on starting (to write an actual book)

January 30, 2018

We have lickety-split fibre-optic broadband.

However, due to 125-year-old unfathomably thick walls, the wi-fi signal within our Old Lady house is awful. Especially in my office.

In early January, I received an almost £100 bill for my mobile data charges for the three weeks since we moved, and a lightbulb went off in my brain.

I have been looking at stuff on my phone in my office for literally hours. Clearly, there is no internet emergency that I need to keep tabs on. So what the hell have I been doing?

My mission this year is to write a book based on my research and coaching work into self-doubt. I’ve spent the last six months changing my entire business to enable me to have the time to write.

Except I haven’t actually been doing any writing. Because I have no time. Because of all the bloody scrolling.

Procrastination is an old dance for me and I know I am usually protecting myself from some perceived risk. What I also tend to do is procrastinate from looking too closely at the actual procrastination, lest I find something ‘tricky’.

I know.

Journal in hand, I wrote myself some questions to try to dig a little deeper and realised that I have been avoiding starting to write, because I am waiting…

Perhaps for some magical ‘right time’ to begin. Some genius first line of my future best-selling book (ha!). I want to get it ‘right’. I think I secretly want it to be easy and flowy and I know it won’t be. I want this to be really good. And helpful. I don’t want to let you down. Or me.

So I have been waiting for all conditions to be perfect. Meanwhile, I am not writing and that is breaking my heart.

This is EXACTLY how I felt when I discovered coaching.

It felt so right to be doing this work, but I just wanted to be in the place where it felt natural and easy. I wanted to be a good coach. Excellent, even.

Okay, honestly, I wanted to help all of my clients make some massive life-changing transformation and credit me. Oh and I wanted to be financially wealthy, and have a four-hour work week and float around on my cloud of abundant enlightenment (in a floral crown: natch).

So every time I came up against a challenge, I faltered.

It felt a bit shit to discover that much like every other creative endeavour without a script, choosing to become self-employed was really about learning how to sit in ambiguity, learn humility and realise that everything is going to unfold at its own pace (and everything would take much longer than I had optimistically predicted).

Last week I had a long chat with my dear friend Jane who is miles into her first book draft. As she described her writing practice I had a huge realisation.

I need to love the process.

I need to remember the magic of putting uncertain, partial thoughts onto the page so I can play with them. To trust that there will be moments where words, sentences, perhaps even entire paragraphs click into place. To believe I have something to offer here that is helpful and thoughtful.

While holding it all lightly and remembering there will be entire sections of the book I will spend months labouring over, that will be unceremoniously cut from the final edit.

That I just need to show up. That no one will care about this book as much as I do. And that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be (it’s precisely what it feels like to be self-employed).

The morning after my conversation with Jane, I cracked open a new journal, immediately after my meditation, before I had opened any screens.

On that first day, I wrote seven whole pages by hand.

It felt SO good, and I’ve done it every day since. A whole week of rough notes and ideas and questions.

I am just playing with ideas, what I want to say, but not how to say it.

I’ve spent five hours this morning, structuring everything into a Scrivener file.

After years of stumbling alone in the dark while I was setting up my coaching practice, I know just how incredibly valuable it is to allow myself to be supported. My birthday present to myself was coaching sessions with a patient and kind book coach who believes in me and in this project.

I have a pen and some paper. The beginnings of a writing practice. Some excitement in my belly.

I have everything I need.

So I am going to string these morning pages together, one at a time.

I am going to write this book.

Leave a reply

11 Responses to “on starting (to write an actual book)”

  1. Michelle GD says:

    I’m reading this months after you’ve written it, but wanted to say…oh, I understand! (I’m in a similar stage) Your words “I need to love the process”…I’m tucking them into my heart. So much trust in those words, so much trust in an endeavor like this.
    Wishing good things for you as you string your words together, as you show up and do this work that only you can do. I can’t wait to buy your book.
    (also…I love that your dad leaves comments on your blog posts. xo)

  2. Jeff Lockey says:

    I have known you for a while now! I know you will achieve this goal. You have everything you need. Maybe you are trying too hard? Relax “Let It Be”. Love always Dad

  3. leonie says:

    And I am excited to read it when you’re done.
    Cheering you on from here x

  4. Sophie says:

    Oh Lord Sas – see also “Sophie flails her way through year one of her PhD.” I guess we’re all in this together, right?

    • Sas says:

      We ARE all in this together. And I found it super helpful to remember that I haven’t written a book before so its totally natural to feel like I am flailing around 🙂
      You’ve got this love!

  5. Lilja says:

    You just put into words what I have been struggling with.Thank you for being you.

  6. Donna says:

    Your words were the perfect start to my day. The telling of your story, these first pages and thoughts of your book, are genuine. Your vulnerability helps me to face my own. I am happy you have just started, happy for you that you are falling in love with the process, and happy to know that this book will exist for people like me.