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Three Powerful Ways To Write Your Healing Book

What to do when the urge to write your healing book is strong. Here are three ways to consider to help you get your story out.

There are many times when the urge to write your story is so strong that it drives you almost to distraction. There will be the many experiences that you have had to endure, and the incredible adventure that you have been on.

There will be times when not much makes sense and other times of flow and joy. Life is full of contrasting moments, twists and turns that take you goodness knows where.

You will know when that time comes when you have to write this stuff down. For some that will be a book. In fact, the urge and drive to write your book will become overpowering.

  • But you wonder who will read it?
  • What is the point?
  • Will I be able to do anything with it?

The truth is when it comes to a book that is going to help you to heal none of that matters. What matters is that you write. You may never publish, you might, but that is not always the point.

When I first started to coach, because writing was my thing, people asked me if I could help them to write a book. They also wanted to receive healing and guidance. It seemed to me that all of these things naturally went together.

Writing and writing a book of any form is in itself very cathartic, when combined with someone who listens and can see the deeper meaning creates a powerful change process.

They didn’t publish because the purpose of the book was to get their story and emotions out and heal. This way of coaching is rewarding and is something that I don’t advertise but it is something I still do occasionally.

Although I confess I want the books to be published as the content carried such an energetic force. I knew that others reading this will be inspired. But of course, that is never my decision. I am the facilitator and blessed to be trusted with this.

We are all on a learning journey where different people, philosophies, messages and teachings come into our lives at just the right time, as if we are magnetically drawing them to us. Each of these make us who we are, and it is never by accident. Therefore, it is never by accident that you feel drawn to write your story.

But what of you and your story, is the book that you want to write one to heal or is it one to heal and to heal others?

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Write a healing book

We rarely find ourselves on a healing journey by accident as you will discover as you move through writing your book. The path to successful healing (wholeness) can be extended and strenuous. It may involve pitfalls and obstacles, but it will none the less be rewarding.

It is very likely that you are simultaneously encountering multi-dimensional, intertwining, crisscrossing journeys. How those journeys go depends on your willingness to open yourself up to the knowledge and wisdom you receive and consider with purpose and faith what the messages mean. What clues they provide are part of your inner guidance system.

With the best will in the world (and the best planning) you will not be able to anticipate everything. Therefore, you must be willing to adapt and change as necessary. Having an open mind and heart will help you to navigate any uncharted highways and byways of this life.

Like it or not, we often have to change and to adapt to changing and challenging circumstances in our lives, the lives of our loved ones, and in our environment. We don’t merely tolerate change for change’s sake, we embrace and accept it so that our soul’s journey through this life is much more pleasurable.

In some respect, your journey is a journey without end, until you reach the end of your Earthly existence. You will rarely reach the exact outcomes you set out to achieve and be able to say, ‘yep that’s it, I have arrived.’ More likely you will be flowing from experience to experience, which after a period of reflection you can from your new vantage point, create, design or envision the next step of your journey with new perspectives and outcomes.

Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom. Thomas Jefferson

Your book then will be a part of your healing experience. It will and can be a fantastic transformative process. I hope too that it allows you to accept the lessons that you have been given without judgement, shame and guilt.

When you write a healing book, you write it so that you can heal, grow and change – period.

A tale of two healing books

When I wrote Healing Osteoporosis Naturally (not yet published), it followed my story from the moment my spine fractured, over a year of discovery (personal and medical) and it will end two years later with the results of my hard work. This step by step approach worked for me and my healing. Although the personal experience at the time was horrible.

Likewise, when I wrote Rude Awakenings, A Journey To Self-Love, I followed my story from discovering my then husbands’ double life to learning to love myself. This book, once I’d written it, was assigned to a healing book which I do not want to publish. Writing it was massively cathartic and it served its purpose by allowing me to heal.

Which is the best way to write this book?

You can write this book by following the book planning and writing process in this way it helps you to put your story in perspective. When you do this is helps you to sort things out because you are seeing the events of your life in order and will see the patterns of your behaviour. As you consider the key messages of each chapter and how possibly you would advise another how to deal with these things, you gain massive insight.

The first draft will be an outpouring and it is in the editing that you will gain clarity. I confess that it is not an easy process, but it is cleansing for the soul and rewarding. I often look back at what I have written and think – was that really me?

You can also write this like a patchwork quilt. Write a list of possible chapters, in the order of the story and put them in a ‘hat’ and drawn one out as the urge to write comes to you. In this way you are dealing with what needs to be considered at that moment. Later you can timeline your patchwork quilt and put it in order. Though I suspect that you will have healed when writing and reflecting and may not wish to go back over old stuff.

Write a book to heal you and others

This is a book that allows to heal as you write, however, now you are driven to inspire others. Books often have this magical power that opens our eyes to a need that exists in the wider world. When you write a healing book for a bigger purpose it can lead you into a business that you might never have realised was bursting to get out.

We need stories; they are the foundation of humanity. It is with your story you grow, expand and transform. And it is your story that will enable someone else to know that it is possible for them to do the same.

Your book (or books) can become a brand asset, which is part of a bigger branding toolkit. You now have something, which can be used in many different ways – online programmes, building a speaking career, a methodology for x, workshops and whatever else you feel is right for you.

Your book is how someone else can get to know you without ever having met you, or after meeting you become more intimate with your thoughts and ideas.

It’s important to not get carried away and to ground your book with some business sense. Make sure that you have the right support around you to become clear on what your business is, who your ideal client is, your vision, core message and what you want to be known for among other things.

This book contains a package of knowledge which will help you to create something you can be proud of in the world. Your healing will continue as you inspire others.

Will your book become a bestseller?

Whilst being a bestseller is a wonderful accolade and achievement, touching the hearts of others and inspiring others to heal and grow is, in my opinion what we are here to do. And yes, you can do both, as long as you understand what is required to create a bestseller.

If you have been on an incredible healing journey, you may not have the energy to take your book and sell hundreds of thousands of copies. We will look at bestsellers another time.

Your inspirational message

Knowing that you have an inspirational message to share is the first step; how you get it planned, written, edited, published and marketing is simply a process. Apologies I make that sound easy and it is if you know how. It makes sense to do what you can and want to and outsource the rest.

