Letting go of a half written book

What if you had to let go of the book you’ve halfway written…. To find the book you are meant to write?

A few months ago, I spoke to a new client who had been approached by publishers and asked to write a book.

Writing a book is something she’s always wanted to do. She’s been blogging about her topic for a long time. She’s got a big following, an important message, and a unique perspective.

‘Amazing!’ I thought. ‘We can skip straight to planning the manuscript.’

Not so fast.

You see, even though THIS book is just BEGGING to be written, there was another book obstructing her path.

A book she started years ago. A book she worked on for many months, alone in her office at home, before eventually losing interest. Writing was hard and lonely, especially as it was a personal story that was likely to stir up a few wasps in the family nest.

Even though she’d abandoned that book more than a year ago, it’s unfinished nature was keeping her stuck. Shouldn’t she finish that book first, before writing this new one?

Funnily enough, she’s not the first client to present with this sort of dilemma, so I had a few questions of my own.

Was she still interested in writing the first book? No not really but felt she SHOULD do it. 

Was it relevant to where she was today? Hmm, no, life’s moved on quite a lot actually. It would need massively updating. Maybe another six or seven new chapters?

Did she feel enough fire and passion towards the first book to carry her through late-night deadlines, multiple rounds of editing, and all the marketing that would be required to get the book into the world? Hmmm. Let me think about that. 

If she closed her eyes and imagined holding her book in her hands one year from now with a real sense of pride – which one would she be holding? Ohhhhhhh. I see.

You see, writing a book is a labour of love – and in most cases, SHOULD isn’t going to be enough of a motivation to see you through.

You need heart. You need fire. You need a powerful why. You need to believe so strongly in the impact this book will have, that you’ll sit at your computer and do what it takes to get this book over the finish line (even if you’re cursing at your book coach while you do it. #occupationalhazard).

Sometimes you have to let go of the book you planned to write… to make space for the one you are meant to write.

Sometimes you have to write almost the whole manuscript before you realise it’s not the book you want to put into the world.

This is not about giving up, failing at the last, or lacking the courage to see your manuscript through.

It’s about understanding that the first book has paved the way. The first book allowed you to empty all of that STUFF from your psyche onto the page and let it go so that you could write the book that’s really in your heart. The first book honed your writing skills and opened up the channel so that the book that wants to be written could come through.

So as the year draws to a close, I ask you this: what do you need to let go of now, so that you can open up space for the next creative project to come through?

And if that creative project looks like a book, then let’s talk when I’m back from summer break. You can book an appointment here.

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