You have a very special message to share through your writing. ~Tom Bird
Tom Bird Welcome
You have definitely taken a very brave and aggressive step to change your life and you should be commended.
And we are so excited that you will be joining us for the June 23-28th retreat in Sedona.
These were the first words to greet me when I opened my email one evening last week. Several pages of details followed about the upcoming author retreat – Write Your Book in 5 Days using the Tom Bird Method, which begins four weeks from today.
Tom’s email went on to describe what we need to do to prepare for the retreat – yes, there is homework. We have to read two books – “You Were Born to Write” and “You Were Born to be Published” – which Tom sent us in PDF format. We are supposed to listen to a subliminal one-hour audio daily – “Transitioning Back to the Author You Were Meant to Be” – to prepare mentally for the writing of our books. We will be participating in four weekly webinars with Tom before the retreat, beginning on June 1. And it looks like we will have some writing assignments following those webinars.
Where’s the Tourist Time?
Tom included an agenda for the first afternoon/evening session on June 23 and the remaining five long days from June 24-28. My immediate reaction was, “Flying all the way from Canada – where do I fit in tourist time?“ I think the answer is obvious, “You don’t!” Unless you were wise enough to book time before or after the retreat to do that. Well, fortunately for us, my sister and I were wise – we had booked our trip before we received the agenda and we gave ourselves two full days to play the tourist role before the retreat begins. We get into Sedona on Monday evening, June 20, so Tuesday and Wednesday will be our time to explore. And Tom was good enough to provide sight-seeing suggestions and even restaurants worth trying out.
Truth Time – Here It Is
So what really went through my head as I absorbed all the details about the author retreat? Truth time? OK, here it is. From the time I signed up for the retreat a month ago until I received Tom’s email, I was EXCITED! Yes,
- flying high on the ceiling excited,
- thinking about it all day long excited,
- reading and listening to everything I could get my hands on about the retreat excited,
- tweeting Tom’s nuggets of wisdom excited, and
- oh, please won’t you stop and take a breath and let someone else talk for a change excited,
But Tom’s email last week did something to me – cortisol flareup! The medical condition I have, complex regional pain syndrome, is affected by stress. Stress creates cortisol. Cortisol explodes in my system and causes pain. I was in pain.
So why stress, cortisol, pain? I thought this retreat was going to be fun. In my last blog post, I even referred to it as a party, a birthing party, since Tom said he will be acting as our literary midwife in writing our books.
Fear – that’s what it was! All of a sudden I was afraid. And self-doubts began to emerge. What if I don’t have a message for the world? What if there is nothing deep down in my heart worthy of 60,000 words? What if all I’m good for is the poetry, journalling, personal writing and business writing I’ve done for the past 40 years, but I’m not good enough to write a real book? What if I just sit there for five days and churn out a lot of words, with no coherence, no focus, no hope for a book to become a reality? What if? What if? What if?
Setting Free the Author Within
“You Were Born to Write”, Chapter 2 – Setting Free Your Author Within – includes 17 writing principles (p. 15-69). Just reading them began to calm the fears and feeling of overwhelm that were beginning to creep in. The principles below, in particular, stood out:
- The past does not determine the future. (With my track record in writing a book [not], this was very reassuring!)
- All of the inspiration we will ever need is already inside of us. (What could be better than this!)
- We can access a connection to our unlimited expression at any time. (Flip the switch and turn it on!)
- You have a very special message to share through your writing. (This is awesome – how lucky am I and how lucky is the world!)
- You are doing your best writing when you don’t know where you are going. (Guess I will be doing some fantastic writing in June!)
- All great and effective writing is the result of a direct interaction with the author within. (I think my author within and I are going to become very good friends next month!)
I’ve read these principles several times to absorb them into my being. Some raise more questions than answers, but….
Trust the Process
A few years ago, I worked with an exceptional facilitator, Doug, in designing a two-day facilitator training workshop. When participants at the workshop raised questions about the approach and where we were going with it, Doug kept saying, “Trust the process.” At the end of the workshop, participants were able to look back at the times when things were frustrating or didn’t seem to make sense. They realized that, indeed, trusting the process was OK. It was amazing to see how things unfolded – it was almost like magic happening to see the end result.
So, I am good with things now (it just took me a week to pick myself up and regroup). I am going to trust the process, knowing that Tom knows what he’s doing. Even though I want to make sense of everything in advance, I know it isn’t going to happen. I will leave it in the hands of my midwife, Tom – I will trust him as he leads the process and prepares me for the birthing of my book.
4 weeks and counting….
In the past few days, I have discovered a couple of individuals who went to Tom Bird’s March writing retreat and lived to share their story. Check out their blogs if you want to learn more:
Angela Artemis: How Angie Got Her Groove Back and You Can Too
Robyn Chausse: The Tom Bird Method: How to Write Your Book in 5 Days Method
Who am I to write a book? Who are you not to write a book? ~Tom Bird