When the process is connected to passion and purpose you have something that will have you smiling for a long time to come.

I often get huge goose bumps as I am drawn gently into the world of another’s passion and story. I know that when these books are published, that they will be using them as part of that bigger picture and will, without a doubt leave a magical spell in the hearts of others. Not only that, their content will provide the basis for many other products and services that I talk about.

I continue to maintain that a book is not just a book, it is a brand asset, it is a personal development tool, it creates clarity of purpose, draws out your purpose and lets you make a heart to heart connection with your community. When you are in your zone and can add genuine value you will get a return on your investment.

Should you publish?

No. If what you want to do is to write your story for you, why put yourself under that pressure?

You may have this feeling and calling that you want to get this book out, but something keeps holding your back. I’d suggest that this is a book just for you and to stop thinking about how to get it into the world. Write it and then decide what next?

Yes. If you want to create something with this book. Decide what your vision and strategy are and what you need to do to make this a reality. Consider what you will do with this book and create a plan.

The third and last way to write your healing book

My favourite book of all is the humble journal. I have many of them and when I feel I am entering a new or different phase of my life I start a new one. This is a place I can write, scribble, doodle and rant. It’s what I reach for when I wake up in the night feeling fearful or excited. Writing in my journal has saved my life.

One my healing bones journey it was my constant companion and research assistant. One day, like all of my other journals it will be burnt. I like to release the past to the flames and ignite something new.

I know many like to hold on to their journals, but for me, they need like the clutter in the house to be let go off. In this way we open up the space for new opportunity.

To start journaling all you need is a beautiful journal and a pen. Put it by your bed and when you clamber in, write about your day, perhaps ask some questions and most of all let go and simply must.

Many swear by morning pages, a few sides of your journal where you let your muse guide you in the morning. I find that in the morning the questions I have asked the night before seem to magically have answers.

There is no right or wrong way. Some love to free write and others love prompts. If you want some prompts, sign up to 101 days of being me and you will get a prompt for 101 days.

Dealing with stress the write way

Life hasn’t always been a bed a roses. Though why anyone would lie in roses with all of the thorns bit is quite beyond me…

All joking apart life should come with a stress alert. Because there are times when everything feels too much. Overwhelm threatens to take over and in these moments, nothing is achieved.

Some stress is natural, but when that overload kicks in the toll on every part of your life is immeasurable.

This morning an old job popped into my head. In fact, I was mulling over several old jobs and contemplating how different things are and how much less stress I feel today compared to say ten or twenty years ago.

Though when I say less stress, what I feel is different. It will be different because my life is not the same as it was when I had to be out and on the road by 7.30am or earlier.

Instead these days I’m often out for the first doggie walk of the day before 7.30am, if you can call that stress. There are days, like yesterday when I overslept and was treated to a wet nose in my face to tell me to get up.

Looking back, there were some jobs that I have truly adored, the people, products, customers and banter combined have often made it a pleasure to step through the door.

But it wasn’t always been that way, I can remember times such as in the 1990’s when a sales team I was part of felt bullied, pressured and stressed by the management team.  I was shocked when during a heart to heart, one of my male colleagues confided he had been crying and not sleeping over work.  

In my unhappiness, overwhelm and desire to not talk, I had thought it was only me.

The stress led to him becoming ill.  I and several others subsequently left.  At other companies, I have witnessed aggression, sexual harassment, bullying and manipulation. Sadly I watched colleagues who couldn’t take the pressure, resorting to visits to the doctor with stress and other illnesses before resigning, leaving us with a big hole in our resources.

Many of us underestimate what the stress and pressure at work can cause to us individually, our work colleagues and our wider family.

I don’t know where you find yourself? In a job or as an entrepreneur. But none the less, there will be or have been times when ‘it’s all been too much.’

Back in the days of being in an office, I felt that with a shrinking economy and the chaos of government many organisations (mine included) were understandably trying to do more with less and that meant as colleagues left the work burden was usually shared amongst those that remained.

Not only that, it seemed that there was often the threat with economic uncertainty of possible redundancy. All of which adds pressure and stress.

Pressure and stress for some people is positive, they love the challenge, but for others it can be the beginning of a nightmare.

The stress of redundancy

Having been made redundant twice, I know from first hand experience, that how you handle it will vary depending on what else is going on in your life, who is there to support and what your financial situation is like, amongst other things.

I consider myself lucky, many people in a situation where they can see themselves and friends being side lined or played for a fool would have become ill, not sleep, angry, stressed, potentially turn to drink or worse.

The first time I was made redundant, I spiralled into the depths of despair, that was until I had managed to write my way through tons of negative words. I woke up one morning and decided to reach out. Within hours I had a contract which was fun to work on.

The second time, I was delighted to leave. Our directors had all resigned two months beforehand and the person appointed to the board was not someone I could work with. So when I was awarded the brown envelope of redundancy I was relieved.

In the lead up to this, I had also journaled, but in a more positive way. I’d been considering my options for a lot longer and was better prepared.

The cost of stress

But what is the cost to a business with stressed employees? You only have to Google this to discover the statistics and it is not only shocking but extremely sad.

In this report (UK HSE), it is stated that 15.4 million days are lost by 595,000 people to stress and anxiety. This number is rising. The cost and impact on each person and business must be immense.

What about the stress of being an entrepreneur then? Are there are different kinds of stressors to contend with? Of course, there are. There is still the workload and money. An entrepreneur has for the most part to be everything and everyone in their business in the early days and then has to learn how to build a business from an entrepreneurial mindset.

None of which is easy, but it is often more rewarding.

Solutions?

As an entrepreneur the need for self belief and emotional stability is high. But where do you find these resources and how can you maintain your balance in uncertain times?

When I look back, what I know is that for organisational culture to change, it must cascade from the top.  If the top put mental health and effective communications on the top of the agenda and consider how to positively impact the lives of their employees we balance could be achieved. Couldn’t it?

First, of course, there is the need to remove the stigma attached to anxiety, stress and behaviour attributable to pressure and not penalise the careers of those who put family and self before work. It is surely not unreasonable to want your employees to be happy and healthy?

