Writing from the Deeper Self
By Naomi Rose | Updated November 19, 2018
There is a new and trumpeted concept about writing a book that has been gaining popularity in our commercially based time. And that is that one should not even begin writing a book until one already knows the intended market (the niche of people who will read it). There is even, among marketers, an exhortation to write the book's back-cover copy before writing the actual book, so that a direct bull's-eye hit with the intended market will take place.
But trying to learn how to write a book from marketers is like looking to toy manufacturers to learn how to raise your child. (a) They have a special interest to promote, and (b) what do they actually know about raising children? If they really understood the profundity and delicacy of caring for and cultivating a human being, would they be using children to make money?
There is even a "paint by numbers" approach to book writing. I've read the ad copy. It eagerly explains that there's a formula to writing a book (they may be referring to nonfiction books), and all you have to do is buy their template and fill in the blanks with your own material. (I'm guessing that writing the back-cover copy to appeal to the intended market first is part of that.)
The commercialization of what has the possibility of being a profoundly transformative journey (for you and, later, for your readers) is a great disservice to that which underlies our concocted view of reality. When a voice comes to you in the wee hours of the morning ~ a whispering voice, an exhorting voice, even a voice that suggests "something's not right, here; this isn't exactly the life I'm supposed to be living" ~ what it asks for is a journey beyond your usual concepts about yourself, your life, and Life itself.
That you do not know exactly what to do in starting to write a book is not only common, it may actually be required. If you knew it all already, you would not go on the journey. And going on the journey is an essential part of discovering who you are, what you are made of, how your particular ray of light reflects and illuminates the larger Light. As someone said, "If you don't give your gift, we won't have it." And if you try to write a book to appeal to some idea of a market niche, instead of being as utterly true to what's in you as you can, you won't get to find your gift. The gift reveals itself in the journeying.
Two things caused me to think along these lines, in coming up with this month's feature on writing from the deeper Self to share with you. One is that a client I have been working with for about two years, now, has realized that she is finding her own voice through the process of writing her book ~ finding her true voice for the first time. And as we looked back on where she was when she began and where she is with her book now, we both realized that it was only by taking the leap of faith and staying as true to herself each time she wrote, each time we met, that the unfolding of both her message and her unique manner of writing it has had a chance to happen.
For example, in the early phases, because the book initially was going to be a book version of her Ph.D. dissertation, the tone was essentially intellectual and objective. It posited her views, and gave back-ups from others in the field. But as she stayed with what was arising ~ both in the writing and within herself ~ it became clear that this subject, while also broad and applicable to many people, was simultaneously quite intimate; and that her own experiences, impressions, and voice had an essential part to play in bringing the book to life. As I received the writing in progress (a role I take on willingly and gratefully), I reflected back to her where I was most drawn into the material, most moved and internally galvanized. And this relationship, too, gave valuable mirroring to that place within her that really wanted to be part of the writing ~ to include and please herself ~ but had been trained to be discounted. At this point, the book (still in progress) is so magnificent, uniquely itself, and deeply healing that I cannot wait to be able to share it with pretty much everyone I know. And my point is that it never would have existed in its current incarnation, if she had set out to define her market niche and write to that.
The second thing I want to share with you about how the gift reveals itself in the journeying has to do with the mystical saying, "I was a hidden treasure and I longed to be known." The reference to this "I" is the Divine ~ God ~ the Beloved ~ the Creator ~ suggesting that in being the sole essence of all that is, there was an intrinsic loneliness, a longing for a beloved. And so, out of the perfect Wholeness of God, you and I and everyone else, everything live, was created, so that we might become conscious of the Being that called us into being, and in that way have a Lover-Beloved relationship.
"I was a hidden treasure, and I longed to be known."
But how can we know this hidden treasure? And where is it hidden? Ah, that's the real question. And the answer, though simple, is not always a quick, direct route. The treasure is hidden in our very own hearts.
