I can now understand the truth of the statement ‘when the pupil is ready, the teacher will come‘, as this is the experience I have having over the last few weeks and the pace is quickening! It has also been the case that those ‘teachers’ have not necessarily been what I would either have expected or wanted had I asked for them; but from each one I have learnt an important lesson.
In some cases the lessons have been eminently practical and these have consisted of ‘how to do …… x, y or z’; in others they have been very personal and have helped me to see aspects of myself that have allowed me to move along nicely in my personal development; and still others have been mindful and have given me the ability to literally ‘change my thinking and perceptions’.
However, what has become clear in the last few days is that they all needed each other to have the greatest impact and that’s what I’d like to explore today.
I was fortunate enough to be sent a copy of ‘You are a Writer‘ by Jeff Goins for review and it was through this book that the clarity of my last paragraph became clear. In the book, Jeff was able to put the dilemma I had experienced over the last few months into a greater perspective for me. Once he had done this he then gave me a very clear plan of action on what to do next.
Now, I don’t know Jeff personally but I sure wish I did because I’d ask him how it was that he knew exactly where I was in my life experience and the conclusions I had already started coming too, it was almost as if he had written the book specifically for me as it pinpointed each one of the mental gymnastics I had wrestled with and then provided me with a set of answers that allowed me to make some significant changes in the way I present in the world.
The premise of ‘You are a Writer‘ is explained by the sub-title ‘now start acting like one‘ and this has been my dilemma until very recently. I have written a couple of blog posts already this year that have pointed to the fact that although I have written and published for many years it is only this year (2012) that I have actually realised that I am, in fact, a writer and an author. Up until this point I have told all who knew me that my dream was to be an author without realising I had already achieved it. Unlike Jeff, I didn’t have the tough love of a friend to explain to me that I already was.
Even before I read the book I had reached this conclusion – just! What has been so powerful though was that in the reading of the book I realised three things:
1. I had been a writer for longer than I had thought – my first website went live in the mid 1990’s and I had written a booklet in 1997 which women have downloaded ever since.
2. That I have already created something meaningful and enduring which is my legacy for the future. Jeff helped me to realise that I already have a platform from which to share things ; that I already have a brand that people trust and that the channels of communication are already in place. What I’m talking about is, of course, the Hysterectomy Association.
3. That unless I embraced my identity, accepted the insights I have received and finally believed I was a writer, that I would never truly be happy and fulfilled.
Jeff challenges the writer to accept the role and to engage with the world in a meaningful way, to create something worthy of longevity and influence. It was as I read these exhortations from Jeff that I realised that even though the platform, the brand and channels were already in place, I had not been bold enough to claim them as my own.
Instead I had chosen to hide behind a faceless façade for fear of being challenged and ridiculed. People only found out that the Hysterectomy Association was me by default.
Unlike Woman on the Edge of Reality, there was little on the website that connected it to me personally and it is clear from some emails I receive that visitors to the site can think we are just another charity or piece of the NHS, believing (wrongly) that we are funded and have a huge bank staff sitting waiting.
So, following the challenge set by Jeff, I set about reclaiming my place and with the actions I took I felt like I was ripping away a bit of the mask I had worn when I was pretending to be something I wasn’t. At the end of my efforts I found that I had finally claimed the real me – the author, the writer that I am.
To say the change I have undergone has been profound would be an understatement and it would be unfair to suggest that this has been down to a single intervention by one single ‘teacher’. It has been a process of development and Jeff’s book happened to come along at exactly the right time for me to really understand what he was explaining and why it would be effective. It was also the book that allowed me to understand how lessons from other ‘teachers’ fitted in to the whole.
Without it I would probably have come to some similar conclusions – eventually, but they would not have had the power to make me change my behaviour in a way which can only be positive in the future. I’m sure that without his challenge I would have remained happy to be faceless and would have ‘failed to live up to my calling’.
I would strongly advise new writers and authors get a copy sooner rather than later if only to avoid the years of procrastination and lack of awareness that many of us experience as we struggle to accept the title ‘writer’. It will tell you succinctly how to build a platform and a brand and how to communicate in a way which is meaningful to both you, and your readers and it will tell you how to truly develop courage and become the author you know you are destined to be.