My path and process becoming a writer

Onward I walk into writing

I have been writing and spending time doing creative works since my wee years–my childhood. Primarily for myself, for fun, for friends or family, I even made art and creative works for trees, nature, and animals. Being me, of course, I did that!

For the past few years, I have been exploring writing more and working at several different distinct pieces of work.

During that time, I also thought I was moving away from my accident recovery period; but I was not. I ended up needing to take a deep dive into some adjunct medical needs and one final major surgery. During all that time, when I felt well enough to put pent to paper or fingers to keyboard, I was writing.

The act of writing requires
a constant plunging back into the shadow of the past
where time hovers ghostlike.
Ralph Ellison

During that time a few years ago, I began to more seriously ponder how to write and publish my two books: Walking into Wild and Today, I Begin Again.

Now, as I write this story, I am working with figuring out and tinkering with some outcomes from my recent eight-years of accident and medical needs period that have come up as I create my new normal, get moving consistently, and challenge myself a bit in all life areas.

I am not familiar with the craft of being a writer or a published author. I do not know the logistics of it all. I love writing. And I just write.

How do I even do that?

What I do know is that I simply need to write.

However, I have also learned here and there mostly from excessive online investigation that there is much more to being a writer and published author than practicing writing. The main thing I took from my hours upon hours of internet searching was: why, oh why is there so much “good” info out there! sigh. And yes, the main thing to do is write. Write. And, write some more.

So,deep into the abyss of the inter-web I went. I signed up for blogs, newsletters, free e-book downloads. I listened to some podcasts, received a few referrals to individuals, programs, and websites. I even created a folder and filter rule in my email so that they all went to one place. That way, I could be exceptionally overwhelmed and wonder-just-too-much when I sifted through them.

I did find many good sources. I paid attention. I learned some tips here and there and stayed subscribed to their offerings. But, even though their ideas, programs, and services are top-notch, it was only part of the way of being a writer. Mainly they focused on logistics: Do this for great success. Publish this way. Get this book cover. Buy this package. I wasn’t even sure if I was looking for that. I was sure I wanted to know more about the craft of writing, then how to get to that point of publishing.

I know myself.

I will publish my books.

I can work hard and get it done.

But I also don’t want to focus only on general (not sure the best word to use here!) society’s external measures of success, which drive most of these programs. (Again, they are super high quality). They have a get there focus. A how can I do it with the fastest focus.

So, I paused for a bit from investigating publishing, editing, book cover, and more packages. I just wrote. I scheduled time each week so that I had openings to write. Sometimes, I followed through. Sometimes I worked on other things. I was probably about 50% successful following through with writing when I scheduled it.

The world does not teach mastery as an art-form.
it teaches control.
It tells us we should be able to manifest every single thing we want,
to control outcomes with marketing, good copy, and a lot of strategy.
That your will, alone, can make you thin, rich, and extremely productive.
That’s not the way creativity works.

In evaluating all of that, I realized I still did not understand the craft of writing, how to be an author. How to support my writing, so it is long-lasting. So it’s sustainable.

So, I did a bit of going back to all those sources that offer so much; but found again it was not what I needed yet.

I knew that studying for an MFA was not for me. I also knew that I had no idea how to write a query to publishers or agents, and I also did not know how to revise or edit my work.

I knew that I did not want to buy a publishing package, get my book ISBN, load it into an online bookseller, and wonder how to sell my book amongst thousands of other new books.

I also knew that even though I know some writers and other artists, I am not part of a community of writers. Nor do I have mentors or sources to ask questions. Part of that was due to me having been unusually isolated from society for almost 8 years due to all my surgeries and recovery. Strangely enough, the isolation of COVID did not phase me one bit. How could that even be? Well, I had already been isolated for about 5 years when COVID began. In fact I was going through surgery and recovery during COVID. All the other societal and health related aspects of COVID concerned me. But my isolation? Not one bit. Unfortunately, I was an isolation pro.

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.
William Wordsworth

While trying to write, I worked on other projects but continued to write including some fix-it work going on at my quite-old-home.Working at building my optimal-for-me wellness and physical capacity while recovering from surgeries and more.

A woman sitting reading and writing looking out at a beautiful natural view

Relax and Write!

Then, fairly recently, I read a newsletter that I had subscribed to written by a high-end copywriter and teacher of professionals in writing ‘stunning copy’ for their businesses and projects. She wrote about a writing academy, and I looked it up to learn more.

It is almost as if this academy found me as I don’t always read this person’s newsletter but had not yet unsubscribed! I realized that I had opened up the space to receive while I paused for a bit, just writing, and reflecting on what writing meant to me in the big picture of my life.

The Academy started as a post-grad program and now trains writers of all genres and skill levels who have innate talent and the capacity for mastery in literary expression. They realized it did not need to be limited to a post-graduate program and was more enriching as a stand-alone academy open to application.

I realized that I had opened up the space to receive

Sand flowing through the hands - zen, relax, meditation, peace of mind and time is running out concept

The founder, Suzanne Kinsbury, had researched applying Creative Neuroscience to writing and coined the Gateless Method in Creative Neuroscience.

This academy focused on not only the process of writing with feedback and support from a community of writers, but they mentored you as well. They taught you how to read works of writing, give feedback and revise, how to use creative neuroscience methods to truly write and connect to a natural source and flow–instead of reacting or judging or using a scarcity mindset to motivate you to get it done. It was incredibly successful as they filled a massive gap in their field.

