"The dreams you think you like would hold you back as much as those in which the fear is seen. For every dream is but a dream of fear, no matter what form it seems to take..."
(A Course in Miracles, Text, Chapter 29, IV, 1.)
These last two weeks I've felt very excited, having accepted a contract to have my novel published. (It's due out in early 2016. Watch this space.) Writing a book, as I'm beginning to discover, is just the beginning of the hard work. Now comes the daunting prospect of marketing the novel and all that entails... seeking endorsements, planning social media campaigns. I've even set up a Twitter account in anticipation.
My initial enthusiasm began to wane as I seemingly hit a brick wall. An endorsement from a famous published author or other well-known person would be great to put on the back cover. But how does a first time novelist get such a thing? I don't know any A-list celebrities (or B or C list ones either, come to think of it!). And the thought of cold-calling someone I've never met to seek an endorsement fills me with dread.
What about Oprah's Book Club? She's into books with a spiritual message at their heart. Sadly, "for legal reasons", her web-site doesn't accept unsolicited submissions.
A friend of a friend with contacts in publishing wanted to help, but conceded that people in the industry would likely be too busy to read a novel which already had a publisher.
All a bit frustrating.
Which is when I realised my ego had taken over. I'd become attached to getting a celebrity endorsement, to encourage people to buy the book so it reaches the widest possible audience.
Why that attachment? I didn't write the book for money or for status, for fame or for fortune. (If I had done, I'd have been barking up the wrong tree. The proportion of writers who earn a decent living from selling their books is discouragingly small. It seems I've almost as much chance of my Premium Bond number coming up!) I wrote and crafted the book - over many years - because I feel I have something to say. A message to share. A message of hope.
And then I remembered words that came to me a few years ago. Words that encourage me to "let go and let God"...
"If my aim is to make a contribution by giving people back to themselves by reminding them who they are; if I am coming from Spirit rather than ego, I won't be concerned if they come to the realisation through me or through some other means. I am here to serve them, not my own ego. I am here to offer help. The moment I try to force a belief or a philosophy or a way of life [or my novel!] onto someone, in that moment I am stepping out of alignment with Spirit and it is I who needs to learn."
Peter Parr: Quaker, writer and former member of the British minigolf team. (Actually those are all just roles I play. Words can't describe who any of us really are.)