That’s organisations, but how does an entrepreneur manage their stress?

It’s a hard question to answer. Stress is everywhere and the grass is never greener.

Personal responsibility

What I know is that I have to take responsibility for my life and my health. I have to implement things or ways of working which means that I manage my stress.

As an entrepreneur, I can take regular breaks in the day, walk the dogs to clear my head or take some time to drink my tea on the terrace and look at the hills when I need some reflection time. Back in my office days, I’d take a walk around the outside of the building – not quite the same – but it did help.

Writing and stress

The biggest thing that has supported me all of my life is writing.

As a long term journaler, I get lots of my stuff out each night before I go to bed.  I reflect on my writing often and write short stories which cover off a range of conflicts and emotions.  Writing might not be for everyone, but there is research which proves its effectiveness and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) amongst other interventions uses writing to focus reflection and enable change.

When my spine fractured in 2018, I was in immense pain. For a few days I stared at the ceiling drifting in and out of painful sleep. What helped me was first of all writing in a journal and then deciding to write a book about my healing. Because I was unable to work this became my work. I spent endless days researching and studying and working out how to heal naturally.

Luckily I had trained as a naturopathic nutritionist and had been interested in nutrition and healing since my twenties. But none the less I felt like I was taking a medical degree with all of the other things I looked at.

Writing in my journal and writing a book, I believe saved my life.

I know writing works.  Cathartic, entertaining, sometimes embarrassing writing has certainly been my saviour.

Try it for yourself, you may be amazed.

You start by buying a journal and simply allowing your words to flow. The power comes when you reflect and discover aha’s.

If you are unsure where to start, sign up for 101 days of being me. You will get journaling prompts for 101 days. What you will find is that after a short period of time that you will be in the writing habit and may not need a prompt. The prompts however, give you something to ponder.

How long does it take to write a book?

How long will it take me to write a book?

As you can imagine I get asked a lot about how long it will take to write a book. The answer is always it depends. That may sound like a cop out. However, it depends on you, your commitment and the action you take.

You can write a book to final draft in 90 days. Some people have been known to publish in this time as well. Personally, I am not sure how they have done it, but you never know other peoples commitment, work ethic, what support they have and what they have let go of to enable this to happen – do you?

I know this. Once you have worked out how you are going to write a book in let’s say 90 days and started to write, it may feel like you are in a parallel universe, where time seems to be consumed by your writing. The cleaning gets left, you forget that the world exists outside, but be assured that when the journey is over, normal life can, and will, resume.

You have to write the book that wants to be written

How to work out how long it will take to write a book

Firstly you need to be committed

To ensure that your plan comes together, make a commitment, put it up somewhere so that you can see and it acts as a constant reminder. Remember to move it around, or it will become part of the decoration, and you will forget about it.

Put it on a post it note, in fact, put it on many post it notes and dot them around the house.

My commitment statement

  • On a scale of 0-10, where is your commitment?
  • I (your name) commit to writing my book (book title) by (date of the first draft)
  • Next, write whatever POSITIVE statements come to mind that help you to clarify this process

Planning your time – setting deadlines

If you want to publish your book by a set date, you have first to set your outcome to get it done and then plan your time effectively. Your next job is to set some dates of milestones.

What is the book writing process?

The worst thing you do write is better than the best thing you don’t write.

This is my process once I have the outline and chapter framework completed.

  • First draft (write, don’t edit)
  • First edit, which is a read through of the entire book
  • The second edit, read and scribble. I take myself somewhere quiet and lose myself in my first draft. At this stage, I am tough on myself, and you will end up wondering – how did I make so many mistakes? I do also reframe and marvel at how much I have written.
  • Second and third edit is on my computer. I take a chapter at a time and usually do 2-3 chapters per session.
  • First print proof (I always do this step). This takes about a week to get to you. In this time I work on other parts of my book project.
  • Read and amend proof book. I’ll also read it aloud as this provides another dimension to editing.
  • Final editing bits and pieces. I’ll now order 5 proof copies and give them to BETA readers; I’ll ask each to read a few chapters, while secretly hoping that they will read all of it.
  • Update, another proof book to go to the proofreader
  • Final read through and edits from me and go live.

I find reading my book as a ‘real’ book (printed) helps me to see it in another light. Once I have done my final edit, which I call my final proof, I will send it to the proof-reader, which normally takes about 2 weeks.

Working out how long it will take to write

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Let’s decide to write a traditional self-published book with approx. 30,000 words. The number of words per page in a print book will differ, from an A4 size. We will use a 6×9 rather than A4. An A4 page gives you about 350 words and a 6×9 about 250.

  • Imagine your book is 30,000 (or 40,000)
  • How many words can you write in an hour? 500 or 1000?
  • How many words can you write per day? 1000, 2000 or 3000?
  • Will you write every day, or will you set a weekly target?

What I am about to suggest is not an exact science, but it will focus your mind on your writing outcomes. If you are the kind of person, who goes into overwhelm when you see big numbers, focus on the small numbers, i.e. the number of words per hour or per day.

When it comes to this book, you will have stuff to write from scratch, stuff you can repurpose and things that need researching. If you want to find out your process then test yourself.

Start by timing yourself for 30 minutes. Pick something that you are an expert in and just write. How many words can you type or write long-hand? Then pick something which needs some research. Practice repurposing a blog.

  • How long did it take you?
  • Now add 20% for interruptions, procrastination and other stuff
  • Did you remember to factor in planning, research and editing?
  • How much knowledge did you have before you started?
  • What process did you go through to undertake your research?
  • What is your writing process? This is very important to understand. Get it right and your writing will flow.

The time stealer

Working out how long it will all take in a perfect world is all well and good. However, procrastination and time stealers are the enemies of the writer. For everyone who hates planning, just swap TV time for writing time. Have a go at working out where your wasted time is. Ask yourself:

  • How long do I take doing unimportant things that take me away from my writing?
  • Is there a pattern to my time-wasting activities?

Your writing process

No two people write in the same way, so you need to find a way that works just for you. Whatever that way is, it is perfect. When we want to go somewhere, we use a map.

Writing is like a dance

Your process is your unique map.

