A client recently told me that she wants to write a book. To have a place where she could document her journey through severe depression and how awakening her creativity helped her out of it.
I love the idea and feel like it could help so many people.
BUT here’s the thing I told her to watch out for:
The big idea of the “book” could be enough to keep her not actually living the sentiment of what she wants to write in it. (i.e. not practicing her own creative expression or sharing her journey with others)
In other words, having such a big goal or creative project in mind can often leave you at a deadstop - not actually practicing the thing - because you’re consumed with logistics and planning and questioning yourself.
We can often spend way too much time doing any or all of the following (and I know because I’ve been there) -
- Wondering how you’ll ever get a publisher, or maybe if you should self-publish, but also wondering how that even works?
- Looking at all the great books you have on your shelf and immediately feeling like a deflated balloon, because you’re judging your abilities and doubt if your book will ever be good enough to be on someone’s shelf
- Setting aside time to write at a cafe and feeling really great about sitting there with your laptop while you sip lattes but then you keep erasing what you wrote and starting over again because it’s just not flowing.
At the end of every coaching program I lead, I encourage my clients to share a project or a piece of their creative expression - even if it’s a rough sketch or work in progress. The point is the process not the product.
When it came time for this particular client with the book idea to share something in the final session of our group program, she came out with something beautiful - and it wasn’t the book.
She told us a brief story of her depression and how bad it got, and how driven she was to help other people who might be going through the same thing. She then put up a video that showed the paintings she had done during her depression, and in the backdrop it was her voice reading the poetry she wrote.
I was brought to tears.
Having been so deeply moved by what she shared, I encouraged her to do something before (or during) beginning the actual book.
I asked her how she could start sharing these gifts with more people NOW - not later, when she gets her book published.
One idea that came to mind from me was:
Starting a YouTube channel and publishing weekly motivational videos - just like she did for us - simply showing an image of her painting while she spoke in her meditative voice. (Can you imagine someone at home and depressed and googling to stumble upon something like this? Something that could help them feel less alone and more hopeful?)
The act of publishing regularly to YouTube or other social media would accomplish what the book would accomplish - reaching people with her story - only it would do it in a more direct and efficient way. And at the same time, the feedback she’ll get from people, and the community she’ll create in doing so, will become a platform for sharing the book down the road. She’ll probably even learn a lot about what wants to be written IN the book through the process of creating more and sharing it with people.
I share this story with the intention that you ask yourself a similar question -
Is there a big project on the line that’s actually in the way of you doing your art or sharing your art NOW?
Is your dreaming and planning becoming a mode of hiding?
Believe me, I know, creating and sharing your stuff to real live people can be terrifying. But that is the fuel of the fire. Without doing the actual work, there will be no book or show or company.
Take small steps.
People out there need what wants to be expressed through you.
Even if it feels messy, unpolished, or not book-worthy.
The truth is, it’s more worthy than you’ll ever know.
your creative doula,
p.s. Part of the reason why I put my own book launch date on hold last year was for this very reason. I needed more time to actually do and develop the work. And now that I took that time, I’m FINALLY working with an editor and getting ready to launch this baby later this summer. Had I not allowed myself to take more time, the book would’ve been a piece of crap. Ok, I’m being dramatic. But it wouldn’t have had the depth it currently has. I can’t wait to share it with you. Stay tuned.
p.p.s. Did you hear about my latest offering? I still have some spots open for 1-1 Personal Power Dance sessions.