The question came up again, after the fact, as part of an interview I did for the amazing author and blogger Doreen McGettigan. And so did a whole line of digging just a bit more deeply to fill in the wholes in what I thought I was doing and why!
DMcG: Have you always wanted to write a book or were you compelled to write this one for personal reasons?
REPLY: I remember the day that my freshman English teacher, Mrs. Chang, told me I was good writer. I was shocked. My handwriting and spelling were (and still are) horrendous so I was used to pages filled with red marks and comments about the benefits of taking my time and neatness – nothing beyond the surface and certainly nothing about the quality of my writing. Enter Watergate and Woodward and Bernstein and my passion for writing took another turn. I was going to be a great investigative reporter uncovering the lies and injustices in the world. Life, as it does, eventually led me in a different direction but every job I had involved some kind of writing. I don’t think I ever saw myself writing a book until recently. This book got in my head a couple years ago and it was not letting go. I started out writing a much expanded version of my blog on brain health, brain healthy lifestyles, and that connection between how we act and how we think. It was good information with great practical, everyday applications but it was not relevant. After some persistent questions and urging from a dear friend’s husband (who is also a treasured friend but she came first), I got it that I had to tell the story of how I got here and to own the fact that the value of my journey was being lost – especially if I just kept it locked up in a safe in my head. There are moments in our lives that feel safer tucked deeply behind the curtain. I was afraid of again finding myself vulnerable and exposed, and that made me horribly uncomfortable. That piece, just like the practical pieces, became something I needed to get out. My accident and the 18 month journey out of the paper bag that was my life poured out and the rest made sense.
Motivations are often multi-pronged and digging a bit more deeply to examine the roots of a piece of work, a choice, or a life path helps sort through the chaos.
Try this exercise: Think about a life choice you made. Now ask yourself Doreen's wise question.
Have you always wanted to __________________________________ or were you compelled to _________________________ for personal reasons?
Think harder. Explore more. Fill in the gaps. The process will help you fire up so many pathways in your brain!