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Coaching

The Top 5 Things I Learned from Working with a Coach

Yes, I am a writing coach, so of course, I could tell you what you could gain from working with me…but I’ve already done that! (See the following blog posts – What Is A Writing Coach & Writing Coach vs Editor: What’s the Difference?)

So, today I thought I would tell you what I’ve learned from working with a coach myself.

I’ve repeatedly said that coaches should be coached, and there is a reason for this. To help others, you should be actively helping yourself. This means that you work on your mindset, are consistently learning about your practice, and putting yourself in the shoes of a client.

I am part of a beautiful coaching community for small business owners and have a personal coach. I have also recently hired a coach to help me with marketing specifically. There are so many coaches that specialise in specific niches now, just like my niche of writing, and it is wonderful to be able to work with experts.

So, here’s what I have learned through being coached.

1) Having space held for you can change everything. 

It’s not every day that you can expect someone to give you their full attention, and that’s fair enough. But, when they do, amazing things can happen. Coaching is a wonderful experience, and it’s partly because of this. Having someone hold that space for you, listen to what you are saying without interruption, and ask you the right questions can help you reveal solutions that you didn’t even realise existed. A coach listens to what you are saying without judgement, in a safe space. This alone has helped me become a better, happier, and more fulfilled person.

2) Coaching can build on success, not just solve problems. 

Did you know that coaching isn’t just for specific problems? Nope, coaching is also to build on success. For example, you don’t have to be struggling with a writing routine or draft to hire a writing coach; you can also be having the most prolific writing period of your life and want it to continue. You could be finding yourself motivated every day to create and want to investigate the set of circumstances that led you there so that you can keep being your best self.

Coaching to build on success is a great way to invest in yourself. It’s saying, ‘Hey, things are going great, and long may they continue. In fact, I’ll make sure they do.’

This is the reason I continue to invest in a coaching programme; because I want to continue building on the success that I have found with them.

3) Having someone rooting for you can hold you accountable. 

It’s not the deadlines given by a coach that hold me accountable; it’s the fact that they are rooting for me personally. Coaching is a professional relationship with a difference – you have someone on your team, and they believe in you and your progress. The thought of sharing my achieved tasks with my coach makes me happy because I’m excited to move forward with them in our next session, not because I’m afraid of missing a deadline.

4) Positive change starts with you.

You only have a coach for an hour or so a week or even a month, depending on what you opt for. Outside of this time, it’s down to the client to make what has been discussed work for them. I spend a good few hours a week working on my actions points and planning for my coaching sessions. I like to mix it up, too, like climbing a hill on the treadmill while catching up on a pre-recorded Zoom meeting. Whatever it is, I make sure that I take responsibility for that positive change in my life outside of my coaching sessions.  Coaching gives me the action points to work from, but the action comes from me.

5) Investing in yourself is about much more than money. 

When you give yourself the opportunity of time, education, and accountability, investing in yourself becomes about more than money. It becomes about believing in yourself and setting you up for success. I made a private video at the start of this year, at the suggestion of my coach. It was just me, talking about where I currently was in my business, life, and expectations. Well, the other day, I finally looked back on it ten months later. It was amazing to see the growth of those months. I know that coaching helped me get there, and I am so grateful for that reminder of how far I have come.

So, have you ever been coached, and if so, what did you learn? I would love to know, so share it with me today

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Coaching Craft

Writing Coach Vs Editor: What’s the Difference?

Should you hire a Writing Coach or a Developmental editor? What is each for, and how do you know how to move forward?

I have noticed that this question is bringing people to my website organically, so I wanted to answer it clearly so that people have that answer.

What is a Writing Coach?

A writing coach, also known as an Author Coach or Book Coach, is a trained coach who helps you through any writing issues. I have helped writers find the time in their busy schedules to write, create a writing routine that works for them, develop their novel ideas, and much more.

What is a Developmental Edit?

A Developmental Edit is an edit that focuses on the story. It is concerned with narrative, consistency, characterisation, dialogue – basically everything but the copy edit! When I provide a Developmental Edit to an author, it consists of my going through the work at least twice, and providing the client with an Editor’s Report and in-text comments and corrections, as well as an hour-long discussion/coaching session afterwards to discuss the work.

