My first blog post (written in August 2013 under the blog entitled “Stuck on a Branch”) was dedicated to acknowledging the irony of how, for quite some time, I was so stuck on (and not succeeding in) writing a children’s mindfulness book that I was missing the point of the mindfulness practice that I was trying to teach in the first place (i.e. learning how to stop/breathe, and just notice/acknowledge my emotions, and consider if my perspectives of life’s situations could be seen in other ways.)
Once I recognized this, I vowed to take a step back from it.
And I did.
And started this blog.
Which has not only been incredibly personally fulfilling and therapeutic, but it has given me the venue to express my “STUCK” model to others.
Until about 3 days ago, when (for whatever reason) I started thinking about that children’s book concept again.
And, I sat down at the computer to hash out new ideas and I became not only excited about the idea, but convinced that it could be really good.
No, not good, great.
At the same time, I received an email that a local Canadian-born author, Carol Novis, would be visiting Hannaton and speaking about her experiences writing and publishing her children’s book: The Adventures of Mary Fairy.
I actually thought it was destiny.
So, I went.
And, I learned a lot of things.
The author challenged us with many questions, such as:
1) What age is your book geared towards?
And while I always considered my book geared to 5-7 year old children, I realized that actually, the concept that I am trying to teach is way too sophisticated and mature for that age group and it would be more appreciated and valued for children 10 years and older.
2) Do you have a compelling plot?
No, I thought to myself. I have a character (though, that keeps changing) and I have a message. But, no real plot.
3) Why do you want to write a children’s book?
I responded to myself, “Because I have a message that I want to share. And, more than that, I have a message I want to share to my children!”
4) Can you find a book that is similar in content/style to the one you want to write (in order to help guide you)?
Yes! I just found such a book (translated into Hebrew from English, though I’d love to get a copy of the original for my kids!) called: Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes. It’s a fantastic short picture book about happiness, teaching a great life lesson in a fun way. It is written so well and cleverly that my younger children ask to hear it each night. They know most of the words to the book and they sing Pete the Cat’s “song”.
Thinking about it, this book is probably the closest thing to the book I’ve been wanting and trying to write over the past year.
As I walked home that night and discussed some of these revelations with a friend/writer/blogger/coach friend of mine, and told her how I was thinking of changing the character from a monkey to a train (who would literally get stuck, as in: stuck in a junction, stuck in traffic, stuck in the muck, etc.), she stopped me for a moment, just to suggest that trains as images for children usually lose their attractiveness by the age of 5.
Right, I thought to myself. Of course.
Anyone would know that!
And, as I said goodbye to my friend, I was convinced I had to go back to the drawing board AGAIN.
It was then, in the middle of the road on my walk home, that I realized I was stuck.
On writing this children’s book.
Feeling totally compelled to write a book.
That has no plot, no set character, and only a life lesson (which kids don’t really want to learn unless it’s well hidden in the story).
I Stopped (S).
Literally, on the way back to my house, on the road.
I just stood there for a moment.
And took a breath.
And acknowledged (T) how I was feeling: the desire to share my ideas with others; the belief that I have a compelling idea to share.
And checked what may have been underneath this all: (U) – That maybe (just maybe?) I’m feeling like I’ve amounted to nothing in my life. At the age of 40, with 2 degrees and 1 professional certificate, I’m not advancing myself professionally the way others around me seem to be doing so. And maybe (just maybe?) I’m thinking (unconsciously) that this book could be the thing that is going to pave the way to my professional success and fame.
So, I considered other perspectives:
- If I have an idea to share, perhaps I can do it in another way besides via a children’s book,
- The regular “Stuck in the Muck” blogging that I’ve been doing over the past 6 months has been a venue for sharing my “stuck” ideas, not only with friends/family and people I’ve never met, but for my oldest child (who subscribes to this blog) and discusses each post with me.
- And, that maybe this blog post will be the book that I eventually publish – whether it’s just spiral bound at the local print shop or whether I take the time and energy to actually self-publish it, and it can be a legacy that I leave to my children for them to learn and grow from.
S0, there, you monkey mind of mine!
You can forget about this children’s book idea for now, because I’ll be continuing to focus on my blog for now.
And enjoy Pete the Cat: I love My White Shoes each night with my kids and be happy.