Getting Over Yourself
I’ve written a book. It will be printed next week. It’s called Money Notes: How to Sing High, Loud, Healthy, and Forever. It introduces Neuro-Vocal, a voice method that uses brain science to deliver fast and healthy results to people who sing popular styles.
That's my elevator speech.
This post isn’t about the books contents. This post is about how the writing of a book made me get over myself. A hundred times. On this subject. For now. Read on if you’re an author, a creator, or anyone with a gift to share. (Um…that would be you. Keep reading.)
I’ve learned that writing a book takes a long time, like most things worth doing. When I first thought about writing this book, I didn't think it would take very long. I knew how easily I could sit and describe what I teach; why and how it works. I’m an expert, writing what I know well. How long could that take? (“Ha, ha”, the Universe laughed.)
My main challenge, the one that came up again and again, was that I had to get over myself. I had to believe in the work, not necessarily in myself. I had to show up even when I didn’t feel like it. I had to act as if this wasn’t about me.
When I teach students I’m looking at one face at a time. I'm conscious of sharing, teaching, and helping. In fact, on days that I'm crabby or depressed, I especially look forward to seeing a student. Teaching draws me out of myself; with my focus on someone else I can't stay crabby. One of the many gifts of my vocation is that it regularly forces me to get over myself.
When I write it's just me and my laptop. Easy to be crabby, easy to blow off, easy to quit. There’s been a voice in my head that kept (keeps) asking me why I’m bothering to write this book. Who’s going to read it? Who gives a rip? And what if people are mean to me, or criticize me?
Knowing this phenomenon is common among authors hasn’t made it any less real for me. Being told that every first-time author struggles to get over herself hasn’t made it easier for me.
On good days, the part of me that’s wise and fair, that believes in goodness, love, and positive, pithy sayings, steps in and sprays me with a hose. Then I admit that I know for a fact Neuro-Vocal Method can help people to master pop technique. I know there aren’t a lot of voice teachers out there teaching pop method. I know there are great voice teachers who won’t teach pop method because they don’t believe it can be vocally healthy. I know that not everyone can afford, or has access to, private voice lessons. So what if my book helps ten people in the world. Is that worth it?
The thing about teaching is that you can only preach your beliefs so many times before you have to start applying them to yourself. I had to apply to myself some of the things I’ve claimed, for years, to believe; things I’ve encouraged my students to believe. For instance:
I believe that if you can find, and do, the thing that genuinely motivates you toward your higher good, then you should.
I believe that singing (or any art form) matters as a vehicle for self-expression. If self-expression matters to you, and singing is your thing, then you have to sing. I don’t believe that the only singing that matters is the singing that makes people famous.
This book is a part of walking that talk. I have something to share that nobody else has shared. I know it motivates me toward my higher good. So it had to be done.
So that I didn’t give up on this project I chose to believe that maybe there are ten, or ten thousand, people in the world that needs to read and use Money Notes. My book might help some people get their singing to a place where it can bring them joy. That’s worth it.
Every artist knows that the more intimately something is felt, the more universally it’s shared. The odds are, then, that you understand what I’m talking about. You have something to share. The sharing of that thing may be part of walking your talk. But it’s also scary. It doesn’t have to be tangible - a book or a CD - it can be a project, or a way of being in the world. I hope you can find ways to help you get over yourself so you can share it.
I did. It wasn’t so bad.