Insights popped and sizzled as I read, but with iron-fisted distraction and erotic stoicism, I fought to pick up my journal.

The Creative Voice may be illusive, but my gosh, is it persistent. Over the holidays, I went back to the paths I knew: the self-help section of Barnes and Noble.

Leaving but without a purchase, synchronicity and the internet led me upstairs to our library nook. Snapping the book shut, I laughed at the irony and dashed to the local library. Devouring the contents of the first book in the car pick-up line, I whipped out my yellow highlighter but my senses seized the moment. I couldn’t!

A week later, the book summaries and diagrams were complete.  I was ready.

These two books were seminal in my journey, not because of what they had written but more so, how I interpreted them this time around. I had read Finding Your Own North Star before, but this time, something had changed. The Artists Way however, was a different story. The title suggests something very different than the journey it takes you on. I’ve kept a journal much of my adult life. My son’s ‘incubation’ and dramatic arrival was well documented, my daughters a bit less so.

Going back through the process proposed by The Artists Way, I can see the Creative Voice at work, prompting me in thought and more, writing about the voices in our heads.  But I couldn’t see how much I was in my way, how my Rules affected me.

Still doing the assessments and my three pages, I turned to a favorite childhood pastime: making art, something tangible to sell.  But the voices of doubt inside were loud and raucous as were the rules they imposed.  This wasn’t my calling, there’s too much competition, people who are well trained or have a natural gift.  Perusing Etsy was inspirational at times, but more often, left me feeling hopeless, blocked.

Meanwhile, trips back and forth to pick up my kids were spent listening to Harry Potter (for all of us) and Twilight (more so for my daughter).  I started wondering about character development and how a writer gets their ideas.  They’re obviously tapped into something to weave those fantasies.  It wasn’t something I’d ever do; a self-help book possibly, but never a novel.  I even wrote, “I’d never write a novel” in my journal.

But if you look back at my journals, you’ll see the seeds of The Rules of Life, the journey that was mine to take.  All the philosophical and spiritual ideas and ideals behind what you’ll now read as Kathryn’s journey were there.  I hadn’t discovered uncovered my own rules, Kathryn Winslow’s Rules yet, but if you look at my journals, you’ll see my dialog with the Creative Voice was leading me.

Attending a writers group meeting at local Panera, I considered doing a blog, a self-help book if I really stretched my hopes.  But the people in that group weren’t writing self-help.  How would I turn my experiences, this undefined passion for expression into a website so my husband could retire?

As I write this blog series, I received more declines from literary agents for The Rules of Life series.  This is the truth of a journey.  But don’t put your faith in a goal; put it in the path you’re walking.  We are in the process of the greatest shifts in humanity, letting go of authoritarianism to trust the greatest power, what lies within, obscured but more powerful than the voices of others.  It is my greatest hope to help others trust the whispers of their inner guidance.  Fear makes us want to control others.  We have to lean into those fears to solve them, to know the truths behind the fears are where our greatest power and challenges lie.  We’re here to grow love, not fear.   How do you know when you’re doing this?  A feeling of integration.