April 14, 2022

Writing is not for sissies

bio writer

I write one masterpiece to ninety-one pages of shit. I try to put the shit into the wastebasket. Ernest Hemingway

If I was going all spiritual on your ass, I’d say that Hemingway had it pegged when it came to calling it. Put the shit in the wastebasket and move on with your life. We know he didn’t have life pegged because he sucked on a shotgun in the end (be it by his own hand, the mafia or the CIA, we’ll never know).

Today I want to explore book writing.

If you want to write a book, don’t. Unless you’re ready to face every demon, weakness and mental frailty you have. Because they will all be tested. I promise you.

My friend Alison Weihe just finished her book (I had a small hand in birthing it as an editor).You can get it here.


It’s a great book. It has been sent to Mindvalley … don’t be surprised if you see her as a main stage speaker in Estonia this year.

This is what I said about Alison in May 2021on LinkedIn and it is unfolding just as I predicted. She got a standing ovation at a peer conference on Sunday. You’ll soon see her everywhere.

I’ve only known Alison for the shortest time (three years). First when she was an emerging speaker at the Professional Speakers Association of Southern Africa, then as a friend and finally as a client.

She has metamorphosed into a beautiful butterfly when it comes to the craft of storytelling. I’ve been privileged to watch her grow.

I’m a big fan of the Mindvalley programmes, as is Alison – it has the most enlightened, engaging and brilliant teachers on the planet who are raising human consciousness.

I have no doubt that Alison will one day be standing on a Mindvalley stage in Estonia sharing her wisdom and mesmerising the audience with her skill, storytelling and wisdom.

If I were you, I’d book Alison now to speak at your next conference to inspire your employees … she’s still affordable. When she hits superstar status (as I’m sure she will) and gets on the world stage, she might just be out of your and my price range.

Go to her now, it’ll be one of the best decisions you’ve made for your staff in a long time.

The Truth Be Told

The truth be told, it took it’s toll, though. Every book I’ve ever been involved with (either writing or editing … just over 33 now) was like giving birth (I’m not qualified to say that, of course) without any pain medication, protracted labour in a fetid French gutter reminiscent of the great book, Perfume: The Story of A Murderer by  Patrick Süskind.

Alison, like all the authors I know went through something like this:

  • My writing is shit
  • I’m shit
  • This is hard
  • I hate it
  • I hate myself
  • I awesome
  • I’m magnificent
  • Who am I kidding
  • I want to kill myself (just like Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Wolf, Hunter S. Thompson, Sylvia Plath and Yukio Mishima, amongst others).
  • Who wants to read this crap
  • This is self-indulgent
  • My life is boring
  • I’m boring
  • I hate my editor … she eviscerated me
  • I want that piece in it’s my best work … don’t take it out … nooo (Kill your darlings)
  • I have nothing more to say and I’ve only written 20 000 words.
  • Is this really my philosophy. I sound like a raving lunatic
  • What if people don’t like it
  • What if they hate it
  • What if I only sell 10
  • I want to belong
  • I want to be heard
  • I’m scared
  • I don’t want to be heard. I want to hide
  • I’m so lazy. I watched Netflix the whole day instead of writing
  • I’m lazy
  • I’m useless
  • My life’s a waste
  • I want to throw the book in the dustbin
  • I wish I could write like Margaret Atwood (no, shit, so do I)
  • This book’s not good enough
  • I’m not good enough
  • I will be persecuted
  • It’s my fault (what’s your fault? That your parents split up, that your partner doesn’t love you enough and, that the psychopath, Putin invaded the Ukraine? What is it that’s your fault?)

Ok, so that was just off the top of my head.

Writing is not for sissies

Writing is not for sissies. But neither is living. It’s hard to craft a masterpiece. But that’s your job. Really, to make your life a masterwork and a masterpiece is the only worthwhile job. You’re the job.

Not everyone should write a book, I get that. But everyone should go deep and explore who they are. Do the inner work. Do the hard work. You can’t outrun your demons, I promise you. They will catch you and mess you up. Read this article if you think you can hide.

So, if you don’t want to write a book, at least journal and write about your feelings, fears and phobias. Write about your joy, your love, your magnificence, your awesomeness, your gratitude. Just fcken write.

Here’s what you’ll find will happen. You’ll start learning about what triggers you. What story you believed so that you live like you do now. Who you really are and who you can really be. You’ll find out that you’re on your own personal journey with spirit. Don’t worry about anyone else’s journey … that’s their story. One day when they’re called home, they’ll be asked about their story, not yours. “Think about it: What weakens us is feeling offended by the deeds and misdeeds of our fellow men. Our self Importance requires that we spend most of our lives offended by someone.” Carlos Castaneda

For me writing helps me get closer to me and to source. The more I shed what’s holding me back, the lighter I feel and I become lighter. I become light. The closer that I get to source, the more I realise that I was created in love, by love, for love. When I look at myself through my creator’s eyes I am in awe of how I am seen … I’m magnificent, masterful and majestic. I’m here for a purpose … to be the change I want to see in the world, to be light, to live, to love, I’m here to keep my heart open to the possibility of it all.

So are you here … you that shine, love and live. Go full out, figure it out (sooner than later) and become the masterwork you were destined to be.

Go and write something, even if it is just for yourself. If you need tools, go and look at Julia Cameron’s creative recovery writing tools. Another great tool is Jordan Peterson’s Self Authoring work.

PS. If you want to put a book out in the world, but you’re scared. Consider this:

I know that you probably have more writing talent in your left pinkie than I have in my whole body. Don’t get held back just because one person eviscerated your writing (you) on social media. Just because one person said you weren’t good enough (you are enough). Just because one person is hateful (hates themselves). That’s their pain and their story, not yours. Tell your story because it is useful and it will help others find the light the so desperately seek.

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3 Comments on “Writing is not for sissies

Kim Vermaak
April 14, 2022 at 10:38 am

Very helpful article.

May 24, 2022 at 7:06 am

Hello Jacques you probably don’t remember me as we be er actually connected properly and yet I was drawn to your article on your website yet again and I don’t believe in mere coincidences in the vast Universe we are living in. I believe I have a book somewhere inside me that can benefit at least a few people but I agree I will most definitely have to face my demons to get it on paper. My apologies for not following through before but I was not in the right head space at the time, literally living in survival mode. If you are willing to connect now even though it’s my second attempt however I would sincerely appreciate it. Kind Regards Lydia

Jacques de Villiers
July 21, 2022 at 5:22 pm

Of course I’ll connect with you.


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