please bear with me as irregular therapy is going through a major overhaul. many changes, plenty of new posts soon to come!
and have reposted it here because I believe it is worth sharing...
the pen is mightier than the writer
Writing a preface is not necessarily an easy thing to do. You must entice your readers. You must make it interesting so that they will want to continue and read the rest of your book. In many ways, the preface is the book’s mission statement—and one of its major selling points. I don’t know how other authors do it, but I generally write my preface after the book has been finished. And let me tell you, it’s hard. You’ve just finished writing I-don’t-know-how-many pages and are completely saturated. You’re tired. You want to stay away from a computer screen for a while. But you have to move on. You have to squeeze that one last bit of inspiration into your work.
Let me tell you a funny story. It was late February. There I was, first draft in hand, trying to write the preface to my first book, irregular therapy. Although I was saturated and couldn’t wait to finish the entire thing, the view of the white snow contrasting with the beautiful, clear blue sky outside my window was truly inspiring. I sat down and wrote a few pages of what I thought was pretty good “wordsmithing.” Okay, done. Great. The icing on the cake. I read it out loud and liked what I heard. My preface was funny and concise and provided just enough information to tease the reader. Or so I thought.
Satisfied, I was now ready for the next stage. I sent my manuscript to a guy who evaluates books before they are out and checks for their potential. A few days later, he replied. He liked my book very much and thought it would sell, but he had a problem with the preface. In his own words,
“I found the book compelling and easy reading…the sex angle will bring lots of readers, and it feels honest…but there's less evident emotional growth, and unless you told me in response to my questionnaire I wouldn't have known that was the book's purpose. Thus my problem with the preface. It didn't really tell me what I could expect from the book nor why I should read it. To do so it must speak openly with me, the reader. Rather, it kind of wanders around…”
Needless to say, I was kind of disappointed. I mean, I felt great because I was actually getting overall positive feedback from an expert, but I had reached the point where I was just about ready to lay my brain aside and fly to Cancun for a few days. I really could not write another word. Enough already!
But I had no way out. If the preface needed changing, then the preface needed changing. I remained with that uneasy feeling for a couple of days, wondering what to do and waiting for inspiration to strike. How could I make it better? How could I address the issues pointed out by my evaluator? I thought and thought and thought. I changed a few words around. I added new ideas to try to address the missing issues. I tried and tried and tried, but felt I was going nowhere.
Finally, out of sheer disappointment, I ended up relaxing. I gave up trying. Just then, a funny thing happened. I spontaneously started writing about my frustration. I started writing about what the expert guy had said. I started writing about the entire process, just to get it all out of my system.
A few minutes later, after I had written enough to calm me down, I noticed I might have something there! I looked it over and thought the content was bold. I thought the wording was unique. It carried the same tone as the rest of the book—it was honest, fun, and straight to the point—and it addressed my concerns. (Well, it had to, since I was writing about my inability to write about them, and in doing so I was actually writing about them!) I decided to make it my preface. Well, that’s not entirely true. I didn’t decide anything. I must confess that, much like the rest of irregular therapy, I didn’t write the preface. It just came out. And it came out the way it should. Okay then. After writing those few pages, I realized that that had to be my preface. And this is what came out:
Truth Be Told
Let me take you on a true journey. A man’s journey through the rough seas of relationships. A journey that led him to realize that real change must come from within. A journey with themes so archetypical, so universal, that although it takes place mostly in exotic Brazil, it may as well have happened in your very own neighborhood.
Wait. Hold on. What a load of rubbish. Permission to speak freely...
Shortly before finishing this manuscript, I had it evaluated by a hotshot in the book business. He told me he found it easy reading and compelling. He told me the sex angle would bring lots of readers. He told me the book was nearly ready to go. But he also told me he had a problem with my preface. He told me it kind of wandered around and didn’t really tell him what he could expect from the book or why he should read it. Shit.