To find out what your map is, it would be useful to understand how another writer writes and notice his or her patterns. In a perfect world, it would ne nice be able to interview, watch and fully understand how an expert writer operates. Sadly, we don’t live in an ideal world, and you may not have access to other writers– but you could ask your writer friends.

This means that you will have to map out what you do and how you do it. Analyse it and work out how you can become more effective and efficient in the process or accept the way in which you do things and make allowances.

Remember, you are not alone, and there are always tools, people and resources which you can call on for help.

To work out what your process is you must walk through all the steps that you take.

The key now is to think about how you will get the most value out of your writing process.

Ok so how long will it take to write a book to final draft?

For clarity, this is your first draft.

30, 000 words – 1000 a day, this is easy maths, 30 days. I’d suggest that you can write at least 2000 per day.

2000 per day at 5 days a week. 10,000 per week. 30,000 words in 3 weeks – 21 days.

Then rest up for 7 days or longer. You are the one with your publishing deadline. 28 days.

Approx. 4 weeks.

Then start the editing process. I start this on a weekend when I can do the first read through on a Saturday and the first edit and scribble on a Sunday. Although I work on Sundays, I set aside time to do this.

Each day that follows, I will edit 2-3 chapters. If I have 10-12 chapters, I can reasonably expect with interruptions and distractions for this to be completed in 2 weeks.

Then I will do a series of read-throughs looking for repeated words, and I use Grammarly to help me focus on other aspects. This aspect bores me, so I have to force myself to do it.

Approx. 3 weeks, 7 weeks so far.

Then I will order my proof book. 7 days wait.

I’ll sit and edit 2-3 chapters in the book by hand and then the following day transfer this to the digital version. 2 weeks.

Approx. 10 – 12 weeks.

When completed I will order proof books for my beta readers and go through the rest of the process.

When my book comes back from the beta readers, I’ll do the final amendments and send it off to the proofreader and I will check it when it comes back on screen. Then I will publish.

When you look at this, do you feel that you could do it or will you need longer?

Craft your plan. Get a coach and do the work. You will thank yourself for the effort when you hold your book in your hands.

Always be realistic. It could take you 12 months.

No matter how long it takes as long as you have a book that you are delighted with and which aligns your brand and business then you have written your book in the right amount of time.

4 More Common Excuses For Writer’s Block And How To Recognise Them

4 more common excuses for writer’s block

In the previous article on writer’s block we looked at four other excuses for writer’s block. In this one we will tackle some more.

My role, I believe, is to inspire and encourage you to open your heart to writing. This can be in a journal, blog or book. Words are powerful and in the expression of them you learn so much about yourself.

When you are stuck you also learn a lot about yourself.

Time to explore. Grab a journal and take each one and use this time to understand what might stand in your way, not just for writing but in other areas of life.

5. I don’t believe I can do this

  • I am not a writer
  • Fear of rejection – people might judge me
  • Fear of success – what if my book is a huge success
  • Fear of failure – what if no one buys my book

Fear is such a small word and stops so many people from doing what they are here to share. Take the word fear and make it mean something else.

Explore your resistance? What lies beneath these fear words?

6. I can’t see where my writing fits with what I am doing

  • I’ve got a story, but it doesn’t seem to fit with my business
  • I’ve started writing, and there’s no link to what I’m doing, what’s the point
  • I’m not sure who would read this book

There is always an angle. Think about where you want to go with your business or your life. What is the core message of your business? What is the core message of your book? How will your book help your reader? What is the result that you want your reader to get from reading your book?

Create a vision. Where do you want to be a year from now? See it, feel it, hear it and know it.

7. My writing is not good enough, and it’s not flowing

  • I need this book to be perfect, and I am not a writer
  • I am trying to write, but I just feel blocked
  • I keep trying, and when I read it back, it just seems rubbish
  • I find writing hard

Often the writer forgets that first drafts are rubbish and that the magic comes from editing. They also didn’t create an outline and chapter framework. It’s the wrong book, and maybe you are aiming for perfectionism instead of done.

The other thing that I feel about this is how people describe themselves. Oh, I’m not a writer. I can’t call myself an author if I am self-published.

Own the title of writer. If you are writing, you are a writer. Writing is a practice, it will get better, so write.

8. The right words are not coming

  • I am just stuck
  • I start and the wrong stuff comes out
  • I start and then when I come back it does not make sense

The right words will come when your writing and stories are connected to your purpose and your inspirational message. Unless you have the big why and know in your heart that this is the right book, it is unlikely that you will be able to write.

Writing the right book is what will help you to get flow.

Explore these writer’s block excuses

When you read these what comes up for you? It is exploring why you feel resistance. The key is in the why not.

For example, when I am trying to write something that I think I should write and it doesn’t flow I know that there is a) a rebel child digging in her heels and b) it’s not the right thing to write at this point in time.

I will complete the article with bullet points for a later date. The reason I do this is because later when I pick it up I have something to work from and this makes writing it easier.

PS: Check out The BIG Book Inner Circle, a place to be supported as you write

4 Common Excuses For Writer’s Block And How To Recognise Them

Whenever I look at a screen or piece of paper and think oh man I cannot write, which isn’t often, I am reminded to look beneath the affliction commonly known as writer’s block. I look at my excuses and ask what is really going on? I consider my vulnerability and resistance.

I ask myself ‘why are you procrastinating?’ I like a bit of tough talk.

Generally I find that whatever I am writing simply does not resonate. For example I was trying to write something yesterday that I thought I ought to write. I wrote it in fits and starts and then put it away. It will get published when it feels right.

My ability to get something written goes in fits and starts. I am just like you. I write, I stop, I write again. There is always stuff going on, I have learned to go deeper and consider more about who I am and why I feel the way that I do. Journaling and walking remain my best friends, and with them, I can traverse the realms of writing and what holds me back.

Let’s explore your excuses for not writing and writer’s block

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Nothing will work unless you do.

