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December 19, 2023 28 mins

What if writing a book isn’t just about writing a book? What if it’s about connecting more deeply with yourself and with the world? In this last episode of 2023, I unpack what is really happening when you write your story—which is far more than you can quantify or even imagine. 

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
Pick up the pieces of your life, pull them back
together with the words you write, all the beauty and
peace and the magic that you'll start too fun When
you write your story, you get the words and said,
don't you think it's time to let them out and
write them down and cover what it's all about and

write your story. Write you, write your story.

Speaker 2 (00:29):
Hi, and welcome back to the Write Your Story Podcast.
This is Ali Fallon, I'm your host, and today is
the last episode of this podcast for the year twenty
twenty three. On today's episode, I wanted to talk about
a topic that's really important to me, something that is
a subject I've been teasing out over the course of

the last ten plus years of my career. It's also
a subject that's going to be really potent and powerful
for you to take in and to understand, and absolutely
vital for you to embody as you move through this
process of writing your story and maybe even publishing that

story and sharing with people beyond just you, so either
family and friends or a wider network beyond that. This
is a topic that's so important for you to understand. Otherwise,
without really understanding what I'm going to talk about today,
it's really easy to lose motivation in the creative process,

it's very easy to forget your why, to lose track
of why you're doing this in the first place. It's
also possible to complete the objective at hand, meaning to
write the story or to pitch to publishers, or to
get the publishing contract, or to get the book out there,
and to completely miss what was actually trying to happen

inside of that process. That's about so much more than
just the book itself, and so I want to make
sure that I took a minute at the end of
this year to talk about what's really happening when you
sit down to the page to write a book. In
my opinion and in my personal experience as a book coach,
as a ghostwriter, as an author, myself watching this process

take place over and over and over again in the
past decade plus, I have witnessed this truth rise to
the surface over and over again, and it's something that
I really want people to understand who have this desire
to sit down and write their story or write a book.
I really think of this like an iceberg. I call

this the iceberg effect, where you're invited into this process
called writing your story, or maybe you're invited into this
process called writing a book. Perhaps you feel like I
have felt in the past, or like so many people
I've worked with have felt, where you feel like this
idea or this invitation showed up on your doorstep without

you inviting it. You wasn't like you went out looking
for this or seeking it. But it feels like this
story idea or book idea or invitation to write just
kind of appeared in front of you one day and
started nagging at you, and almost isn't giving you a choice.
It's almost just saying to you, Okay, we're going to
go on this ride. You're going to write this thing.

You're not going to totally understand what's going on, and
you don't really get to say in the matter, this
is happening whether you want it to happen or not.
I don't know if you have felt like that, but
I have most certainly felt like that, more so with
certain writing projects than with other writing projects. But I've
worked with a lot of clients who have also had
this same kind of sensation. And if that's you, if
you're feeling pulled or drawn or invited into this process

kind of outside of your.

Speaker 1 (03:42):
Own will in a way.

Speaker 2 (03:45):
Then it's really important to see that there's more happening
for you in this process then you might realize. So
the iceberg effect is just this idea that there's the
part of this that you can see on the surface,
and then there's ninety percent of the thing that exists
under the surface of the water that you don't get

to see with your physical senses. So you might be
able to sense that it's there, but you don't get
to physically see that it exists.

Speaker 1 (04:15):
So the ten.

Speaker 2 (04:16):
Percent that exists above the water are things like I
have a book idea that's part of the ten percent
of the iceberg that exists above the water. Part of
that ten percent might be I want to traditionally publish
my book. I need to find a book agent. I
signed a contract with XYZ Publisher. I finished my manuscript,

I sold ten thousand copies. Those are things that exist
above the surface of the water. They're things that you
can witness with your eyes or with your senses, your
physical senses. And then there's this whole host of things
that are happening while you write a book that are
not as easily observable. They are observable, but they are

observable with a sixth sense, they're observable in a more
spiritual sense. They're observable underneath the surface of the water.
And you have to really tune in and pay attention
if you want to be aware that these things exist.
So just one really really simple example of that is,
as you set off on this journey to write the

story or write the book, you're going to uncover beliefs
that you didn't know were there. You're going to write
things on the page that when you see the words,
you're going to go, oh, I didn't know I believed that.
And maybe you've even had an experience like this. So
when something like that happens, this is a great example

of something that's taking place that's not easily quantifiable. It's
not getting a publishing contract, writing a book proposal document,
getting a six figure advance on your royalties, selling ten
thousand copies, hitting the New York Times list, being on
the Today Show, all these things that we talk about
when we think about writing a book. It's something else,

something sort of spiritual or something psychological, that's taking place,
that's adding value to your life, and that's making a
contribution to the world. But it might not be as
outwardly obvious, like that ten percent of the iceberg is
on the top of the water. So the idea of
writing things down and uncovering beliefs that you didn't know

you had before is just one of a hundred examples
I could give you of things that are happening underneath
the surface.