You know, I’ve been working on this thing for a couple of years. I’ve reviewed it so many times I’ve almost memorized it. Yeah, you don’t have to tell me. Such is a writer’s life. But the fact is I’m completely saturated and can’t wait to see it published. So when the guy suggested that I rewrite the damned preface, I al- most fell off my chair.
But the hotshot fella’s probably right. And after all, I didn’t pay good money to teach my grandma to suck eggs. So here I go.
Let’s see. Right. I suppose I could dish out the usual plethora of clichés found in prefaces and tell you this is a “coming-of-age book,” a captivating truth-told sexual romp, an honest if not a bit single-minded story of a cure, and blah, blah, blah. Yawn. Boring.
I could possibly try to make you feel some sympathy from the start and say it took me many lost years to get my emotional cards in order or that despite the relentless fun and not too troubling approach, I saw a number of hard-earned lessons, over years, and changed accordingly to display the virtues learning those lessons brought. Well, these things are certainly true for me. But you might not see my story this way, nor do I think you will much care.
I could play shrewd, aim for the masses, and reveal that in spite of the bumps along the way (or maybe because of them), I’ve managed to find my soul mate and, with secret formula in hand, I can show you by example how to attract your own twin flame. Tacky, tacky, tacky.
Perhaps I could anticipate some criticism by posing as the conscientious writer and confessing that although my account may seem rather exploitative, especially from a woman’s point of view, it couldn’t be otherwise if it were to show my gradual emotional growth. Nah. Who am I to know what’s on a woman’s mind.
What if I appeal to your emotions by stating that through my troubled relationships, I’ve learned to respect and understand myself better, as well as others around me. Or that as a result of having had these experiences, I’m now able to see what was self- defeating and greedy and have been able to grow from and past it. Dear God. Too psychological.
Useless. I’m looking for something unique, something different, but the harder I try, the less comes to mind.
I hate to say it, but I feel I’ve run out of fuel. So much for telling you what you can expect from my book and why you should read it. Seems that this should be a simple enough task, but silly me. Trying to boldly write what no man has written before.
This is really getting on my nerves. And I’m going nowhere. Tell you what. If you don’t mind, I’ll just call it a day and you can go ahead and read the book. Deal?
I know you won’t be able to agree or disagree with me unless you read the entire book. But that’s why it’s called a teaser, right?
Inspiration is indeed a funny thing. If it comes, it comes. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. But when it comes, it is like a warm feeling, it is almost an enthusiasm. And it always, always surprises you. Inspiration comes when you surrender to your own nothingness. It takes you over and you only become aware of what has hit you after it is gone….
irregular therapy: one man’s struggle to find meaning, money and a soul mate is 256 pages long and can be purchased on my website, www.irregulartherapy.com, in several formats: paperback, ePub, Kindle, or PDF. It can also be found at major online outlets worldwide such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, and Smashwords.
Posted by Ron Wyn at 1:03 PM
After 20-some days completely off the air, I'd like to share a little insight with you on my way back into this whirl we call world:
Two monks were returning to their monastery. While walking ahead, the younger monk came to a river. On the bank there was a beautiful young girl. She was afraid to cross alone. The younger monk quickly looked away from her and crossed the river. When he was on the other side he looked back, and to his horror he saw the older monk carrying the girl across the river on his shoulders. The two monks continued their journey side by side. When they were just outside the monastery gates the younger monk said to the older: “That was not good, that was against the rules, we monks are not supposed to touch women.” The older monk replied: “I left her on the bank of the river, are you still carrying her?”
Posted by Ron Wyn at 7:00 PM
Who is Ron Wyn? Please tell us about yourself.
Having formally plunged into the depths of scientific and psychological abstractions, I have both sides of the brain covered. Primarily a man of thought, my systematic mind insisted on a skeptical approach to life, a because-I-have-seen-I-believe modus operandi, but my troubled relationships ended up leading me to a path of action that opened my heart to new and exciting inner experiences.
I've been working with teaching, coaching, translation, music, and writing for over 25 years. Since 1998 my interests have expanded to include alternative treatments and therapies such as rebirthing, Applied Kinesiology, Reiki, shamanism, Kabbalah, and meditation.
