A while back, I blogged about my book,You Can’t Read This Book. Please refer to the cleverly titled, You can’t read this post, in which I told the story behind the book. I want to talk a little more about the story behind that story, as I intended to do weeks ago, but alas, life happens, even to writers. I also included a video of myself explaining the tension I felt over the book. The video was made 9 months ago, and it’s not an accurate reflection of how I feel now, but it definitely shows how frustrated I became with thinking I couldn’t. Thought you audio-visual learners might enjoy seeing that. For the rest of you, on to the words.
Now, about the book: It is very nice, the cover says it was written by “The Author” (which I’m sorry I know I made it say that, but I still think that’s funny), it’s got great words in it, it’s fun to read, and it’s bright orange, which is always nice to see on bookshelves. But, with all that aside, here’s a secret:
I went through HELL writing this book. Don’t get me wrong, I love the book. But I HATED HATED HATED HATED HATED HATED writing it.
Why you ask?
Because here is another secret about the book:
The main character, “The Author,” is not just a cute, little boy who thinks you cant read. He is a personification of the inner critic, more specifically MY inner critic. As in, I have struggled with thinking I can’t do EVERYTHING, and I turned that voice in my head that says I can’t do things into a children’s book character and then tried to put him in a children’s book. To which he said, “You can’t." I tried to write words for him to say, to which he said, "You can’t.” And I tried to draw him on the pages, to which he said, you guessed it, “You can’t.” Oh, and don’t even get me started about trying to edit the book, or publish the book, and God-forbid when I started selling and promoting the book.
"You can’t make this book."
"You can’t write this book."
"You can’t draw this book."
"You can’t edit this book."
"You can’t finish this book."
"You can’t publish this book."
"You can’t sell this book."
"YOU just CAN’T!!!!!!"
Honestly, it was as exhausting as it was ironic. Throughout the whole process, I was battling this inner voice telling me I couldn’t make the book, and I’m thinking, ”And at the end of this I’m going to come out either a genius or a hypocrite, because THIS IS WHAT THE BOOK IS ABOUT!!! UGHHH!! I AM SO FRUSTRATED WITH MYSELF AND LIFE AND THIS STUPID BOOK!!!! ”
And that is what the book is about:
Thinking. You. Can’t.
Now, from that very interesting process, here’s what I learned about myself:
Lesson One: I didn’t think I could do anything. I had zero self-confidence. Seriously, I could not do anything without thinking I couldn’t do it. From going to the gym to writing books, I was doomed to fail in my mind. My inner critic was alive and kicking, and he bothered me each and every day. I really hope I keep growing and overcoming this, because it sucked to live every day of my life assuming I could not do what I wanted to do. It made me very unhappy, and still makes me unhappy when I slip back into that mental pattern.
Lesson Two: I found that I actually could do what I wanted. In spite of the negative thoughts, I still did the things I wanted to do. I let the negativity act as a challenge, spurring me on and actually encouraging me to do what I needed to do. And I did it. I made the book. I published the book. I am selling the book. It wasn’t easy, but it was done. Now, this does not mean being overly-critical of yourself and expecting to not be able to do something is a good thing. It just means it was used for good in my life. I think in a weird way, thinking I couldn’t was how I thought I could. Because every time I thought I couldn’t, I did. So I thought I could not in order to think I could…hows that for confusing? I’ll save that for another post. In summary, now I always prefer to just think that I can. It’s simpler.
Can you read that book?