Naomi Rose : Returning to What Persists
Returning to What Persists
The Enduring Passion to Write the Book of Your Heart
By Naomi Rose
A great inspiration has swooped down from the heavens — or risen up from the not-previously-conscious depths of you — and captured your imagination and your passion. “It’s a book!” you think, with a feeling of both exaltation and wild surprise. “A book I could write!” And you let this gift have room inside you; let it suffuse your thoughts, come together, go where it may. It is a wonderfully creative moment, a moment that may last days, weeks, or months. You are “pregnant” with something that has chosen you. You are gestating a book.
So perhaps you write some thoughts or passages down. You create files on your computer. Maybe you print them out and put them in a loose leaf binder. You don’t know exactly where this is going, but there’s life to it, juice, a feeling of being in the creative flow — that you could, metaphorically, put your palm out face-up and inspiring words would rain down into it; words that not only could sway a readership, but that bring you to a sense of wonder. “Maybe this really could work,” you think. “Maybe I could write a good book.”
And then ~ over time ~ the wild receiving recedes. It’s no longer a gift given by the universe, the tides. You have to do something to get there, to find it, to encounter it. You make your attempts, sitting down at the computer or by hand; but something feels forced, in the way. It’s not that honeymoon, anymore.
And you let it go.
Perhaps, sometimes afterwards, a “rebound” book comes to you. “Well, this makes sense,” you tell yourself. “I bet this could have a sizable market. Why don’t I do an outline and see if I can make it work?”
And you do.
And it looks good on paper. It’s well-organized, and there’s that recognizable whiff of you as the “expert” about it. You can tell people how to be better, live better, follow your template. What if it could be a best-seller? Pages accumulate.
And then, one day, you realize that you don’t really care. Yes, it might be helpful. Yes, if you finished the book, it might reach many readers. Yes, you might get known for it, make money from it.
You don’t really care.
On reflection ~ being really honest with yourself ~ you come to see that the first book was a book of your heart, and the second, a book of your head. It’s not that the book-of-your-head couldn’t work. It’s that you don’t have the passion to sustain it; or the longing to find out what is in it. It’s a template, more of a business proposition. And though business does come into book-writing (after the book is done), you sense that it’s not enough to sustain the journey. There is something in you that wants to find something you don’t consciously fully know yet; something in you wants to be known.
And, with a deepening, matured passion, you allow yourself to return to the first book, and make your way through your doubts and fears (which mostly exist because you do care about it, you are vulnerable through it — precisely the things that will allow you to persist, to find what is seeking you, and to become known to yourself).
And this time, you claim this book as you write it. Whatever it asks, whatever it takes, whatever it gives, it is yours. It’s for you.
I tell you this not only because I have had clients for whom this is true, but because I went through this myself, not long ago. And one of the things I usually can count on myself for is to become aware of what’s happening as it’s happening, or not long after — and make the assumption that if I look into myself clearly enough, what I find will be true of others as well.
I let go of a book that had called me to write it — Living in MotherWealth, the sequel to my earlier book, MotherWealth: The Feminine Path to Money. I had been writing Living in MotherWealth for some years, and over that time it had metamorphosed at least twice, becoming something wholly different from its original incarnation: more intimate, more of the stuff I yearned to bring my full attention to — and more “scary” because of that. I had accumulated 12 loose leaf binders with writings (to go into the 12 chapters), and they sat, piled up on top of each other, on a section of my workspace that was visible as soon as I walked through the door.
“Ach, what do I know about this?” I accused myself one day. “All these binders, versions, tries. What if I never straighten it all out? Maybe it’s not mine to do, after all. Maybe I should just drop it.”
And I did.
In the space between my caring and my unawares disappointment in myself came, one morning, an idea for a different book altogether. Surprised to find its outline hovering in my getting-out-of-bed mind, I wrote that outline down. My mind seemed so helpful, here, so sophisticated and compliant. Why, here was a book almost writing itself, it seemed to suggest. All I needed to do was flesh out the outline, and write a book proposal, and I was there. The topic was unusual and yet relevant to many people. There were no other books I could find on that topic. The readership was wide, and wide open. What if it had “best seller” written all over it?
Excited to be “pregnant” again (though — to carry this metaphor too far — inseminated through my mind, rather than my heart), I wrote the beginnings of several chapters. As I wrote, what I had to say informed the table of contents, and I revised that in light of what was developing. That interactive act alone — the conversation between the idea (the Contents) and the flesh (the chapters) told me that this was truly a Book, and I was writing it. Uncharacteristically, I told my friends all about it (I usually wait until the book is done). I had made a shift into the popular way of writing books: setting out an outline, methodically filling it in, and readying myself to promote the Next Best Seller.
And then, one day, I realized: I just didn’t care. It was a rebound romance. I really loved the first book, Living in MotherWealth. Even if I was sometimes overwhelmed, just putting my attention on the subject was good for me, grounded me in a way of being that I wanted to develop and literally live in (thus the title). Feeling like a grateful, if prodigal, child, I returned to the book of my heart. It was a forgiving book. It welcomed me back. I have been holding it in my heart and imagination ever since, giving myself one day a week to encounter within myself that which I am longing to find and give expression to.
Perhaps you can relate to this — if not in writing a book, then in some other way. But I have clients who, as I did, let the lure of the convention wisdom about book writing turn their attention away from the sometimes-riskier but always more passionate book of their heart. Perhaps there is something to be gained by leaving what you love but fear (you won’t do justice to; you’ll be exposed by, have no façade to hide behind; etc.). You may turn your back on the book of your heart, you may let your fears have the upper hand and try to convince you that you don’t care, and so on; but if it’s really yours, you will miss it. You will miss being with it, focusing on it, giving it the wide berth of your attention and caring.
That’s a sign that this book of your heart is yours (and later, if you go the distance, ours). That it wants you as much as you (underneath your fears) want it. That no concoction of your intellect, even if it gets on a Best-Seller List, will satisfy and glorify you as well as this persistent, signature book of your heart. It wants you to write it into existence.
You will be ~ and this is not too strong a way to put it ~ glorifying and, in some way, giving birth to an expression of God. How can you deny what is most deeply yours? The fears are nothing next to the delight that’s possible. •
Copyright © 2013 by 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. More »