Safiya Robinson

Lessons I learned from writing my first book

Safiya Robinson
Lessons I learned from writing my first book

I wrote a book!

To my lovely blog readers - my apologies for my absence but I have what I think was a fantastic reason - I wrote a book!!! 45 thousand words!!! (and no, it was not the same 10 words 45 hundred times which I think is a real achievement!) I almost cannot believe it myself, and sometimes I look at the copy I printed (to do some self editing) just to make sure it is real. Even though it is something that I wanted to do since childhood, I found it to be one part unexpected and thoroughly enjoyable and one part scary like flying by the seat of my pants! It has been an interesting couple of months.

First - a little about my book. As I mentioned before, when I was growing up I was quite convinced that I would write fiction, since that was all I read, and the only non-fiction books I read were text books - and I really had no desire to pen the great Barbadian physics textbook! However, with time I came to enjoy travel writing, and blogging, and writing about my lessons learned. This book is about the biggest lesson I learned up until this point in life and it is nicely summed up by Oscar Wilde - “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.” It is about being authentic, and being true to yourself, my journey in this regard, and the wonderful rewards that come to you when you do.

Telling parts of my story was a big part of this project, and probably the part that yielded the most unexpected results. I actually found there was real empowerment in telling my story, and I realized how much shame I had around speaking (writing) certain things out. This aspect of the process has confirmed something that I have been thinking for quite some time - that shame can lead to silence and disempowerment, and that the first step to taking that power back is to find your voice and break the silence. I will be writing more about this in the future.

Other aspects of the writing process that challenged me was that I realized how easy it could be to let fear stop me from achieving something - even something that I have wanted to do for most of my life! I had all sorts of fears - that no-one would read the book, or that people would read it and give the thumbs down, and too many others to mention here. One thing that really helped in this process was working with a dear friend and wonderful coach Annick of Write and Change Lives. She was super encouraging through the process and sometimes I feel like the only reason I got to completion was having her in my corner, cheering, doing 30 second dance parties with me online and giving me the courage I needed to go forward. It reinforced to me the importance of having supportive cheerleaders around us, as we journey through life. In addition I had the support of a few of the friends that I actually told I was writing the book (although I largely kept it under wraps) and I also belong to a community of first time writers who were equally encouraging, and a small but fierce mastermind group of ladies all working on different projects. I am going to be featuring some of these authors and entrepreneurs in upcoming blog posts so you will get to know them a bit better! In terms of fear - I think one of the biggest recurring fears I had was the fear that what I had to say was not important or did not matter when the truth is each of us have a valuable contribution to make, and we cannot let fear stand in the way of doing this. 

Lastly - I learned that there is a serious difference between starting and finishing, and to always work with progress over perfection. One trick that I used was that I decided to limit the amount of self editing I did during the writing process. It would have been so easy to get bogged down into attempting to perfect every sentence and every paragraph, and the truth is - I have a few unfinished manuscripts here on my computer (and several more in my head!). The difference between this one and those is that this one is finished. The completion of this project gave me immense courage in myself, and clarity around my next steps regarding my writing and the next project I am working on - more about this next week. It takes a different kind of resolve to finish a project like this and put it out into the world, and I am glad that I was able to dig deep and find it with the help of my friends and fellow writers. I am taking the progress over perfection with me into the next stage of the book - self publishing - as well as into future projects. I think it is easy to judge ourselves to death and talk ourselves out of completing projects, and overcoming that fear can be the catalyst that drives progress. I also learned the importance of celebrating the milestones, until I get to the next one which in this case will be having my book published!

On that note, I giving you the opportunity to pre-order the book and become one of my VIP's with special content! If you are ready to become a VIP click here. And if you are interested in  being informed when the book is on general release, email me at 39andcountingblog@gmail.com or join my mailing list! In the meantime, the next few weeks on the blog will be details on my next project, and some overdue posts featuring a few of my fellow writers and entrepreneurs, as well as some other content that has been sitting on my computer for a few weeks.

I look forward to engaging with you more in the run up to my book, and I bring you as always

- Big love from a small island!

Ps - No. That is not what the cover is going to look like......