I am going to write a book and I have no idea how to start. Some helpful people have told me to “just start writing.” I have found that this is not very helpful. Of course, I understand their point: if you want to write a book you actually have to sit down and write it. I think it’s the enormity of the task that’s got me stalled: it’s “A BOOK!” after all. I know this is the biggest challenge because at this very moment I am actually in the act of writing but since this is “only” a blog post it’s no big deal. Not that it’s easy, it’s just way, WAY more manageable on my fragile, less than confident psyche.
When I think about writing a book, I hold a few key images in my mind. First, it has to be FINISHED. Second, it has to be FANTASTIC. Third, people must LOVE IT. Fourth, it must open the door to a bright and compelling future. In other words, it must be PERFECT. Pretty good recipe for not getting started. I used to think of this blog that way. And then I just started writing. Perhaps I could learn from my own experience. What a concept!
Yesterday morning I went for a run. I don’t carry an iPod when I run because I like to listen to the world as we pass each other by. I also like to let my mind wander. Early in the run, quite unexpectedly, my mind landed on this phrase: “Nobody’s listening. Nobody cares.” There it was; my “non-book writing” subconscious rushing to the surface to keep my company. So much for positive affirmations (sorry, Stuart Smalley). I laughed to myself that if I kept repeating that phrase it was sure to be the hardest, longest run of my life.
Instead, I switched gears and tried on another phrase: “Everybody’s listening. Everybody cares.” I considered this one for a few more strides and it felt really good. It just didn’t ring true. Better than the first, just equally inaccurate. And then I found in myself the ability to do the thing that I have been working on for years now: the ability to move from polarized and limiting thought to thought that carries the seeds of possibility.
I said to myself: “Somebody’s listening. Somebody cares.”
And so I will write the book. I’m really not sure how to start. “Just write,” I suppose. And, knowing that I really could use some help, I called a writing coach. We’re going to talk at 9:00 on Monday morning.
I wasn’t looking for anything on that run. And I found exactly what I needed.
© 2010 David Berry