The two-week Transformational Author Experience is over and I am grateful that I was able to listen to several powerful and learned people who were willing to share their experiences. It left me with mixed feelings about becoming an author. I admired the great speakers, especially the writers who shared their wisdom about the craft of writing. But then it got all muddled up for me…and I don’t know if it’s because I have embraced a Zen-inspired life, or maybe I’m simply an introvert. But all the stuff about promoting and marketing, social media, building an author’s platform, and learning how to be a speaker, made me feel like crawling into a cocoon.
It was great learning though, and I am grateful that I was able to listen to Christine Kloser, Panache Desai and Mark Matousek talk about the process of writing a book.
Transmuting Writer’s Block
Worth sharing with all of you are the thoughts of Christine Kloser on writer’s block. Kloser asked Matousek what his thoughts were on “That perceived thing called writer’s block.”
“Writer’s block doesn’t really exist,” Kloser said, “You could sit down right now and if I told you to write a sentence, you could write a sentence. So writing itself isn’t the block, it’s always something deeper, the lack of word flow is only a reflection of something else happening.”
Kloser asked Mark Matousek how writers can transmute or transform writer’s block, to which Matousek replied, “The best thing they can do in that situation is to write about the fear. Write about the block, write about why they don’t want to write, write about why they don’t have anything to say, or why they think they have nothing to say. Write about their immediate aggravations and stresses and discomforts. We can always write if we’re in the present moment. What happens for a lot of people is when the present moment is complicated, they can’t write, because they’re so preoccupied with what’s going on. And I agree with you that writer’s block is a smokescreen… the best way to puncture that is to write about what’s going on in the moment. Take a Polaroid of yourself in that moment, and ask, ‘How am I?’ ”
Why Write a Book
Seriously, when I realized how much work today’s authors have to do – that they have to wear many hats after finishing their book, I said I would probably never write a book. Today’s writers have to be marketing and social media experts as well – and that’s a problem for someone who is fazed by Facebook. The only reason why I have tweets is because WordPress.com conveniently tweets my blog posts. Admittedly, taking on a marketing persona is not among my priorities.
But Martousek gave such a passionate talk on why we should write a book. He said, “Writing a book may be the most important commitment that you will ever make in your life. Because you’re making a commitment to having a voice. Your book becomes your voice in the world, your bridge to other people in the world. Writing a book gives a sense of self and a connection to our core being, that nothing else that I know of does. So whether or not you’re writing a small book on a small topic, or something grand, it can make a big difference in your life….I say to people: Have courage, lighten up, and dive, surrender to the process and let the process take you forward because there is a mystery at work in the creative process and it’s thrilling and when you’re in it, there’s nothing like it.”
Kloser, for her part said, “I don’t know of a single, more powerful, profound vehicle for transformation than putting yourself through the process of writing, publishing and promoting a book – your book. Straight from the heart, onto the page, whether it is fiction or non fiction, it’s an extension of you, your being.”
Both Kloser and Matousek advised writers to protect their book. Showing the first few pages of your first draft is a no-no, according to the two authors.
“I recommend guarding what you’re doing carefully, especially in the beginning. Let it take root. When you open yourself up to outside opinions, you’re opening it up to a hurricane of criticism. Protect it , the same way that you do with something that’s growing in the ground. Allow yourself to nurture your intimate relationship with the work before you share it. Think of it as your secret. As long as it’s your secret, it can be anything you want it to be.”
Kloser agreed: “I have had clients of mine who made the mistake of going to the person who they most want approval from, but who is least capable of providing it. A lot of authors, especially new authors, make the mistake of taking their work to that very person.”
I still have my reservations about the marketing and social media aspects of writing a book, perhaps even more so after realizing how much work is demanded from authors after their books are published. But I must admit that after hearing Kloser and Matousek discuss the transformative power of writing a book, I did some serious thinking.
And I’m still thinking about it….