Maya Angelou

There are many reasons people feel that they have writer’s block. We will explore a few, and you may find more things come up for you, my advice is to:-

  • Feel into them and explore
  • Dig deeper (it’s usually about what lies beneath)
  • Write and reflect
  • Have fun discovering you

What kind of excuses can you think of:

  • The dog ate my ideas
  • The dog kept putting her paws on my keyboard
  • The dog wanted a walk/biscuit/stroke/kiss
  • I’m tired (from kissing the dog)
  • It’s too noisy (the dogs are barking)

Ok, I’m being silly. But you know there is a half-truth in some of these, at least for me. Angel dog does put her paws on my keyboard when I am writing, and it is distracting. However, I take it as a sign to stop, go for a walk and get some well-earned reflection time.

Let’s take a look at some common excuses for writer’s block, and in each, I’m going to ask you consider one thing and invite you to explore what each excuse means to you in your life right now.

  • Remember how you do anything is how you do everything and this will support your writing process
  • To look at what else is going on in your life and understand what is distracting you
  • What is your writing process – this is key

8 common excuses for writer’s block

1. There is too much going on

  • Writing a book seems overwhelming
  • Writing a book is not important
  • Before I finish one thing there is another thing that needs doing
  • There are too many deadlines
  • I’m being spread too thin
  • If one more person tells me that their work should take priority
  • People keep interrupting me

Look at the environment in which you are living and working, is it conducive to you being a writer? By environment, I don’t just mean the bricks and mortar of your home or office I mean all aspects of everything that is in it.

2. I don’t have the time for this right now

  • I’m always rushing
  • I just don’t have time for this; there are too many other things that need doing first
  • Other people hold me up by not delivering on time
  • I wish people would stop wasting my time

I’m not a time management expert and if time is your thief then look at a good (even great) time management expert. Here’s what I do. I get up to write for an hour and then get on with my day. In fact, I look at my diary and prioritise ‘stuff’, if it’s not essential, I let it go.

3. No one will be interested in what I have to say

  • People usually ignore what I say, why would they be interested in my book?
  • My life seems normal, why would anyone want to hear what I have to say about mine?
  • My writing is worthless
  • Why would anyone be interested in me, I’m nobody?

There’s no such thing as writer’s block. That was invented by people in California who couldn’t write.

Terry Pratchett

Everyone I meet has an incredible story. What is often missing is the confidence to tell it. You do not have to write to publish; you may want to write to get ‘stuff’ out of your system.

Do a skills audit and see where you have amazing skills and how you could use them on this project. I bet you are pretty talented and resourceful.

4. No idea or too many ideas

  • Everyone tells me to write a book, but I have no idea what to write
  • I’ve got so many ideas I don’t know where to start
  • I can’t focus on which approach
  • How am I supposed to find the Idea?

Books are written for a number of reasons, find the why, and the idea will come to you. I call it Writing the Right Book for Right Now.

Think carefully about what this book will give you. Align it with the core message of your brand and align book, brand and business together.

Make a list of ten questions you get ask ‘all the time’. Explore each one and see which one wants to be written.

Book in for a call and let’s explore.

Explore these writer’s block excuses

When you read these what comes up for you? Tell yourself the truth. Where do you feel resistance?

Make a list of 10 silly excuses and then look at the deeper meaning. There’s many a true word said in jest. Grab a journal, write, reflect and decide to do one thing to move you from where you are to where you want to be as a writer. And then tackle the next thing.

I often find that there are two stages to getting the story out and that is to first get deeply connected to what your muse wants you to share and to then formulate those stories into the story and inspirational message you have come to share.

PS: Check out The BIG Book Inner Circle, a place to be supported as you write.

Discover What Your Ideal Reader Is Thinking And Read Book Reviews

When you discover what your ideal reader is thinking you will be amazed.

There are many ways and places to discover your ideal reader. One is segmentation where you look at demographics, behaviour, psychographics and geographics. When you segment your readers, it makes it easier to write the book and to market it.

This is something that I am sure you have done for your business and something that you review to ensure that you attract the right clients.

Just recently I had fun brainstorming my ideal clients while at the same time uncovering my business values. As I sat and journaled about my values it occurred to me (doh) just how fundamental the integration of these are. I had some wonderful insights. It’s funny how you forget this ‘stuff’ when you are focused on other things.

Your ideal reader wants your book to end and never finish inspiring them

I’d been hanging around Amazon doing some market research for a new book and picking up some juicy stuff. It struck me that if I held my first thoughts about my ideal reader and my business values in mind as I researched, I could see if my hypothesis about who my ideal reader were true.

What was I looking for in an ideal reader?

Firstly, I wanted to find books that were in my genre (of course) that were specifically aimed at females over 45. My main aim was to discover what they liked or disliked about certain books from the reviews. I was also interested in their language, how they perceived that this book had helped them and if what kind of book my ideal reader would like to read.

Many people can find this kind of research boring, however, bear with me it is fascinating. When we do market research for a book or anything we are looking for clues. I call them genius gaps (where our genius can slot in). These are opportunities to address something that is missing or to express it in our unique way.

It isn’t about copying, it’s more about feeding our imagination.

What does your ideal reader want?

  1. Have your book idea in front of you and review it first
  2. Brainstorm who your ideal reader might be
  3. Ask, what do I want to learn? (Language, likes, dislikes, I’m just mooching at this stage)
  4. Write a list of whatever strikes you and your imagination
  5. Reflect

Now it’s up to you to sort out what you have learned from your foray into the book reviews on Amazon.

What can you learn from your potential ideal readers?

What does my ideal reader love?

Ideal reader and book review 1

In this example, our ideal reader likes that the writer uses her experience, backed by facts and research. Other things that stand out are:-

  • Ideas
  • Sticks to the point
  • Inspirational
  • Confidence
  • Short and readable

You may find something else useful in this. For me, this person appears to be my ideal reader.

Read the negative ones too

Ideal reader and book review 2

Compare the negatives ones. In this example there are more positive than negative. And because the author is famous, you would expect a lot of reviews which is why I have chosen it as an example.

This reader is disappointed in the focus on self. When I read this I think, this person would love a how to manual on insert subject matter. In addition, I imagine the author was aiming for authenticity and transparency, but our reader has found their values crossed.

Oh well, you can’t please all of the people all of the time, can you?

You can lose yourself for hours doing this. Remember to be prepared and allocate just one hour. Reflect and then journal about what you have learned about your ideal reader.

