I had the opportunity recently to work with Sherry Peters, a life coach who specializes in helping writers. Before I started, I had only the vaguest idea of what a life coach did. Going into the sessions, I thought I was actually doing pretty good with my writing. I thought I was quite productive, and although I have made improvements in the craft over the years, I was looking for something to take me to the next level in my writing.
What I quickly discovered was that I was more burned out than I had realized. I needed some balance in my life, and Sherry helped me find that. And, she helped me come up with some visible and tactile reminders to help me maintain that balance.
Remember how I said I thought I was productive? I've actually been more productive recently even though I feel like I spend less overall time writing. Since the end of December, I've turned in a novel to my publisher, written over forty thousand words on a new novel, and written five flash stories. My goal for the year was to write two novels and twelve short stories, and I'm nearly halfway there even though it's only February. I am accomplishing more than I ever imagined I could. I might even be able to move up my plans for world domination!
I think part of the boost in my productivity is being accountable to someone else. Every time I speak with Sherry, I tell her what I've been up to, writing-wise, and I don't want to say, "Well, I ended up goofing off on the Internet in all my free time," or whatever the excuse might be. Another part of the boost has come from talking things out with her. I actually had some fears left over from last year. I had done the whole agent search thing again, and not found an agent. Again. I had this novel that I believed in, but nobody wanted to represent it. So I considered alternatives for the novel and came to the conclusion that I would try publishing it myself. I like it, I believe in it, so I'll stand behind it. But I was scared. Terrified, actually. I wondered if I should give up writing altogether. But after talking things through with Sherry, I came to a few decisions. And it was surprisingly easy to come to these decisions. I just had to move past my fear.
Moving past that fear has meant that I feel more confident in my writing. I'm still working towards that next level, but I no longer feel stuck, or like I'm missing something. I feel like I'm doing the right thing for my writing career, and I'm pleased with my progress so far this year.
Interestingly, my half hour sessions spent talking with Sherry seem to fly by. I'm normally one who feels uncomfortable speaking with people I don't know on the phone, and I hadn't met Sherry before we started these sessions. But she's so pleasant, and asks such great questions, and makes such wonderful points that I find it as easy to speak with her. She's extremely positive and encouraging, and I have found myself being more positive recently as well. I've enjoyed my sessions so much, and found them so beneficial, that I wanted to write up a post so I could share my enthusiasm.
If you're stuck, or scared, or looking for something to give you a boost in your writing career, consider giving Sherry a try. Her first sessions are complimentary, so if you don't think it will work for you, you've lost nothing. You can find her at http://sherrypeters.wordpress.com or send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.