I have been editing my husband’s books since 1999. I started with Fear of Intimacy and went on to edit his following seven books, including Sex and Love in Intimate Relationships and The Ethics of Interpersonal Relationships. In the early 2000’s, a friend had the idea of creating a website that would make the information offered in Bob’s books available to the general public. He came up with the name PsychAlive.org but he struggled with how to create the content, so I stepped in to help out and ended up writing the original material for PsychAlive.
In 2013, Bob wrote a blog for his Psychology Today blog, “The Human Experience,” called “Why Do We Hate Love? (Why do so many people respond with distrust and anger to being loved?)” I thought it would make a great book for the general public. The overall topic would be valuable and each of the different points could make up a chapter. I tried to sell Bob on the idea. His response, “Good idea, but I’m writing a book already and I write for mental health professionals.” Then I turned to Lisa Firestone. Her response, “Good idea, but I don’t have the time. I’m busy with my work at The Glendon Association and my blogs and my private practice.” Then they both said the same thing: “You should write it!”
I said, “You can’t be serious!” My critical inner voice said, “You can’t write a book! Who are you kidding?” But my family and friends persisted in their support, plus I really wanted this book to be written. So I decided to give it a try. I thought, “After all, I’m familiar with the material from working with it for so many years and I know how to explain it in everyday (non-academic, non-professional) language from writing for PsychAlive.” My critical inner voice said, “Who do you think you are? You’re not a writer!” But I ignored it and sat down and created an outline, and then got to work writing Daring to Love.
At first, I didn’t show what I was writing to anyone. Just because I was ignoring my critical inner voice doesn’t mean I wasn’t hearing it. But I kept writing. When I finished all of the chapters, I mustered up my courage and, in spite of the critical inner voice advising strongly against it, I read them aloud to a group of family and friends during a summer vacation. They were enthusiastic and supportive and also offered useful feedback. Bob generously edited the book and added his input.
And that’s more or less how it’s been with each step of this whole process. Who should publish my book? My critical inner voice said, “You mean who WOULD publish your book!” Working with the editors at New Harbinger Publishing, my voice warned, “They’re going to see that you aren’t a REAL writer.” Approaching marketing the book, the voice said, “You’re too shy to market anything! You’ll make a fool of yourself.”
But the truth is that my belief in the value of this book has been stronger than any of the arguments my critical inner voice has used to try to discourage me from writing it. And I have been lucky to have New Harbinger as a publisher. They have been 100% supportive and helpful. Their team of editors was sensitive and respectful in working with me to shape Daring to Love into the book I set out to write.
It would be enough to have ended up with a book that I am proud of, but an added benefit of this process is that I have grown as a person. I had attempted something that had special meaning to me that I had never dreamed of actually doing. Challenging the critical inner voice that was trying to sabotage me every step of the way strengthened me as a person and changed fundamental ways I had always regarded myself. And for both of those end results, I am grateful.
Move Beyond Fear of Intimacy, Embrace Vulnerability, and Create Lasting Connection