Putting Spirituality to Use (Not abuse)
If fear is the biggest threat to your emotional health while writing a book and negativity is the biggest danger to your mental health, then deprivation is the biggest threat to your spiritual health.
You might be tempted to abandon your spiritual practices while working on a book to find more time. Of course, since I’ve already mentioned the physical, emotional and mental havoc that book writing can have on even the most high self-esteem, grounded, and happy individuals, I think this would be the worst possible time to alter a spiritual routine that has kept you feeling connected to a higher power. I’d even go so far as to suggest that you’ll need your connection more then ever in order to stay in touch with your intuition and instincts.
So when writing a book is this a good time to stop going to church, recovery meetings, temple, or your weekly mediation circle?
No. Absolutely try to maintain your spiritual rootedness while writing your book. You’ll thank me later.
I attended a nearby Christian Writer’s Conference last year. While there, I attended a workshop and learned something from the acquisitions editor of a well-established Christian publisher. He said to a predominantly Christian audience, “Don’t make the mistake of only writing for other Christians if your topic can serve a broader audience.”
Why? Because every time you tighten the focus of your readership, you lose readers and therefore book sales. So before you decide to write a Christian book, or a recovery book, a Jewish book, or a Buddhist book, etc., ask yourself if your book is really only for these folks or if you could extract the principles for a broader audience and therefore reach more readers and achieve more sales.
I feel that it’s important to bring up, since we are talking about book writing, that it’s important not to make the mistake of thinking that your religious beliefs belong in our book, unless they are explicitly written into your approved book proposal and marketing plan, or unless your religion is explicitly part of your platform and is anticipated by your readers.
In other words, call on your spiritual reserves to buoy yourself up while you are writing a book; but never assume that your specific readership shares your religious beliefs, unless you know for a fact that they do. A far safer bet is to assume religious diversity in your readers.
And finally, never try to sneak your spirituality into your book when you’ve formally agreed to something else in your contract. That’s a big mistake that will bring your professionalism into question. A writer’s job is to respect the reader, not convert them, unless this is explicitly the purpose of the book.