Finishing My First Novel: A Tools Success Story
Ruby Mathias (aka Rachel Morris) shares her story of how The Tools helped her finally finish her first novel, a spooky and “sweary” detective thriller set in Wales. We want to hear how The Tools have changed your life: Share your story with us.
In June of 2018, I left a luxury resort in Oman after spending a week in my beautiful suite suffering from depression, despair, and paralyzed agony about all the things I was putting off, the chances I’d lost, people I’d let down. Walking into the Muscat Airport bookshop and seeing Coming Alive was not just like running into a compassionate friend, it was the beginning of the way out and the path by which I would come to publish my first crime novel one year later.
The initial idea for the book had arrived 10 years before that, and I spent the next 9 getting in my own way about it. This past year I finally broke through, and The Tools were a huge contributing factor in that.
On a personal level, the faffing was a complex stew of neuroses, fear, procrastination, self-sabotage—OCD-ish time-wasting on “rituals” and “systems.” I kept up a good public face for the most part, but at a huge private cost.
On a practical level, it was like walking at night with a flashlight. I could only see the next few feet in front of me, so I stood still for nine years, waiting for more light. Recently I finally twigged that as long as I kept walking, I could see as far as I needed to. Writing one chapter naturally led to what the next should be about. I didn’t even need an outline.
I’m not going to say it was easy, exactly. It was long hours for the last month in particular, and I only pushed through the final resistance near the end because my dad was ill and I wanted him to see it. But it was flow, exhilarating, channelling-the-numinous stuff, and I highly recommend it. Paradoxically, the book wouldn’t have been nearly as good if I’d finished it any sooner.
When I left Oman it was to return to managing a truly challenging education project in Saudi Arabia. Even the strongest teacher on my team, a woman with some of the best coping and classroom management skills I’ve ever seen, was reaching the end of her tether. I passed Coming Alive to her, and it helped her tremendously. The students knew to be quiet and give her a moment’s peace when she sat and closed her eyes; she was using Black Sun.
I’m starting my next book now, keeping the momentum up using the limitless energy of The Mother. Finally making a new life I’ve dreamed of, at age 53. It’s a book of interviews with people who are starting life anew in middle-age or older. We have a closed Facebook group called The Order of the Acorn. Oak trees don’t start dropping acorns until around the age of 50; I know the feeling.
Thank you, again, for The Tools.