Miracles News

January-March, 2018

The Ten Top Lessons I Learned from Writing a Book

by Rev. Barbara Goodman Siegel, O.M.C.

Barbara SiegelI have been thinking for days about how to write an article about my new book, Finding Your Self in the Mirror: Awakening Through Mirror Affirmations for the 365 Lessons of A Course In Miracles.

What I was guided to do was to try to describe each phase of the writing process and what I learned from each of them in hopes it might help others to follow through with their own inspiration.

As I looked back on the entire three year project, I felt there were very distinct phases to the process which I will try to describe.

Phase One: The Inspiration Phase

Lesson 1: Ignore the ego

When I first felt the inspiration for the book, I can honestly tell you that I had no prior thought about writing a book and certainly not a book on ACIM. While I am a long time student of the Course, I certainly am not a scholar. So, of course, my ego kicked in and said: “Who do you think you are? You write a book on the Course? Seriously, get over it!”

Lesson 2: Follow your inspiration

My inspiration (as I explain in the introduction of the book) came from a Louise Hay program that I had signed up for and that started Jan. 1, 2015. I also started the Workbook lessons again on that day.

The Hay House program consisted of daily affirmations that you were to do in-front of your mirror. After about five days of doing the affirmations and the Course lessons, it came to me to write mirror affirmations for each lesson of the Course. I felt that this could be a tool that would take the lessons from the head to the heart. Following that inspiration, I started the Workbook lesson affirmations.

Lesson 3: Listen! When you tune in and listen, you will get direction, I promise.

Every day when I got up, the first thing I did was get a cup of coffee and sit down on the couch with my ACIM book and a legal pad and pen. I would read the lesson of the day several times, and then sit and listen for what the affirmations should be for that lesson. I usually only did one lesson a day.

Lesson 4: Never assume you know what the next step will be.

After a full year of doing the lessons, I thought I was done. When I sat down to type up the affirmations for the 365 lessons, I felt guidance that I was now supposed to find a quote from the text for each lesson that would tie the lesson and text together. “Really,” I thought, “But that will probably take another year!” To be totally honest, I wasn’t happy about this. However, I knew that was what I was supposed to do, so back to Lesson 1 I went and almost another year of work.

Phase Two: The Work Phase

Lesson 5: Following through with your inspiration will involve work.

I know I may be old fashioned, but when I am sitting quietly and listening for inner guidance, I (almost) always write out what I hear in my journal or, in this case, on legal pads. I do not do it on the computer. So, the next step was to type up everything I had written on five legal pads. I had to make sure all my ACIM quotes were correctly referenced and that I had used the correct capitalization and punctuation. I was also trying to format the work as I went. Yikes! I have to tell you, that this part was not fun, it was a lot of work!

Phase 3: The Networking Phase

Lesson 6: Networking involves love and rejection. Take the love and leave the rest behind.

I now have what I think may be a publishable book, but what do I do with it? I felt that for the book to be taken seriously, it would be valuable to have at least a few people who are known in the Course world endorse it. But who might that be? And, even more important, is there anyone who will publish it? If not, what is involved in self-publishing?

I started reaching out to friends that I knew had published or knew of publishers and, at the same time, I sent manuscripts to people I thought might endorse the book; this included people I knew and people I didn’t know, but I knew were involved in the Course. Most people were very positive and giving of their time and valuable information, and there were some people who never responded. I was very honored that, of the people I asked if they would endorse the book, most said yes.

Lesson 7: Review of Lesson 4: Never assume you know what the next step will be.

After all the information I had received in the networking phase, it seemed that the best and most expedient way to go was to self-publish. This was not what I had hoped for. I just wanted to hand off what I had done so far and let a publisher polish it up and market it. Many years ago, when I was a career coach, I wrote a career book. I did have a publisher and that is how the book world worked then. What I learned was that the book world no longer works that way and publishers, even when they do agree to publish a book, expect a lot of work from the writer.

Phase 4: The Publishing Phase

Lesson 8: I cannot see my own errors.

This may have been the greatest lesson of all. In self-publishing, the publisher will correct any errors that they make, but they do not edit the author’s work. The publisher sets up the manuscript and sends it to you and you approve or reject it. I got to see how easily I saw the publisher’s errors, but time after time, didn’t see my own. It was not until I got the fifth manuscript from the publisher that I was able to approve it, and in all honesty, most of the errors in the other four were mine! Obviously, this lesson was given to me over and over to show me what I am doing out in the world; judging others, but not seeing where I made an error.

Phase 5: The Marketing Phase

Lesson 9: “Your worth is not established by your teaching. Your worth was established by God.”

I have just begun the marketing phase, but one thing I can already see is that my ego wants to dictate my mood from happy (when someone says how wonderful and useful they think the book will be to them and others) to fearful (when I am afraid that no one will buy the book and all this time, effort, and money was wasted). In other words, the ego wants to take me on a non-ending roller coaster ride from success to failure with the success or failure of the book determining my worth.

Lesson 10: Let go and let God.

Any author will tell you that their book is like their child. Most of us know how challenging it can be to take our child to school on the first day of kindergarten and let go of that little hand and trust that God will protect him/her. But we also know it is time and we let go. I am the nurturing parent, but I know it is time to let go and trust that God will do the rest.

Rev. Barbara Goodman Siegel, O.M.C., author of “Finding Your Self in the Mirror: Awakening Through Mirror Affirmations for the 365 Lessons of A Course in Miracles,” is a Pathways of Light minister living in St. Louis, Missouri. Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) Web: Barbaragoodmansiegel.com

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