Winter writing on a Friday morning. What would happen if you slowed down for just 5 minutes—and just listened. And then wrote what you heard? Not trying to create something great or convince anyone to buy anything. What if you just listened for the words that are right below the surface? They’re there. And they’re waiting for you.
What you have learned so completely matters.
What you keep dreaming about matters.
The times you have soared matter.
The times that have brought you to your knees matter.
The lens through which you are seeing the world right now—the thought that keeps circling, the idea that keeps grabbing your attention—matters.
And it is medicine for the rest of us.
I once imagined that if I could just sit with someone who was yearning to write a book—not just any book, but a really beautiful book—without the constraints of time or home or office, together we could dream that book into being.
Surrounded by nature and nourished with good food, we could spend a day exploring all the wisdom they’ve been gathering and wanting to express, look at how they are designed to share their message, and create a container unique to them.
We could then map the way, step by step, from that idea straight on through to a finished book. Long scattered thoughts would connect and that book would begin to be born.
When they sat down to write and stepped into the wilderness of confusion, procrastination or overwhelm, that map would be their guide.
So, several years ago, I began offering Book Mapping Days, and they have allowed all that to happen. In Covid times, they’ve happened on Zoom–and I’ve really missed the spaciousness and magic of being together in person.
This week I was able to create a socially-distanced-in-person day in a beautiful little cabin on Mount Hood. We mapped out a plan and it was wonderful to see all the elements working together again.
What could happen if you gave your book idea these things?
Schedule a complimentary Clarity Call if you’d like to chat about the book you’re dreaming of.
After months of pandemic-focus on things that are most necessary, it felt good to pare down even more. One pants, one shirt, one jacket, one hat, one book, just enough food, a stove, a sleeping bag.
Because the less we have, the farther we go and the more we notice. There’s a spontaneous swim at 8,500 feet. Morning oatmeal above timberline. Explosions of glacier lily and paintbrush. Wild windy nights, yellow moon illuminating pink heather. Elk tracks criss-crossing the snowpack.
The wonders that happen when we remember to pack light. (Especially when it comes to writing.)
I scribbled this sign the day after Sept. 11, 2001 and stuck it on a fir outside my door. I had just moved from Boston to Rhododendron, Oregon, the week before—and, like everyone, was turned inside out. It helped me feel a little more grounded.
The line came from a book, Gervase, that my mother had and that I loved so much as a kid. In it, a young girl befriends a fawn who grows into a mighty stag. The townspeople fear the stag’s wild nature and make a plan to kill him. Just before he goes off with them, knowing his fate, he tells the girl, “Hither world, thither world, all worlds are one. Keep high watch.”
When I was 10, I took the words to mean that maybe death wasn’t so scary, that the smallest of creatures was as important as all others. That you look out for everyone, and don’t get so lost in the details you miss what really matters.
I have moved often and brought this sign from house to house. Over the last wild year, I’ve glanced at it and thought, “Jeez, NOW I know what this means.”
May I remember this in the coming days and may we all keep high watch for each other.