Just Write: How to Kick Start the Writing Process
Once my interest in reading and writing was piqued there was no going back. My life has been filled with a fascination for books and through my years of education, training, and accreditations there has been many opportunities to both read and write. I am not going to pretend that all of those books and readings have been interesting, nor have I managed to retain all of the information that has crossed in front of my eyes, but my reading and writing through the years has built my knowledge base and deepened my love of words and ideas.
I still remember the grueling periods of reading the entire Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in grad school along with a plethora of other boring but required readings. I do have a certain level of pride for actually having jumped through these hoops and to have passed my exams on these materials. Of course I am deeply grateful for all the material that excited me, expanded my perspective and helped me build my knowledge base. I now balance my reading with a variety of books that I choose to read which inform me, entertain me and enlighten me.
The essays and documents required of me in my education and career have fine-tuned my writing skills and my ability to use the written word effectively. I did figure out how to write academic papers with a certain level of success. My thesis helped me understand research and the proper ways to document information, but it did not always make for a compelling read. In my work as a family therapist I have often been called upon to provide written reports and documents that are designed for clinical reporting and conflict resolution. Although these have been my primary writing experiences for several years I knew I wanted to write something different. I wanted to write a book that was informative, practical and even entertaining for the reader. The problem was that I was truly lost on how to actually do this. I did not want to proceed with a book that was so clinical it was boring, nor did I want to put something out there that was so lightweight that I would lose credibility.
I was discussing this dilemma with my husband one day and telling him I felt I was a bit stuck as I had at least three books in me, when he gave me the reality check I needed. He asked me “How old are you?” I told him my age (47 at the time), feeling puzzled as to why he was asking me when he clearly knew it. He replied “Well if you have three books to write, you just better start writing.” He was right, movement was required. Enough thinking and worrying about how to write; it was time to just start writing. I would figure out my style as I wrote rather than wait until I had this all figured out. Now I needed to focus, pick a topic and get going. I realized that I wanted to have a book published by the time I was 50, just over 2 years away. Once I tossed a few ideas around I recognized that I needed to start writing about my core philosophy of M.O.R.E and exceptional living, as that was the place that all of my future books would come from. In order to do this I was going to have to break out of my familiar patterns of writing, capture my genuine personality and expose my authentic life. So I sat down at the computer and began to write. I did not know what I was going to say, but I was going to begin to stumble through it.