I've been having a lot of conversations with people I really admire lately and it's been a eye-opening experience. It is scary as hell when you decide to take your ideas and turn them into something real. I had the pleasure of going to college with James McCrae (Strategist & Author) and have been following his career/life via the internet since he moved to New York. I've also sought out his creative platform (shityouregosays.com) for advice when I'm feeling confused about what I'm trying to do myself. It's been a great tool and now his book comes out in February! I've had a few questions for him so decided that others might find the answers interesting as well:
Tell us a little about your back story. Where did you grow up? What have been your biggest influences?
I was born and raised in a small town on the Minnesota prairie. Like most kids in America, my heroes were athletes. I spent every day at the basketball court practicing to be the next Michael Jordan. That changed when I was 14 and suffered an ankle injury during a game. I was bedridden for a week and had nothing to do but read. Lucky for me, my mom had amazing books around the house. I got lost in the world of Walt Whitman, Edgar Allan Poe, Mark Twain, Plato, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. The rest was history. I traded my dreams of being an athlete for dreams of being a writer.
What is "Shit Your Ego Says"?
Sh#t Your Ego Says is my publishing debut, and will be released by Hay House in February 2017 (pre-order now). It's also a creative platform that include a website (shityouregosays.com) and an Instagram account (@shityouregosays).
What made you decide to write this book?
Well, like most people, my childhood dreams were deferred when I grew older and started facing adult responsibilities. I was swept up in the rat race of my career and trying to get ahead in the world of advertising. I was successful but miserable. Finally I took a leap of faith and moved to New York City to try my luck at the writing stuff I had held so dearly as a child. But it would not be so easy. No sooner had I arrived than Hurricane Sandy hit Manhattan and flooded my apartment in five feet of water. Suddenly I was jobless, running out of money, and homeless. I spent the last of my money on a one way ticket to a small Caribbean island where a friend owned an empty cottage.
Sh#t Your Ego Says begins with me alone on the island filled with doubt, insecurity, and regret. And I recognized that this voice was not the real me. It was the voice of my ego. The conversation that ensued – between my ego and my higher self – is a battle that we all face. I wanted to tell a behind-the-scenes story about how the mind imprisons and empowers us according to our thoughts and beliefs.
Who is the book intended for?
The audience is anybody who wants to unlock higher levels of creativity and consciousness by going deeper within themselves. Because there are many stories about career and relationships, young professionals and anybody dealing with relationship challenges will find it especially useful.
How do you deal with your own ego?
The most important thing to remember is that we are not, as we often think we are, our thoughts. We are the consciousness from which our thoughts arise. It's helpful to think of our thoughts as waves on the ocean surface. They splash high and falling back down in constant activity. But the real us is the whole ocean beneath the surface, which remains still and unmoving in spite of our mental chaos. In order to deal with my own ego I associate my identity as the observer of my thoughts and my reality instead of associating my identity with my thoughts themselves. The more I practice mediation, mindfulness, and yoga, the easier this becomes.
What's the hardest thing about writing a book that was surprising?
I come from the world of blogging, so I was in the habit of writing content in the 500–1,000 word count range. The most challenging part of writing a book was scaling my voice as a writer to accommodate a longer format. I knew I could formulate an argument and make informed opinions, but to maintain a consistent point of view and philosophical narrative over the duration of 45,000 words was new to me. Considering I was working full time while writing Sh#t Your Ego Says, the writing process required me to develop new daily habits every morning and night. But ultimately I found my voice as an author and the discipline helped me discover parts of myself that I did not know existed.
What's next for you and your career?
Once the book is released I will be doing speaking engagements and other media to help with promotion, but in a long term sense I plan to continue using my platform to bridge the gap between creativity and higher consciousness. Along with Sh#t Your Ego Says I am launching a nonprofit organization called Innerspace Foundation to use resources and collaboration to foster mindful awareness within the creative community and bring creative support to the world of spirituality.