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My Heart Behind Writing a Storybook

Updated: Jan 16


Writing and self-publishing my storybook has been an incredibly meaningful process for me. “I Will Love You into Being” is the title of my story and it is about attachment in loss, demonstrating how caregiver love can transcend separation. I’m dedicating this book to children and grown children who miss their mothers. This is my heart and intention behind creating this story.


As a therapist who works with older children, and adolescents, I have relished the experience of reading storybooks in therapeutic spaces.


Hearing a story is not only an avenue for outward learning but also for inward learning and self-reflection about one’s emotions.

Storybooks can offer subtle lessons, with the ability to increase our empathy for ourselves and others. Reading to children can also be an act of mindfulness for both the reader and the listener. Examples include our breath, tone, pace, pauses, the silence in-between, the visual imagery, the observation, the hearing, and the tracking. All contribute to an experience of connection, attachment and discovery.


With this being the first time I’m sharing any creative writing with the world, I find myself hurdling over this fear of inadequacy.


Because I don’t have a related education or experience to qualify me as an author, I fear I don’t deserve a place at the creative writing table. Disqualifying creative projects has been a long-time struggle for me. I was unaware of these fears until I started considering the idea of sharing my story. Going through the self-publishing process, I’m now able to be curious and reflect on some of the paralyzing fears that I had to wrestle through early on. I wrote this story three years ago and at that time it was just for myself. I found healing in writing down this short story I was hearing internally, as if I was telling it to a younger part of me. I took time to sit with it, and around six months later I shared it with my husband—who, as expected, was deeply encouraging.


However, sharing it was much harder than I anticipated, even with someone I have secure attachment and trust with. It felt as if I was guarding something that was sacred to me. As I began to share the story more, a residual protectiveness persisted—and, strangely, a strong desire to share it.

Expressing oneself creatively is a vulnerable, honest action. I’ve noticed that one of my stronger fears includes the lack of control. For me, I think that the tension between creativity and control is a debilitating block. Creating is liberating, intuitive and cathartic. In contrast, control (in my experience) is rigid, censored and polarizing. Previously, I would have demonized those thoughts.


This familiar critical voice is one I now realize tries to protect me from the possibility of failure. This is the same part that is also preventing me from the liberating experience of creative expression.

Calming that critical/protective part of me sometimes looks like talking to it from the place of the Self: “I appreciate you for trying to protect me in the way that you know how. There are many times in the past where you have helped me survive painful situations and I’m deeply grateful for that. You’ve been carrying this burden of needing to protect me for too long and now that I’m old enough to protect myself, I would like to lead us.” Unbending and integrating the parts of me that have felt at odds for years has helped me find a path forward, in reconnecting with the ability to be creative. Sometimes it involves sitting with my fear. Other times it looks like validating and reassuring it. Emotions are extremely powerful, complex and most often inspire our artistic expression. Working with my feelings instead of against them has been a personal revelation for me. Everyone has their own unique process and I’m certainly still in mine. More than ever I believe that we are all worthy to create.


The value of creative expression is not dependent on success through profit or having the proper credentials.

As I have started talking about my storybook it has lead to countless meaningful conversations with other creative individuals. Many of these people also have untold stories to share with the world too. Building connection and community through sharing pieces of our hearts, and our whole SELVES is something truly remarkable and deeply rewarding.


 

Erin Leigh Egan can be found on Instagram. Her debut book, "I Will Love You Into Being", illustrated by Emily Huang, can be found here.



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