I’m in the middle of throwing out my 2020 journals and am going over them one last time.
I found a lot of notes about my writing journey. I’m sharing some of it with you in the hopes it inspires you on your journey.
First, a little side step to my first book, ‘Ontdek wat je echt wilt en maak daar (je) werk van’.
I self-published it in 2008, and a year later, it was picked up by a publisher.
Back then, printing on demand wasn’t really a thing. At least, not in The Netherlands. Which meant I had to order a bunch of books from a printer, stack them in my shed, and every time someone ordered a book I had to create an invoice, put a book in an envelope and bring it to the post office.
That gets old pretty quick. The first 250 sales were exciting, but after that I started dreading the hassle each sale brought with it.
So I was super happy when my publisher took over those logistics and all I had to do was market the book and collect my royalties.
But… times have changed.
Printing on demand is easy now. You have to do all the work anyway (writing & marketing the book) and the few things a publisher handles (cover design, editing and interior design) can easily be done by excellent freelancers, so why hand over the overwhelming majority of money your book makes to a publisher? And lose A LOT of freedom as well?
I couldn’t think of ONE good reason to publish my second book through my publisher and decided to self-publish again. At first, I thought I’d publish my second book, Unmute Your Life, as an e-book only. That felt doable and not too overwhelming. But I soon realized this book is one you’d want to have as a paperback, too, so I decided to add that as well.
In February 2020 the final draft of the book was finished after a loonnngggg time working on it.
I wrote the first draft of Unmute Your Life under a different title with different content in 2011. Since then, I wrote numerous new versions of the book. I think the published book is the 8th version. I threw the other versions, which were all complete books!!!, away. They just weren’t THE book yet. But in February, it was FINALLY done! Hurray!
I started several rounds of self-editing and sent the manuscript to my editor on Friday, March 13. (Friday 13th are my favorite days and 13 is one of my lucky numbers, in case you’re wondering what the hell possessed me to pick this day.)
You’d think I was excited and happy to reach this milestone, and I was!
However, that feeling was easily overshadowed by stress, overwhelm and feeling HUGELY uncomfortable.
Part of that was the release of tension that built up during those 9 years of working on the book. The constant starting over, throwing away another book and not publishing my book year after year after year.
Another part of it was the emotional rollercoaster creating and writing goes hand in hand with. The doubts and fears that can get triggered; loving the book one moment and thinking it’s the worst book ever written; and every thinkable other emotion in between.
But the biggest part was the ENORMOUSLY STEEP learning curve I was on since February.
EVERYTHING was new. Working with an editor, self-publishing (which looks NOTHING like what it looked like back in 2008), everything having to do with the design of the cover and the interior… there was SO MUCH to know, learn and think about that I felt pretty uncomfortable from February until I finally published the book in July.
BUT… I did it!
I’m proud of the book and grateful and proud that I NEVER gave up.
AND I’m happy and grateful I listened to my intuition when I sent Unmute Your Life to the interior designer in May / June.
There was nothing to do for me until the book came back from the designer. I wanted to take a break from everything having to do with books for a moment after all the stress and hard work of the past months, but my soul had other plans.
“Write your next book,” she said. I resisted it for a moment but I know better than to ignore my intuition. I knew which book to write next. The Art of Divine Selfishness! But when I opened the binder with notes and ideas for books, I found the outline for a book called The Gap in front of that binder.
I wrote that outline in August 2011.
It wasn’t the right time to write the book, so I put those notes in that binder. Over the years I’d looked for those notes several times, thinking I could write and publish that book first while Unmute Your Life wasn’t ready.
But every time I opened that binder, THOSE NOTES WEREN’T IN THERE. I went through every piece of paper in that binder on two different occasions… NOTHING.
This time, however, those notes were just there. In front of the binder, on top of all the other notes.
I took that as a sign to write not one, but two books.
And so I did. During the summer I wrote ‘The Art of Divine Selfishness’ and ‘The Gap’.
(And published ‘The Ga’p in November.)
