Why Are You Doing What You’re Doing?
I just got another lovely rejection letter for my book from a literary agent in New York. Why do I say lovely? Well, I’ve received lots of straight-up “no’s” since I started this journey in February but this is my third “I-wish-I-could-but…” letter. An affirming rejection – who knew? See how I’ve grown, tra la la!
This kind agent told me she likes my book idea, my writing and my qualifications but that nowadays that’s not enough. Nowadays the big publishing houses need you to come with your own ready-made market. If they are not guaranteed that your book will sell at least 5-10,000 copies it’s not worth it to them. No matter how amazing your book is.
So she told me to take a year, build up my ‘platform’ (in other words people who have heard of me and want to read what I have to say) and then please get back to her “with a whole lot more going for you”, because she really does like my idea a lot. So nice, really…
But why on earth would I do any of this ‘platform building’ to myself? It’s true I love my book and want it published but these past months I’ve asked myself more times than I can count, “Why I’m doing this?” – or as I recently wrote in my journal “What the hell, hell, HELL am I doing?! And Why?!”
I’m really struggling to answer myself.
I’m not selling anything yet, I’m not trawling for more clients in my practice, I’m not trying to self-promote – quite the opposite actually, much of the time I want to hide from all this exposure. So why do I feel driven to do this? What’s wrong with me?
The only real answer HAS TO BE (Eilat are you listening?) that I’m doing this for ME. For my own good. I’m being drawn towards my growth and healing.
I give myself other reasons of course – they sound better; like that I can see things which can make people’s lives easier, richer, more meaningful; that this information can contribute to people’s healing; that parenting can be less burdensome; that families might suffer less, children may be happier; there will be more people who are letting themselves shine and offer their true gifts to the world; it’s not right to just keep what I can see to myself; I could see this as my contribution to World Peace (a lá Miss Congeniality)…
But that can’t be why I’m doing this. Not really.
This might not seem ‘nice’, but when all is said and done, everything we do is for ourselves.
Even Mother Theresa, saintly woman of selflessness, did what she did for ‘selfish’ reasons. She probably felt she had to. And that’s her stuff right? I mean the fact that the world benefited enormously from her offering of herself is just the gravy on the meat. She was called to it, moved to do it, and found her peace in doing it. She must have faced resistance. I can’t imagine her parents were delighted for their little girl to do that sort of thing with her life. She was doing it because that is what her soul called her to do. It can’t have been easy and her personal growth and healing must have been profound.
I am doing this project, just like I’m ‘doing’ being a parent, because I have a lot to learn and a lot to heal. Sometimes I tremble and quake, and other times I strut around like a proud peacock, but overall I’m not doing this to curry favour, preach, teach, heal, gain approval, stoke my ego, be famous, be a good girl, create good karma… although to be brutally honest, each of these does seduce me in it’s turn. Like I said, I have a lot to learn.