How to find it, then? We begin on a journey into our own being. We unpack the casings and fortifications around our hearts, so that they again become living, beating, communing. When we hear a call from within our hearts ~ whether to write a book or do something else ~ we set about to listen.
Listening to the book seeded in our hearts, much like gardening, involves being delicate with that new and fragile impulse; watering it with our attention and interest; believing it, even if it goes against what we have believed so far, or if it seems to ask of us something we don't currently feel adequate to. Answering a call of the heart is a sacred mission, and writing a book can house and hold and open up this mission as well as many other ways.
"I was a hidden treasure" ~ how have you hidden your treasures from yourself? When you long for some fulfillment, do you look inside? Who do you think is there, inside, if not the Beloved seeking to be known? Writing a book from the deeper Self does not mean that, at the outset, you know exactly (a) what you are going to say, (b) how you are going to say it, (c) who will buy it, (d) how much money you will make from it, (e) and so on. All these matters-in-the-world will come later, when your book is already born ~ a live being reverberating with your intention, findings, concentration, passion, longings, mistakes, reparations, and prayers. Indeed, that very aliveness is what will bring the next chapter ~ the chapter of your book in the world ~ into focus.
To go about writing a book as if who you are, and what you discover along the way as you write your book, do not transform the world you then bring the book into, is to write a product. To assess what is needed, what people will buy, and then ~ from that same consciousness ~ to write a book fitting those parameters, is to scope out the existing market (the market with the existing consciousness) and sell to it. But to write a book with the intention-hope-prayer of being true to that voice that calls you to the journey is to step into a life you haven't exactly known before. It only becomes known because you are stepping into it. And this is one way in which the "hidden treasure" fulfills the longing to be known.
I hope I am getting this across. It is so important for anyone seeking deeper meaning, value, and expression in their life. It is the journeying itself that brings about a book that will reverberate in readers' being, touch their lives, open their hearts, lead them closer to their own hidden treasure. That is the gift you can give ~ by giving yourself to the call that calls you to write a book; by becoming and embodying the treasure you are.
Recently, someone shared a quote with me from a remarkable architect, Christopher Alexander, who set out to find, in architectural forms, a universal and intimate expression of unity itself. Something he said (it was about the esthetics of architecture, but I believe it also fits what I'm saying, here) is worth sharing with you. It is from the chapter called "Pleasing Yourself," in his book, The Luminous Ground:
In order to create living structures, we must please ourselves.
This single prescription covers the whole environment, covers everything essential. If you want to create transcendent unity ~ true living order ~ you need to please yourself. And you need only please yourself. But you must please yourself truly. And to do that you must first discover your own true self, come close enough to it, and listen to it, so that it can be pleased.
Does this sound absurd? And does it sound too easy? It is not absurd. And it is that kind of 'easy' which is so hard that on most days it is almost undoable, because to do it we have to break down every resistant force that remains in us. To reach the ultimate I, the transcendent ground of all existence, you have to reach yourself. To make the great work, you have to do that thing which lies in you like a small child, not hidden, just waiting there, and pushed aside, every day of your life, so that you never realized that it is, after all, this which waits, this which is the ultimate of which we are capable."
In the face of this possibility ~ this urgent call that comes not only to us (in the wee hours or whenever) but also from us (our seeking) ~ why would we settle for the empty calories of a formulaic, commercially based, outwardly oriented attempt to please and sell books to some generic idea, some "market"? When we can use our own selves as the archeological digging ground, searching for treasure that wants to be found ~ and that, once found, turns out to be a living part of all other hearts, all other aspects of this Creator wanting to be known, lying in wait in the hearts of our readers-to-come.
If you want to write a book ~ if the call comes ~ take it seriously. It's not about fame and fortune, though that may accompany your experience. It's about finding what you've always wanted most deeply, which is hidden right inside you ~ and having a way to bring it out, through the process and form of writing a book.
©2012 Naomi Rose. All rights reserved.
Naomi Rose, Book Developer and Writing Coach, has successfully used her "Writing from the Deeper Self" approach to help people with an inner-directed focus write the books of their hearts. ...