Speaker 1 (06:31):
Of the water.

Speaker 2 (06:32):
I think, mostly what I want you to get, and
I will list a couple of the things that are
taking place below the surface while you're writing your story
or working on a book. But I think mostly what
I want you to get from this episode is just
this that inside of this process, only a small percentage
of it will be visible to other people, to your

own physical senses, to your ego, self, your small self,
whatever you want to call that, Only ten percent of
it will be satisfying to that part of you, and
the rest of what's taking place is actually the bulk
of the matter. It's actually a greater part of the transformation.
It's actually a greater part of the journey. It's actually

a more significant contribution than that ten percent. It's the
ninety percent. But if you aren't fully tuned into it,
you may not totally recognize that this is happening. Let
me give you another quick example of how this takes
place for a lot of aspiring authors and storytellers.

Speaker 1 (07:45):
Something I witness happen a.

Speaker 2 (07:47):
Lot is people set off on a journey to let's say,
complete a manuscript or complete a project, and they map
out a timeline for themselves and they do what I
recommend people do, which is to put the writing sessions
on your calendar, to treat them like any other activity
that you would on your calendar. You're not going to
cancel those things unless there's an emergency, or you're sick,

or someone that you are in charge of taking care
of us sick. So just like a doctor's appointment or
a dentist appointment, or a lunch with a friend, you're
not going to cancel it unless there's a really good
reason to cancel it. You treat your writing sessions just
like that, and one of a couple of things can happen,
one of which is you sit down to the page,
you write five hundred or one thousand words, and when
you go back and reread what you've written, you just

think to yourself, like, oh, this sucks, this is not
what I'm trying to write. The words that are coming
out are not reflecting the message that I'm trying to share,
and you start to get really down on yourself. Another
way that this comes through is you sit down to
the page to get some writing done and just no
words come at all. You might sit there and stare

at a blinking cursor and think, after three or four
or five writing sessions, like, what's the wait, what am
I even doing? Why am I sitting down here and
working on this writing project when I'm clearly not making
any progress. I could go make progress on something different.

Speaker 1 (09:08):
And if you're not.

Speaker 2 (09:09):
Aware of the iceberg effect, if you're not aware of
the fact that getting the quote unquote right words onto
the page is only ten percent of the iceberg and
that ninety percent of it is something other than that,
then you're very likely to give up. You're very likely
to get into a shame spiral. And even if you

are able to sort of force yourself to stay in
this process, the process is not fluid. It doesn't have
any flow in it doesn't have any joy in it
for you. And maybe you finish a book, maybe you
publish a book, maybe you even get a book on
the New York Times list. But you miss out on
the bigger part of the process that's trying to take

place for you when you write a book. This is
why it's so important to me that you understand that
there's more happening than what you can see when you're
working on a writing project. There's what we already talked about,
which is that there's a clarification of what you believe.
You have beliefs, latent beliefs that are lurking under the
surface of your conscious mind that are operating on autopilot

all the time that you can't see or understand until
you put them on the page. So the process of
writing your story, or writing a book, or working on
any kind of writing project is going to inevitably show
those beliefs to you, allow you to examine them, and
if need be, allow you to upgrade them or change them,

or edit them or delete them, if that's what the
situation calls for. And I want to emphasize that this
is taking place whether or not you ever finish your
writing assignment. It's taking place whether or not you ever
publish it. It's taking place whether or not you ever
get an agent or get a book deal, or get
a advance on royalties or get on a best seller's list.

So those things, those elements of the writing process are
fine aspirations to have and wonderful even aspirations to have.
I have many of those aspirations, but they're only ten
percent of what's taking place. You know, something else that's
going on while you're working on a writing project is
that you're learning a process of what it looks like

to be receptive to what's trying to be shared through you.
Because it's one thing to say, like, here's what I
want to share, here's the message that I want to communicate,
here's the story that I want to come through, And
it's something very different to receive the message that wants.

