Shrek is one of my favourite films. And in Shrek 2, Shrek and Fiona take a long journey to Far Far Away so that Fiona can introduce her husband to her parents, which doesn’t go too well. During their trip to Far Far Away, Donkey, who is annoying as hell, keeps on asking ‘Are we there yet?’ I cannot help thinking that as aspiring authors we tend to be like Donkey, wondering when we are going to finish that first draft, then when we are going to find an agent, when we are going to get published. Then when we are going to become successful and leave our day jobs. It all seems to take too long.
This week, the thought came to me that if I had one piece of advice I would give my younger self, it would be to slow down and enjoy the journey. Hard to do when you are ambitious and you think you have come to change the world. But here is what really happens with authors. Before we start to write our transformational books, we have to experience life. And also, we have to learn our craft. It takes time. Contrary to popular belief, no one is born a talented author. There are no book fairies that bestow “the gift” upon a few chosen ones and leave the rest of us behind. Not even those who are picked as good at writing in school have a better chance to become successful authors later in life.
Becoming an inspirational author also takes much more than that. First of all, it takes overcoming challenges. Maybe you were a misfit as a child and got bullied a lot and you could have let that crush you but you didn’t and instead you will become an inspirational speaker that goes into schools to talk to kids who have it rough. Or perhaps you became homeless when your parents threw you out of the house for being transgender, and now you have become an activist for gender diversity and you are on a mission to educate parents about a more gender friendly parenting approach. Or you are a successful business entrepreneur that brings a fresh approach to an area of expertise and your book will help validate that new paradigm. The world needs you.
But before you can change the world, you need to write that book. And it can sometimes feel like an impossible task. So when you embark on the beautiful journey that is the writing of a book, remember that the destination, the publishing of the book and its success, is not the most important aspect of your book. The actual writing of the book will allow you to pull all the pieces of your life together and make it into a a work of art. The process of healing the shame, or feelings of inadequacies that came from living through those challenges, is where most of the personal transformation will happen for you. This takes time. It is much easier to write fiction where you have no emotional investment in it. You, on the other hand, have this huge emotional investment in your message because in essence, it is you.
So here is what I would say to the budding writer that I was twenty years ago: ‘Trust the process. Trust life. You are the hero of your own story. It will all happen in divine timing. Keep plodding. Keep writing. Keep learning. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Don’t give up. Don’t let failures discourage you. Pick yourself up and get back to your writing. Be the tortoise, not the hare. You will get there.’
If you need support on your writing journey from someone with twenty years of experience but also a background in healing and therapy, reach out to me. You can message me on my Facebook page, on the top right hand corner of this blog.
To your writing,
(C) Ange de Lumiere 2018