After these books were finished, the idea for two new books came up. I started writing these in October and finished both of them early December. I’m still keeping the 5th book a secret, and the 6th book is ‘Write Your Non-Fiction Book in 3 Months’.
The manuscript of ‘The Art of Divine Selfishness’ is back after the first round of edits, and I’m sending it to my editor for the second round this month.
And… the ideas for the 7th and 8th book came in already, too. It’s all happening now exactly as I felt it would: I knew that Unmute Your Life wanted to be birthed FIRST, and that the other books I’d write would easily follow next.
That’s my writing journey since 2008 in a nutshell. 🙂
And here’s some of what you can learn from my story, because I believe it applies to everyone (and every creation process).
#1 Always trust your intuition and what you deep down KNOW.
Your soul knows your path. It doesn’t always make sense to your rational mind and things don’t always go as you’d like or had planned.
But your soul TRULY knows best.
The less you resist your soul’s guidance, the easier your journey is.
#2 Trust divine timing
There’s your timing and then… there’s divine timing: the perfect right time for things to happen. Sometimes divine timing goes faster than you thought possible, sometimes it coincides with your own planning, and sometimes… things take SO MUCH longer than you’d like.
Choose to trust it anyway. I had to make that decision quite often during those 9 years between writing the first version of Unmute Your Life and publishing the 8th version last July.
But I chose to trust divine timing and my soul again and again, because it was the only way to stay relaxed and sane. 🙂
#3 Accept (and ignore) the creative cycle
One moment you love your idea and your book, the next you hate it and can’t imagine anyone on this planet wants to read it. Some days you feel completely indifferent about your book and other days you’re excited about it. Sometimes you read what you wrote and you’re pleasantly surprised by how good it is. And sometimes you think it’s complete crap.
You can bounce from confidence to self-doubt and from trust to deep fear several times per day.
It’s part of creating. I’ve gone through this cycle with every book I wrote and with every online program, workshop or master class I created (and I created A LOT. Close to a hundred online things, I guess. And yes, I went through that cycle every time.)
By now, I learned to accept that this cycle comes along whenever I create something new. I welcome it, don’t resist it, and don’t pay ANY attention to it anymore. I recognize it’s there and I keep writing and creating. I don’t let the highs blind me and don’t let the lows stop me.
I’ve learned to stay calm and at peace in the midst of it. With the occasional outburst or freak out, but I bounce back from those pretty quickly as a result of years and years of practicing to surrender and relax.
#4 Be mindful of the meaning you give to situations and experiences.
Everything that happens is neutral. How it makes you feel is determined by the meaning you give it and the thoughts you think about it.
It took 9 years to publish my book Unmute Your Life is a neutral observation. That doesn’t trigger any feelings or emotions. It’s just what it is.
It took 9 years to publish that book and it should have gone faster is a judgment. A judgment that instantly triggers a whole slew of other judgmental thoughts: I’m slow / I should have done more / others might think I’m a failure for taking so long / I think I’m a failure for taking so long…
These are all judgments and meanings I give to a neutral experience.
Pay attention to the meaning you give any situation. Know that you can change the meaning you give anything, always! You can ALWAYS find a different perspective.
Choose a perspective that makes you feel good. Choose a perspective that comes from (self) love. And heal, shift, transform and transmute everything that makes you feel less than good about yourself and your work.
#5 It WILL happen.
Your book didn’t knock on your door for no reason. It wants to be written by you. It wants to be birthed into the world through you. Your soul and the book have a deal: you’re bringing it to life.
You don’t know how long it will take or how fast it can go. All you have to know and CHOOSE to trust is that when you keep following your inner guidance, your book will be birthed. (Or whatever you’re creating and manifesting.)
No matter how far you are or how much you still need to do: your book will be birthed.
So keep the faith. Stay curious and open by asking yourself questions like:
- I wonder how easy it can be to birth this book!
- I wonder how much fun it will be…
- I wonder what it will feel like to sell my first copy!
- I wonder how much people will love it…
- I wonder how much I will enjoy this journey!
- I wonder how I can let this writing journey unfold for me with even more easy, joy and grace…
Happy writing & creating!
I wonder how good it will get… 🙂
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