This question came up with a client recently. She had been writing a book she wanted to write fifteen years ago but the book I felt she should be writing now was completely different. She was nearly finished with her book and felt the need to complete what she had started. I understand. However, as the conversation continued, I highlighted to her that finishing a book is actually the beginning, not the end. Then comes the promotion and the launching into the world. The marketing. (Dirty word for some). How can you market a book that has an old energy and that no longer feels aligned to what you are doing?
If you look at it this way, the choice is a lot easier. Even though I hate unfinished projects myself, the answer is clear. There is no point writing a book that is no longer aligned with you, no matter how much work you have put into it. This does not solve the issue of how, though. Let’s dive into that.
Tip number 1 – Step out of ego
Our ego does not like change. Our ego loves our comfort zone. It also hates not being in control, so it is likely to fight tooth and nails to keep that book that you started and that has now become familiar territory. How do we step out of ego? Meditation is a good way to do that. Meditation softens the ego. It can be guided meditation or just sitting in silence. Possibly journal with it. I never encourage clients to fight the ego. It is too clever. The best is to engage it. I would tell my ego “OK, I know I have spent a lot of time and energy on this book but it does not feel aligned anymore”. Allow your ego to tell you why it disagrees, write it down. Give your ego a half hour appointment, then say the time is over. Venting the fears and limiting beliefs of the ego, such as for example “you never finish what you start” will help release the conflict. You could then explain to your ego that things are different this time. You are doing it for the right reason. Make the decision to stop writing that book and get on with step 2.
Tip number 2 – Tune in with your body
Now that you have made the decision to stop writing that book that does not resonate with you anymore, how do you feel physically? Sometimes you just have to stop agonising over whether what you are doing is the right thing and make that decision and then see how you feel in the days after. Does your body feel lighter? Does it feel like this weight has actually been taken off your shoulders? Writing a book that you think you should write when it is not aligned with your business is bound to bring you down. It makes you feel misaligned. Deciding to keep an open mind as to what is the right thing opens up options and can make you feel like there is more space to breathe.
Tip number 3 – Do not see it as a failure
I had to go through this process myself. When your ego sees that it has lost the battle of keeping you bound to a book that no longer resonates, it is going to try to get back at you by making you feel like a failure. That old voice will yak at you that you are a failure, that you never finish what you start, etc. As Nelson Mandela said “I never lose. I either win or learn.” In your writing career, every book is an experience and an opportunity to learn. I had to learn twice that the books I was writing were not the ones I “should” be writing, because my mind had taken over and i wasn’t tuned into the bigger picture. I still learnt very valuable lessons from that experience. My writing improved. And I can always pick up those books when the time is right.
Tip number 4 – Write a list of benefits writing that book has had for you
As I wrote earlier, every experience brings learning and benefits. Instead of focusing on the loss and the failure, write a list of ten positives that have come out of that experience. When this happened to me, all I could see was failure, but I now see that this has enriched my practice as a book coach because I am able to show my clients the way and help them soothe their egos. I liken it to divorce. Yes it is a difficult decision and there is a sense of grief attached to it, but ultimately, if it is done right, you will feel better. I certainly did. The feeling was amazing, even if I took much longer to decide to leave my husband that I should have taken.
Tip number 5 – Remember that making mistakes are actually the fastest way to learn
I used to think you had to do it right or not do things at all. This came from my mother who is a perfectionist. Now I see things very differently. I see that my mistakes are like jewels of accelerated learning. The failure is not the mistake, the failure would be to fail to see the gold in the experience. Taking risks gives you a better chance of success than staying in a comfort zone and sometimes the comfort zone is hanging on to your mistakes. Does that make sense? And the ego will justify it because it hates being wrong. In truth, there is no right or wrong, but I have noticed one thing amongst writers, is that all too often, we write the books we think we should write as opposed to the books that our hearts want to write. Maybe we try to impress someone. Or we try to do the right thing. Successful authors, however, write the books that fires their passion. And if the book you are writing no longer does that, then it is time to move on.
I hope you have enjoyed this blog. If you would like to find out if you are writing the right book, why not book a session with me. I only work with female authors. Here is the link to pay for your session.
To your writing,