February 12

Confession from a writing coach: Writing a book is terrifying

    Hi, I’m Morgan, I’m a writing coach, and I have a confession to make.

    I have known for several years that I want to write a book, and I’ve had an idea for a book for over a year…but I’m terrified to start.

    The irony! Every day, I help authors find the confidence to write their books. I talk through all of the good things that writing a book could do for them – establish expertise in their field, bolster their online platform, make a little money on the side, become a speaker at conferences, and on and on. I assure them that their message is important and that writing isn’t really that hard, once you start and gain some momentum.

    But the way I talk to myself about writing my own book?

    Oh, you wouldn’t believe the negative self-talk that happens in my head.

    “Who are you to write a book?”
    “What if no one reads it?”
    “Worse, what if everyone reads it?”
    “What if they all tell you that the way you’ve been coaching writers all these years is wrong?”
    “What if there are typos and grammar errors, and you lose all credibility?”
    “What if you can’t finish the manuscript?”
    “When do you think you have time to write a book between your business and your family?”
    “Are you seriously going to neglect the other important parts of your life for some dumb book?”
    “You don’t need to write a book, anyway.”
    “You’re not a good enough writer.”

    Well, maybe you would believe all that negative self-talk. Maybe it sounds familiar to you.

    And, yet, I know how to coach people out of this mindset and get them writing. It’s so easy to lay out the path:

    1. Reconnect with your why.

    I need to take the focus off myself and instead focus on who could benefit from my book. There are so many people who want the help of a writing coach but aren’t ready to hire one or don’t know where to start or feel like they can’t because of time/money/commitment. But they might be energized by a book about writing coaching. All of those hours that I’ve spent coaching writers in person, on the phone, over Skype, through email – if I could write out all my best advice and hand it to a writer, I would love to do that.

    It’s not about me, and it’s not about my credibility, it’s about the hope of helping at least one writer out there, and maybe many writers. The stories that I could encourage people to share, the motivation I could give them to re-energize their own writing – now that I can think about.

    2. Counter the negative self-talk with positive statements that I do believe are true.

    Maybe I’m not the absolute best, most brilliant, perfect, infallible writing coach the world has ever known or will ever know. So what? I’m a damn great writing coach, and people would benefit from my message to them.

    Maybe no one will read it, maybe everyone will read it. Either way, it’s not about me, it’s about the possibility helping at least one other writer.

    Maybe others would coach writers differently, but that doesn’t my style is wrong. I have the evidence of hundreds of hours of writing coaching that says I can help people.

    Maybe there will be typos or grammar errors, but there are typos and grammar errors in every book ever published. When I see an error in a book, it doesn’t diminish the power of the message.

    I can finish the manuscript. If I write every day and get some accountability, I know I can finish.

    I can make time to write a book. It doesn’t take forever, it just takes 5-10 hours a week. I’ll stop watching TV and cut back on my leisure reading for a few months. I can do that.

    I don’t need to write a book, but I want to, and I should honor my own desires.

    Maybe I’m not the best writer the world has ever seen, but I’m a good enough writer to make an impact on someone else’s life with my words, and that’s what matters.

    3. Schedule writing time, and start writing.

    Every day, I’ll set a timer for 20 minutes of writing. Four days per week (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday), I’ll write for three 20 minute chunks, with 5-10 minute breaks between each chunk. That’s 5 hours, and I would bet that in some of those sessions, I’ll write for longer, probably totaling up to 10 hours before I know it.

    Plugging my writing sessions into my calendar now.

    4. Get some accountability.

    I’ll use this blog as accountability. Now, all of you know that I’m intending to write a book. If you talk to me on a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Saturday, feel free to ask me if I’ve done my writing session. I’ll occasionally post about my progress, and you can let me know if my experience resonates with yours. :)

    Okay, I’m excited now. Let’s write a book!

    If you’re writing a book, leave a comment. Let’s get some accountability going.


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