What is the genre of your work?
The genre of my work is officially self-help / relationships / psychology, but I call it awareness. What this means is that my goals are to color the world with meaningful and inspirational words while effectively bringing out a wealth of down-to-earth knowledge in simple and understandable terms to promote practical solutions, and to demystify spirituality while guiding and supporting fellow humans on their journey to reconnect and realign with their true nature—awareness.
Why did you choose this genre?
Ever since I was a young child I have been entangled in my own thoughts, my own little world, trying to analyze the things I do and why I do them. I remember climbing up to the roof when I was 8 or 9 and thinking about life while gazing at the blue sky. Can you believe that? Having a psychiatrist father also meant that I spent much of my formative years around mentally ill individuals in mental institutions, and have thus become utterly interested in the functioning of the human mind and its practical development. Since that time I have been almost obsessed with answering questions we all ask ourselves, such as why are we the way we are? Why are we here? What’s this all about? Where are we going?
How is writing in the genre you write, different than any other genre?
I am pleased to say I have reached a stage in my personal development where I am able to see my life objectively, as if I were another person observing from the outside. Although this has been a recent achievement, I’m no stranger to logic or objectivity. In addition to psychology, I have a degree in mathematics! So the scientist in me contributes with a scientific-method approach in the way I write and in the way I observe and develop my own self, while the psychologist in me analyzes and guides me into the depths of my own being. And I have all the fun just watching the entire thing!
What are some of your books or stories that have been published?
Although I have been writing for quite a while, irregular therapy is my first published book. It is part of a series. The irregular therapy book series came to fruition in the aftermath of a storm—a storm I call the first four decades of my life. From wounded child to rebellious teenager and troubled adult, I eventually reached a point where I felt completely lost. I certainly knew what was best for me, but try as I might, I couldn’t overcome the old, repetitive patterns that ran my existence. Finally, I came to see I had to do something about my precarious situation. I had to do something to make things better. I decided to take quality time and really dig deep into my troubles and face my fears. Well, it so happens that I took notes as I went along. Hence comes Book One: the storytelling, the more subjective part, the emotional release. It’s a story about how my despair over broken affairs and damaging repetitive behaviors led me to look within and realize that by clearing my inner patterns, my relationships with other people improved as if by magic. Although it was written from a man’s point of view, I feel the book is beneficial to either gender—men will find structures and stories they can certainly relate to, and women will be able to better understand men and their issues, especially regarding relationships.
irregular therapy: one man’s struggle to find meaning, money and a soul mate can be purchased on my website, www.irregulartherapy.com in several formats: paperback, ePub, Kindle, or PDF. It can also be found at major online outlets worldwide such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
I’m currently writing the second book in the series, which should be out by the end of 2011. The second book in the irregular therapy series reflects the results of my note-taking process. It is an attempt to organize the knowledge I have acquired throughout the years—translated not only into techniques, but also into first-hand knowledge of human behavior and functioning. And, as a teacher at heart, I do my best to convey this knowledge in simple, understandable, and practical terms.
Where do you get your ideas for writing?
My ideas come mainly from my personal life experience: the events I have witnessed, my travels, my relationships, my thoughts and interpretations. I have found that I am able to express myself well in writing and this also helps me in my catharsis—I am able to expunge old habits and patterns, leaving room for new and improved ideas.
What is your favorite thing about your book?
I think it is just the way the words came out. Direct, honest, but from a place of pity. I also enjoyed fully exposing myself. It gave me the sense that my entire life is nothing but a story. And it also feels good to have nothing to hide.
Why and when did you begin writing? Is there any one person who had a big influence on you or encouraged you to write?
I have been writing ever since I was a teenager. No one really influenced me then; I just found I felt good, I felt lighter, after writing. It gave me a sense of relief. I have always been able to expel things from my system this way. Later in life I think John Lennon was a great influence. Not in terms of writing, but as a role model on self-expression.