If you missed the ideal reader training you can watch it here. Grab a pen it’s about 30 minutes long and I’d love to know what you learned.

Pin me for later

How to change your story simply with a journal

There’s a story that I am running around my head right now. It comes unbidden and catches me off guard. And then the spiral continues… What if, I can’t and what’s the point?

It’s an old story and after I have had a paddy, I grab my journal to explore where it’s come from this time. I walk the dogs and reflect.

It’s, and I am sure you have heard this expression so many times, like peeling an onion. As each layer comes off there is a new juicy bit waiting ready to make your eyes leak.

Bizarrely I enjoy this process of discovery. It seems we are never to old to be caught off guard with a story. I think that’s why I enjoy writing so much. The process allows the story to surface and then when in full view I can make meaning and change the record. But it takes time.

I find when I am lacking sleep, feeling tired and snarky is when the old story has the tightest grip.

There is power in story

Stories make up the rich universe in which we live. We have the stories which have shaped our lives. We are surrounded by stories. When we listen to a story that resonates and feels truthful we can find our own story within it and that is often how we make meaning.

I adore stories, whether these are the stories that friends tell at gatherings, blogs, poems, books or movies, there is something wonderful about a story rather than a list of facts.

Can you remember being a child and the stories that enchanted you? Take yourself back. I bet you played out your life through your imagination. I know I did. In my mind’s eye, I can see myself conjuring up allsorts. I do laugh and wonder if anyone thought who is that weird child prancing around on her own…?

My favourite story was drawing out a pretend castle and working my way around the different rooms and corridors rescuing someone. It’s funny when I reflect back and then consider what I am like now I can see parallels. If a friend is in trouble I immediately think about how can I support them.

In the past I know I have been a bit of a rescuer but no more. What I have found to be more helpful is to allow their story to develop and listen. Perhaps interjecting a tale of my own so that they know they are not alone and can make meaning from it.

We are the story that we tell ourselves

The stories we tell ourselves impact our perception. We can gain a sense of what is possible, warp the truth and throw darkness on our dreams. Aspects of our childhood make their way through to adulthood and we continue to tell the same stories of why we can or sadly can’t. These stories are like grooves in the old 45 records that you could buy.

What is your story?

Behind every smile there is a story waiting to be explored
Photo by abbs johnson on Unsplash

Behind every smile there is a story waiting to be explored

What’s the story right now that is bugging you? The one that keeps coming up? It’s there for a reason and when you acknowledge and embrace it you can start to move the needle.

  • I’m too old to make a difference?
  • Who would want to read what I write?
  • I’d love to [fill in the blanks] but
  • I’m a useless [singer/dancer/writer/high wire trapeze artist]

When I look back at my stories and connect them to my limiting beliefs I’m shocked at the root of the story. It’s never anything massive, just a simple something said that has stuck a chord. But like a worn out record it continues to play.

This is why I love writing and journaling. The stories I tell myself become ever more obvious and when I get the aha’s I am able to change the record, if I so choose.

How to change the story

  • When you notice the same old thoughts arising acknowledge them and welcome them, no matter how hard this seems
  • Ask to be shown the root of the story
  • Wait and become a witness as the day progresses
  • Explore in your journal, allowing whatever needs to come out share itself on the paper
  • Wait a few days to reflect
  • Write a new story, you can do this creatively or through an affirmation – do what works for you

This may seem simple, but I find getting it out and allowing whatever strange memories to surface incredibly powerful. And then creating an affirmation. However, the most fun is to write a short creative story where anything can happen. Laughter is the best medicine and when it comes from your soul it creates magic in your life.

How does your inner critic stand in the way of your writing?

Do you have an inner critic that stands in the way of something you want to achieve?

Today one of my writing group members wrote that he had got to day 10 of reflecting and had written inconsequential fluff.

I smiled, his inner critic was certainly hard at work and not in a helpful way.

What happens is sometimes when we try to write our head gets in the way of our hearts. We lose the connection to our muse.

The great thing for me is that we are at least writing. Getting past the inner critic and discovering one’s muse can take time.

I want to know what my inner critic wants to hide from me

When things pop up or feel like they are standing in your way it is often a sign that you are being asked to step out of your comfort zone and explore what it coming up.

I believe it means that you are on the right track. It’s how you deal with this experience which is important.

The inner critic that stands in the way of your pain

The inner critic is you and me. I know that. I know that whatever I am feeling, that unfathomable ache that keeps us trapped, is something that needs to be allowed to surface.

I can remember winning a competition at school, but the winning wasn’t fun. I stood on the stage to receive my prize – a packet of colouring pens. I didn’t see or hear the audience clapping, I simply felt a fraud, because why did I deserve these congratulations?

I’d heard a teacher tell my dad that I would never be good enough to go to University. That damning statement stayed with me and it hurt for many years.

However, I did go to university and I did rather well. I didn’t follow a traditional route, I was expelled from school and didn’t do my MBA until I was in my early 30’s. And that is perfect.

The early setbacks and this inner critic stopped me sharing my writing for many years. I could write in a journal, and I could write copy for work, but ask me to share other things that was a big no no.

Memories and experiences stand in the way of your writing

This is a long ago memory and long ago feelings. I have written my way through a lot of hard stuff and grown as a person. But none the less there is sometimes an inner critic standing in the way of my writing.

Our memories and experiences have a habit of standing in the way of our writing. It’s learning how to see the experience through new eyes.

I have learned to push through, that this resistance is a message that this ‘stuff’ needs to be dealt with and dealt with now. These days I embrace exploring these inner depths and stories because I know that I will love the outcome. I will once I have let go of what needs to escape.

Journaling is a great way to start, even if it comes from the head. Congratulate yourself that you did write something and allow your writing to grow.

When it comes to writing for the world that the inner critic can stand in the way of your writing.

This is labelled writer’s block. Writers block is not about writing it is always what lays beneath. When you allow yourself to explore that then it does become easier to write and share openly.

I have learned that not everyone will love what you write, and why should they?

Wanting everything to be perfect is another way that your inner critic can show up.

Perfectionism is procrastination in another guise.

