Giving Shape


I was eavesdropping on my wife as she listened to an author on the online Hay House Radio give advice to a new caller. Hay House publishes entirely within the mind/body/spirit genre, and their writers are teachers, mediums, channelers, and life-coaches, and not poets, novelists, playwrights, or essayists – a distinction t I believe was largely responsible for the exchange I overheard. The caller began by thanking the author for her latest book. “I’m just so grateful,” she said. “That book was just what I needed.”

“Oh, yes,” the author replied. “That book was a good one, wasn’t it?”

She was the first writer I’d ever heard talk about something she’d written in this way. I didn’t catch a whiff of ego in her response. It was as if she was talking about something someone else had written. It seemed like the most honest way to view one’s work: both appreciative and humble. That’s how I should be, I thought.

At that time holding such a perspective was a little harder for me as I was mostly writing fiction. Artistic writers, for many reasons, put a lot more attention on their craft. Shaping a story, a scene, and even a sentence consumes much of your attention. That shaping is your job. And that shaping is sometimes what we are praised for, or given awards for.

Yet if we are honest, every writer, whether a life-coach or poet, must acknowledge that what they are shaping is not theirs. It came to us, albeit in a form only we could perceive, but came to us nonetheless. That it came to us, that it was inspired, is what makes writing so inspiring. Don’t deny yourself that by taking full credit for what you’ve written, by believing that all your work’s value lives in its form. The form only allowed the value to be shared, allowed someone else to appreciate it as much you did when you first found it.

If you like the ideas and perspectives expressed here, feel free to contact me about individual coaching and group workshops.