What is your writing schedule? What atmosphere do you need to write?
I mainly write in the late morning hours. I enjoy writing when I’m wide awake. And I need peace and quiet. No music, no one around. Writing is almost a mediunic experience to me. It just comes out. Once I start writing, inspiration keeps coming and coming and coming. I just jot down whatever comes through my system, and when it stops I feel exhausted, but great. A few days later I come back and edit the material. It’s like I’m reading it for the first time….
What projects are you working on now, or planning for the future?
I have much more material planned for the irregular therapy project. In addition to the book series, I have been developing a website, www.irregulartherapy.com, and blog, blog.irregulartherapy.com, where I have placed much of my writing and intend to develop other areas of interest such as music, guided visualizations, and subliminal messaging, among other things. I have been exposed to many teachings and techniques on my journey, and now it is time to show others the tools that have assisted me. I’m positive they will help many people as they have helped me. Finally, I am also available for speaking engagements and life coaching.
What kind of advice or tips do you have for someone who wants to write and be published? Are there any other comments, advice or tips that you would give to beginning writers?
My advice is simple. Just do it. Don’t let your mind get in the way and sabotage you by saying your work is not good enough, the market is saturated, things of that sort. Other people will also say these things to you, you know. Don’t pay attention to them. But be realistic. Gather your energy and persevere. Make an inner resolve and go for it. Set aside some time every day for your most important work and stick to your schedule. Self-publishing requires a lot of planning, but it need not be daunting. You can publish your own work, but that does not mean you’ll have to do it alone. Establish your budget; be smart and honest about the stages you can complete yourself. For example, you might be enthusiastic about design, but unless you are a professional designer, I suggest you outsource your cover. You don’t want to look amateurish. In my case, I wrote and edited the book, then sent it out to an expert for his opinion (I was not going to commit my time and effort to something that was not good, or something that reflected some delirium of grandeur). I had a couple of people copyedit it. Then I invested most of my money in the cover design and text. The rest was technicalities. Setting up a website, finding a distributor, joining associations, submitting articles, marketing. It’s a lot of work, but it’s also a lot of fun. If you’re committed, you can do it. Or maybe your budget allows you to hire a book shepherd, who will do it all for you. I know I didn’t have the money for that. But the book is out, nevertheless.
What do you do when you are not writing?
I make music, sing and play the guitar, read a lot, meditate, and work out. I also enjoy computer programming. But these are all weekly activities. On weekends, I do as little as possible and just hang out with my wife and teenaged son (whenever he allows us to be around him). After all, as Bill Watterson so truthfully put it, “Weekends don't count unless you spend them doing something completely pointless.”
What “Made It” moments have you experienced in life?
This is certainly one of them. Seeing my book published, holding it in my hands, seeing my website ready and people’s reaction to it. There have also been many other moments, which I consider stepping stones in my development process. Such as when I lost my last job and went on my own. That was a scary, but great feeling. And when I met my wife. That was the end of a lifelong search. Truly amazing. Well, no use elaborating here. You can check out these stories (and much more) in detail by reading irregular therapy: one man’s struggle to find meaning, money and a soul mate!
Posted by Ron Wyn at 5:10 PM
It’s my pleasure to announce that, after years of hard work and dedication, my first book, irregular therapy: one man’s struggle to find meaning, money and a soul mate, is finally out.
This book, the first in a series, and its companion website comprise the second stage of my latest project, irregular therapy™ .
irregular therapy™ is what I call my personal development path. It consists of the set of mind and body techniques—physical activity, visualizations, affirmations, meditations, sounds, and mind programming, among other things—that worked for me, and could surely work for you.
So whether you could use some much-needed relief in your turbulent life or are just looking to feel more relaxed, I hope you can take some time off your busy schedule to visit www.irregulartherapy.com and check out all the interesting and helpful information I have prepared for you.
And, if you like what you see, please recommend my work to your friends and family!
Posted by Ron Wyn at 4:19 PM