WHAT I LEARNED FROM WRITING A BOOK
Writing a book and having it published was one of the most challenging, yet rewarding, accomplishments I’ve ever taken on. During the span of time it took, I found the project presented many opportunities for me to learn a few valuable lessons.
When I began to consider the idea over seven years ago, the topic focused primarily on the period between my two divorces and twenty-eight days in rehab—when I had my spiritual awakening. After several years of stopping and starting over and over again, something began to stir within me that bubble upped new thoughts, emotions, and ideas.
Initially, I became a student of Caroline Myss to heal nerve pain caused by a lightning strike that occurred many years earlier. However, after examining my interior world and doing the inner work, I noticed that I began to change. Fascinated with the scope of Myss’s practice, I realized I needed to delve deeper into it. After hearing another lecture on Sacred Contracts, I came home and pulled the book from my shelf. Thumbing through it, I noticed I had stopped short of the section on Archetypes.
What were these things called archetypes? Unaware of what exactly they were, I deemed it necessary to become versed in them. Synchronicity befell me when I told a friend that very thing, and the next day I received a catalog indicating Myss was holding a workshop entitled, “The Power of Archetypes.” After the seminar, I decided archetypes, with their shadow and light aspects, would be a theme throughout my book.
Struck by Lightning just morphed into a spiritual memoir.
One thing I knew for sure was that I could write—I just didn’t know how good it was. Having no one to evaluate my writing, when Lois from The Happy Self-Publisher said, after reading several pages I had written, that my words pulled her into my world, and that my writing was good, I became inspired. The drive to complete the project became instilled within me. After Caroline Myss told me my work was very good and that my story was interesting, I went into overdrive. It was the extra affirmation that compelled me onward.
The stage was set for my school of life matriculation.
Go wherever life takes you.
The first lesson I learned was that you must go wherever life takes you and not hold onto where you think you should be. I had to let go of the original idea for the book and allow my life to unfold and follow wherever it led me, which is simple, but not easy to do. This lesson guided me on a five-year journey where I learned that many of my experiences had names for them.
An example is in the few months right before I hit my rock bottom. As I wrote about it, I had no idea I had entered what is called the “dark night of the soul,” where the meaning and conceptual framework I had given my life utterly collapsed around me. All I knew is that I identified myself through the marriage (as Mrs. John Doe), and when the marriage ended, I ended. It was a kind of death, the death of my egoic self. Ultimately, after hitting rock bottom and then seeking treatment, a more profound sense of purpose where my life was not dependent on explanations.
Through this experience, I discovered I was the Wounded Healer, an archetype that emerged in my psyche with the demand that I push myself to a level of inner effort that became more a process of transformation than an attempt to heal my traumatic wounds. In doing so, I was able to transcend my own pain and suffering and realize there is a choice in healing. The experience gave me the skills and knowledge to impart to other wounded souls and led to the divinely provided path of service I perform today.
Not everything goes your way…
Another lesson I learned is that not everything goes your way, especially when you don’t make the right choices. Not every decision I made when writing Struck by Lightning was a good one. Because I failed to research a particular business, I made an unwise choice that set me back financially over $8,700 and delayed its publication for over six months. These rash choices resulted in a lesson learned the hard way: patience.
Although I have never given birth, I feel writing is analogous to the gestation period and publishing to giving birth. Imagine having to carry a baby for a few extra months. Most women, I believe, would be extremely impatient waiting for the baby to be born. Day in and day out, I was tested to accept where I was in the process because I needed to learn patience. You know the old saying, “When you pray for patience, you’ll receive opportunities to practice it,” like getting stuck in traffic or choosing the wrong line to stand in.
In my case, pay for the entire process of formatting and editing all over again!
During this critical stage, I felt victimized, cheated, and resentful—my vulnerability challenged. Fear of rejection and the inability to healthily control my emotions due to not being heard (the Invisible Child archetype) began to permeate my psyche. I was lost and felt like giving in. However, remembering the prior endorsements, my persistence and tenacity took over and empowered me to complete the project. Even though it took more time and finances, what I gained was priceless—that the experience of failure can be a major thoroughfare to success.
The joy of writing.
One of the joys my writing elicited were the responses of those who read Struck by Lightning. I was able to describe my emotions and communicate them is such a way that the reader felt their feelings arise. Without knowing how to or deliberately focusing on this, I learned I was given this gift.
My journey of writing a book mirrors my journey of life. There are twists and curves at every corner you encounter, some positive, some negative. When I stood at each turning point, in life or when writing, I faced each one, deciding to empower myself instead of caving in. Writing a book helped me grow, as well as fueling the process for that growth.
When I sit back and review what I experienced in the past seven or eight years, it is nothing short of magical. I gained experiences I never thought I would, and for that, I am eternally grateful. My gratitude extends to various people who are central in my life, and those who have been a part of it at some point or other, even if fleeting. For without everything I experienced, without every decision and choice I made, my book—and myself—would not be what we are today.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. And I am grateful for all the future readers of Struck by Lightning: My Journey from the Shadow to the Light, for allowing me to enter their lives for a brief moment in time.