Why I Start with WHY

YOUR WHY HOLDS YOUR POWER.

IT IS YOUR CATALYST AND

YOUR SUSTAINING FORCE.

When it comes to writing a book, I have noticed for myself and my clients, once the decision has been made to write a book we just want to get to the writing. And, that makes sense. It’s a huge undertaking and a decision that isn’t made on the flip of a coin — heads I write a book and tails I eat some ice cream.

So much thought goes into the mere decision to write a book before any writing even begins. The idea comes first as a whisper, “maybe I could write a book…” and then sits in the back of the mind and in your heart for years without any apparent action taken. It comes up again and again a little louder, and a little louder until the idea of the book is louder than the resistance to the idea of writing it. And once that decision is made to finally take action, people want to sprint.

WRITING A BOOK ISN’T A SPRINT, THOUGH. IT’S A PROCESS THAT DESERVES CARE, THOUGHTFULNESS, AND THOROUGHNESS.

When we are basking in the glow of that monumental decision to pour ourselves into writing a book, we may forget that our WHY holds power. Our WHY is both our catalyst and our sustaining force. Fully exploring this WHY leads to an emotional connection and a commitment to the book and the process of writing it. And it provides an anchor and touchstone for us, should we lose our way in the process.

So what does it mean to fully explore your WHY when writing a book? After all, when I first start talking to writers about the importance of WHY, I often receive a shrug, an eye roll, or a look that says, “Oh — I know what my why is. We don’t need to spend time on that.”

But we do.

We need to spend significant time on it, until you can think it, feel it, and speak it with ease and with a level of comfort that only comes from examining all of the folds in the fabric of the cozy blanket that cuddles you on a winter day. And when you become that comfortable, you are also creating a powerful connection — an emotional connection that can’t be broken or ignored easily. That’s the secret right there.

When I dive in with my clients on WHY this book on their heart is so important, WHY their voice needs to be shared at this particular moment, with this particular message, we are creating clarity and also the opportunity for success for the future. I ask the writers with whom I work to reflect on their WHY and explore it fully and thoughtfully. We talk about it at length, and then I ask them to write about it. I take this three-fold approach because with each new imagining and uttering, more clarity and connection comes.

When they finally write about their WHY they are clear and vulnerable, logical and emotional. They are whole and complete with the idea of their WHY, and then when they push save on that document, something akin to magic happens. They secure a message for their future-selves that is full of hope and understanding and fierce compassion and power. This is the gift for that future-self that will eventually struggle with some part of the writing process. So when I talk about layering self-compassion into the writing process, this is how we start. This is what one aspect of self-compassion looks like in the beginning stages of the book writing process. Giving your future self a lovely gift, said in exactly right words to meet your needs should you lose your way and doubt your resolve.

When you see in your own words WHY you are doing something, you remember not only the WHY, but you remember the emotion and connection you have to the project — even if you aren’t feeling it in that moment. You realize that at one point you were so incredibly clear and strong in your idea and your vision — you wrote and believed all of those words, no one else. So, if you wrote and believed them once, you can believe as you once did. You can connect with yourself and your voice. You can feel the connection waiting to be nurtured. You can start — not over, but again.

YOU CAN USE THE LOVE, POWER, AND SURETY WITHIN THAT DOCUMENT OF WHY TO PROPEL YOU FORWARD INTO THE UNKNOWN.

And let’s be honest: The way forward is unknown — even with the most brilliant plan, it is still unknown. But… there are some things that ARE known and felt deeply and in this case those two things are your WHY and your voice. Your voice is particularly poised and ready to communicate your WHY because you know it so well. With that knowledge, you can rest in the power of your pen.

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Heather Doyle Fraser

Heather Doyle Fraser

Author, Publisher, Coach mixing compassionate practice with writing. Renaissance Woman & Lover of Books, Haikus, Nature & Moving My Body… My Voice Is My Art