Years ago, I was at a library and overheard a man talking with the librarian as to how he was doing a research for a book. My curious nature got the best of me, so I moseyed on over to where he was and asked what his latest project was. He explained to me he had been working on a book idea for several years. It must have been an in-depth book, but he later revealed he enjoyed the research process more than the writing part. And I thought to myself — is there such as a thing as too much research to hide behind our fears?
I’m reminded of a quote by Salvador Dali –
Have no fear of perfection — you’ll never reach it.
And by golly! Dali is right. I kind of want to fist bump the guy for such wise observation. Our worlds have set us up to fear failure and it starts in the very beginning of our lives.
We praise our children for behaving “right”. Teachers praise children for the “right” answer. Society rewards those who “behave” and “stay in-between the lines”. It’s a tough act to behave in the “right” way day in and day out. I know I get tired of it and have to get a little devious at times.
It makes me sad for the students who used to be bright stars before they get to my classroom. Their light has been dimmed by so many people in their lives chastising them for not being “right”. I love being among teachers — and there are quite a few of them — who repair the damage that has been done.
My students are rewarded for being wrong. I encourage my students to think outside of the box and be wrong. In fact, I expect them to be wrong. I mean, isn’t that what’s science is all about? Making educated guesses. It’s time to throw a party for the most kick ass guess. Heck, at least it’s better to be wrong and doing something than not doing anything for the fear of being wrong.
My world is filled with movers and shakers. So, it was a bit odd to me to hear someone spending eternity researching material for his book because he’s afraid to write the darned thing. If the book sucks, then the book sucks — at least a person can say — I wrote a sucky book. The way I see the whole sucky book thing is at least it’s a good conversation topic.
I can see it — You greasing your eyebrows with the spit on your finger and sauntering your way through the crowd. All eyes are on you. Not because you’ve got spit on your eyebrows, but you wrote a book. As to whether it is horrible or not doesn’t matter because there will always be differing opinions out there.
In the end — You wrote a frickin’ book! How cool is that??!!
However, if the book ends up on bookshelves in a million cities across the world — then, that’s even better. You can meet all sorts of incredible people who will tell you how awesome you are. Just think, you’re on your way to book TWO! Stop… Listen… Your fans are cheering for you.
I challenge you to side with Ralph Waldo Emerson when he said:
Always do what you’re afraid to do.
It’s one thing to conduct research for your book. It’s one thing to place your project on hold because your creative juices need marinating. I get that. I TOTALLY get that because we all need that R & R.
It is NOT okay to use those excuses to hide the message the spirit wants you to deliver to the world. It really isn’t. In a way, it’s a bit selfish. You were bestowed a duty to write a story, so it is your duty to get the story out for others to grow and learn from your wisdom.
If you’re hiding behind your research because you’re afraid of writing the book — stop it and write. The spirit has great things planned for you. Allow that amazing light within you to shine on those pages and I’d love to read your work.
You are an amazing person. You can do this!
Happy writing and reflecting.
Dr. Melissa Halstead helps small businesses develop, launch, and market their online courses, workshops, and masterclasses so they can inject more cash into their business while making a difference in the lives they serve.
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