My chickens are molting. In the fall, they lose old tattered feathers so new ones can come in. (Hang in there—this will come around to book writing eventually.)
Molting is not a fun process for the chickens. “Pin feathers” poke through their skin. Being a live pin cushion is clearly uncomfortable for them—they don’t want to be touched, and the newly forming feathers can bleed if mishandled. The chickens eat little and mope much. They act fussy, like babies getting their first teeth.
Molting is not a fun process for the chicken farmers either: First of all, the chickens’ entertainment value plummets severely. And since all their energy (and protein) goes into growing new feathers, they stop laying eggs. Yes, we have to buy grocery-store eggs. Sigh.
When I wrote Chicken Haiku, one of the poems was this:
Feathers in yard,
chickens cringe from touch—
prick of new growth.
I was writing literally about molting chickens, but I was writing figuratively about us humans as well. New growth stings. Personal development is uncomfortable. Stretching ourselves can make us mopey.
Now here’s where we get to books.
For some people, writing a book is a straightforward project with a beginning, an end, and deliverables along the way. Bing-bang-boom.
But for many of my clients, writing a book is also a personal development effort—and they get poked with a lot of pin feathers. Ideas poke through, questions poke through, structures poke through, ahas poke through. And occasionally one of those pin feathers gets bent and bleeds.
Sometimes your brain hurts with all the poking.
It’s hard work to clarify and refine your ideas. It’s tough to revise a manuscript when the first draft took so long. Sometimes you don’t want to feel stretched to articulate what you really mean; you just want to take a nap.
Yes, writing a book can be uncomfortable, even painful.
But when the book is complete, you have worked so hard and grown so much that you have been transformed. You understand how to explain your ideas. You have more confidence. You don’t hesitate to share how you and your book can help people.
As one client said, “I show up differently.”
If you are thinking about writing a book, be prepared for the stings that go with it. If you’re in the midst of writing a book, hang in there. It might be an uncomfortable growth process, but in the end, you get some beautiful new feathers.
Need a hand to hold while you’re molting . . . I mean writing your book? Sometimes a coach can help. Get in touch to see if we’re a fit to work together: email@example.com.