What if, after all this work, I sit down and nothing comes? What if it turns out I’ve written everything I have to say about this? What if there’s nothing new when I sit down at my computer? What if I really don’t have a book in me after all?
What if I can’t do it?
So, my observing self has to step in and help quell some of this fear:
Each time you start a half marathon, — because yes, sister, you run half marathons — you give yourself permission to do the best you can. You don’t expect a certain time. You don’t worry about walking when you need to walk. You just start running and trust that what needs to happen will happen. That seems to work well for you because half marathon #18 is coming up in a few weeks and you’re not worried one bit. You’ve done this many times before and you know you’ll be fine.
I know you’re scared to write a book. That makes sense, you’ve never written a book before. This is all new and of course it’s scary. Anything worth doing is scary. How many half marathons did you have to run before you stopped freaking out the night before? Quite a few — it took time before you were comfortable, before you completely trusted yourself to know what to do.
I suspect the same might be true here. Give yourself permission to do the best you can. It’s not going to be perfect — how can it be? You’ve never done this before! You don’t know where the road will turn or what the weather will be like. Each step will illuminate something new, something you’ve never seen before.
So, be gentle with yourself, sister. There are so many people routing you on — on the side of the road cheering for you, calling you by name. Listen to those voices. Listen to the voice of Spirit pulling you forward. And, listen to your own voice. I have so much to tell you, just listen.
I’m still scared and that’s okay.
Just one step, one word at a time.