What is the difference between a Writing Coach and a Developmental Editor?

The difference is the focus. For example, I am both a Writing Coach and an Editor who offers Developmental Editing. When I am hired to coach, I have a series of sessions with the writer, and we work toward their goals through a series of jointly agreed action points. When I am hired to provide a Developmental Edit, I focus on the draft of a novel and write up an Editor’s Report, instead of live sessions with the author.

What stage should I be in to hire a Writing Coach?

You can be in any stage to hire a Writing Coach, from idea to fifth edit! As a coach, I can focus on whatever you would like to focus on. Sometimes that’s at the very start of a novel and is all about your idea, and how you would like the book to be written. At other times it’s after publication, and you want to work on marketing. As a writing coach, we can work together on any writing goal, however varied.

What stage should I be in to hire a Developmental Editor? 

To hire a Developmental Editor, you need to have a novel pretty much written. It could be that you hire someone to edit at a date a few months into the future, with the understanding that you will have completed the novel by then. However, the most important thing to know is that you will be required to hand over a manuscript to the editor on the agreed-upon date, so get writing!

What are the pros of hiring a Writing Coach?

As a writing coach, I can help you achieve your literary dreams. By holding space for you, identifying action points, and asking the questions that drive you to dig deep, you will leave a session with more clarity and purpose. Ultimately, coaching can help you succeed in your goals.

What are the pros of hiring a Developmental Editor? 

A Developmental Edit can give you expert advice on your novel. It will leave you with a roadmap of how to move forward, what needs improving, and how you can make your story the best it can possibly be.

Can I hire someone to do both?

Yes! In fact, I offer a great deal for someone who is looking for a coach AND an editor. This consists of six months of weekly coaching AND a full Developmental Edit when you are ready. If you want to know more about it, click here to find out – https://www.rachelgrosvenorauthor.com/coaching/

So, now you know the difference between hiring someone to be a Writing Coach or a Developmental Editor, and what is best for you.

As a Certified Professional Coach, trained by an ICF company and with an ILM Level 2, you can trust that my coaching skills are tried and tested. As a writer with a PhD, MA and BA in Creative Writing, and over six years of lecturing in adult education and at universities, I’m a professional writer specialising in helping others find their way forward. 

Any questions? Feel free to get in touch.

Want to read something similar? Check these out!

What is a Writing Coach?
4 Ways to Edit Your Own Writing

Categories
Coaching

The Reset Week: Investigate Your Writing Process

The writing reset week is a week full of coaching prompts. I wanted to provide you with a catalyst for positive change and an example of how powerful coaching can be. Investigating your writing process is essential for improving it, so here is your week full of prompts. Enjoy, and let me know if you have any questions about any of them.

Monday

Welcome to the first of the Writing Reset Week! This week I will ask you a new coaching question every day to help you investigate your writing process.

Here is day one:

Write a letter to yourself listing your writing dreams and goals. Put this letter aside. You are going to pick it up again later in the week.

Tuesday

Imagine a time in the future where you have succeeded in achieving your writing goals. Looking backwards, describe the steps that led you there.

What step are you at currently?

Wednesday

Think about what you want from your writing life and ask yourself: What will having this give me that I don’t already have?’

Thursday

What are you assuming about yourself that is holding you back from your path?

Friday

What are you like when you are at your best, creatively?

Saturday

What has inspired you today, this week, this month of this year? What or who assists this inspiration?

Sunday

Take a look at your letter from Monday. This is your North Star. Throughout the week, I have asked you questions that that, when answered honestly, will help you consider where you are on this journey, what is holding you back, what assumptions you are making about yourself, and remember what it feels like to be your best creative self, filled with inspiration. Now is the time to reflect on the week and consider how you can move forward mindfully and positively.

If anything has come up this week that you would like to talk about, please do get in touch. I would love to hear from you. As a Certified Professional Writing Coach, I know how important it is to investigate our creative lives and take stock now and then. I hope this reset week has been powerful and informative.

