Break through the barriers of writing a book, especially the mindset ones, because writing a book is worth it.
“All of my life, I’ve jumped off the cliff and built my wings. It works every single time. It never fails.”Ray Bradbury
Don’t back off from the hard stuff.
This can mean a variety of things in the life of an author. But what I’m talking about today is confronting raw emotion when writing a book. Vulnerability. The stories or messages that put you on the fence, arguing with yourself about whether or not to include them in your book.
This lesson applies no matter what type of book you’re writing – don’t shy away from the uncomfortable moments. As I’ve learned through practicing yoga and the aerial arts – “get comfortable being uncomfortable.”
Here are some such moments when writing a book:
- Putting your characters through hell.
- Revealing how it felt when you went through hell in your own life.
- Digging deep into raw emotions and scars, sometimes ones that are still healing (and maybe will always be).
- Being brutally honest, with yourself and your readers.
Too many authors tend to run, sometimes sprint, right up to the edge of the cliff. But then, at the last minute, toes grazing the edge, they get cold feet. They don’t jump. They hold back. And their readers know it, even subconsciously. They know they’ve just missed out on something big and important and real.
In the paraphrased words of Ray Bradbury – jump and build your wings on the way down. In this case, your writing wings. It might be daunting, take practice, and be a writing exploration unto itself – but do it anyway. As I tell my book writing coaching clients, that’s the good writing stuff that helps you grow. That’s the light beam that shines down on a book and lets people know – “Something special happened in these pages. Something you need to see for yourself.”
Let The Light In
Go there. Let the light in.
“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”Leonard Cohen
Sometimes your most painful, seemingly unsolvable creative challenges will yield your biggest writing breakthroughs.
The key is to do what many authors will not do – stick with the problem. This might not mean in the moment because sometimes the best decision in the moment is to keep your creative momentum going, move away from the immediate problem, and revisit it later.
When you do return to the seemingly unsolvable problem later, confront it with an attitude of curiosity, creativity, and problem solving (rather than wanting to throw it through a wall!). It’s all in your approach.
You can see the problem in your manuscript as an annoying leaky pipe, haphazardly slap a piece of duct tape on it and hope for the best. Or, you can see it as an opportunity to improve the plumbing in your entire house. Not the sexiest example but it makes my point.
You can see stressful issues while writing a book as obstacles to slap a quick solution on, or worse, reasons to quit on your book. Or you can dig deeper and look for the opportunities buried in those problems that could potentially improve your entire book.
What lessons can your most pressing manuscript issues teach you? What opportunities for a breakthrough might you be overlooking? What light might the cracks in your book be trying to let in?
Confront the hard stuff. Find your light.