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Naomi Rose : For Fun, Write a Book

For Fun, Write a Book

By Naomi Rose

When you think of "book" and "fun" in the same sentence, do you imagine yourself at the beach, a cool drink at your side, forgetting all responsibilities and even the month, day, and year as you inhabit a world dreamed up by some author — a book that you might not even allow yourself to indulge in during more get-it-done, "serious" seasons? And then, when the last page is turned, sighing as the borrowed world fades and it's back to life as usual?

But what if you yourself are the author? What if this is your season to write the book that's been whispering to you all this time? What if writing a book could transform your life? This is the premise and promise of Writing from the Deeper Self.

I once worked with a woman, a professional writer, who confessed that she didn't really like writing. In truth, she dreaded it. She would put it off until the deadline loomed. "Why are you a writer, then?" I asked her. She replied, with some embarrassment, "Because I like 'having written.'" She liked the accomplishment of seeing her own words in sparkling print. But the process was no fun for her; quite the opposite.

Many people share this view. I'm sure it's a leftover from having to come up with essay papers in high school, college, or graduate school; or from heartfelt child-poems that were dispensed with by a swift-eyed teacher; or simply the high-stakes performance ethic that runs so many of our inner desires into the ground. And when it comes to writing a book, the stakes are perceived as much higher. I have worked with astonishingly gifted first-time book writers whose words have brought me to tears of gratitude and recognition. And yet, abundantly aware of their self-defined shortcomings, they are sure that they aren't actually "real" writers.

But deep writing is written exactly by real people — like me, like you. Despite the gloss of the publishing world and of costly promotional techniques to raise your book's visibility on Amazon.com, real books — i.e., books that touch readers' lives so exquisitely and deeply that they make a lasting impression on the soul — can be written by anyone who has the desire and the willingness to look inside and bring forth what's there in a sacred, attentive way.

I have used the Writing from the Deeper Self approach with clients of very different temperaments, with different subjects to explore, of different genders, ages, races, and so on. Yet in each case I found one thing to be universally true: when you look into yourself deeply enough and bring forth what's there, with the intention to find wholeness for yourself and your readers, extraordinary writing results and your life is transformed in the process. And because of that, your readers are transformed as well.

What has this to do with fun? Well, if you can let go of the fear of writing a book enough to imagine what it would be like to lift up the lid on your inner treasure chest and see all the precious things inside, you might start to actually look forward to writing a book. Because Writing from the Deeper Self is so close to your being, so intimately yours, that when you give it permission and space to emerge through a state of deep inner listening, it will present itself in ways unique to you. The infinitely rich palette of awareness within you makes itself known not only as words, scenes, and stories, but also as images, sounds, body sensations, colors, inner atmospheres. At some point these jewels are ready to be mined and placed into settings (such as chapters). As one client put it, "In the beginning I didn't believe I could write a book, but now it's my sacred place to go. If I go too long without writing, I feel off."

What is fun about writing a book — in summer, or in any season? Here's some food for thought:

  1. We tend to think of fun on a superficial level — something to distract us from the problems of life, to give us a respite for a time until we have to return to more adult responsibilities — like raising your mid-day blood sugar by eating a candy bar. But there's slow-food fun, too; and writing a book is slow food. It's reflective. It takes time to see what lies inside you, and time to sense how to bring it into being in a way that not only resembles a book (with chapters, rhythms, beginnings, middles, and ends) but that also honors and unfolds the story of your life as the writing moves it along.

  2. It's enormous fun to make time and room to take your inner life seriously, to still yourself enough to see what's there, to go trolling in the clear, deep waters. Just realizing the existence of the treasures that lie within you provides a special joy.

  3. Playing with ways to articulate these treasures — to match the words you choose to the richness and subtlety of your inner experience — can be deeply fulfilling.

  4. And because this kind of writing brings the invisible into communicable form, it is also the very essence of creation; it is your individual version of the larger Creation, the "something" brought out of "nothing." This is what you have in common with Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Virginia Woolf, and God. What could be more fun than creating out of yourself something that you love, a mirror of who you are in a way that you weren't quite aware of before you wrote? What could be more fun than standing on the rim of your current awareness, pen in hand, and moving into — and having rise up to meet you — reflections of your divine and human nature, clothed in a story, a memoir, a narrative nonfiction book, a poem, even — if your soul is singing along as you write — a how-to book.

  5. Writing about something you love is fun. Love itself is the magnet, pulling you closer towards the fulfillment of the desire. Whether you're describing a person you once loved, the memory of swimming in a lake as a child, watching your grandmother's corded hands fill a bowl with fruit, or anything else that lives in your heart, writing about it lets you experience the truth of the saying, "Writers get to live twice: once during the actual experience, and again when writing about it."

But I would not be fully truthful if I gave the impression that writing a book is always fun, or only fun. When you write deeply, sometimes things come up. Sometimes, for the book's or your own sake, you need to write about an aspect of the story that is harder, is painful, is the dark part of the passage, beyond which you haven't yet seen the light. You may encounter memories that have grown in size precisely because they were unattended to, and the encounter, or the thought of the encounter, may keep you away. I once spent over 2 years attempting to write a chapter about one of the most difficult times in my life, whereas another chapter pretty much wrote itself in 3 days. But the (admittedly long) process of combing and articulating the memories in that shelved chapter had profoundly healing effects in my life as well as my writing, opening up condensed energies for much more live and creative use, and truly beginning a new chapter for my life as well as the book. As the psalmist David wrote (139), "Where can I go from your spirit? From your presence, where can I flee? /…If I say, 'Surely the darkness shall hide me, and night shall be my light,' / For you darkness itself is not dark, and night shines as the day…." So while "summer fun" may begin the process, we need to accept the "winter" of the book-writing process, too. It's wise and human to experience and accept all seasons with grace.

So consider beginning your book, whatever the season. This is a good time to find out what's calling you from within your heart, to pay attention with pen (or computer) in hand. By taking your longings for real, by treasuring the possibility of what's real in potential but not yet visible, you give them the love and trust they need to slowly, shyly, exquisitely come into being. In this way, you come not only to write your book but also in the process to know the incredible being you are who could create such a book that touches readers in such a way. •

Copyright © 2006 by Naomi Rose. All Rights reserved.

Naomi RoseNaomi 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 »

10/24/06