Categories
Coaching

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome for Writers

I used to be scared to call myself a writer…

I used to think that if I said it aloud, whoever I was speaking to would question me on it, and ultimately call me out. Well, let me tell you, I’ve been owning my title of writer for a few years now – and not one person has done what I feared. I know I’m not alone either…

“I have written eleven books, but each time I think, ‘Uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody and they’re going to find me out.” – Maya Angelou

Imposter Syndrome is a tricky beast and one that many of us are familiar with. Through my coaching, I have seen that it impacts many writers in the community. It is the belief that one is not allowed to call themselves a writer or that they might be ‘found out’ as being a fraud. It can even disguise itself as a comparison with others. However, there are ways to address this thought pattern, and I’m going to let you in on the tricks I have used to squash my Imposter Syndrome! If you struggle with it too, read on, because with a bit of work and some reframing, you will be ready to claim your title of Writer and stand tall!

Observe the Thought

So often, we feel our thoughts when they come to us, without observation. This is like going and standing in the rain when it starts; you end up soaking wet and unable to distance yourself. Just because it rains, it doesn’t mean you are the rain. Just because you think that you are unworthy of the title of ‘Writer’, it doesn’t mean that you are unworthy. Next time you feel imposter syndrome, try taking a step back and observing the thought instead of feeling the thought. Answer the following question and observe:

What was the trigger that made you feel this way?

Reframing

Once you can acknowledge and observe the thought of Imposter Syndrome and the trigger that started it, it’s time to reframe that image. Ask yourself the following:

What would you say to someone in your position?

Remember that no one in the world has all the answers and that it’s okay not to know something, and it’s a great thing to educate yourself and step into a learning mindset. With that in mind, what’s wrong with someone else knowing more than you in reality, or having to learn something new? Absolutely nothing! Writing is an ongoing practice of education, and it’s a lifelong journey. Being on that journey does not mean that you are not a writer; it could just mean that you are at a different stage of learning to someone else. Reframe your thoughts of Imposter Syndrome as an acknowledgement of a learning opportunity.

Talk It Out

Talk to the people around you about how you feel, especially if you are having a hard time separating yourself from your feelings of Imposter Syndrome. Ever heard the phrase ‘A problem shared is a problem halved?’

There are so many people that struggle with Imposter Syndrome in all walks of life. Share your thought process, your reframing practice, and what you learn with others. It’ll lighten both your and their loads.

Get Your Facts Straight 

When you notice that Imposter sign flash across your thoughts, take a moment to think of the facts. Write down five things that you are proud of with your writer’s journey. It could be that you just finished a short story, or that you gave somebody advice online. Whatever it is, these represent the reality of the writer you are. They are the facts. Be proud of what you have achieved so far, whether you have written a Haiku or an entire novel.

Visualise

Visualising your success as a writer is a powerful way to keep yourself focused. Close your eyes and think of your ultimate goal.

Ask yourself the following questions:

What will it feel like once you are there?

How will it look?

How will you stand and present yourself once you have reached your ultimate writing goal?

Feel all of those amazing feelings and draw them into your body whenever you start to notice Imposter Syndrome sneaking in. Practice battling your doubts with your visualised confidence, and watch Imposter Syndrome lose the battle.

Stand Tall

Making ourselves physically larger, taking up space and owning our place in both the room and the world is a powerful way to build confidence. It’s proven to make us feel braver when we stand like a superhero – legs apart, hands on hips. When you begin to feel concerned about your writer status, practice standing tall. Take up as much space as you can with your body and breath in deeply. Watch this amazing TedTalk on the power of body language for more tips on this!

You can download The Writer’s Way for some writing affirmations, but for Imposter Syndrome, there is a powerful one that you can use while you are taking up your space.

Say it loud, and say it proud:

I AM A WRITER.

If you want to talk about feelings of Imposter Syndrome in your writing life, get in touch today. As a fully qualified coach, I can help you investigate these feelings and find a way to move forward.

Found this blog post helpful? Share it with a friend!

Do you want to read something similar to this? Try the following:

7 Ways to Get Rid of Writer’s Block

What is a Writing Coach?

Author Comparison and How to Avoid It

The Power of Taking Responsibility for Your Writing Journey

Categories
Coaching

What is a Writing Coach?

I’ve been asked this question a few times over the last few weeks, and I believe that this is because it’s a fairly new title – though of course, editors and beta readers etc have been around for a long time.

So what is a writing coach anyway?

The best way to think of a writing coach is as a personal trainer for your writing and creative life.

