Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Living out loud

          Writing is a solitary act...a primarily silent experience.  Unless I'm working with an editor, the majority of my time is spent sitting alone in my office working.  The only sound I hear is the occasional whooshing of the furnace.  The hum and click of the refrigerator.  The sound of cars passing by.
          Reading is also a solitary pursuit.  Unlike watching a movie or listening to music, which can be readily shared with friends, enjoying a good book invites you to tune out the rest of the world and dive deep into the story.  Unlike a movie or a CD, reading often takes more time.  A good book can keep you hooked for days (and even the better parts of some nights).  It invites you to invest yourself in the story, evoking your own thoughts and images and memories.  Reading invites us into the silence of ourselves so that we can hear the proverbial still small voice that is often shrouded by the clamor of the outside world. 
          Writing and reading have always been my harbingers of healing for all of these reasons...and countless more.

          But now I find myself in a very different place. 
          My first book has been published, and not the one I had intended.  And not the way I had imagined.  Instead of a hardcover novel that's available at your local bookstore, it's been a digital version of my memoir that has been in the hands of readers for nearly two weeks.   Instead of fiction, I have chosen to let my first offering be one that reveals the truth of what my life has been so far.  And in these past fourteen days I've learned many things about myself and my expectations.  My fears and anxieties.  My hopes and wishes. 
          It's been very challenging for me to self-publish, not because I don't have the joyful desire to share what I have written, but because I am unsure of how to go about living my life out loud.  It's easy to sit here and write.  It feels completely natural to allow the thoughts and images in my head to flow through my imagination and onto the computer screen.  My desk drawer is full of ideas for a new novel, for a dozen or more blogs, a handful of children's books. 
          It's simple to live a silent writer's life...but not so easy to nudge myself into the world of self-promotion.  
         
          And yet, in the past sixteen years, I've been able maintain a yoga business that has been built on referrals alone.  Each venue, every person, every class has been linked to person I've taught.  A person I've taught with.  A person who resonates with the style of yoga that I teach and has shared their enthusiasm with others.  I always say that Toledo is a "word of mouth town" and I imagine the same is true for most everywhere.  I've been blessed to have countless people in my classes over the years, many of whom have become dear friends.  Many who have become my greatest cheerleaders as I take this step forward into publishing.
          I've come to understand that living out loud does not mean I have to constantly shout from the rooftops.  I don't need to sell out or saturate the market with advertisements.  I simply need to strive for quality and know that my work will attract the readers who are interested in investing a little of themselves with the promise of a healthy return for their time.   And if you're one of those readers, please share a blog, share a link on Facebook, share a customer review on Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble or Goodreads.  Share your story and share your reading experience with others.  

         I've often said, it takes a village to grow a writer...and each one of you is helping me venture into this new adventure of living out loud.  You're my village, people...and I thank you!