I’ve been holding on to this story for over a year now, and it’s about how I finally finished writing my book. It started with a decision to simply finish writing it. Then, I had to block out the time. And finally, I had to follow through and actually do it.
But I wouldn’t have been able to do those things if I didn’t first address what had been keeping me stuck. What was holding me back? Was it simply that writing a book is hard and things take time? Or was it something else?
I took these questions to my friend Shauna in the fall of 2021. Shauna is a highly intuitive business coach and mentor and when she announced on Instagram that she was offering half-hour clarity calls over Zoom, I signed up immediately.
When we got on the call, we spent a few minutes catching up on life, because as I mentioned, Shauna is my friend. I told her about how I was trying to adjust to the season of motherhood when you realize (over and over again) that the kids aren’t little anymore and how it creates a constant shift in identity.
“I was walking through the outlet mall the other day,” I said, “and all of the sudden my eyes filled with tears. I got this vision of me walking down that same corridor, years ago, pushing my babies in the stroller. I could feel it.”
We talked about Shauna’s baby girl who was already approaching her first birthday and isn’t it crazy how time flies?
Then we shifted our conversation to the book. At this point I was on the third complete draft. “I’m so close to being done but I’ve been stuck in the same spot for a while now,” I said.
We ruled out the possibility that I simply didn’t want to do it. That perhaps I was holding on to an old dream that didn’t fit anymore. We determined that wasn’t it. Nothing about me wanted to let this go.
Shauna said, “You’re so self-aware that if you were doing something to sabotage this project you’d know. There’s something else going on.”
She told me that we had to find the pressure release valve, because not finishing the book was creating a backlog in my life. I needed to get to the other side and live the life that was waiting for me there.
And then Shauna said the thing that changed everything, unlocked the gate, and set me free.
She said, “You’ve experienced so much loss in your life. And it’s like your subconscious is saying not another loss, not another loss. Your identity is wrapped up in writing the book, and so finishing the book will feel like a loss.”
This revelation, although somewhat sad, didn’t make me feel sad at all. Instead, a lightbulb went off.
“Oh my goodness, that’s it!” I exclaimed. “I’m trying to avoid the grief that I’ll inevitably feel when I complete this project, because it’s been such a huge part of my life. But here’s the thing! I actually know how to grieve.”
I thought back to the story I shared with Shauna at the beginning of the call about walking through the outlet mall. When I felt the sadness sweeping over me, I simply let myself be sad. I let the tears rise to the surface, and I just kept walking down the corridor. Then, I went out the wrong exit and had to walk all the way around the building. By the time I got back to my car I felt better.
“Coming to terms with loss is a key message in my book,” I told Shauna. “It’s about how I learned to feel my feelings and give myself space to grieve.”
We ended our call, and I was amazed that 30 minutes was all it took. I looked at my calendar in search of free space. I landed on January 2022. I didn’t schedule any appointments that month or make any social plans. I went to bed at 9 p.m. and woke up at 5 a.m. I made time to exercise and cook dinner, but almost everything else I either delegated or put on hold.
One month later, in February 2022, I announced that I’d finished the book.
I needed to write about the grief. I needed to write through the grief. And I needed to get to the other side of it. Because there’s no other way. I’ve tried to go around it. It doesn’t work. As Robert Frost said, “The best way out it always through.”
Thank you for reading Hello Friday. My memoir “Girl in the Spotlight” will be published by Publish Her press in October 2023. If you’d like to help me celebrate, I invite you to share this newsletter with your friends. You can also find me on Instagram and Facebook.