Next Step after Writer's Block
It’s been twelve years since I wrote and self-published my first book black and (A)broad: traveling beyond the limitations of identity. The decade-long hiatus I gifted myself was meant as an emotional refuge while I processed a severe case of writer’s block. And what is writer’s block but identifying with and internalizing self-sabotaging beliefs about who I am, what I’m capable of and what it really means to write and publish a book. It took me twelve years to understand…no…to know that writing and publishing aren’t inherently problematic. I had been projecting my internal insecurities outward onto writing and publishing.
Though I continued to write articles for a local magazine and to write in my journal daily, I promised myself I wouldn’t write another book until I'd found a topic that called to me like the first time (using my life story to inspire black women to travel). The other condition was to wait until I could write without so much resistance. And what is resistance but telling myself I can't, shouldn't, am not good enough to write a book. Resistance was so tenacious I felt like I stripping a hardwood floor with a sheet of sandpaper. Who would look forward to that?
Well, last summer I attended an online workshop designed to inspire writers like me to write the book we were born to write. The hosts were none other than Kelly Notaras, author of The Book You Were Born to Write and Tracy Reid of Hay House, the publisher of self-help, inspirational and transformational books.
Before I get into that, you've got to check this out. Almost twenty-five years ago I’d just moved to the Netherlands with my boyfriend (now husband and father of our three kids). A recent diagnosis of ulcerative colitis had me down with the blues. One of my dearest friends had recommended I buy Louise Hay’s classic Heal Your Body, a scrawny little book that packs a powerful punch. It's basically a list of diseases and their emotional causes. What made me stand up and take notice were the affirmations that accompanied each condition. Whenever I felt down about what was happening inside my body, I practiced affirming that I was “part of the perfect rhythm and flow of life”, that I could “easily release that which I no longer needed” and that I was free of the past.
While repeating affirmations didn’t heal the colitis, it most certainly changed how I regarded illness. It helped me take the focus off of what I thought was wrong with me so that I could put positive attention on thoughts that made me feel better, even if only for a minute or two. Herein, I learned, lies the power of an affirmation. Heal Your Body is still on the top of the stack of inspiring books I keep beside my nightstand.
Fast forward fourteen years. I’m qualifying with iPEC London to be a life coach. On the first day we’re asked to affirm where we are in five years. One of my three affirmations was to be the Louise Hay of life-story writing. That day I set an intention to teaching midlifers how to write their life stories for self-reflection and self-awareness. And that’s just what I’ve been doing.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I believe in synchronicity, that there are universal forces connecting people and experiences. I attended that workshop because I have a good idea and a strong desire to publish it. As a bonus, all attendees could submit a book proposal with the possibility of winning a publishing contract with Hay House. Although only one writer would win the contract, all entries would receive detailed feedback from experienced book editors. From September 2022 until March 2023 I put my butt in a chair and put my positive attention on writing the proposal.