Just like a personal trainer would teach you the techniques for a great workout, hold you accountable, and deliver a plan that’ll help you be your best self – a writing coach will do the same for your writing life and novel.

As a writer with a PhD, MA, BA and a Certified Professional Life Coach, I’ve got the skillset and experience to help you at any point along the way.

From coming up with an idea for a novel to planning, prepping and writing, right through editing and to the final stage of publishing (however you choose to do it), I can be your creative personal trainer!

Whatever you’re struggling with, I can help take you from procrastination to print.

If you’re ready to knock the word ‘aspiring’ from your bio, and replace it with the word ‘author’, a writing coach could be just right for you!

Want to chat about coaching?
Get in touch or book a Discovery call

Categories
Coaching

How to Deal with Constructive Criticism of Your Writing

What stops a writer from wanting to share their work?

It certainly isn’t the prospect of having a novel on the shelf, because that’s something the majority of writers aspire to.

No, it’s something else. That something is to do with our old friend Constructive Criticism.

If you find this hard to deal with, you are not alone.

In fact, human beings brains are designed to hold on to and recognise the negative – it’s what kept us alive for a long time and it still sits in the back of our minds (or the front – I’m a writer, not a scientist).

What was once useful for avoiding being eaten, is now really pesky and stops us from being our best creative selves.

Here are some tips on how to be open to, and deal with, constructive criticism of your writing.

Be clear with what you’re looking for.

Are you looking for feedback?

No? If not, say that. If you are handing your work over to someone and you’re not looking for feedback, make it perfectly clear.

Likewise, if you are after some feedback be clear about what it is you do want.

Do you want them to focus on your grammar, or are you after their personal thoughts on the main character? Do you want them to focus on the plot, or are you hoping for an all-round critique?

Be upfront about your expectations from your reader – whether it’s your editor, your beta reader, or your mother. That way you can focus the feedback into an area that is helpful for you right now, and because you asked for the specifics, it won’t feel so completely overwhelming.

Ask the right people.

If you’re looking for constructive and helpful feedback from someone who you know never reads, let alone in the genre you write in, you may want to re-think.

Their feedback may end up frustrating you! Likewise, if you ask someone for feedback and you know that they have an issue with having difficult conversations, you may be setting yourself up for a compliment fest that’ll get your writing nowhere.

Consider carefully – who are you asking to read your work at this stage, and why? What is their expertise, and why do you value their creative opinion?

Discuss how you want feedback to be delivered.

There is nothing more disconcerting than someone coming to your door with a mass of problems, and if those problems are all to do with your novel specifically, it’s even worse.

You may have a preferred way of delivering feedback, so make sure you tell the person who is reading your work how to deliver your feedback.

My favourite way to deliver and receive feedback is through the compliment sandwich. If you haven’t heard of it, this is how it works:

  • Compliment – ‘Your main character is someone I really relate to, and their voice is strong.’
  • Criticism – ‘I didn’t connect with the world enough – is there a way of building this up in the background?’
  • Compliment – ‘Your use of the five senses is excellent – it really drew me in.’

Remind yourself of the good that comes from constructive criticism.

Remember – your reader and critique are just trying to help you make your novel awesome!

You are the writer of your novel, but that doesn’t mean you are your novel, so try and take a step back and view it from a place of generosity and willingness to learn.

If you need a break, say so, that’s fine. If you need to process some information that has been given to you, ask to postpone the rest of the chat until another time.

We’re all just people, after all, trying to write the best books we can. And one of the most useful tools we have as writers? That’s peer review.

Categories
Coaching

Author Comparison and How to Avoid It

We live in a world where it is really easy to see how other people are doing, check out their highlight reel, and draw comparisons between them and our own writing journey.

But, that way unhappiness lies! Author comparison is a negative mindset to be in, so here are some tips on avoiding the pitfalls.

Highlight Reels

Remember, that stuff you see being shared by your favourite author/writing friend is the highlight reel.

They aren’t necessarily sharing their struggles, the nights they’ve spent fretting about their work, the rejections they received before they got published. All those issues are very real and happen behind the scenes.

Of course, they want to share their success and that is awesome, but when you see a barrage of published books, what looks like endless easy writing days, and more besides, it can sting. It’s okay for that to sting, you are only human, and you are working really hard and trying your best too. Give yourself a pat on the back, and see their work as an example. If they did it, so can you!

