If you want to write a book or publish a novel, you have to make sure you want it for the right reason.
What comes up for you when I ask, "Why do you want a published novel?".
If anything about "wanting to prove something to yourself" comes up, that's going to be a problem.
I can tell you first hand.
I wanted a published novel for a decade. As I said in my last podcast, my main problem was that I never actually committed to writing. But my other problem was that I wanted it for the wrong reason.
I wanted a published novel to prove to myself that I was dedicated and a good writer.
I had to prove this because I had an underlying belief that I wasn’t a dedicated or committed person. I thought I needed a published novel to prove that I was capable of committing and achieving.
Though my brain didn’t phrase it this way, I didn’t think I was good enough as a human, and I wanted my published novel to tell me otherwise.
But wanting to write a book so that I felt worthy was not a good reason for wanting to write a book. It feels terrible and it's also super ineffective.
Spending my days thinking I wasn’t worthy made me feel sad and ashamed, and trying to write a book while feeling that way is very difficult to do.
When I inevitably failed, time and time again over ten years, I used that to beat myself up: "See you are worthless and you should be ashamed because you can’t write anything."
I kept proving myself true over and over that I was worthless. And the more I did that, the more I needed that book to prove that I was a worthy person.
Many of you listeners are going to relate to that and might even be in that same cycle. But let me tell you, there is no way out of that cycle and here’s why.
You become both the bully and the victim. You bully yourself into writing and then feel victimized by your bullying self. It is absolutely ineffective and will not produce quality writing.
But even if you manage to write something – let’s say you manage to bully yourself into writing a novel – the only thing you have trained yourself to do is think garbage thoughts about yourself.
Those thoughts are not going to magically disappear just because there is another book in the world. Those thoughts, which you have practiced over and over will take on a new shape. You will end up bullying yourself about something else. It’s not getting good enough reviews, it’s not a bestseller, it’s not a trilogy. Or it might be something unrelated to writing, but I promise you, you will find something else.
You will have that book you desperately dreamed of and worked so hard for, and still feel crappy because you never learned how to love yourself and see yourself as worthy through the process.
Thinking that you aren’t good enough without a published novel puts way too much pressure on yourself to write a novel.
The only way to write a novel, and to learn how to feel good, is to see yourself as worthy now.
If instead of writing this year, you spent the year learning how to love yourself despite not having a published novel, you would be in a better place.
That published novel is nothing. I know that’s strange to hear from a coaching program that wants to help writers get published, but I truly believe it.
That published novel doesn’t make you a more worthy person. You are as worthy now as you will ever be. You are as lovable now as you will ever be. No book will ever change that.
What writing a novel can do for you is teach you awareness and control over your mind and emotions. It can reveal the way we think about ourselves and talk to ourselves.
Writing and publishing a novel can help us grow into the person we want to be.
Use your writing journey that way – the person you want to be is not a bully or a victim. The person you want to be is one who believes they are whole and worthy. You need to practice being that person every day whether or not you show up to write.
If you’re not sure if you think you are worthy, I want you to answer these questions:
How often do you look into the mirror and tell yourself you are proud of yourself?
How often do you inwardly or physically hug yourself and thank yourself for being you?
How often do you pause throughout the day and appreciate yourself?
When you think about yourself do you feel love in your body?
If you answered no to all of those, if you never even considered doing any of those, we’ve got some work to do.
Discovering your self-worth is a slow process. It took me many years and an expensive coaching program to find it.
Once I realized that I was worthy just as I was, my whole world exploded.
This work is truly some of the hardest but most profound work you could ever do. It starts with those small moments of appreciating yourself and consciously thinking about them every day.
Self-worth and self-love is a daily practice of taking time to appreciate something about yourself.
Self-love is not a bubble bath, it’s not a scented candle, it’s not wearing silk pyjamas.
I think we’ve all gotten a bit confused by the internet.
Self-love is looking in the mirror and practicing seeing someone worthy. It's practicing seeing someone to be proud of, someone that you love, and not shielding your eyes away from the mirror in shame and disappointment.
I know some of you live that way. I think we all have at some point or another. But no one should stay there and no good books come out of living your life that way.
You are so worthy and lovable right now, and no book will ever make you more worthy.
Take this one moment wherever you are to be proud of yourself for listening to this podcast and for showing up for yourself to better yourself.
If you need help with this work, sign up for a free coaching session.
(Please leave a review while you're there!)