I was asked in a recent podcast interview why it took me over ten years to bring my book to life. The question was posed, thinking I had written my memoir recently. I clarified that I actually had been writing it for a very long time—I’d kept my pen to paper and fingers to keyboard for more than a decade.

So why did it take me so long to write and publish it, especially when I’ve helped so many other authors birth their books into the world each year?

The first reason related to the story itself: it was still unfolding. When I was diagnosed with a second cancer in 2014, the trajectory of my memoir changed dramatically. There was more for me to experience and to learn. The story was not yet finished. Of course, our life stories are never finished until we take our last breath, but the arc of this part of my life’s story needed more time to incubate.

The second reason: it was difficult to come out from behind the curtain. Like the Wizard of Oz himself, I was comfortable being in the background helping other authors flush out their stories. I love the creation and refinement processes—especially when it is someone else’s story. I love helping authors connect more deeply to their stories and messages. I especially enjoy the discovery of their unique voices.

Some of those stories have been published through Merry Dissonance Press. As a support character, I know I do well—the awards and recognition those stories have received confirm that. I know who I am and what I offer as a writing coach and editor.

Writing and releasing my story meant that readers would see me as a writer—to see my words, hear my voice, and read about my experiences—a very different role from staying hidden away. I would experience myself as an author.

As much as I coach other writers about what to expect as they write, and maybe even what becomes more pronounced as they near the finish line to publication, my saboteurs showed up in all their vivid brilliance to shut me down. It became difficult to move forward. I even delayed the editing process for over a year, wanting to get my manuscript as “perfect” as it could be before I passed it to my editor. I wanted to impress him with my prose. And when I didn’t hear back from him immediately, I made up all kinds of stories in my head that led to one message: You need to stay hidden behind the curtain because that’s where you belong.

I’m thankful I didn’t allow those saboteurs to derail me completely. They could have prevented me from ever publishing my story. It could have remained as a file on my computer—never allowed to come into its full potential.

How often do we allow our fears and anxieties to hold us back? How many times do we listen to those voices that want to keep us hidden away, to keep us small—those voices that want us to believe we are insignificant? How often do we keep ourselves and our potential hidden behind the curtain of obscurity to prevent us from being judged or criticized?

At some point, our stories—those that wake us up at night, those that won’t stay quiet even during the day—must be given the opportunity to manifest into their full expression.

Mosaic HeartToday, I’m grateful I was able to throw back that curtain and step out from behind it. I’m grateful I listened to another part of me that helped me move forward so Mosaic Heart could come forth.

What can you allow to come forth and be birthed into our world? How can you quiet those voices that want to hold you back? How can you listen to the deeper truth of who you are and what you are meant to do? Listen for the answers …

We need you. We need your wisdom. And we need your light—shining into the darkness to show others that no matter what today might look like, there is always the possibility of a better tomorrow.