“The best way to become acquainted with a subject is to write a book about it.”
For a writer, I don’t write much about writing, but I thought, since The Love Mindset is almost out of the birth canal, that I’d take a moment and share my experiences. Here are the 10 most important lessons I’ve learned from writing and publishing a book:
1. Fear and doubt are dragons to be slain
I once thought that, if only my work was “good enough,” I would feel nothing but overwhelming pride in it. For that reason, I wrote one and a half unpublished books before I turned 21 and three vaguely related books before I churned out The Love Mindset.
Shame hides in all sorts of packages. Everyone who has ever publicly produced anything of value has had to face those voices that scream “You’re not good enough!” and “You don’t know enough!” Facing them hurts. It hurts a lot. You can create something, look fear in the eye, and shirk away, but it’ll be right back there next time you try to get anywhere. Face the fear. Face it bravely. It’s all part of the journey.
2. Being courageous means being criticized
Once you allow yourself to stand up to your fears of not being good enough, then people start projecting their own fears onto you. Especially those who say they love you will fear losing you, so they’ll unintentionally try to keep you small just to keep you for themselves.
Find a tribe. Find people who believe in you and who will not, ever, tell you that you can’t or shouldn’t. Find people who admire your courageous, bright light instead of being blinded by it. Then, once your critics see you’re serious, their criticism might just melt into inspiration.
3. It will never, ever be perfect
Honestly, this was hard for me. My parents and the school system taught me that I could and should be perfect. I relished that feeling. I bathed in the glory of 100%. Then, I became an author. Where’s the 100%? Where’s the ceiling? When will it be perfect?
Anytime I found an error or a flaw, I would bathe in shame. Anytime I made a mistake, my heart would break. About a year and hundreds of mistakes later, I’ve realized that perfection is a key component of all systems that suffocate learning.
In the real world, there’s no ceiling. Once I learned to see past my own conditioned fear, I realized that imperfection is a beautiful, beautiful thing.
4. Art and life are inseparable
Not just with writing, but with all art, there is no line that divides your creative outlet and your reality. Your outlet is a direct mirror of your reality. Whatever energy breeds in your day to day world will immediately show itself to your readers.
Everything I ever wrote that was full of authentic emotion got an authentic emotional reply. Everything I approached halfheartedly got no reply. There’s no fooling the system. If you want to improve your art, improve yourself.
5. People are desperate for authenticity
I tried for some time to be a distant authority. I thought I could teach about love and spirituality without sharing the experiences that had brought me to my epiphanies. That failed. It failed horribly.
All of the parts of my past that I thought I could brush under the carpet, I now proudly display as my scars from the battle. And people love those. People want heroes with scars because people have scars.
6. Advice is the cheapest commodity
And people will try to give it to you at every turn. The more you make it into the public spotlight, the more people will knock at your door offering their opinion. Remember that everyone has an opinion and sharing it is the easiest thing in the world.
Get inspired by people who have actually been there and learn from your experiences. Believe those who believe in you and, when you do take negative feedback, don’t involve your self-worth in it.
7. Confusion means you’re doing it right
I used to bask in the feeling of certainty. I thought if I could control everything, I would be happy.
Now, I pretty much always feel like I’m floating off the surface of the earth, never quite feeling like I’ve got my feet secured on the ground. I learn and grow every day.
Learning is not a process of certainty. This is something I never learned at school. Learning requires a willingness to be confused, lost, and courageous. If you feel like you have no idea what’s going on, stay there. That’s where the magic happens.
8. Writing about it isn’t enough
I wrote a book about healing and happiness. I knew how to theorize and philosophize unconditional love. Then what?
Right after I finished writing my last draft, I began to understand that practice and theory are very different. When I began to go out and lead workshops, give speeches, and coach people, I learned that writing about inspiration isn’t enough.
In order to really learn what I was teaching, I had to be willing to become a student of the same process I was teaching again and again.
9. Writing a book isn’t the hard part
I used to think that writing a book was the only thing I had to do. I thought that was the hard part. Honestly, writing a book is easy. All you do is sit down, find your inspiration source, and flow from it.
What’s hard is putting it out there in the public eye, facing your own issues of self-worth, responding to critics, and learning from failure.
10. You must be inspired to inspire
Writer’s block (or any other art block) is often a result of too much output and not enough input. It’s taken me many evenings of sitting in front of blank pages, trying desperately to glue together old ideas, before I realized that new ideas come from new material. I need to be inspired by what inspires me.
I may spend my time writing about self-love, spirituality, and peace of mind, but I don’t draw inspiration from that sort of literature. I am most turned on by philosophy, psychology, music, and real human stories. If you want to inspire people, find what makes you come alive and access it frequently. Your own inspiration will spill into their hearts.
And don’t ever forget that you’re strong, powerful, and indestructible. You can do anything you want to, and you’re worth every bit. ♥