Naomi Rose Interview : Page 4 of 6
Book Developer & Creativity Coach Naomi Rose
Q: You recently read an excerpt of my work-in-progress, Stealing Plums. Because our readers are curious about the book-development process, let's take it from the ground up. How and where would you begin if we decided to work together? How would you help me to finish this project and bring it to the public eye? Do you have any suggestions for me, based only on what you read, about taking this work to a deeper and more meaningful level?
A: I think this is where I'm to use that Internet acronym, LOL (laughing out loud). What a complex, clever question.
Well, Molly, yes, I have read an excerpt of your fascinating and touching book, Stealing Plums. My recollection is that your book is largely written, but in pieces so far. How and where would I begin if we decided to work together? The first thing I would do would be to get clear about your intention. If your book could do something in your readers' hearts and lives, what would you want that to be? Once that was known, it would be more possible to see where the book is on track, and where it's not yet pulled together. Then we would go through the book together, scene by scene, page by page, to discover its organic structure, its emotional logic, its rhythm and cadences (because, as I recall, there are different voices and levels of reality in Stealing Plums), and get a feel for how the parts want to fit together to form a whole. In the process, I would pay attention to what comes up in you where you are certain, where fears and doubts have sway, where the delicate places are and support your deepest knowing. Once you were aligned with that and had your stride, my part in the process might diminish.
I would know that you were on a good track if (1) you felt sure that the book was unfolding in a way that is true and consonant with your being and intention, and (2) I were able to enter into it at every point along the way. One of the benefits that I offer clients is my ability to enter into the experience with them as a reader their first reader. And, having been raised by two writers in love with literature, I have a good intuitive (and trained) sense of literary truth. So if both of us could take the journey of your book and come out with something of substance, I would trust that totally. I hope this answers your question. In actual practice, I always need to look at the writing itself in order to give a really considered and helpful answer.
As for helping you bring the book to the public eye, these days there are many choices, as I'm sure you know. There is the route of being published by an external publisher: and if that were your route of choice, I would help you determine whether you wanted an agent, and if so how you might find an appropriate one. I might also encourage you to research publishers who had already published books remotely like yours. I could help with writing query letters, a book proposal, and the rest of the deal. If you wanted to self-publish, I could help you with that, as well. And as for promoting and marketing your book which, these days, any author seems to have to do I would brainstorm with you about those options that appealed to you, whether online, in the press, and so on. I might also avail you of my new assistant, who is terrific at that part! (Better than me.)
Q: Your Writing from the Deeper Self newsletter is a wonderful and inspiring tool. Can you talk with our readers about the reason you decided to do this work? What calls to you, excites and delights you, and keeps you coming back for more?
A: Thank you, I'm so glad that my newsletter affects you that way. That's really a pleasure to hear.
The reason I decided to do this work: some of it is conscious. And some probably isn't. The conscious part is that as I mentioned earlier in the 1980s, my life took a depth-spin, and I needed to explore who I was at a more profound soul-level than I had before. Meanwhile, I had been a book editor for all those years, focusing only on the product. As my own self-explorations opened up and showed me what was inside not only me but, it seemed, all human beings, I had an urgent need to bring my work into a more soul-centered place. Over time, and not always so smoothly, initially, I came to realize that I wanted to go all the way back into the very beginning of the process. Not to be handed a manuscript by a publisher that had been churned out by a non-writer author who was simply an expert in a certain field, and told to "make it read well," but to be present to an available, open-hearted human being and treasure that heart into revealing its treasures in writing. That's probably the shortest true version of the story. And gradually, that's what I have done.
What calls to me, excites me, delights me, and keeps me coming back for more? That is a superlative question, and one that I think we all, as creators, need to ask ourselves periodically, when we get bogged down in the details, or our dramas, and forget. What calls me back, again and again, is the inner experience that if we go deep enough into our hearts, we find wholeness. We find a shared place in which to sit, to dwell, to honor that Source from which creation comes. So for me to be with another human being who has both desire and willingness to mine that rich inner field and bring forth from within themselves something true and beautiful (even if it has hard parts in it), the reading of which can transform the reader's heart that is a holy (and often fun) experience for me. And having all my life been fascinated by the creative process to have a hand in illuminating that creative beauty in my clients, to give it voice and life and shape, and bring joy into the world, that is a very satisfying thing. And I just love my clients. They are wonderful people, I treasure them. They are so courageous, and good, and caring, and talented. Even if they aren't sure of that at the outset, it becomes plain somewhere along the way.
This, to me, is food. I come back to eat.
Q: Can you talk with us about some of the methods you use to help writers find their unique voice?
A: I think that what's unique about Writing from the Deeper Self is that it does not begin with the words. Many people have a concept of a writer as someone sitting before the blank page (or screen) searching for the perfect sentence, and getting frustrated by its refusal to appear. For me, there's a whole nonverbal world inside us that has so much to say, if we are willing to become attentive and quiet enough inside to learn its unique language.
So I begin, with writers, by quieting the mind. Really, most of the doubts and fears come from the level of mind. If we were able just to stay with our hearts and trust what is there, the whole process of writing would be so much easier. (Not to deny the place of the mind; just to give it its proper place.)
When the mind is more quiet which is easy to get to simply by attending to the breath then, putting the focus on the inner experience, I ask clients to pay attention to what is arising inside, and the particular ways in which its shows itself. Some people are very visual: they get images right and left; sometimes they get inner movies! I have one client who is also a painter (I am an artist, too, so I understand this), who can easily see the vivid visual details of a scene inside. I think this visual-imagistic mode can be developed, if someone is interested and doesn't yet have it available. It is a human attribute. Anyone can develop it.
Some people receive memories, seemingly random, fragmented snapshots or vignettes. These, if paid attention to, can begin to point to the story. A lot of deep writing involves trusting the nonlinear process. (I would say that this is true and helpful even in some aspects of nonfiction writing.) It's not always a matter of pre-deciding what you will write, and in what order. There's an inner call, which wants to be heeded; and if you do, it usually will find its way into a complete story at the end. (Not that there aren't things to do to help that clarity and completion come about.)
Some people are sensitive to sound, to music. They sense a rhythm inside, not necessarily a story, yet. They may hear an inner guidance, which may or may not be in words. They may hear dialogue, remembered conversations, or whole new areas of something inside to listen to.
Some people are more sensate. Their bodies speak, they tell them where they are open, closed, hungry, full, wanting, solitary, and so on. These intelligent body-stories provide a source of finding the writing voice.
As you are reading this, you may be trying to see where you fit into all of this. Human beings, when we pay attention to our inner world and capacities, are amazing, amazing creatures. We have so much within us, if we turn our attentions within. We already have ways in which we are spoken to from within, and others can be developed.
I help people find their writing voice by listening to what is being said to them inside, and the specific ways in which it is being said. Then, when that relationship is made and realized, it is not difficult to find words that are as equivalent to the inner experience as possible. And while the usual need for structuring and rewriting still applies, there is something that is just true when you write in this way. You are not "trying" to get at something, you are not posing or performing, you are not writing to have a certain end result come about. You are writing to make that connection with your deeper Self. And in that process, you make room for the Divine to come through you, as you. What other voice do we really want?