Sunday afternoon. And what have I got to say… it’s a sunny day… 13 degrees. This morning I was out in the back garden without a coat, in the ‘blistering’ sun. Gorgeous! I’m home alone, which is when most things happen. I’ve got the radio on (it’s the Golden Hour!), but I’m not really tuned-in and the telly is off (which will always be the way, if it’s up to me). I’m connected to the net, but not actually browsing.
The biggest and most exciting thing that’s happened over the past few days… Friday; I finally started writing, with the intention of the words coming together in book form. There’s a big difference between simply writing for myself in my journal, or writing for my blog or writing FOR A BOOK. It’s no surprise that I write everyday, but it’s not everyday that the writing I do is to hopefully be printed someday. No matter how much I need to be doing this, I wasn’t too happy though about what was appearing on the screen! Weeks ago, the moment in my life from where I wanted to start writing, came to me. So Friday I started typing. But something WASN’T happening. I wasn’t excited. I was forcing it a little and after a few pages, I gave in to the temptation of the internet and did some ‘purposeful’ emails instead…
Yesterday morning, I wasn’t too sure what to do with the piece of writing I’d done the day before. Should I review it? Or should I not look at it again, take a few more days to ponder what the concept of the book will be and start a fresh next week? Or should I just continue and stick to it? Of course I decided to stick to it! It would have been too easy to say ‘it’s not working’, after only the first few pages… It’s the lazy route and I’d be looking for excuses so as not to follow the story through. By putting things off though, they never get done. It’s a very simple fact. And who is to say that next week I won’t have the same doubts? And I’d have lost precious days in between just for thinking that procrastination is the answer to overcome the doubts I was having about the story. All of this, simply because I wasn’t feeling much of a flow on Friday!
Then I was reminded of how the process evolved when I was writing the first book. The first 2 months I struggled to get the flow going and I didn’t have a proper concept in mind so as to see what direction the story was heading in. The concept only came to light, as I was writing.
But now, for some reason, I expect that from day 1 of writing this book, the ‘perfect’ concept will appear in my mind and it will guide me forward, without effort! I should be able to take lessons from the work I did last time. And what I have to remember is that the first words are usually a warm-up. They often aren’t the actual parts that will appear in the book. I know this, because the very first draft of Digesting Wisdom (which is the name of the book! There… I’ve said it… YAY… I’m only realizing now that nobody knew the title…!) was 135.000 words! That version is one I’ll probably never let anybody read. The 2nd draft was 105.000 words. This still was a version that not everyone would appreciate. The final, and 3rd draft I completed, now has 80.000 words… So you see, I cut 55.000 words (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) before I finally got the book the way I wanted it to be. Wouw… that’s some hours of ticking on the laptop that were only for the purpose of getting the end result as close to ‘perfect’ or accessible to the reader as possible. And to further put the process into perspective: the first day I started writing that book was in September 2010 and draft 3 wasn’t complete until May 2011. I deviated from the path of writing during this period, but still, the time frame and the word count shows how the work of writing a book can be a huge process that takes on a life of its own.
When we put our hands to doing anything, if the intention is real, then actually doing the work is the reward in itself, whether or not the ‘project’ goes on to be a success. And starting any project – without people pushing, without anybody waiting for an end result, without any motivator from outside – is quite a daunting step. So of course I’ll have doubts about what I’m doing. It doesn’t help matters that I often feel to have ‘given up everything’ to write this book. But now that the time has finally come (a time I’ve probably been wishing for since being in China), I’m filled with doubts when I don’t feel excited or motivated from within.
I realize that, without anybody coaxing and supporting me from outside, I’m the main person who needs to fully support me, from the inside. That’s also where the contents of the book sits. I have to keep the intentions of my writing clear – which are to share and to help. That, combined with my own belief that there’s a story in ‘hibernation’, is the main source of energy and power I have access to when doing this ‘work’. So, I need to create this sense of pressure inside, to do this. If I were to do anything else in the world right now, I’d not be putting my heart into it and I’d be ignoring what I feel I have to be doing RIGHT NOW.