Speaker 1 (11:39):
To be shared through you.

Speaker 2 (11:41):
This is a skill that we're not taught in school,
that isn't really celebrated in the broader culture, that isn't
celebrated in most workplaces, that isn't celebrated in many places
in our lives. But that is an absolutely essential skill
to creativity, and writing your story will teach you how

to stand in that position of receptivity. It teaches you
how to stand in a position of surrender, because of course,
when you sit down to do a task like write
your story. You have intentions and objectives and hopeful aspirations,
but then you also have the reality of the fact
that you can't muscle this thing into place like you

could other things in your life. When you are involved
in a creative project, you have the experience where you realize,
I don't have total control over this. I have to
try to dance with this thing. I have to try
to listen as much as I'm talking and try to
hear what this thing wants to say to me, so

that I can be the transmitter of the message to
the people who are here to receive what I have
to say. A great example of this is when I
was writing what would have been my second book, I
was still married, I was in my first marriage spoiler
alert that marriage ended, and I was writing a book
that was meant to be about marriage. The book was

supposed to be called Our First Years, and it was
supposed to follow the story of our first couple of
years of marriage and talk about how and why the
first few years of marriage can be so tricky for people.
I was really working hard on writing this book. I
was contracted to have the manuscript finished, and no matter what,

I did to try to get the words out on
the page.

Speaker 1 (13:29):
I just simply could not do it.

Speaker 2 (13:31):
I couldn't get the words to sound the way that
I wanted them to sound, or to feel the way
that I wanted them to feel. I was trying to
connect with the reader in this certain kind of way
and contribute something really helpful and supportive. And yet as
I was telling the stories from my life that were
supposed to be the vehicle for this message, it just
wasn't computing. It wasn't fitting together, and for really good reason,

because my marriage was about to fall apart. Within weeks
after I started really seriously working on this manuscript, my
marriage fell apart, and I realized that I was trying
to say a message that I couldn't say inside of
the current container I was living in. And so the
writing project took me on a journey where it completely
altered the life that I was living. It altered the

container that I was living in, and all of that
needed to take place so that I could deliver the
message that I was trying to deliver, which is the
message of indestructible, and Indestructible ended up being my second book.
Another thing that's happening below the surface of the water
when you're working on a writing project, and this is
particularly true if you're working on a personal story from
your life, but even if you're working on a nonfiction book,

this would be true as well, which is that you
are reliving some of the experiences from your past in
order to see them through a new lens. When you
have an experience in your life, you can only have
the experience from the inside, especially the first time that
you're living in it's really challenging to have an out

cider's perspective when you're inside of the experience having it.
So a lot of times we'll have experiences in our
lives that feel quite traumatic, and part of what makes
them feel traumatic is that we don't have a broader
perspective on the experience. We only have the experience from
inside of our own bodies. And so writing as a

tool can feel incredibly healing because we get to go
back and relive the experience and see it from the
narrator's point of view. The narrator's point of view is
a much higher point of view than the hero's point
of view. The narrator's point of view is a thirty
thousand foot view. We get to see the beginning and
the end of the story. We get to see such
a broader perspective of what's taken place, and that can

be an amazingly healing experience. And this is one of
the things that's happening under the surface of the water
while you're working on a writing project. In other words,
you do not have to publish a book for this
to take place. You do not have to be on
a best seller's list, I have to sell a single copy.
All you have to do is show up to the process,
and you get that benefit just because you did it.

Another thing that's happening under the surface of the water
when you're working on a writing project, and I know
this might sound really lofty, but it's true. I've watched
this play out over and over and over again in
my own life and with my clients, is that you're
dealing with shame. Because shame and creativity are incompatible. You
cannot create from shame, or all you'll create is more

shame and it just collapses in on itself. And so,
you know, one really practical way that creativity allows you
to deal with shame is it just teaches you to
keep showing up to this thing over and over and
over again, even when what you create isn't what you
envisioned it would be. Ira Glass has this amazing video
from maybe ten years ago where he talks about the
gap between what you know good art is because you

have amazing taste. You have incredible taste in art and
in this case, probably incredible taste in books. You've been
reading books since you were little.

Speaker 1 (17:03):
You love books.

