Naomi Rose : Please Yourself
(A Self-centered way to
write a book)
By Naomi Rose
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.)
If a Book Starts Out as a Product, Your Productivity May Double but Your Soul Is in Trouble
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.
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