A funny thing happened a few weeks ago. I wrote a book.
Actually, let me back up a few years. I didn’t just write a book last week. In 2016 I was working at a job that left me with a ton of downtime and nothing but a laptop in front of me.
I had just spent a year in a hospital, working in an outpatient children’s clinic and an inpatient adult program with people recovering from addiction and mental health setbacks. In that job, I had begun to notice some patterns that would appear upstairs with children and their families and then manifest downstairs with the addiction patients who were often acting out childhood trauma as adults. I started to wonder if we could avoid some of these adult issues by parenting our children differently.
As I sat in my courthouse office in 2016 with nothing to do but google dream vacations, I started to think about writing down all those thoughts and questions I had about parenting. Thus, Explicit Parenting the book began.
I got about three chapters in before my job picked up and I no longer had time during the day to write at work or the mental energy left at night to write at home. So, it sat on my laptop for nearly four years while I changed jobs, wrote reams and reams for school, and ignored the book I started figuring I’d never finish so what was the point.
Fast forward to December 2019. A writer and coach I know issued a challenge: finish a book in two weeks. This seemed like the perfect excuse to crank out my remaining dissertation chapters with a focused intensity I lacked the other 50 weeks of the year.
Just for fun though, before the challenge began, I opened the Explicit Parenting book draft on my laptop. Guess what? I was sucked right back in. Reading this book with the perspective of 3 more years of working with kids and families while also living with my own teenagers ignited that old passion to talk to parents about raising kids.
The dissertation was quickly sidelined in favor of finishing Explicit Parenting. I wrote fervently. I collected old blog posts to add to the meat of the book and I didn’t rest until I felt finished saying what I needed to say to parents out there looking for support and community.
Here is the kicker, the result of this challenge was not just a finished book, but also a total mindset shift.
I’ve been telling myself for years that I’m not (insert judgmental adjective here) enough to write a book. I don’t know enough. I am not credentialed enough. My ideas aren’t original enough. You name it and I’ve said it as an excuse to leave those chapters unfinished in the draft folder.
Then I finished the book and I had no more excuses. It was done. I hid it in the editing process for a bit but once it was uploaded to Amazon I made the mistake of telling my husband. He immediately shared it on social media before I was “ready”. I was angry. What if there were errors? What if the cover was actually pixelated in real life even though it appeared fine on my computer screen? What if, what if, what if?
The real question, which was hidden in all the others was: what if people hate it and think I’m dumb? Or worse, what if they think I’m arrogant or pompous and should just keep my mouth shut?
Turns out, finishing the book didn’t completely eliminate my inner critic-she’s as loud as ever! But, finishing did force me to admit I have something to say. Even if I want to curl up and hide from it, the book is out there, and I am talking about it.
The thing that helps me come out of my frightened turtle shell is my desire to help.
Sure, there are some typesetting errors and edits I missed even after reading it 1000 times and hiring an editor. But, I’m hoping the content is helpful enough that people won’t care. My desire to help parents feel less lonely, less overwhelmed and more appreciated is greater than any fear I have about being judged. I do have the experience. I do have the knowledge and I do have the passion necessary to communicate the message I want to send. I’m counting on what I have to carry me over the path of fear and doubt. There will be more to the book than just the book. Turns out, I have some things to say, and I’m just getting started.
If you want a copy of Explicit Parenting: Tips from the Trenches for Raising Good and Happy Humans you can buy it here.