I was one of those children who regularly insisted, “I can do it myself.” My parents heard those words a million times. Bless their patience.
Now I am in the messy middle of writing a book, and I can most definitely not do it myself.
I didn’t fully realize, when I began this process, creating a book is a communal effort. I kind of knew, but hadn’t considered it at depth. After all, book covers say “by author’s name”. They don’t say “by long list of names.”
The clue is inside the book on the acknowledgements page if the writer has added one, and most do. Right there is the long list.
When I think on it, I had help long before the book idea crossed my mind. Every creativity book I have worked my way through, and every author of everything I’ve read throughout my life have helped me. They’ve laid paths and rhythms of language within me. I move to that beat when I write.
I learned from every teacher ways I wanted to play with words, and ways I didn’t.
My circle of friends are artists, writers, and readers, book lovers all. They patiently read my drafts and ask exactly the right questions to unstick me from swamps of my own making. They celebrate, commiserate, and push when I need it. I do the same for them, and gain a deeper understanding of my own creative process.
In my future beyond the drafts stage, there is a stream of wise partners who will help me create, support, and present the book that shows up online, in bookstores, and in readers’ hands and minds.
The help list is long and growing.
I wouldn’t have it any other way. I treasure the community coming into being, the wisdom and experience shared with me, the yes they are offering my project.
I was a do-it-myself child.
It’s a good thing I have changed.
(Written at a friend’s home, grey-blue ocean beyond the windows and a morning sky clearing towards a sunny day. Thanks Wren, for lending me your place!)