Their success is just proof that everything you want is possible. How awesome is that?

Reframe the way that you view those highlight reels, and see them as a series of endless possibilities, instead of what you haven’t yet achieved.

Performance Enhancing Techniques

Phrases for reframing are so helpful and important.

For example, if you find that you are comparing yourself to another author and feeling down about it, try re-phrasing the way you are speaking to yourself. Imagine yourself as another person – what is the advice that you would give?

It could be something as simple as changing ‘Her success means I’m less likely to achieve mine’ to ‘Her success shows me how successful I can be as an author’. If you develop an amazing one, write it down and pin it somewhere near your computer/ make it your background and repeat it as a mantra.

You will find that the act of re-framing and re-phrasing will eventually change your behaviour and feelings, kicking comparison to the curb.

Generosity

Viewing others from a place of constant generosity is not always easy, but it is a worthwhile practice that can lead to a genuine change in issues of comparison envy.

Next time you feel that you are comparing, try looking at your fellow author from a place of generosity and saying ‘I am so happy that they have achieved this success. It says nothing about me and my journey, only that what I strive for is possible.’

Your Journey

Remember that your journey is your own. Yes, there are people who were best sellers at the grand old age of nineteen, but if that’s not your journey, that’s okay. There will be someone looking at your journey and wishing that it was their own.

Be grateful for your path, your ongoing education, and your personal growth. It’s an awesome thing!

Categories
Coaching

The Power of Taking Responsibility for Your Writing Journey

Being a writer is a tricky thing, and aside from that being because it’s um…hard to write a novel, that’s because there’s only one person to rely on. Yourself.

So what does it mean to take responsibility for your writing journey, when you’re already the one responsible? Read on to find out.

Taking responsibility can be a tricky concept to master. This is because sometimes things happen around us that change our days, and so if, for example, we decided to write for an afternoon, and then a friend showed up on the doorstep and asked to come in for tea, we would feel obliged and would watch our afternoon of hard work float miserably out of the window. Now then, it would not be our fault that the friend had shown up unannounced, it was not our decision and therefore was nothing really to do with us.

I’m going to slip effortlessly from fourth person narrative to second person now to prove the responsibility point.

It might not be your fault, but through the very act of them showing up at your door unannounced when you had planned to write, it is now your responsibility.

Your time is your responsibility. Your writing is your responsibility. Life throws all sorts at us, from work to laundry, to everything else that we deal with on a daily basis, but it is the act of taking responsibility for that time that gets things done.

The way I take responsibility for my writing journey is by planning it every week. I write down my weekly goals, which correspond to my quarterly goals. I make sure that everything is colour coded so that I know what I’m doing just with a glance, and I hold myself accountable.

By doing this, I make sure that there’s no room for procrastination, and I remind myself that I am the only person who is responsible for this novel getting written.

If it weren’t for me writing it, it just would not get done.

I am also responsible for self-care and the care of my loved ones. This means that I ensure I put time aside for rest, cooking, shopping, cleaning, reading, gaming – all the stuff that needs doing and that I want to do goes into my plan.

That means that I can realistically rest and relax, and hit my Goodreads 2021 reading goal while making sure that I’m writing during the times I have set.

In short, by reminding myself frequently that I am responsible for everything in my day, I give myself the power to move ever closer to my goals – whether they are reading that book that I’ve been hoping to finish for ages, or writing another thousand words of my work in progress.

So, what would I do if that friend showed up unannounced? I would tell them that I was unfortunately busy, compare diaries, and fix a time that works better for me. After all, nobody wants a resentful coffee, and everyone wants a friends full attention.

Are you looking for a way to create a routine and take responsibility for your writing life? Get in touch! I can help you build a routine that works for you, so you can finally that get your novel written.

Categories
Coaching

3 Ways to Hold Yourself Accountable (Writing Edition)

It’s one thing planning your week, deciding that you would like to write one thousand words a day and highlighting everything in the right colours, but how do you actually hold yourself accountable?

Read on to find out my top three tricks for holding myself true to the task in my diary – you are more than welcome to try them.

