There is a question that people often asks me – and it always leaves me a bit befuddled.
“How long did it take you to write your books?”
I usually find myself fumbling about with an answer that describes something between two hours of connected writing and a lifetime of observations, all wrapped up into the conclusion that it was, er, about a month.
What is time?
We all know what time is. A way to measure the continual linear movement of our lives. We measure it in seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years …
… and in all honesty, my books took all of these to be written.
The thing is – when it comes to answering this question, I truly believe that there just isn’t an answer. True creation, as I see it, takes a timeless leap into a place of deep connection. A place where anything is possible – and a place where all knowledge, wisdom and experience resides. In this place, it is like platefuls of the exact ideas in the most perfect portion sizes are dished up alongside an awareness of experience, a willingness to share and enough processing time to allow the creation to fully mature.
The process of writing “Have You Seen My Tail?”
I prefer to think of the writing of my books as a process of creation – and this process simply is not a linear one. Here are the steps I took …
- The awareness of experience. We experience Life all the time. Constantly – day in, day out, there are life experiences, lessons, opportunities for growth, insight and future creation. Always. But – if we don’t know that we are having these experiences, then how can we learn from them? Of course we can’t, so we have to become aware of what we are experiencing. Through my lifetime I have experienced many occasions of change, but it was on a ten-day Vipassana meditation course that I became truly aware of all these changes – and the impact that my viewpoint about change had on my life. This awareness lead me to a longing to share my insights about change, and so the theme for my second Katie-Jane book was confirmed.
- The idea. Once I realised that I had an awareness of experience that I wanted to share, I was open to having some ideas for a story. I was meditating a lot at the time, so it was easy to find the space and connection that I needed to produce an idea. The idea took seconds to conceive, whilst looking at a daisy. A split second, in fact – and within a few actual seconds I had all the details worked out. I played with the details for about an hour, then I let it process for a while – and after a few months of not really thinking about it, but always the awareness that it was there, the idea matured into a thing that was ready to be written.
- The writing. Once the idea had had enough time to fully develop, I noticed that suddenly I felt like writing the story down. I realised that I could actually do this whenever suited me – as long as I felt connected at the time, and so one day I sat down and wrote. The writing took approximately two hours. It was almost fully complete – but needed a little bit of extra processing time to tie up the loose ends. A week or two later, I sat down for another hour and the story was complete.
- The illustrations. Of course, once a story is written, that is only part of the journey toward completing the whole book. The illustrations are a massive part of the finished product – and I feel lucky that creating them is something that I love to do. This is a jam-packed two-three weeks of time, but the initial creation of the brand and style was much more involved.
I absolutely loved the process of bringing my books into existence. I see the main challenge in writing as being the ability to recognise when an idea is mature enough to made real.
When the time is right, the words simply flow – and there is no question about whether I might find a better one on dictionary or thesaurus.com. I know the words are perfect because I feel their power as they come to me – and as I write them in order on the page. To begin with, I did struggle with these spurts of inspiration and connection. I found that they usually came about when I was in the middle of cooking dinner or trying to get the kids ready for school, and the idea that a whole book may be written whilst simultaneously doing something that every mother does every day was challenging for me. I also wanted to give my full attention to my kids – or the dinner – at this time, and so I began to push the words away at those times – asking if I could have them please come back later instead.
Of course they did come back, and so I got to write my books in a way that I would describe as organic, connected and not at all arduous. It is something that I love at every step of the way; it reminds me that I am alive – and it reminds me of why I am alive.