What I also know that if I don’t get it out there, then I won’t get feedback and without that, I won’t grow – and neither will you. I make myself focus on one thing, and no matter how boring I find some of this stuff, it helps me get things done.

I thank my inner critic for nudging me because that reminds me that I am on the right track and can now take action to overcome those irritations that have stood in my way.

Breaking through what stands in the way

I invite my inner critic to sit and write with me.

Shall we have some fun?’ I ask.

My thought process is that if I can embrace and feel into the inner critic then I can make progress.

I’ve grown a bit of a tough skin over the years and learned the art of feeling the fear (excitement) and doing it anyway.

Ask yourself why you think your inner critic stands in the way of your writing?

It’s time for some honest reflection.

I don’t know what stands in the way of your writing. If you have a mischievous inner child, a belligerent inner critic or some other inner belief that needs dealing with before you feel confident to write.

I have found that over many years of journaling which I call Writing to Heal that my confidence has grown and my layers peeled away. It hasn’t always been pretty, but it has always been rewarding.

My invitation is that if the thought of writing from your soul is a little scary then start with something like my 101 days journaling adventure. Over 101 days you will be sent quotes, some food for thought, an affirmation and an invitation to explore. It’s a start, isn’t it?

3 good reasons to not write a book and how to reframe positively

So… someone had told you to write a book. They tell you that you have a great story or that thing that you have been through would make a good book. You love memoirs, you adore non-fiction how to and oh my goodness anything to do with insert your specialist subject brings you alive.

There is a stack of books by your bed, no you have a stack of books everywhere and you read voraciously. You love to learn, to be inspired and you want to write like your favourite authors, only in your voice.

The temptation of becoming an author is calling you. This could be a big turning point. You could make money and do lots of other things on your bucket list when this book sells. Of course, it will sell because so many people have told you to write a book.

I am sure that your story is interesting and would make a great book, but there is far more to books than just writing it.

One of the reasons that I love to write is because it is cathartic. I have written many memoirs which have served me well because they have helped me to heal and that in my book is a fantastic reason to write. However, these are not books to sell. Well they are but not in the format that they are in.

When it comes to the right book to write there are many factors to explore. Not least knowing who your ideal reader is because they will want to buy a book because of the outcome they get. And no it is not you (I talk about why you are not your ideal reader here).

That outcome could be pure entertainment. I read novels for entertainment. Memoirs are wonderful because they open my eyes and allow me to enter someone else’s life. You can learn a lot from what others have experienced whether real (memoir, non-fiction) or imagined (novel).

All kinds of books speak to the journaler in me and as I am reading, I am writing, reflecting, learning, exploring and being inspired. These increase my knowledge and in turn I increase my understanding and wisdom.

Ok, let’s get back to the point, the all important reasons why you shouldn’t write a book and how to reframe.

Why not write a book #1 – people tell you to

Let’s go back to where we started. Lots of people tell me I should write a book as I have a great story. So how many is lots of people? Is lots 10 or 10,000? How many of those who are fascinated by your story would actually buy and read your book? Sobering isn’t it? Now, the numbers are important, and I’m delighted that you are inspired to write, but 10 of your friends does not make a following nor a fortune.

With some focused research, you could find that you have a book idea that could build your brand and business.

For me, it’s how we tell the story, what else goes into the book and how we build a brand around your story. It’s also about what else can you use your book for? Books are brilliant for gaining clarity and creating a product roadmap around.

Your reframe

Reframe your goal to my story written in the right way will impact lives and enable me to make a difference in the world. By identifying my ideal reader and what they need this book and the other products and services I create leave a great impression and generate more income.

Which leads me nicely onto to money.

Why not write a book #2 – money

Money. I have a friend who has written a novel, the genre of the book is not important and he believes that it will make him lots of money because a few friends have said it’s a great story. When questioned about how he intended to get his book into the hands of all of these people who were going to make him rich he had no idea.

He is not alone. There is far more to this business of writing books than writing it and expecting people to line up with cash in hand.

Your book needs to be good and your marketing brilliant (we’ll come to marketing in later blogs). However, don’t be put off because having a book will raise your visibility and credibility. You can earn more money from using this book as part of a fuller product portfolio and creating a business around it. Your book will lead your ideal customers to you so that you can support them in other ways.

Your reframe

Reframe your goal to my book is supporting me to generate income for my business. By writing the right book for my ideal reader and being clear about why I am writing it and having the best plan in place, I am raising my visibility and credibility. I have created and implemented my book marketing plan early. All of which has enabled me to profit from my book.

As an aside here’s a list of bestselling books https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_books. It’s an interesting list and could prove useful in your research. What stands out when you look at it? Yes there are a lot of novels, but look closely at the non-fiction titles -what does this tell you about what people need and want?

Why not write a book #3 – fame

You want to be famous. What is famous and what degree of fame would you like? How does famous fit with the dream you have for your life? Are you ready to accept what fame might mean?

Whenever I hear the word famous I am reminded of the Bros song – when will I be famous? And as they sang – I can’t answer that.

There aren’t that many people who make a living being an author and when they do it’s because they are doing a brilliant job of writing books that their ideal reader wants to read and yes they have built up a following. This is a job like any other, in that you have to do the work, but it just looks more glamorous, like being a singer or an actor.

Very likely when you think of famous authors, you think of JK Rowling, Steven King, James Patterson, Paul Coelho springs to mind and a whole host of possibly dead authors. This list talks a little about their story https://www.careeraddict.com/richest-authors  don’t be put off that it’s mostly fiction writers.

There are many other proflific non-fiction writers to take inspiration from. Deepak Chopra must have written over 80 books and has a thriving business built around his philosophy. Chicken Soup for the Soul is about changing the world one book at a time. You can do that in your world.

A book that I adored working on is Motivate Yourself by Andro Donovan. Andro is one of the most ‘motivating’ as you would expect, women I have ever met. Andro found me via recommendation. I felt blessed that she chose to work with me because her book challenged and changed me as it unfolded.

In her world Andro is a highly respected and sought after personal leadership coach. She inspires others with her book, but after that it is down to what else she delivers.

Often it’s the other way around and people are usually famous before they write books and then because they are famous their book sells.

