How My Book Came To Be

Posted On: September 27, 2014

There is one thing I’ve done above all else this personal retreat, and that’s: Write!

This week (Sept 24 to Oct 1), I am on my fourth of four personal retreats in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. The intention of my retreat was to meditate, write, read, study and do whatever I fancy – including sleep, except for seeing people.

What I’ve Written So Far On This Trip:

  1. What I’ve learned about relationships through cats here.
  2. How I overcame my fear of cats here.
  3. How I rediscovered my love for the rain here.
  4. Reflections on Emma Watson’s speech on the F-word here.
  5. What’s in the grocery bag of an Eco-sexual here?
  6. Find out why I cried on the bus on my way up to K.L. here.
  7. Why I am on my 4th week-long retreat here.

This is pretty amazing, if I say so myself, because it’s been four out of seven days of my retreat – and the most writing I’ve done all year!

I’ve attained one of my intentions of writing at least one blog post a day, and I’d be attempting to contribute articles onto other platforms after today. I’m learning that writer’s flow as opposed to writer’s block can happen when all distractions such as life is eliminated! Perhaps it’s about catching the updraft!

On My Writer’s Block

I am a fast reader but a slow writer. This is a list of books I’ve read so far in 2014.

I am a slow writer!

It takes me at least an hour – often a whole evening, to write any one piece. My latest one, 9 Things I Learned About Relationships Through Cats took the whole of this afternoon. That’s about five hours, if not more! The one on hives took me more than three hours (more like five with editing too).

I’ve discovered myself to be a major procrastinator when it comes to writing. This procrastination to writing works so well that I can accomplish thankless tasks I’ve been avoiding for months – clean out my wardrobe, change the bedsheets, reorganise my filing system (you name it!).

When I actually sit myself down and get down to writing, it can be painful. I often feel like I am pouring my guts onto the keyboard. I don’t mean answering media questions on the top ten tips, tricks, or techniques kind-of article.

I meant writing about matters close to my heart, saying things that actually mean something to me, and needing to be written – whether it is my soul seeking to express or to help others. That can hurt – digging up memories, bringing fro emotions, formulating words to my feelings, and giving form to thought.

2014-09-27 20.27.32 This quote comes to mind, and sums up my love-hate relationship with writing:

“Writing is easy. You only need to stare at a blank piece of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.” – Gene Fowler

So Why Do I Write?

I’ve already hinted as much above. I write because I need to. It’s my soul seeking to express. It also stems from my belief that what I have to say or share will help another person or several people – when/ if the time comes.

I recall now how many years ago when I was seeking spiritual guidance on my decision to pursue my sexological studies, I was told that I would help many people to come. And whilst I would help many through in person contact, I was destined to help many more through my writing and other forms of communication. The psychics (I went to more than one) told me that no matter what: I must write.

So, write, I did. I had no big advertising budget, but I had a fire in my stomache burning from a passion and desire to spread the message of sex positivity. I wrote… and wrote… and wrote, especially in the first two years of starting Eros Coaching, the only sexuality and intimacy coaching company in Singapore, and still the only one of its kind. My writings appeared on as a weekly column on The Online Citizen for a year, then later PublicHouse.sg before I stopped for the past three years.

My Journey to Becoming a Published Author

The one-year anniversary of my first book Love, Sex and Everything In-Between will be coming up soon – October. My journey towards becoming a published author came about by a complete fluke.

I met the publisher of Marshall Cavendish at the book launch, The Last Great Strike by a friend, Clement Mesenas late 2012. Coming out of a difficult relationship, I was at one of the lowest points of my life. I did not even approach the publisher, but left after received my autographed copy of the book and having said all the usual pleasantries.

Few months later, an esteemed colleague of mine in the United States asked if I knew of an Asian publisher who might be interested in republishing his book within Asia. I looked up the publisher on LinkedIn, found his direct contact, and tried my luck in adding him as “friend” so as to help this colleague. I did not expect that the email response asked if I would be interested in publishing a book! Of course, it had been my dream since before I was a sexologist.

We met for a tea end 2012, and I received confirmation that Marshall Cavendish was indeed keen to publish my first book. Through 2013, I worked with Managing Editor of Marshall Cavendish, Melvin Neo, who met with me a few times guiding me through the publishing process. We confirmed and edited my past articles which eventually went into Love, Sex and Everything In-Between. He held my hand and went above and beyond the call of duty when it came to my book. Along the way, I came to regard him as my friend.

As it happened, the first copy of my book was in my hands on my birthday! It was a special one! More on my reaction here (scroll down)!

2014-09-27 20.27.39

My Publishing Process

Through 2013, well-meaning friends and counterparts asked how my book was coming along. They would talk about how lucky I was, coo about how envious they were, and lament how much they ought/ should/ would like to have a book to call their own too. I am not sure where the difficulties they keep harping about laid for me, because my difficult part had already been done – the writing.

I don’t mean to sound arrogant or be callous about it, but I paid the price of experiencing birthing pains long before my book came into existence. My book came to be because it’s time had come, and it was meant to be born. And I am grateful to have had a smooth and painless delivery.

Through my involvment as an associate member of Asia Professional Speakers Singapore, I have learned many good practices for not just being a speaker and trainer, but also for aspiring authors. They include:

For me, the practices that work the best and continue to be: Meditation and Exercise. When I am strong, then everything else gets clear. You may wish to check out my second of three videos in the Jumpstart series talking about the importance of exercise for me here. 

Let me know if you have any best practices about writing and getting a book published. I really ought be working on my second one!

Once again, I like to invite you to view my posts:

  1. What I’ve learned about relationships through cats here.
  2. How I overcame my fear of cats here.
  3. How I rediscovered my love for the rain here.
  4. Reflections on Emma Watson’s Speech on the F-Word here.
  5. What’s in the grocery bag of an Eco-sexual here?
  6. Find out why I cried on the bus on my way up to K.L. here.
  7. Why I am on my 4th week-long retreat here.

If you liked this post, please leave your comments on Facebook and Twitter and in the meantime, keep loving, live life fully and stay lovely!

Dr. Martha Tara Lee is Founder and Clinical Sexologist of Eros Coaching. She is a certified sexologist with a Doctorate in Human Sexuality. She provides sexuality and intimacy coaching for individuals and couples, conducts sexual education workshops and speaks at public events. For more, visit www.ErosCoaching.com or email info@eroscoaching.com.

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