The other day, I started a document entitled, “MY BOOK.”
That is most definitely not something I ever envisioned myself doing. I’ve talked about it many times before, but until very recently, I never considered myself a writer, certainly not a good one, and absolutely not one capable of writing a book. Now? Who knows?
I understand that anyone can, and does, write a book these days. Self-publishing is realistic and relatively accessible to most folks who want to do it. E-books are everywhere. And even books released through traditional publishing channels are still a thing, if the idea is strong enough, or the author is influential enough.
And in some of those cases, I’m also well aware that a book is just a tool. It’s a way to add “Author” to your LinkedIn profile. Something to hand out at a networking event. Maybe even a passive income stream, as if that were such a thing. So many times, it’s just another thing that feels gross to me in today’s everybody’s-a-guru world, which is one of the reasons I dismissed it for myself.
It’s one of the reasons why my standard reply was a firm, “NO,” for so long when people asked me if I was going to write a book. Like, what? Me? No! Why?!? I knew writing was hard and writers were tormented. I knew I was perfectly capable of continuing to talk to people and not attach any real stress or outcomes to my writing. I knew there were plenty of wonderful resources out there from incredible people, and I didn’t need to worry about muddying the waters.
And then, people kept bringing it up. Sending me snippets of other books or things they were reading, speakers they were hearing, telling me how much X, Y, or Z reminded me of things I had told them, or stuff we had worked on in our coaching together. Or I’d tell them about what I was doing, share the Choice Discovery Movement with them, and they’d go, “Have you ever thought about writing a book?”
It’s been months now of this message continuing to show up for me. Never one to ignore the soft whispers, and sometimes more thunderous shouts, of the Universe, I started to soften to the idea. What if I did think about writing a book? Would that be completely inconceivable?
Of course, the answer is no, it’s not inconceivable. Surprising in regard to how I always perceived myself and my abilities, maybe. But not inconceivable. And I kind of like that.
It’s been a fun exercise to think about in secret. Like, could I really do this? What on earth would I say? How would I structure all of my ideas? Would it be stories? Lessons? Serious? Humorous? And would people get my jokes? Oh my gosh – is my grammar good enough?
I blew it off for so long, it felt a little squishy to actually consider what might happen if I breathed some life into the idea. Squishy why?
Well, because I’ve told myself the same damn story about writing for 20 years, and we love to hang onto those stories, no matter how bad or tired they are. And even in the last two or three years, when I’ve warmed up to the idea that I’m good at writing, I still haven’t allowed myself to entertain the fact that I could be good enough to do it in a way that would go beyond just emails and blogs on the internet. That’s not scary. It’s safe. Anyone can do it. You have no idea if anyone is even reading, and there’s comfort in that.
So really, I was protecting myself.
Of course I was. That’s what humans do. We hang out in the safe spots as much as we can, for as long as we can. Well, for the most part. We do it until that starts to feel squishy too. Until that story finally starts to get a little boring or go a little off track.
Or until we decide it’s time to write a new story.
So maybe, I’m ready to think about writing a new story. Or better yet – to actually start writing it, no matter how unsafe it feels. For me, a book is not safe. A book is more. It’s a little scary, and a little exciting at the same time. Something that feels terrifying, but fun and challenging too. And maybe, at this point, finally right.
None of this is to say that me writing a book is the greatest idea ever. Or that it will be a NYT Best Seller. Or that it’ll ever even see the light of day or another person’s eyes. But it’s a lesson in stretching. In choosing to explore a different path. In choosing to take one story and flip it around, using it to build the basis of a new one.
Because if I can deem this a reality, what else can I do?
It’s a lesson about listening, getting curious about those whispers, about the things you might be meant to put out into the world. You know the things – the stuff you dismiss, just like I did. What’s your old story? And what’s your new one?
Maybe it’s time to write the first few words.