Life Coaching Benefits

Earlier this year I was feeling despondent about my writing. Over the previous three years I’d had the excitement of securing an agent, working with her on two books and then the subsequent deep disappointment when none of her submissions to the big publishers were successful. The whole act of writing seemed a fool’s game: the short story market was shrinking, publishers preferred to invest in well-known names to guarantee book sales and, during lockdown, everyone seemed to have become a writer. I was on the verge of giving up. Then, on social media, I discovered trainee life coach, Elizabeth Scott. I explained that I was at a crossroads in my writing career and didn’t know how to move forward or whether to give up completely. Elizabeth offered me three virtual coaching sessions.

Did the sessions work?

Elizabeth Scott Life Coach

Elizabeth Scott

Yes. Elizabeth didn’t offer direct advice on what to do. She didn’t give her opinion on whether I should stop writing and do something more rewarding and less frustrating instead. She didn’t judge whether I was any good at writing.
Instead, she encouraged me to think in a different way. For example, she asked me to draw a circle and put into it the different aspects of my life: work, family, writing, exercise etc. Then she asked what I would like to remove or decrease in that circle and what I wanted to spend more time on. I found that I couldn’t get rid of writing and said that, in a perfect world, I would like to spend more time writing. We talked about NaNoWriMo because in the past that has triggered a burst of enthusiasm for writing. But starting a new novel, after all the disappointments, didn’t appeal. I mentioned the possibility, instead, of drafting one short story a day during November – as long as I had a list of thirty ideas before November 1st. But still I wasn’t sure I wanted to go ahead.
“How will you feel if you don’t take on this challenge?” Elizabeth asked.
“Disappointed in myself for just drifting.”
“How will you feel if you do the challenge?”
“Pleased with myself.”
I had my answer. We agreed that I would begin to find ideas and report back to Elizabeth at our next session. Knowing that I had to report back acted as a great incentive for me and I generated thirty ideas. At the next session I mentioned to Elizabeth that I now needed to find the discipline to force myself to sit down and write these stories.
“‘Discipline’ and ‘force’ are harsh words,” she said. “Try using the word ‘habit’ instead.”
She was right. Saying that I now needed to make writing a habit sounded much more achievable.

Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes, experienced in navigating life’s obstacles, (plus a change in semantics) can send us off with fresh confidence and positivity.

Elizabeth is now a fully qualified life coach, helping people to set and achieve their goals. If there are changes that you’d like to make in your life (writing-related or not), see her website for the offer of a free twenty-minute exploratory chat.

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  1. #1 by Shirley Stow on November 29, 2022 - 3:46 pm

    An interesting article applicable to many aspects in our lives when we feel we have reached a crossroad and do not know which direction to take.

    • #2 by Sally Jenkins on November 30, 2022 - 7:20 am

      Spot on, Shirley. Sometimes a completely neutral individual, far removed from the situation, can give the best advice.

  2. #3 by gailaldwin on November 29, 2022 - 3:53 pm

    Very interesting, Sally. When I’m going through a rough writing patch (I think we all have them) and I talk about giving up writing with my husband, he always asks what I would do instead (a bit like Elizabeth).

    • #4 by Sally Jenkins on November 30, 2022 - 7:19 am

      Yes, Gail. Giving up writing would leave a huge gap for most of us – and I’d want to fill it with something constructive. Not sure what that could ever be! Fingers crossed your rough patches are few and far between.

  3. #5 by christinemhowe on November 29, 2022 - 4:47 pm

    Thank you for sharing this, Sally. Life-coaching seems to have had the effect of pressing a reset button for you. I can empathise with that feeling of wondering which direction to take. When you have invested a lot of yourself and a lot of time in writing, contemplating what seems like a waste is devastating. It takes courage to give up, but also to change direction a little, top up on positivity and carry on. Best wishes for your current plans.

    • #6 by Sally Jenkins on November 30, 2022 - 7:22 am

      Thanks very much, Christine. In a way I think it might take more courage to give up and go in a completely new direction. Hopefully, neither of us will face that crossroads again soon. All the best to you too.

  4. #7 by blogaboutwriting on November 29, 2022 - 7:09 pm

    I know we talked about this when we last met up, Sally but it was interesting to read about it in more detail here. I, too, am guilty of using those words ‘force myself to sit down and write’ (and similar!) and I agree, just using different words such as ‘making writing a habit’ sounds much more user-friendly and less intimidating! We can be very hard on ourselves sometimes. No wonder it makes us resist writing sometimes! Good for you for seeking out a solution to your disillusionment. Being a writer is such an up and down experience, isn’t it? (I got my monthly royalty statement today and it was pretty pitiful. I’d have earned more, let’s say for a story in PF!) The highs are great but the lows – and there are always lows – are tough!

    • #8 by Sally Jenkins on November 30, 2022 - 7:25 am

      Absolutely, Helen. It’s those (rare!) highs that keep us going. One little success can act as a motivator for weeks. At least we know we are not alone – before the internet, being a writer was a much more solitary occupation.

  5. #9 by gailaldwin on November 30, 2022 - 7:31 am

    Reblogged this on the writer is a lonely hunter and commented:
    An interesting take on what to do when lack of progress in writing gets you down.

  6. #10 by Julia Thorley on November 30, 2022 - 11:03 am

    How interesting – and thank you for sharing this. Sometimes we need someone to tell us what we already know, and reframing can make all the difference. I’m working on changing ‘I can’t’ into ‘I choose not to’, but it’s not easy. x

    • #11 by Sally Jenkins on November 30, 2022 - 2:16 pm

      Thanks, Julia. “I can’t” is very easy to say without thinking – good luck with the mindset change!

  7. #12 by Linda on November 30, 2022 - 6:19 pm

    Hi Sally, thanks for sharing this post. I’ve often had the daunted feeling of whether I should carry on with my writing, especially when I have received a lot of rejections, but like you, when it comes down to it, I don’t think I could give it up either.

    • #13 by Sally Jenkins on December 1, 2022 - 2:05 pm

      Linda, there’s so many of us writers who go through the doldrums, it’s amazing there’s anyone left writing! Fingers crossed we all have a good writing year in 2023.

  8. #14 by Bachir Bastien on January 10, 2023 - 5:07 am

    Insightful article indeed. Sometimes a change of words can make a world of difference.

    • #15 by Sally Jenkins on January 10, 2023 - 7:38 am

      You’re right, Bachir; a simple change of words can change our outlook on something. Best wishes.

      • #16 by Bachir Bastien on January 10, 2023 - 7:40 am

        Absolutely! Thank you, you too! Best wishes 🙂

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