Speaker 2 (17:04):
You have these authors who you read and adore and
admire and think they're incredible, and they are incredible, and
you know what good writing looks like. And then you
go to execute on your writing and you know that
your writing doesn't meet the mark. So there's this gap
between what you can create and what you know is
good art. And your job is about closing that gap.

But let me tell you one thing for certain, you
will not be able to close that gap if you
feel shame about that gap. So I know this sounds
really simple, but this is what I'm getting at is
that if you can continue to show up to this
process even when you don't see quote unquote progress above
the surface of the water, what you will begin to

experience is all this movement and all this healing and
all this wholeness and completion and everything that's happening underneath
the surface of the water. That's really the bulk of
what's trying to happen. Anyway, Then the ten percent becomes
icing on the cake. The ten percent becomes like amazing.
I sold ten thousand copies. I got to make this contribution.

I got to connect to this community of people through
my art. But I got to connect not from a
place of shame. I got to connect from a place
of wholeness. I got to connect from a place of joy.
I got to connect from a place of fullness, from abundance,
from peace, instead of connecting from shame, fear, regret, pain,

All those things can play a role in our story.
But the place that we want to connect from, the
energy that we want to connect from, is much higher
than shame and pain and fear, which brings me really

nicely to this final thing that I want to say
about what happens when you sit down to a writing
project to write your story or to write a book,
which is that this process will inevitably transform you into
the kind of person who has the authority to deliver
this message currently, right now, at the beginning of this process,
you and I do not have the authority to deliver

the message that we're trying to deliver. Let me give
you a really simplified example of this, which is that
I've been teaching these write your Story workshops in person
for the past couple of years. I've taught six of them,
and the first five that I taught were before I
ever wrote the manuscript for the book, and the last
one I taught was after I wrote the manuscript for

the book. And I'll let you guess which of those
five workshops I felt most prepared for. I felt most
confident about which one had the greatest impact, which one
made the greatest contribution, which one did I get the
most feedback about how helpful my teaching was, about how
thorough it was, about how fully embodied the message was.

Of course, I would get that kind of feedback after
I've written the manuscript, because after I've written the manuscript,
I've fully clarified what I believe about this thing. I've
fully fleshed out the answers to all of my own questions,
which are also your questions. I've learned what it means
to allow the message to come through me and to
be delivered to you not as a thing that I

created in my own brain, but as a thing that
is bigger.

Speaker 1 (20:24):
And beyond me.

Speaker 2 (20:25):
I've relived and categorized my own experiences with this concept
over and over again and really understood them on a
deeper level, and I have become the kind of person
who now has the authority to very confidently deliver this
message to you and to anyone else who's ready to
hear it. So this is the ninety percent. That's what's

going on. When you sit down to work on a
writing project, You're becoming the person who has the authority
to deliver this message. Which is why when I hear
people say, well, I could never write a book because
I don't have an Instagram following, or I don't know
the first thing about publishing, or I wouldn't know how
to get a book contract, or I don't really want

to share this story with hundreds of thousands of people,
or you know, I could never be a New York
Times wustlling author. I'm not good at grammar, I'm not
a real writer. All of these things that I hear
people say, I have to think, Okay, well, then you
don't really understand what is being asked of you and
what you're being invited into when you're invited into a

writing project, because everything that you just listed is only
ten percent of what's going on. The ninety percent is
the part that carries much more weight, And the ninety
percent is what's really trying to happen with you, and
the ten percent is just like whatever, who cares. If
I've got the ninety percent, the ten percent I'm totally
unattached to. And if it happens, it's wonderful and it's great.

But if it doesn't happen, it doesn't mean that I
didn't accomplish my objective. That I came here to accomplish
what you are coming here to accomplish, which when you
write your story is to deal with your own shame,
to clarify what you believe, to transform into the kind
of person who has the authority to deliver this message.
To relive those experiences so that you can heal them,

To upgrade the moral that you made of that story
so that it doesn't live in your body as a trauma.
In the same kind of a way. You can release that,
you can move on to the next phase. You can
grow and evolve past it. And that's the ninety percent
of what's trying to take place when you're invited into
this process. So I don't know where this lands with you.

I don't know where you are right now. I don't
know if you have that same kind of sense that
you're being invited into a writing project.

Speaker 1 (22:40):
Maybe you feel like it is a book.

