I got to a point in the book writing where I said, why in fucktown did I ever begin this mammoth soul crushing work? What the hell was I thinking? Clearly, this book writing life held within its encompassing tentacles the makings of masochism— self-inducing pain, head banging, nerve rattling, oh just fuckin shoot me now and put me out of my misery kind of feelings. The pronouncement of the writing was so much easier than the daily slogging effort of work required to compose a book.
The longer I have gone at book writing, the more inspirational adages have crystallized with applicable sense: if it were easy, everyone would do it; hard work pays off; nothing worth having comes easy; dreams don’t work unless you do; do what scares you; don’t give up; slow and steady wins the race, yada yada yada.
All the frustrating feelings, all the hopeful feelings, all the excitement of seeing your from-the-ground-up creation take shape, unforeseen obstacles that sucker punch, all these things. They all come together. Steadily, these things have merged, producing a kind of symbiosis, reminding me of the helpless devotion I have for writing and now, the writing process.
Even on days when pragmatic thoughts whisper warnings, outmoded programming of fearful mind-ramble, my writing love only expands further. Also, there are angels! Not just the other-worldly kinds—muse, spirit, God, Goddess, Universe, Divine Source, inner-child, dream bodies, visions—but angels in extra forms, such as singers, writers, family, friends, strangers, and other humans; animals, books, songs and playlists too.
In meditation, a few months ago, the angels pointed me in the direction of Self. They said, go deeper and I rolled my eyes …. at first.
I resisted further entanglement with such love. Self-love? Meh. Initially, the idea of a love journey made me balk. What might people think? Squirming under that notion like a boy resisting the urge for a kiss from his mommy in public. I already loved, I whined. I am a mother and a wife, I know all I need to know about love. I’ve made mistakes, apologies, amends. I’ve known selfishness and self-loathing. I found self-acceptance, found humility. I already found grace. What more could there be, angels?
Oodles! Don’t even get me started! [more on that to come in a July post].
In the meantime, I can tell you, I am not the same writer I was three months ago. Nor am I the writer of six months ago. Unlike man-made time, time along the enlightenment process, where one intentionally soul searches, relying on spiritual awakenings to grow themselves up, this kind of time moves more quickly. Inspired messages can be instantaneous, thinking thoughts can move at warp speed.
Hence, as for the woman I was in 2017? Fuhgeddaboudit! I am nowhere near being the Maria I used to be twelve months ago. The book writing journey has produced insight I couldn’t even begin to imagine last year. I’m pretty sure the lessons gleaned along the creative journey are different for each writer.
Here are my top ten lessons learned as a first time book writer:
- It takes hubris. Yah! Audacity. In case you missed it, I used to be apologetic. I used to think I needed permission to stand in certain spaces—socially, professionally, intellectually, and even aesthetically. Now? Not so fuckin much, homie. I belong in any space I choose. I’m the Kanye West of book writing, bitches! Watch out!
- You will make impulsive mistakes. Uh huh. Like stumbling onto a research article you think your book can’t live without, paying the $36 download fee, and belatedly realizing, a little more patience and deeper search would have led to free comparable content. *Sigh*
- Your ego must be told to sit down and shut up. Because you will have to throw beautifully written pages of prose into the trash for editing sake.
- You will want to cry over spilt milk. Case in point— A few weeks ago, while out on errands, an idea struck. I grabbed a seat in a nearby cafe, opened my trusty laptop, wrote two pages of epic shit, and saved it in a non-book-draft folder. Days later, when I was ready to retrieve this document, I lost 45 minutes of my life searching for it. I moaned and groaned until a small voice whispered, it wasn’t so epic, Maria, quit your bellyaching and rewrite it better.
- Reading replenishes, inspires and teaches me. Reading is essential to my writing life. Some writers temporarily banish other books from their own book writing world. I am not that kind of writer. I need the camaraderie of books as I write. The reading keeps my mind limber, feeds my soul and warms my heart. (I’ve also learned to resist loving the popular writers in favor of the occasionally less lauded writers who resonate more with my heart.)
- Writing blocks are NOT random. It has taken years for me to understand and appreciate this. If I hit a wall with my writing flow, I now take it as a sign that I need to pause. I might need a break (of a day or more) from the book or I might need to reevaluate a particular idea thread. It could be anything. But writing blocks are, in fact, my friends and I’ve learned to give them the respect they deserve (thank you, angels).
- Free-writing in my journal for a few minutes every morning is not such a cornball activity after all (thank you Julia Cameron). Nuggets of wisdom have been known to show up there.
- Tears will come. I’m good with crying, finally. Much respect to the cathartic mind clearing caused by tears. Much respect.
- Triggers will happen. You have to be a robot to be unmoved by areas of your own writing content. If your heart is at all active in the writing, you are going to be triggered. Emotions are great clues to writing magic.
- Stay off of social media as much as possible. And turn off the propaganda box otherwise known as television. Combined, these two engines are known to kill brain cells and crush human souls.
At long last, I feel completely FREE in this crazy, beautiful and chaotic world. I am free to be myself in all the ways I want to show up, shadow as well as light. The freeness informs my writing in a new and brilliant way.
The binary rules of the pervading culture no longer apply, I get to be all the things; there is no more this or that, one or the other. I get to feel everything, I get to express it all. I am demure and slutty, shy and bold, black and white, angelic and devilish; I can feel delightful and painful, happy and rageful, wise and absentminded— the possibilities are endless!
Thus, the book writing continues. I love you, sweet friend. Thanks for following my creative journey.
P.S. For the podcast listeners, a new episode will be posted sometime this week, I promise.
P.P.S. A few of my musical angels lately are:
- Christina Aguilera— Maria
- HRVY— Personal
- All things James Blake
- SONDAR— Ready
- Chet Faker— Gold (Flume Re-Work)
- All things Jai-Jagdeesh
- India.Arie— SongVersation: Medicine (the whole album)
- Beyonce— Sandcastles
- Bon Iver— Holocene
- OneRepublic— I Lived
- Enigma— Return to Innocence
- Deva Premal— Om Namo Bhagavate
- Dua Lipa— IDGAF
~The End ~