Without too much fanfare, I sat down and wrote a book.
I almost struggle to read that last sentence and believe it, but it's true. Over the course of the last few weeks, I created an entire book-length forecast for 2012, including year-ahead horoscopes for each sign and a few summarizing articles. It will be available for purchase, via download from this site, on December 1st.
And with those matters-of-fact, I have just made perhaps my biggest life-dream come true and all on the spur of the moment. It's pretty ridiculous, really, that I chose to dive into this project just weeks before departing for a month in Australia, during which time I'll be squeezing in a bit of holiday in between astro-consults with more than fifty clients. I suppose if I'd thought too much about what I was about to do, I probably would've freaked myself out. Which is why, despite not knowing how much hard work this book was going to take, or how I would lay it out, or how I would distribute it once I finished it, I pushed all such worries out of my head. Those worries could easily have paralyzed me into a panicky writer's-block spot and if there's nothing written, there's nothing to lay out or distribute.
So I just sat down and started writing, knowing that a year-ahead forecast comes with a built-in deadline, and kept telling myself I'd figure out the rest of the details later, on the spot which is basically what I'm doing.
More than anything else, I've always wanted to be a professional writer, paid to share my thoughts with the world. As I've matured into an adult career-person, I've had to learn to be more specific in my intentions at each juncture in my development. I want to be paid fairly for my labor. I want to write things I am proud of, and that I'm compelled by. After years of gladly giving away lots and lots of writing on a regular basis, with the innocent hope that one day some very important publishing contact might 'discover' my unique captivating voice and bestow that lusted-for book contract upon me, I decided to skip beyond that fantasy and simply manifest this goal myself. I would write what I wanted to write, then sell it directly to interested parties. I've put in my dues, built a reputation on solid consistent work; this was the obvious next step.
As long as I've been writing about astrology, I've been eager to create a year-ahead forecast to supplement my weekly horoscopes and, for a while now, as the end of every calendar year has approached, I've chickened out because, let's face it, there's always a lot of other stuff to do and who wants to voluntarily sign on for even more work when nobody would be the wiser if I just bowed out. I imagine this is a fairly common reason most of us don't push ourselves beyond the day-to-day duties, and towards the bigger prize we really yearn for: We usually have to add extra effort on top of everything else we're responsible for, and that's exhausting before we even start.
But 2012 seemed too perfect a year to let pass by, not only because the date holds a particularly rich place in our collective imagination, with the over-hyped end of the Mayan calendar and all the new-age hullaballoo that comes with it (which I've written about extensively in the book) but also because the astrology itself told me the timing was, at last, right.
In case you haven't noticed, either through reading my and other astrologers' work or by simply paying attention to what's transpiring all around, we are living in rather revolutionary timesand they're only going to become more so over the coming few years. We, of course, have Uranus and Pluto to thank for this. As they move into their first exact square by June 2012, the onus is on us to face where existing power-structures (collectively and in our personal lives) have grown repressive or corrupt and to use radical new methods of declaring our independence from this outdated oppression, methods we can carry out ourselves, on an individual basis, with whatever crude skills or untested techniques we've come up with. This D.I.Y. sensibility offers us our best chance for progressive innovationas opposed to our waiting and waiting and waiting for permission from the official channels to become who we want to be. We can all clearly witness this wave sweeping across the globe, from the Arab uprisings to the Occupy Wall Street movement. As I describe in the introduction to my book, my self-directed decision to write and self-publish this piece is my contribution, my testament, to this revolutionary astrological climate.
From the outside, I think I appeared fairly calm and well-managed during the writing process, though I admittedly made it much harder on myself by opting to do this in advance of the longest overseas trip I've taken since I backpacked through Europe one summer during college. I didn't really talk about the project with my friends until I was well underway, probably out of fear that, once I spoke it aloud, I would have officially committed to finishing it. (I learned this lesson when I excitedly told everyone I was writing a novel, back when I was 21 and na´ve, with no clue how to competently tackle such a thing. People asked me about the novel for years after. It's not dead yet, by the way.)
But inside, I witnessed a near-carnivalesque cavalcade of self-sabotaging tricks lob themselves at me, which I had to hold back with every ounce of responsibly positive self-talk I could gather: I have nothing useful to say every word I've written sounds like every other word I've ever written and why would anybody ever pay to read such crap but it doesn't matter anyway because I'm never going to finish and if I do, there will be so many typos and errors that, if anyone does read it, they will think I'm sloppy and careless and it will ruin my professional reputation not like I even have enough of a reputation to warrant this daring gesture and how stupid am I to leave such a massive project to the last minute didn't I know how long it would take to write each chapter not to mention how lazy I am for sitting around all day, typing into a computer, gaining all this (imaginary) weight so I'll be too fat and ugly to enjoy my time in Australia and how the hell am I going to get packed for my trip, and prepared for all my Aussie client-sessions, and write all my usual weekly scopes in addition to all this, and pay my bills, and see my friends, and hug my dog and damn I really suck, what a loser
all of which I replied to, in mantra-like repetitions, with the simple reminder that: This is one of the hardest things I've ever done, so why not cut myself some slack and muster a little compassion for this guy who's pushing himself toward a major goal, in closer reach than it's ever before been.
On a friend's goading, I even stopped referring to my project as 'this book thing' and start claiming it as a real live book. In struggling to take ownership for having written a book, I had a hard time calling it that.
I share this not merely as a self-indulgent exercise (though that's fun, too), but as a glimpse into the mind of someone wrestling himself to achieve a challenging benchmark. Lest you fool yourself into believing you are the only one who pulls these critical trips on yourself (and that everyone else makes fulfilling their ambitions look so simple and straightforward), let me tell you this is a very common experience we all endure, as we strong-arm the self-doubt out of our way. I hope this inspires you to do the same, wherever you're due to overthrow the cruel tyrant in your head and revolutionize your life.
Stay tuned for more details on my exciting offering, which you will surely hear about by every promotional means I have access to. I humbly ask you to purchase a copy of astrobarry's 2012 when it is released on December 1st, to signify your support of this audacious act and to indicate your allegiance with this D.I.Y. mentality as well as recommending to others in your life that they too purchase a copy. It's new for me to come right out and ask people to buy my written work, but we've all got to start somewhere.