1: Reward Yourself

I talk about rewards a lot because withholding those small luxuries – an hour of your favourite tv show, for example – as a reward for a task completed really works. It’s part of the act of creating a writing habit that sticks, and it’s something that you can set up immediately.

If you’ve completed that writing goal for the day, reward yourself. The reward will not only drive you through the task, but you will be more likely to sit down to complete it next time.

2: Be Clear and Realistic

You can’t hold yourself accountable for something if you’re not sure what success looks like, or how you are supposed to reach it.

When you are setting your writing goals for the week, be realistic and clear. Can you actually write 1,000 words a day, or is that setting yourself up for failure? There’s no shame in it, I write 4,000 words a week and am very happy with that. Some write more, some write less.

This is your journey, so be clear with yourself from the start. It’s better to have a realistic goal set that is moving you forward and keeping you positive, than one that is unrealistic and keeps being missed.

Ready to write 3,000 words? Great. When will you write them? How will you reach that word count? Holding yourself accountable is all about setting goals you can reach in the first place.

3: Don’t Start Tomorrow

We all love to put things off until tomorrow and say that we’ll begin with great gusto then. However, often that day never comes. Great change comes from small actions and steps forward.

If you want to make a change and hold yourself accountable for your tasks, begin today. If you falter, that’s okay, it is the trying that really matters.

Take the small step of writing one hundred words right now, and get ever closer to that weekly word count.

These three steps can help with holding yourself accountable for being that writing superstar you want to be!

Are you ready to take it one step further, investigate your writing process and discover your writing routine?
Click below and get in touch – I’d love to have a Zoom coffee and a chat!

Categories
Coaching

How to Harness Your Writing Motivation

Motivation is such a tricky thing, and we often don’t realise it’s stepping out of the door until it is too late. So, what do you do if you have lost your motivation for your current project?

Read on to discover how you can regain your passion for your writing.

Energy:

When we lose our motivation and drive for a project, it can be disconcerting. We can begin to question all sorts of things, whether we should be working on this at all, whether it’s good enough, or even whether we should write.

Before you decide on the answer to these questions, ask yourself the following:

How am I feeling?

Energy and motivation go hand in hand. If you are well rested, have time to focus on essential elements like self-care, and feel fulfilled in other areas of your life, you are more likely to have the motivation to write. So pay attention to how you are feeling, and ask whether you need to give yourself a break.

Taking a break from a project is fine, just so long as you keep that goal in mind. Rest and recuperate so that you can get back to being your best creative self and get that project underway again.

Keep the project goal clear in your mind so that it isn’t forgotten.

Success:

You might already know that success looks like a completed novel, and that is great. It’s important to understand what success is so that you know when you have achieved it. But, having a generalised idea of success without a timeline will only inspire motivation and action for so long.

Break it down into easier to digest chunks of action and information. What will success look like this week, for example? How will you achieve your monthly word count? And, what will you do once you have reached that weekly goal?

Reward your success at each stage and celebrate, before moving onto the next part of your novel writing plan.

Be specific about your idea of success.

Your Creativity Data:

What is creativity data? It’s discovering the facts of when you are at your most creative, and how much you can write realistically in a set period of time.

Everyone is creative and productive at different times of the day. For me, it’s the morning, and I know that if I want to get the most out of my word count, then it is best to get up and get writing first thing, hot coffee in hand. Because I know this about myself, I understand that an evening set aside for writing is actually no good to me. I know that I will be unproductive, and will struggle to write my novel then.

Learn when your powers of creativity are at their strongest, and harness this time.

Not sure when you’re at your most creative? Experiment! Practice writing at different times in the day across the week, and record when you get the most done. When in doubt, turn to the data – once you can see the numbers on when you’re your best creative self, and how much you can get done in that time period, you can use that to your advantage.

So there you have it! Need to regain that motivation? Make sure you have the energy, give yourself an understandable timeframe and accessible definition of success, and check in with your creativity data. You’ll be writing again in no time!

Still need a hand?

That’s absolutely fine – writing is not easy, and we all need to investigate our processes from time to time to see where they can be improved.

Get in touch for a chat, and tell me how I can help. Whether it’s assistance with creating a writing routine, understanding what’s holding you back, or help with a novel idea – I’m here to help.

Found this post helpful? Share it with a fellow writer who may also benefit!