It’s been very interesting to find out some similarities between a book and a child you bring into the world. First, those two are the result of some love you gather in some alchemic process, “bake it” for a while and present to the world as a masterpiece. And I don’t mean it is perfect, even though to the eyes of its creator it is. By that, I mean that you put your love and best effort into it, trusting it is a great contribution to the world, no matter how many hearts it will touch from birth on.
Just as you hope for your own child, you wish people will see your creation with the same eyes you have for it: that it is here to give love and be loved. I never knew it’d hurt also to hear criticism toward your “work of art” as it hurts to see meanness toward your child. And even though I like to envision this world full of light, compassionate and open-hearted people, it would have been very naive of me to expect a smooth red carpet with no bumps ahead on my book’s journey. When I made the choice to publish it, I knew I’d be opening the book and myself to vulnerability, and yet I chose to proceed. I believe many people step back from publishing their beautiful words shared from their hearts for being afraid of how well accepted they would be. It’s completely understandable and it also is what makes authors work harder on their projects to present their best at the end. However, my willingness to share my ideas with the world was bigger than that fear, so I went for it and published my first children’s yoga book – a subject dear to my heart and that I believe I have learned enough to share a bit with the world.
Interestingly enough, the project of publishing my book started when my daughter (now 13yo) and I met with one of her former teachers, a writer, who offered to look at my daughter’s writing and edit it so she could publish her first book. She told my daughter, “Trust me: After you see my editing, you’ll hate me for at least a month! Yet I am trying to help your book be presented to the world in a better way. Although the final decision is yours; you’ll choose to follow my suggestions or not. Also, be ready for any type of comments you may get as feedback once your book is out.” Wow! Wise words, I tell you. I still remember these words, now proven to be true. On that same meeting, she read some poems I had brought and motivated me to publish them together with ideas for activities including yoga.
The words I heard in that meeting could have fed my fear of publishing and stopped me. However, I have given up on any perfectionism I may have carried in the past (I already wrote about this in this blog). I’ll still work hard to produce good work (book, lesson plans, projects, etc.), but won’t be upset if it is not considered perfect by others. I have learned to know what I do (and what I am) is enough. On the other hand, my 13-year-old- daughter is not quite fully sure of that yet, even though I have told her again and again she is wonderful (but teenage years bring much self-questioning). She got upset with some of the editor’s comments, and proceeded to adjust her writing where she thought it was appropriate. She then realized that, if one reader came up with all those comments, imagine all the others once the book is out…
It turned out summer went by fast and during the school year she doesn’t have time to attend to her book. So, she is waiting for summer vacations to finally finish the book. Meanwhile, she’s been learning a lot from my book and responses from the world. She participated in the making of the book as she is a great artist (not because she is my daughter, but because I mostly draw stick figures…) and drew the yoga poses by hand while I posed for her. Later, the illustrator put my daughter’s drawings into the computer. So, the book also contains her effort and love.
I don’t know if it is because I tend to put my kids’ feelings before mine or because I have learned to be compassionate toward others no matter what, but a recent misunderstanding around my book has left my daughter upset and feeling way more insulted than myself. I believe this is actually great learning for her to feel indirect criticism toward my book before she gets her project out. Until then hopefully she will understand a bit more that people do have different opinions and views about things and it is okay. What matters is your intention with what you produce. And if it comes from the heart, I trust the universe will help take your product to those who need it, even if it turns out it is just yourself.
Fortunately, I have also heard many nice, kind, comforting words from friends and complete strangers. One of them mentioned how wonderful it is to bring a creative idea from your heart to share with others. Another person, who knows I am a kid yoga teacher and love my job, asked me jokingly if I was ready for fame. I smiled, and said that I just hope my book will help kids and parents who need it.
In summary, if you believe you have some words that matter and you want to share them with the world, go for it! Maybe you decide to publish them somewhere; maybe you just post them on a blog. But, most importantly, don’t let fear stop you.