A word of caution, do not commit the crime of the century or marry a weird president, that’s all I can say, so that you can be famous with a bestselling book.

Another sobering note is that even if you hit whatever bestseller list in on your vision board, this does not guarantee you fame. You still have to run your book as a business and deliver value to your ideal client. A book is an investment not a quick route to fame.

That’s the doom and gloom over and out of the way and the reality is that it is not really doom and gloom, it’s more of a reality check.

What I would love is that everyone who wants to write a book and share their story, knowledge, skills and experience does it for good reasons and understands what their book will contribute to their life and business.

Additionally, they know how their book will help them to make a difference in the world.

Please write a book.

Your reframe

Reframe your goal to I want to make an impact in the world with my book or books. By writing the right book for the right reasons I will have fame because I will be more visible to the people whose lives I want to impact.

Here’s some write a book check in questions

  • Why do you want to write a book? 
  • What are you hoping to get from it?
  • What will it give you in terms of your life and/or your business?
  • Who do you think will read your book and why?
  • What will they get from it?

Your answers may include:-

It will help other people to know that if it is possible for me, it’s possible for them

I want to become known as an authority in the area of x and this will raise my visibility and credibility

I want to build a business around my book idea

The cause that I support needs a book like this to raise the publics awareness

I want to switch careers and a book will help me to do that while I am still in employment

Breathe into the reasons you want to write a book

Be honest with yourself. There are no right or wrong answers. My belief is that if you want to write then write. However, if you want your book to help you to raise your visibility and credibility and use it to build a brand and a business around, get clear on which is the right book for right now.

You may not be ready to write a book

Although you have a desire to write a book, you just may not be ready and that is fine too. Get yourself into the habit of daily writing by writing in a journal. You can join 101 days of being me to kickstart the process. I’ll hopefully see you in Writing for the Soul.

Come and chat with me

Chatting costs nothing and having a sounding board is great when you head is in a mush about which way to go. Book yourself in here.

My motto is come to be inspired and leave inspiring others.  

https://www.chickensoup.com/story-submissions/possible-book-topics

Writing a memoir, finding memories in music

When writing a memoir there are so many ways to find inspiration. The question for me is never what is the point of writing them, it’s always let’s get the memories out and enjoy the process. You can work out where they fit later.

Music is a wonderful way to evoke memories for your memoir, whether that is using music to stimulate or calm you or the piece brings a memory back.

When I am writing, my environment is key. I like silence. I also like writing in bed or the day bed by the terrace where I can gaze at the hills.

There have been times when I have needed or wanted music and I find that these are usually deeply emotional times. The call for music arises and I need for some reason to lose myself in the words. I can often be found crying or at least feeling like crying. I love a film with a happy ending so stories of all kinds get me – every time.

The journey through music to memoir

Music has the power to take you on amazing trips, along lanes, roads, highways and byways to destinations once lived and now forgotten.

As a child, I recall sitting in class and my teacher played music from the Grand Canyon suite, in the far right corner of the room were pictures of the Grand Canyon and we were invited to write stories about what we saw, felt and heard. I don’t know what I wrote, but in that moment I was lost and it became a dream to visit this wondrous place.

One Christmas we went to Las Vegas for a relatives 60th birthday and on Christmas Day I flew over the Grand Canyon in an epic and exhilarating helicopter flight with music blaring.

The music this time was more rock than classic all designed to fire up our emotions and connect us to the movement of the helicopter, the vast ocean of red rock, floors of bobbly green brush and striated skies of turquoise and pale blue.

It was exhilarating and this scared of flying gal begged the pilot to go faster, such was the power of the music.

If I was including this in a memoir, it would probably be cited as an exhilarating but personally hurtful time for me. The person I was with did something I consider to be cruel, but as it turns out a blessing.

When you write memoir how can you weave in moments like this while staying with the essence of your story? These backstory elements provide your reader with insight into how your story was formed.

A journey with your music memoir

In memory everything seems to happen to music. Tennessee Williams

All of us have multi-faceted lives with many crisscrossing journeys and my party days hide my sadness. When I refer to someone’s sex, drug and rock and roll days, I’m normally talking about those days when we feel less connected to who we are. The party and the music help you to lose yourself and hide from reality.

I had the most gorgeous friend and DJ Leroy, who would play my favourite songs – he would know, it was always Wonderland first, then during the night Whole Lotta Rosie, Come Up and See Me and Carwash. Each of these were my dancing songs. I’d be up on the dance floor, with or without a partner.

Sadly Leroy didn’t want to stay on Earth.

At his funeral, which was dreadfully sad they played Imagine. In my memory, he is forever Wonderland and Imagine. I cannot listen to either of those without tears in my eyes.

Silly songs like Haircut One Hundred – Fantastic day remind me of my first husband. He thought it was hilarious to come back into the bedroom to find me lying in bed still but somehow dancing to this.

Even long after I listened endlessly to Elbow, most days I throw the curtains wide whilst singing

“So throw those curtains wide
One day like this a year would see me right
Throw those curtains wide
One day like this a year would see me right”

Making new memories for memoirs to come

Last night I took my mum to see a Dire Straits tribute band. Spanish singers who created an incredible evocative scene with haunting notes had us transfixed for over 2 hours.

I’ve been taking my mum to concerts for just a year. I want to create memories for us both. I want to etch these precious moments and experiences deep into my heart.

Bring the present and past together

As they played I closed my eyes and was back at the NEC in Birmingham seeing them for the first time. It was a time when not a week went by when I wasn’t at a concert or planning to go and see a band. Music was a massive part of my life.

Listening last night makes me feel like my life is missing something because of the desire for silence.

When I trace the disappearance of music from my life, I can see how it had been shut down and switched off by another. This part of my life is something I am writing about and last night has woken a memory for me to explore in my personal memoir.

That’s what music does.

If you are looking for inspiration for your memoir or want to be taken back to another time period in whatever book you are writing, compile a play list, get up and dance, scribble down whatever words come into your head, have fun, laugh, cry, scream,  but most of all capture what it was like to be you then.  Please do share your golden musical memories with us.

Be inspired, have a beautiful day and capture your memories.

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