Speaker 2 (22:42):
I know I'm supposed to write a book, and I'm
resisting because I'm scared. I'm resisting because I don't feel
like a real writer. I'm resisting because I have imposter syndrome.
I'm resisting because I have all of these excuses for
why this could never work. I don't know if that's you,
but if it is you, I just want to offer
you this encouragement that, just like Paul Young talked about

on the episode last week, if all you ever do
is write the friggin thing and print it and hand
it to twelve people, you've done your job. And that
is so much of what this podcast is about. This
is the message I want to deliver with my life.
Is this invitation into the writing life has nothing to

do with copies sold. Nothing. Zero copies sold are nice,
they're icing on the cake. It is a reflection of
the connection that you get to make with the audience
that you're here to serve. So it is a wonderful,
beautiful way to externally measure how big that connection has become.

But a better question to me than how big is
that connection is how deep does it run? How deep
does it run in you? How much of an authority
do you feel that you are to deliver this message
that you came here to share. In Utimately, do you
understand what the creative process is here to show you?
How much are you receiving that? Are you taking it in?

Are you surrendering to it? Are you dancing with it?
Are you learning from it? And only when you do
that will you be able to connect with a broader audience.
Paul Jung is a fabulous example of this. He was
living this. It was in his bones, deep down into
every cell. He did this for the right reasons, and

because he connected deeply with himself, he was able to
connect deeply with others as well. I'm not saying that
you can't hit the New York Times list while being
completely unaware of the ninety percent under the surface of
the water. You absolutely can, But you might miss out
on the most important thing that this experience is trying
to offer you. And that's what my hope is for you,

is that you don't miss out on the most important
thing that this experience is trying to offer you. I
want to make sure that you're present for that. The
offer to write a book with me next year still stands.
I'm walking a small group of people through the process
of writing their manuscripts in twenty twenty four, and there's
still time to join us. We will begin coursework January third,

twenty twenty four, and we will work together for six
months to complete a manuscript. And what we're working on
together is the one hundred percent. I'm going to teach
a lot about the ten percent, because that matters, But
what I am really inviting this group of writers into
is the ninety percent. That's weightier and more important than

any of the rest of it. So if that sounds
supportive to you, if it sounds interesting to you, if
you have a deep knowing that you're meant to write
a book and that next year is a time to
do it, I would love to have you be part
of that with us. You can register for that program
at a book in six months dot com. What it

will include is videos and weekly assignments that you complete
in your own time. Every other week, we will meet
together as a group to do coaching where you'll get
opportunities to have direct feedback on your work, and at
the end of six months, you will have a completed manuscript.
You'll get to walk away with a completed manuscript of
your book.

Speaker 1 (26:17):
So if that.

Speaker 2 (26:18):
Sounds interesting to you, I would love to have you
join us a book in six months dot Com will
begin coursework on January third. But whether you're going to
join us for that experience or not, what I really
want you to hear from this episode is that when
that opportunity knocks on your door and you feel invited
into a writing project, there's something that's trying to happen

for you that has nothing to do with the book.
It has nothing to do with who's going to read it,
or who's going to publish it, or what kind of
list it's going to be on or not going to
be on. It has everything to do with who you're
evolving into, with how your life is inviting you to
transform and to evolve. And I get so excited about that.

It makes me so filled with passion and with joy
to be able to assist you in that kind of
an evolution. And so I'm so grateful to have you here.
This has been one of the highlights of my whole year,
is hosting this show and getting to connect with each
of you. So I wish you so much love and
so much peace and so much joy over this holiday season.

I wish you all the fullness of the ninety percent
of the transformation that's trying to happen for you inside
of this process.

Speaker 1 (27:29):
And I'm sending you so much love and I can't
wait to connect with you again in the new year.
Maybe you go play with the kiddy while mommy finishes
to record. Okay, I can't even nowhere. I can't see her.

Speaker 2 (27:42):
Well, she's downstairs, Summer, got to go find her. Maybe
she's playing hide seek, but I don't. Maybe so I
think she is. I think she's like Nola, come find me.

Speaker 1 (27:53):
Did you even talk? Well, she's like maral Ma, Maria Merrel. Yeah,
she's wake down. Can you say hi? And welcome to
the Write Your Story Podcast? Hi, and too the Welcome
Story Podcast. Say welcome to uh Write Your Story Podcast? Right?

Speaker 2 (28:14):
You two to Write Your Story podcast
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