Every creative project has a backstory, a truth behind the curtain, a core reality that deviates from the flashy final product we see at the end. In February 2016 I will release my first book, Robot Coconut Trees: Break Through Writer’s Block, Unleash Your Creative Voice, and Become the Writer You Already Are, and before it comes out I want to pull back the curtain on how this book came to be.
I did not sit down and peacefully write a book with a halo over my head and a rush of creative inspiration. I did whatever it took. I sabotaged myself along the way. And the entire messy, sacred, convoluted process was necessary for me to birth this book into the world:
I decide that if I want to take my writing seriously, I will need to write a book. I don’t know what genre my writing fits into, so I float along lost and genre-less, experimenting on my obscure little blog.
After researching how traditional publishing works, I think that I need to write a book proposal and pitch that proposal to agents and publishers before I can write a book. I start creating a book proposal, but I can’t muster up the passion to pitch a book I haven’t even written yet. My words fall flat.
I ditch the book proposal idea when I realize that I don’t want to convince strangers in New York publishing houses that I’m capable of writing a great book. Life is too short. I already suspect that I can write a book. I just want to begin.
I decide to write a book about creative writing, so I fly to New Mexico by myself to hunker down and write. I write 15,000 inspired words about the creative process within 4 days.
As soon as I return home, amnesia sets in. I leave the New Mexico files on my computer unopened and revert back to life as normal, not even thinking about the words I wrote on that trip. I settle back into the mindset of hmmm, I should write a book someday as though my trip never occurred.
I can’t rationally explain this period of time. How could I go on a dramatic cross-country writing vacation, then forget about what I wrote? Fear? Avoidance? The belief that the publishing process is just a long useless road to nowhere?
At any rate, those 15,000 words vanish from my memory and patiently wait on my hard drive.
I am antsy with my life and want to crawl out of my skin. I do a visioning meditation in hopes of revealing what my next big creative project should be.
In my meditation, I see a book cover with my name on it, and the words “self-published e-book.” The cover looks like a creative mishmash of warm paint splashes, with words playfully scrawled over the background colors.
I had never considered self-publishing before, and I had never read an e-book before, but I trust this vision. I buy a Kindle the next day and announce my self-publishing plans to the world. For real this time.
February – April 2015
I start writing a general self-help book about breaking through stuckness, with the plan to self-publish it, and I write nonstop.
My book is coming along, but something doesn’t feel right. The more I try to convince myself the book is fine, the more shaky my confidence becomes.
April – July 2015
A tarot reading from a friend confirms something that I already know but don’t want to believe: I am being inauthentic in the writing of this book. I am writing around the edges of the truth in an attempt for everyone to like me, and I am missing the holy juicy center.
It’s time for me to change directions. As if for the first time, I get the idea: I kindof want to write a book about creative writing instead.
Then a pause. Wait…. didn’t I already write a bunch about creative writing when I was in New Mexico?
I re-discover the 15,000 words of writing from New Mexico, shocked that I have let them sit on my computer for so long. I salvage them and add to them and write like crazy, and they become the first draft of Robot Coconut Trees.
July – September 2015
I finish my first draft and hand it off to a few test readers and a professional editor. I learn about editing, support, trust, rewriting, self-esteem, and picking your circle wisely.
I give my finished manuscript to a book cover designer. With the help of my family, I pick out the cover design for my book. It looks exactly like the cover that I saw in my original visioning meditation:
I become afraid that the cover of my book is more amazing than the book itself, and I wonder if everyone who opens the book will be disappointed by the words inside.
My blog goes viral worldwide. I become fixated on what my Perfect Book Launch needs to look like. I pull out a giant chunk of my eyelashes, anxiously scramble around in my head for a while, and finally ditch the desire for a Perfect Book Launch. At this point, I just want my life [and my book launch] to feel fun.
I steep myself in abundance meditations and talk to the Universe daily: You were the one that gave me the impulse to write. You were the one who gave me the vision to write this particular book. Don’t abandon me now. All eyes on the clock as I keep seeing 11:11, 12:12, 7:07, 3:33.
Presumably, my book will launch: it will be available as a paperback through Amazon and as an e-book through the Kindle Store. And so far, that’s all I really know
Except that I hope that you love it. And I hope it changes your life. And I hope it guides me to my next big creative project – whatever that might be. I can’t wait to share this book with you.
Peace and Crashing Through Comfort Zones,
Want more? Sign up for my e-mail list for sporadic inspiration & an announcement e-mail as soon as my book is released!