Naomi Rose Interview : Page 3 of 6
Book Developer & Creativity Coach Naomi Rose
Q: I hear you've recently moved from a home office to a lovely new space. Can you give us some insight on why you made the jump to a new space, and what you hope to accomplish there?
A: Thank you very much. It's sweet to receive your acknowledgment. It is a big leap to a new space and also rather more modest than it may sound. I am renting an office in the home of the friend of a friend in my neighborhood. So it's a "home-away-from-home office." In 5 minutes (and not too much gas), I am there. Three days a week, I get to focus exclusively on my work, and to separate my home life from my work life, to the benefit of each.
I moved there because my business seemed to be expanding, and I just didn't have the room at home any more. What had once been enough space no longer was. I had different functions to accomplish my own writing; my work with clients wanting to write books; my online store; products I hoped to create and I longed for the room to set out my papers and tools, and be able to leave them there, not to have to pack it all up because it was time to make supper! When the opportunity arose to rent a room in this lovely residential home, I leapt at it.
What I hope to accomplish there: well, I've taken to calling it my "officestudio." Sometimes it's an office, sometimes a studio. I treasure both functions. The office means I'm in business: I'm establishing a new foundation for something that I hope will support me and my family for many years, and have a lasting, beneficial effect on the culture. The studio means I still get to create the project of the moment, or just blank-mind time to see what pops in.
Mondays and Tuesdays, it's an office. I see clients, I work on client projects, I work on my business visioning, marketing, and so on. Fridays, it's my studio. I love calling it a studio. It feeds my soul to think in those terms. In my studio, I write (currently, I'm finishing up the expanded version of MotherWealth); I do relevant visual art (in my youth, I trained as an artist; one wonderful Friday, I spent the entire day doing the cover for MotherWealth); I let myself dream visions of healing-art products, services, and so on. The office days are pretty nuts-&-bolts; the studio day is timeless and regenerative.
I don't, unfortunately, have a photo of the office at this time, but I'll paint one for you with words. I walk up the path to the door of a grey two-story house bordered by roses and a white-flowering tree. I open the front door, and inside is Barbara, the owner of the house, a lovely woman in her 70s, and her shy, curious cat, Sophie. If I have brought heavy things along, I am free to use Barbara's no-longer-needed chair lift to get them up to the second floor. At the top of the stairs, I turn left, left again, and then I am in my officestudio a brightly lit, windowed room facing trees and houses across the way. Beautiful light.
The room is the size of a bedroom. The walls are covered with a beige, stippled-textured fabric. I was blessed to have built-ins already there for me to use: a large desk, a filing cabinet, storage bins for my art supplies, my stationery, my products and products to come. A bookcase for my reference books, books I've worked on, and so good! my works in progress. I never need to pack them up to make room for something else. So far, there's enough room for everything.
I of course needed to bring in decorations to make it feel like mine. So there are books that are beautiful to look at as well as to contain information I need. There's a book showing Monet's astoundingly colorful house, a wonderful blank book with a carved-wood cover done for me by artist Barbara Yates, based on the painting I did for my website, and books that I have illustrated for other writers, and my own books that I bound by hand. There are pictures of mothers and children by impressionist artist Mary Cassatt, and by my friend Risala Mary Laird. There are pictures of angels and spiritual masters, there are prayers to remind me where true inspiration comes from, there are candles, and a tiny kaleidoscope, and a few green plants. And my dulcimer, which I twang on entering and leaving, at least. And then there are all the other, expected things: my laptop; papers galore; office supplies; lunch.
It really helps to have a space of my own. And the solitude for working and creating is precious. My concentration is enhanced, and my relationship to myself is expanded, even on not-so-expansive days. I'm very blessed to have this small but valuable space. And I just hired a terrific assistant. Space makes things possible inner space even more than outer space.
Q: Moving can be hugely stressful. Do you have any advice, insights, or hot tips for our readers on the special challenges involved in moving your creative work into a whole new home?
A: Considering that I've only moved into one room, five minutes from home, it's been really pretty easy. Each day I'd bring over another haul of stuff in my station wagon, until I began to feel that what I needed was there. I still have some basics at home, for when I'm not at the office: another laptop, a file cabinet, papers, and so on.
Hot tips? I'd say: take it as slow as you can. Build from the ground up. Bring in what feels inspiring and beautiful to you to remind you of who you are in that space. A small thing can do it: a photo, a print, a plant, a prayer. Make the space as sacred as you can. Remember why you're there, what you hope to accomplish there, who you hope to find out that you are. Enjoy the process. It's okay to unpack slowly. Don't push, as much as possible. Pace yourself. Take deep breaths. Include some music, for those times it's good to decompress. And once you're in, allow a short time of "creative chaos" in the new space, as it begins to tell you how it can support the best of your being and vision, there.
Q: Could you discuss your work as a book developer with our readers? What processes do you go through in deciding which books you want to work with?
