For the whole of 2017, I had an ankle injury. It would come and go, on and off, but it more or less hung around for the whole year.
At the same time, on my goals list was the desire to perform on stage.
You see, I love to dance and had been learning the Brazilian dance styles of zouk lambada, samba and forró, as well as Dominican bachata and Cuban salsa for the best part of a year.
Twice a year, at my dance school Rio Rhythmics in Brisbane, we have a ball and get the opportunity to showcase our choreographies.
It looked like fun.
Yet every time there was an opportunity to sign up for a choreo, I bailed, bothered that my body would let me down.
I couldn’t understand why I was sabotaging myself.
Later in the year, I was checking in with the goals I’d set at the start of the year.
Looking at that glaring ‘dance on stage’ goal, I decided to get underneath what had stopped me.
Reassess, if you like.
And what came out of that reflection was interesting...
I didn’t really want to be a performer.
Sure, it looked cool, but the ‘dance on stage’ goal was underpinned by reasons that aren’t aligned with my values.
You see, I value freedom and self-expression. I’m also a lover of learning. And I love dance for the connection and creativity it affords me.
I realised I wasn’t following through on performing because I wasn’t motivated enough.
I didn’t see myself as a performer.
I am a dancer, but I’m a dancer for me.
Why am I telling you all this?
Well, it’s the exact analogy for why so many people don’t follow through on their books.
Deep down, they don’t see themselves as an author.
They don’t connect with being an author.
And so they undermine their journey towards becoming one.
I see a disconnect between “I want to write a book” and “I want to be an author” in most of the first-time book writers trying to get published. In truth, you need to be both for this book goal to ever be met.
Ask yourself this early on in the process...
Why do you want to be an author?
When you know why you want to become an author, it will inform your motivation, ensure your follow-through.
Particularly if you’re writing a memoir or your own story will contribute to your book, you’ll need to picture yourself in that author’s lifestyle, because if you can’t imagine putting yourself out there as someone who has written a book, it’ll feel inordinately hard to push this story out or feel inspired and excited to share it.
There’s just too much resistance, too much vulnerability.
Sharing your story will keep you motivated to a point, but there’s almost an inconsistency or cognitive dissonance there. Your mind both wants to do something and doesn’t want to do it. In other words, your brain is stuck. You have the handbrake on, because part of you urgently desperately wants to put a book out, but categorically does not want to be seen.
Imagining yourself as an author and exploring what kind of author you want to be helps you gather the right support around you to get over that disconnect and embody the person you need to become to get this book done.
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