Just notice when the critic rises.
Notice is a beautiful word.
It’s a soft word.

It is putting the attention on something.
That is all you have to do.
Noticing gives you some space from it so that you can find the creative again.

The Gateless Academy also includes practical methods of the craft. Plus, mentors and seminars on publishing, writing queries to agents, and more. Plus, due to its high-end reputation and scores of graduates who are award-winning published writers-the academy draws from a fantastic pool of teachers and resources willing to offer their knowledge and mentorship.

When I read all about it, I did not even think to apply to it.

Then, I thought: Why not?

I will either get accepted or not. I was afraid to put myself out there and try. I needed to answer questions and submit two samples of my writing. All within about two days, as I discovered this shortly before their application deadline!

Notebook with pencil and cup on wooden table

I went ahead and applied.

It was uncomfortable.

I felt nervous and a bit scared.

I stepped way outside my comfort zone in applying.

But I did it anyway.

I decided to be brave. After I did, I felt pretty writing-courageous! Then, I went about my days as I had assumed that was it for me. I even applied for a scholarship. Talk about writing-bravery.

Living is a form of not being sure,
not knowing what next or how.
The moment you know how,
you begin to die a little.
The artist never entirely knows.
We guess.
We may be wrong.
But we take leap after leap in the dark. 
Agnes De Mill

Then, about a week before it would all begin, I was contacted. I had been accepted and given a partial scholarship. I was pretty stunned. Then, my next thought was, wow-this is incredible. I can’t do this. How do I even make this work? How do I even begin to commit and fit it in?

I let it be for a short bit as even though it began soon. I only had about one week to decide. Was I ready for a consistent commitment that asked me to show up? Not just for myself; but for others as well.

What you water grows

I kept going back to the website and rereading the letter sent to me. It is one of the most comprehensive online book-writing programs in the world that uses an approach to building writing careers that busts the myth of the struggling writer and creates bestselling, award-winning authors. The description goes on to say being part of a community of writers who share work-in-progress, on-page support, agents’ and editors’ names, and encouragement that lasts throughout your lifetime in the literary world.

The Academy teaches writing craft tools, has monthly guest luminaires (people entrenched in the writing industry), mentorship, offers resources and community, so you write.

In addition, the methodology was created from cutting-edge scientific brain research. It teaches you how to tap into the creative mind without judgment or getting stuck. (You can search “creative neuroscience” online to learn more. I did that too. So and watch out -there is a lot of info!)

Why wouldn’t I want that?

I read about past graduates, which I might say was helpful and unhelpful. Some had MFA’s, published award-winning books, received writing accolades, and were incredibly accomplished in other professional fields.

As a writer, you ask yourself to dream while awake.
Aimee Bender

I completely doubted my capacity to participate. I doubted whether I belonged in this group. I doubted that I could fit in. I doubted that I had something of value to contribute. I remembered that feeling doubt is normal; but listening to it is a choice.

Then, something shifted. I did some self-coaching with thoughts and my beliefs about this. I pondered. I reflected. I ignored it, knowing there was a deadline. I discussed it with my life coach. (One of the best investments that I have ever made-especially with the enormous transitions that I am experiencing post-eight-year accident period).

Then, it clicked. I thought, why not do this? I won’t know until I do it how it impacts my writing and my life.

I decided I was ready

I like to go ALL-IN with whatever I do. Having an idea and doing it is usually how it flows for me. Moderation can sometimes be a challenge for me. So, for the most part, I am invested fully in all aspects of my life and take the time to decide what that means to me. Even the rough parts—they are my life too.

I must be a mermaid,
I have no fear of depths,
and a great fear of shallow living.
Anais Nin

Yes, I would need to schedule time to participate fully and do the work over the next ten months–but I can do that. I dreamed that I would have two published or ready-to-be-published books. More importantly, I would be part of a community of writers, and I would learn the craft and process of writing. Then, how to create a long-lasting book.

I would be way outside of my capacity and comfort zone–challenged intensely. And that’s okay. Who knows where this might lead for me? I felt nervous, and I tried to lean into it. I decided that I could do it anyway.

I accepted the spot.

Orientation began and the academy starts at the end of October. I just listened as I was building my confidence to participate, but I will.

If you wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.
Toni Morrison

During the meeting, I knew it was a fit for me.

I knew that not only would I learn so much, but I will write my books. It took me awhile to even believe I was part of this. That I was doing this.

I began moving into the work of opening space for it, scheduling it all in, and being fully present so that I have the meaningful outcomes that I want with this investment.

Sometimes, substantial pivots in our lives come from such unforeseen circumstances or happenings. I can feel this will be a pivot for me, especially in the area of writing.

Immerse

As I write this, I have continued to participate in the Gateless Academy as an alumni-student. As a Repeater. As a Re-do-er.

With Life being full of contrast and often saying, “Here, try this…”, some unknown happened. I ended up recovering and going through not one; but two unexpected yet accident related surgeries and recovery while participating in Gateless. I tried to take it in stride; but ended up needing to streamline and accept that now was not the time for full participate. Yet, I participated. Then, continued to participate and here I am now, in the full throes of writing my two books with the most incredible support, community, guidance in craft and healthy feedback.

Onward I continue! Or, I best say Onward I write, write, write!


In gratitude,

Heather's Signature

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