Spiritual writing is a whole other ball game compared to most areas of non fiction. The challenges of being a spiritual writer are though no different to those faced by any other writer, it is the way in which we cope with them that makes the difference. Some for example may take bad reviews very much to heart, yet it is often the failure to recognise the inherent truth behind the words that causes the pain, and our resistance to admitting that truth.
I have often been asked whether the inclusion of esoteric material may put some people off my work, and spoil my writing credentials. The inclusion of this material is though, I believe as valid as any other, for it is part of my path, and therefore part of who I am. I have observed that there are many writers who when I have met them at various talks and book signings, are obviously very spiritual people, yet their writing does not reflect this. They hedge their bets and appear to sit on the fence, almost as if they are afraid that by using more esoteric material they will not be taken seriously. Writing though is an intensely personal thing, and is part of who we are. We have to be true to ourselves, as otherwise this will also show. Ultimately this is even more likely to put people off.
One of the most important things for any writer to do, regardless of their spiritual beliefs is to affirm their intent for the book, and that it will reach the people that need to read it. We must still though have realistic expectations – a book about our personal quest for enlightenment is not likely to reach The Times best seller list, unless we are a well known teacher or television presenter. Common sense rules about understanding the publishing industry and how it works then, still apply.
Perhaps more important than any of this, is the need to stay grounded and focussed. This means getting out there and sharing our ideas and our lives with others. No one becomes enlightened by sitting on mountain tops or in caves. It is often the little things that others say that inspire us the most, a chance comment overheard, or reading something on the side of a bus. Cloistering ourselves away, waiting for inspiration to hit, closes us off to more opportunities than it creates. It is also important for networking.
Many spiritual writers struggle with the idea that they are not worthy, or sometimes that they are too worthy, or too special. This ‘look at me’ attitude can easily come across as arrogance. Writers are merely conduits for the information that flows through them; it is therefore the words that are important, rather than the person behind them. If we constantly seek outside validation, then we will write from a point of ego rather than love, and this self centeredness will show. If we get stuck on this need for recognition then our creativity becomes blocked, until pleasing our audience and our editor becomes more important than being ourselves.
If I was to write another book, then there is a lot that I would do differently. I would take the time to plan in advance, and write this on paper in a kind of flow chart, to see where the links were and how it all fits together. Spiritual books though are somewhat different, as instead of relying on traditonal areas of research, we tend to use information that is imparted to us through spirit, either directly or indirectly, such as that chance remark mentioned above.
Our connection to spirit deepens as we grow and evolve. They feed us snippets of information, designed to whet our apetities and make us think, encouraging us to seek out these other areas of research. Sometimes it feels like being on our own quest, but then that is what the spiritual path is about. Spiritual truth changes with us, as we grow and mature, rather like a good bottle of wine.
There is then no secret to writing a fantastic piece of spiritual or inspired writing, but it is really more about following common sense rules. The trick, if there is one, is to put our egos to one side and surrender to whatever flows through us.
The spirutual path is never an easy one to follow, and even more difficult to write about. One editor described it as being hit by a two ton truck, and then wanting to tell others how it felt. This is why spiritual writers are special people indeed, for we truly do have the power to change the world.