I self-published my first book, Ontdek Wat Je Echt Wilt En Maak Daar (Je) Werk Van, in 2008. One year later, a publisher picked it up. I wrote it in 6 weeks.
So when I started my second book in April 2011, I figured I would finish it by the end of the summer at the latest. I did.
But it still took 9 years and 7 more versions of the book before it was finally finished.
Why was that? What did I learn from it? And what can you learn from my story?
Let’s start at the beginning:
April 2011. My career coaching business was doing well, but I was bored out of my skull with it. And I had no clue what I wanted to do instead.
I gave myself a sabbatical and decided to write my second book. It was a book about the Art of Divine Selfishness, aimed at the audience I last worked with: ambitious women with jobs.
After I wrote half of the book in Dutch, I came across an American writing contest. The winner could win a self-publishing package for their book. That sounded great and I decided to enter.
I translated the chapters I already wrote and finished writing the rest of the book directly in English. It was a lot of work in a short amount of time, but I made the deadline. I did NOT win. I didn’t care about that, though, because shortly after I submitted the book, I knew my new direction for my business: Working globally with women entrepreneurs.
I put the book aside, focused on building my new business and started working in English. This left me little energy to do anything with the book for over a year. By the time I looked at it again it was the end of 2012 or maybe 2013. I read through the book and realized it wasn’t a good match for my new audience. I wrote it for women with jobs. Women entrepreneurs needed a different book.
I threw the book away and wrote it again.
Version 2 was now ready. But something didn’t feel right. I couldn’t put my finger on it so I put it aside.
After a while I picked it back up. I read through it with fresh eyes and realized why the book wasn’t working:
I’d put too much in it. It wasn’t one book. It was four books. I threw book version 2 away and started writing a new one, the first of a series of four. I finished the book.
Version 3 was now ready. And it still didn’t feel right.
I took a break from it again.
When I picked it up after a while I could see what was missing. I also realized this could not be fixed with some edits here and there. The book needed to be rewritten. Which I did. I threw away the book and wrote a new one, book version 4. When it was done it didn’t feel right but I didn’t know why. Again. So I took a break from the book. Again.
This process repeated itself 3 more times. I wrote 7 books in total. And I threw 7 books away because they were NOT the right book.
In 2019 I started over. I wrote book number 8. When it was finished, I felt two things:
- It’s not quite there yet. Something still isn’t right.
- It’s almost there. I can fix it without writing a whole new book this time!
That was quite a relief 🙂
After I let the book rest for a while I could see what wasn’t right and how to fix it. And so I did. I threw out 12 chapters and wrote 14 new ones, and in the spring of 2020, the final draft was DONE.
At the moment of writing this article, the book is at the designer. Once that’s finished, I can FINALLY publish it this month. And I couldn’t be happier! (Well, I’ll probably be even happier the moment I hold my book in my hands for the first time :-))
Was it a tough journey?
Would I want to have missed it?
HELL, NO. This process has taught me so much about myself, my business, my dreams, and writing. This journey is worth its weight in PURE GOLD.
What did I learn from it?
I learned to trust the process.
Every creation has a timing of its own. There’s a natural flow to every creation, and you can’t force that process to go any faster (or slower). The best you can do is move along with it. How you know what that flow is? Is by listening closely to your intuition, and act on what it calls you to do in each moment.
I learned that the only thing that makes ANYTHING hard, ever, are the stories you tell yourself.
The process is just the process. Nothing means anything besides what you make it mean. THAT’S what makes any experience hard…. or just something that IS.
I learned to explore my stories, obstacles and fears and SHIFT them on an even deeper level.
I learned to distinguish between my fears and my intuition even better.
To relentlessly follow my intuition, my soul, my dreams and my truth, even when it felt uncomfortable, or I had to break commitments and deadlines.
I learned that inspiration and answers ALWAYS come at the perfect right time.
This may be later than you hoped or feels comfortable. But it’s ALWAYS the perfect time.
I learned to surrender.
To surrender to the process and to TRUST it, even though I didn’t understand why it took so long or why I had to throw out so many books. Even though it made me doubt myself and what I was capable of. Even when I started to think of myself as a bit of a loser for not getting the damn book finished and published sooner.
I learned to release ALL attachments.
To release my attachments to when the book would be finished, how it would all unfold, and even IF the book would be finished or published AT ALL.
I learned to sink deeper into the moment and do what each moment calls for.
That’s TRULY all you have to do. This moment is ALL THERE IS, always. There’s only this moment, and this one, and this one.
Tomorrow isn’t here yet, an hour from now isn’t here yet, and yesterday or an hour ago is no longer here.
There’s ONLY and ALWAYS NOW. And everything you need to do or know is available in THIS moment.
All you have do to is to be present in each moment and follow what each moment calls for.
I learned a shit-ton about writing, (self)publishing, and soooooo many other things related to books.
Why? Because the moment I wasn’t writing my books I was using my time to learn whatever I could about ANYTHING having ANYTHING to do with writing non-fiction books, and how they fit into your business / help you build and grow your business.
I learned to never give up.
If something is meant for you, it WILL come to fruition as long as you stay the course and keep doing what you feel called to do—including taking breaks, starting over, throwing things away, and working all hours of the day because inspiration hits and the flow takes over.
So what can you learn from my story?
Perhaps that your creations and dreams have their own timing, too.And if it’s not flowing even though you’re doing everything you can—including facing your shadows and fears and doing what feels scary and uncomfortable—it might be time to take a break. Or to question if what you try to get done, is what you REALLY want. Or if you desire something else.
Perhaps that it’s time for you to surrender to your soul, to your flow, to what you deep down KNOW is true for you. And to trust and honor that above all else.
Perhaps that it’s time to release your attachments to your desires.
To let go of wanting to control what, when, how, and even IF something will happen. I know, it’s hard. But nothing can flow when you hold on so tight.
If you take away anything from this blog, I hope it’s to NEVER give up on your dreams or yourself.
I’m grateful for my journey.
And even more grateful that the book is finally, FINALLY, (almost) here.
P.S. The book that took 9 years to write and is now almost here is ’Unmute Your Life – break free from fear & go for what you REALLY want’.
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