A: My work as a book developer is designed to help writers trust the deepest gifts and messages within them, and to write from there. To that end, I listen to them well, accompanying them in whatever they bring up whether inspiration, fragments of writing, or resistances until they can fully listen to themselves, trust what's there, and follow through. I've been called a "book midwife," and that's as good a term as any. I love to encourage what wants to be born within a person to come out in its own best way. I see this as a healing process, a sacred process, and an infinitely friendly process.
In terms of deciding which books I want to work with: that's a good question. I think I actually don't so much decide which books I want to work with as which human beings, and on what levels. My great interest is in books that heal: that heal the writer in the course of writing, the readers in the course of reading, and the culture at large. Within that focus, there are so many different kinds of topics possible. I've had clients who have written about parenthood, holistic health, healing racism, speaking in public authentically, a memoir about the arduous and worthwhile journey of becoming oneself, compassionate leadership, and many other subjects. In each case, I found the subject sufficiently interesting to give myself to it. But my greater interest was in the people doing the writing, and the creative process that showed itself as the people opened up.
People who have done some degree of "inner work" seem to be naturals for the Writing from the Deeper Self process. They already have some self-knowledge about their deep desires, the fears that present obstacles, the past experiences of writing that short-circuited their confidence and souls. And they are touchingly open to making themselves vulnerable to themselves to the true Self within, which is where the call to write a book comes from. So when I work with these people, it's not only my considerable book-writing experience and skills that I get to offer. We meet in the heart. For me, this is a supreme privilege of the soul and spirit.
The other thing about the people with whom I most enjoy working is that they are open to the Writing from the Deeper Self process. There are many outside-in ways of writing a book, from making an outline and sticking to it to applying a formulaic template to the building of chapters. This is a results-first orientation that neither interests me nor feels true to the spirit of creation. The people with whom I work are open to process in their writing the experience of learning about themselves, what comes up in them, how the creative process works in them, learning to trust what's inside them, and so on. And it is out of that process that the completed book comes.
Even beyond the "product" of a finished book, though, is their experience of themselves as a healing artist, through this writing process. That outlasts even the shelf life of their book.
Q: How do you help a writer to bring the book in their heart out into the light? What are some advantages of working with a book developer, rather than going it alone as so many writers choose to do?
A: In the beginning, for a person to bring the book that's in the heart out into the light can be a rather delicate process. The closer we get to something pure and innocent within us, the more doubts and fear of exposure seem to come up. When a desire to write a book arises within the heart, it's really a lot like conceiving a child. In the beginning, you're not even sure it's happened; and yet in your spirit there's a sense of knowing, and wanting everything to work out (and, sometimes, fearing that it won't because you don't have "what it takes" to carry the book all the way to birth).
So what I do with writers, at the outset, is listen very, very well. It's perhaps a mix of coaxing out something beautiful and shy, and creating a safe environment in which what is there can show itself exactly as it truly is, without having to adapt to outer ideas, concepts, or standards. If this sounds anything like healing the "inner child," that's purposeful on my part. I believe there is a direct connection.
In being well listened to, gradually writers begin to feel safe enough to want to root around inside and find out, "What is in there, after all?" And so I accompany and sometimes guide them in this self-discovery process. I'm not a licensed therapist, but by definition the process is fairly therapeutic. We suffer from disconnection with what's already within us; and making that connection heals. Writing a book is, to me, an especially wonderful way to make that connection, because we get to look at things, put them down on paper, look at them again, and ultimately make them meaningful and beautiful. In the process, we are writing perhaps re-writing our own lives.
Of course, for people who have not really written before, I offer guidance on writing. Structuring, point of view, details, language, and so on. But mostly I love to meet the person in that sacred, initially delicate place, and draw out the book that's there, in exactly the ways it wants to come out. For me, the technicalities of book writing serve that sacred intent.
As to the second part of your question, some advantages of working with a book developer rather than going it alone:
Perhaps going it alone is just right for some writers. For those who feel that the kind of accompaniment and guidance I provide could be helpful, I think it can be very beneficial to work with a book developer, I don't know anyone else who works in the way that I do. For one thing, it makes it real to share the creation of a book with someone else who gets it so completely. As doubts and fears seem to make their appearance periodically during the lengthy book-writing process, it can be incredibly helpful to have someone continuing to hold the light for you and know that you can get through any obstacles, coming out on the other side.
In addition, a good many of my clients have not written a book before, though they may have written something. My comfort with and expertise in what it takes to write a book from the inside out often helps people know that they are in good hands. I love to share what I know about the book-creating process. Working with a book developer who addresses the depths of the human being in addition to the book-as-product not only helps create a pathway for bringing the desire to write a book into reality, but also engenders a profound self-befriending. Writing a book is a journey, a challenge, a gift, a healing, an intimate act. Sometimes, it's good to have wise and caring company in that journey.