Let’s face it, getting a book “out there” is kind of a thing. When I was in the process of publishing my first full book, it didn’t occur to me how big a deal it really was. But once it launched into the world, everyone was congratulating me and getting really excited for me, even strangers. I didn’t realize just how many folks never get through the writing or publishing process—even if they get deep into it, there is always room for giving up or letting life distractions take precedence. I think a lot of that has to do with the drama that will inevitably come up inside ourselves whenever we take the risks of communicating our ideas on a larger level.
Come to think of it, publishing a book is akin to public speaking in terms of the level of vulnerability we step into socially. But guess what? Hundreds of thousands of people have done it. Maybe even millions. And if they could do it, you can too. Here are 5 tips for navigating the internal drama that could keep you from your bestseller—or at least from getting your book out there.
1. Keep your expectations flexible. If this is your first time around the block, be patient with yourself and the publishing professionals who are helping you. Often times, things not going to plan can trigger our inner drama to knock us off our center or to feel like giving up. You may have an idea in your mind about how things are “supposed” to go. That’s great—it means you have a human brain that likes predictability.
Some structure is good to keep things moving forward, but it’s also essential to remain flexible with yourself, with timing and with your collaborators. In fact, you can expect that things will be constantly changing and in flux. Expect surprises, last minute edits, evolving ideas, advances, set backs and recoveries. It doesn’t mean anything about you; it’s just part of the process.
If this is not your first book, the same applies. Keep your expectations in check—just because it went a certain way the first time doesn’t mean it’ll be exactly the same again. The more you can roll with it, the better you will stay in rhythm with how this particular baby wants to come into the world. MANTRA: “I will let whatever happens be okay.”
2. Go by the third-third-third rule. This concept pertains to the inner drama of worries we can drum up about what people will think about our writing and our ideas. A third of the people will LOVE your work, a third will hate/criticize it, and a third won’t even care. So the trick is to focus your mind on the third who will LOVE your work and who need your ideas. Write for them.
If there is a concept, a story, a creative compulsion moving through you it’s because there are people who are waiting for your words to be out there in the world, crawling into their minds as they page through your book, and changing their inner landscape in your unique way. MANTRA: “There are people who need this work—I am writing exclusively for them.”
3. Embrace a willingness to be vulnerable. Sharing our innermost ideas in writing is one of the most defenseless things we can do. It’s not like being in a direct conversation where you can read another person’s reaction and respond to it accordingly. Oh, no. Once your words are in print, bound and stamped with that copyright, you are held to them. R-I-S-K-Y!
Our inner drama exists as a social survival method, telling us what to choose to keep safe and where not to tread for risk of rejection from the tribe. Putting a book out into the world is wildly risky, because people will always judge it—positively or negatively—based on their personal experiences and individual perspectives.
What this means is, it’s not personal. People are just human and will have human thoughts and evaluations. Knowing this, we can allow a willingness to be vulnerable because once the book is out there, it’s not about us anymore.
Make friends with vulnerability—it actually says something about you. Willingness to be vulnerable speaks to your self-authority, integrity and bravery. Bask in the warmth of that. MANTRA: “It’s not personal, it’s just human.”
4. Watch out for the comparison trap. Nothing stirs inner drama like comparing ourselves to others. Whether we judge ourselves to be better than or worse than others, comparisons take us out of the present moment and separate us from our True Selves. We’re mentally busy “over there” with someone else and have essentially jumped ship, abandoning our own self-worth.
Whatever anyone else is doing, has created, or got published has nothing to do with you. And the more time you spend mentally analyzing the less you spend on the value you are bringing with your work. Oh, and by the way, if you think it’s all been said and done before, you’re probably right. There isn’t much out there that’s truly “new”—so you can drop the comparisons about who already did it or who did it better than you.
If an idea is funneling through you, it’s because your unique perspective and voice are needed at this particular time, in this particular way. Recover to your value and your truth. It’s not for no reason that the creative energies picked you—not Sedaris, Grisham or Gilbert—to partner with to bring certain ideas into manifestation. MANTRA: “My unique voice matters—I matter—and I will persevere in giving the world of my distinctive gift.”
5. Let it be fun and easy. When things in life are fun and feel easy, it’s a sign that you are in the flow of where you are meant to be. It’s your energetic guidance system affirming that you are on track with your greater purpose. Now, writing and publishing a book will have it’s ups and downs, which is why it’s so important to listen to what your internal system is saying.
When it’s not feeling fun and easy it’s a sign that you need to shift gears and do something else. If you try to push through and keep going, that’s where the inner drama can get it’s foothold and entice you into worries, expectations, comparing yourself to others, and wanting to just quit the whole darn thing. It’ll lead to frustration and irritation, and that is not an energy you want to create from.
So the trick is to follow what feels good to you. When you are in the groove, rock on! When it’s feeling hard or not-fun, ask yourself, “what would feel good to me now?” Sometimes you just need a breather, a walk to refresh, sleep, food, or something else that feeds your soul. Once your energy is replenished you can return to your writing, and you will groove it out again—and it’ll be fun and easy to boot. MANTRA: “I trust that all things are unfolding in perfect timing and divine order. I will follow what feels good now.”
Applying these concepts will make your writing and publishing process more enjoyable and effective. For more concepts and tools on how to live a drama-free way of life, you can order my new book The Drama-Free Way: A Thought-Management Guide to Navigating Chaos and Thriving, available at Amazon or Barnes & Noble. And for the week of January 11-15 only, you can download it for FREE on Amazon Kindle. I hope you enjoy the read and glean new thoughts and practices that will make your life more joyous and fulfilling overall.
Contributed by: Jennifer Kern Collins