MY WEEKLY BLOG
Writing My Book
About two years ago, I taught my first writing class. I’d been ghostwriting for celebrities for decades, I had a number of bestsellers on the lists, I’d written a book about my healing experiences,, I’d penned my memoir, I’d played around with a couple of novels, and I wanted to share the things I’d learned. Still, I was weak in the knees when I sat down at the front of the room for my first class.
I was filled with anxiety. While I spoke to the class about how to recognize their inner critic, my own inner critic was turning somersaults in my stomach, crowding the thoughts in my brain, scolding me for thinking I had the right to teach anybody anything. I should have left well enough alone and just kept on writing. Why did I decide to put myself out there in the line of fire? I had a full on Imposter Syndrome, certain I was making a big mistake and pretty soon, my students would realize they’d wasted their money.
I offered them a topic to write about, disappeared into my office for forty-five minutes while they wrote, and I spent the entire time battling myself – until it became time for each person to read what he or she had written. As I sat back to listen, I realized why I was doing this. I remembered how vulnerable it felt to read material out loud. I shifted from thinking about myself to encouraging each of my students to tell their stories as they put their truths onto the page. There was laughter and tears. We all talked about each other’s ideas and I understood that I wanted human connection with other people. I wanted discussions. I wanted to hear what others were thinking and writing about. I wanted us all to feel safe with each other and be authentic.
I don’t necessarily believe we teach what we need to learn but I do believe that when we teach, we learn a lot. When someone in my group asked me a question about writing, I was astonished to see that I had an answer or at least a helpful way of looking at things. I drew from my experience in the writing field, remembering how I had overcome certain obstacles and maintained enough discipline in kind ways to keep on writing, no matter how I felt. I wanted to help other people make friends with the writing process and unburden their hearts with secrets that needed sharing, opinions that needed airing. I felt uplifted and realized that I had been wanting to do this for a long time. And I wanted to eventually write a book about writing a book.
When the class was over, we all sat for a while to talk. Nobody wanted to go home. We had all connected and we had all fallen in love. Not romantically, but humanly. We had fallen in love with exposing our hearts and telling the truth in front of other people whom we could trust because we were all in the same rocky boat.
My book, A Friendly Guide to Writing and Ghostwriting, will be available on Amazon on Tuesday, January 14th. I feel excited about sharing my knowledge and my Pearls of Writing Wisdom with whomever is interested. Writing is a path that has given me a career, a way to heal my heart and a wonderful way to use my imagination and creativity to tell stories and connect with other people, something that has been at risk since we are so overwhelmed with technology. Don’t get me wrong. I love my iPhone as much as the next guy. But nothing beats sharing ideas in person with people we care about and respect. Hope you enjoy my book. If you do, please let me know. I welcome hearing your thoughts and ideas and offering some more of my own.