Bach flowers for finishing a novel

Browsing through the search terms which have been used to find this blog, I recently noticed the unusual one ‘Bach flowers for finishing a novel’.  The person who wrote it probably didn’t find much help from the information which was here at the time, but I was intrigued by the question and will have a go at answering it now. A large number of different remedies, only some of which are mentioned below, could be indicated; please visit the Bach Centre website for further details. Up to six flowers can be combined in one course of treatment and, as always, the choice depends on the personality and current emotional state of the individual concerned.

After months or years of working on your manuscript, becoming deeply involved with the characters and their story, the prospect of finishing the actual writing and moving on to the publication stage can seem quite daunting. The final product, which whether you realise it or not is bound to reveal some personal aspects of your self, is soon going to be launched into to the outside world. It may be met with criticism and rejection. You will have to tackle the practical demands of publishing and marketing, which may be unfamiliar or uncongenial. Are you anxious and fearful about certain aspects of the process (Mimulus)? Lacking confidence in your abilities (Larch)? Do you set yourself such high standards that you are continually revising your manuscript in a quest for perfection (Rock water)? Or do you keep making revisions because you are being over-influenced by others’ opinions rather than staying true to your own ‘inner voice’ (Cerato, Walnut)? Perhaps, rather like a devoted mother whose young adult child is preparing to leave home, you have anticipatory feelings of grief and loss (Star of Bethlehem), want to hold on to the former pattern of life (Honeysuckle) or do not know what to do next after finishing your novel (Wild Oat).

Many states of mind would tend to hinder progress on a personal project of any kind besides finishing a novel. For example: feeling overwhelmed by other responsibilities (Elm), being so willing to help other people that you do not have enough time for yourself (Centaury), mental lethargy in relation to getting started on a task (Hornbeam), the tendency to daydream about your ideas rather than taking practical action (Clematis), being distracted by outside influences (Walnut), feeling negative and discouraged after a setback (Gentian) or generally laid-back and apathetic (Wild Rose).

Or perhaps you are simply feeling tired of the book on which you have spent so much time and effort, and the best plan is to take a break from it before completing the final draft.

Whether a book ever can be considered perfectly finished is another question ….


One of the first topics covered on the life coaching course I took a few years back was ‘clearing the clutter’. Disposing of any excess ‘stuff’ in your physical environment, completing any half-finished tasks you have been putting off, and handling any chronic minor irritations, will help your daily life run more smoothly and leave more energy available for things you find enjoyable and worthwhile.

New Year is a good time to clear the clutter and to simplify. Buying myself a new bookcase this week gave me the impetus to reorganize the collection of books, journals and unpublished manuscripts which has accumulated in my office over the years. I must admit that I couldn’t bring myself to throw too many items away, but at least the ones I kept have been dusted and put in order. Maybe I will want to read them again one day, maybe not. Though it would be sad to see the end of printed documents, I am aware of the environmental advantages of e-publishing which is definitely the way I intend to go in future.

Bach flowers relevant to clearing the clutter include Hornbeam, for those who feel weary at the prospect of starting their daily work, and Honeysuckle for those who tend to cling to the past. Dr Edward Bach himself was an advocate of simplicity, and possibly took it too far by destroying many of the original papers which formed the basis of his published works. However the books themselves are still available and one of these, The Twelve Healers, can currently be downloaded free from .