Here is one of the chapters from my newly published book, Writing: A Spiritual Voice. The image is the original cover of The Love of Devotion which this article refers to.
A few days before the photo shoot for the book cover of The Love of Devotion (2014), I suddenly had the idea to wear a large, white, silk veil over my body and head. The veil is a universal representation of feminine spiritual devotion. It is ancient and transcultural. It represents the core qualities of spiritual love and inner beauty. It has its own particular manifestations in each religion, but is always equated with humility before God, devotion to goodness, and commitment to the spiritual path. My natural self is highly devotional. As a Westerner, and a raised Catholic, the archetypal symbol was probably arising from the stereotypic Catholic nun.
This is the beginning of Writing: A Spiritual Voice (Book 2 of The Creative Spirit Series).
Chapter 1: Out of the Drawer
Like many people, I have always written. Like most people who write, I had no intention of being an author. I remember, as a young adult, a university friend telling me that my birthday and Christmas cards were so long that they were like a book. Later, in my mid-thirties, another friend told me, several times, that I could write a book about my life. I didn’t think anything of that because everyone’s life is interesting to themselves because they are the star.
People often feel that they have a book inside them. They probably do. However, the effort it takes to write, publish, and sell one is so demanding that few actually do it. If the writing voice is speaking to you, then, in some manner, you should listen. You do not have to become a published author, but all constructive inner drives are calling for action. The fulfilment of anything is in its expression. The joy is in the moment-by-moment attention, the developing ability to reach deeply into the creative centre, and the nurturing of an inherent individual impulse to create.
I began writing my first book, The Love of Being Loving, in 2005. I was in my mid-forties. The book came from decades of spiritual work, and lifetimes before that. It is a small book of 23,000 words, but it took me three years to write because I was a new writer and, true to my writing style ever since, I like to make every word count. After finishing it, I tried to get it accepted by a few publishing companies. As is generally the case, that went nowhere. In fact, I gave up after trying four publishing houses, which isn’t many, but I felt I needed to go a different route. The manuscript sat in my desk drawer for another three years.
Life took a different turn and a long-term friendship turned into a couple relationship. As often happens with the introduction of new people into our life (or old people in a new way), it brought something fresh out of me. The dynamics of our own being and that of a totally other independent being fires up life. As my partner was a caring and intelligent man, also on the spiritual path, it was not perhaps a surprising outcome that I took the dormant book out of the drawer and got the momentum to self-publish it. The whole process of forming the idea, learning about self-publishing, and rewriting the book took another two years. The massive advances in self-publishing, which sprang from the ability to print-on-demand, were very timely for me. Finally, my book was published in 2013, having had an eight-year journey from inception to birth.
All authors know that the birth of a book is a huge milestone, but it also marks the beginning of the equally challenging journey to get it in front of people. That involves the making of oneself as a public persona with a particular voice. It involves marketing and selling. Otherwise, the manuscript might be out of the drawer and into the market, but it will be so invisible that it will not be doing much more than sitting in the drawer. The first of anything is the most difficult. Once that first book is written, edited (a million times if you edit yourself as I have always done), published, and some sort of marketing system is established, then books will have a much easier channel to flow through you.
My book became part of a four-book series, Love and Devotion. Another nonfiction series was also written – The Creative Spirit Series – which includes the gentle offering of a poetry book. Poetry is so private and personal. To my surprise, five years ago, after never having been a fiction reader, I started writing a fiction book, Waldmeer, which turned into a seven-book series.
Now, eight years after the release of my initial book, I have fourteen published books. The output was exponential, rather than being a steady production of books from the beginning. The last two years of COVID-19 have been a particularly valuable opportunity of concentrated time at home, and have seen the release of four nonfiction books and three fiction ones to finish the Waldmeer Series.