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5 Tips for Riding the Emotional Roller Coaster of Writing a Book

You know the roller coaster I’m talking about right?

I wrote about how I felt riding the low point on the emotional roller coaster last week as the high from landing my book deal wore off and the work I have to do on my book—plus life—hit hard.

My clients hit some lows too:

  • "How can I draft a book proposal if I don't even know what my title is yet?"

  • "I'm overwhelmed so I'm not doing anything."

  • "How do YOU make time for writing?"

Here's what I told my writers & myself:

  1. The roller coaster is normal.

The Serenity Prayer that is often shared in 12 Step Meetings is a great guide for writers, even if you never intend to darken the door of a church: 

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Accept the fact that the roller coaster will happen. Don't beat yourself up when it does. 

  1. Life happens and it's okay to take a break. 

You...

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The Emotional Roller Coaster of Writing a Book

"Normalize the roller coaster" is one of the mantras of Dallas Travers who runs The Hive, a business mentorship program for coaches.

Ahh ... the emotional roller coaster.

One day you’re a coach or an entrepreneur flying as high as a kite! You've gotten a few new clients, have discovery calls lined up, and your bank account is finally looking healthy.

Everything is clicking on all cylinders.

Until it isn't.

One of those new clients backs out. On one of those discovery calls you were so excited about, the prospect challenges your prices. You start panicking about the money you're spending on your virtual assistant.

The emotional roller coaster isn't limited to coaches and entrepreneurs.

It happens to writers.

This week it happened to me.

Last week I was still flying high after getting a book deal! 

You can read about my book deal here.

But this week life happened and the high wore off.

My elderly mother fell and was sent by ambulance to the hospital.

I started my book...

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Let's Get Real: Dealing with Doubt & You're on Fire!

let's get real Oct 11, 2021

Let's Get Real

If you’re a writer, it’s impossible to banish doubt completely. I’m guessing you may have wondered:

  • Is this any good?
  • Am I any good?
  • Am I ever going to actually finish my book?
  • If I do finish my book, will anybody buy it? Read it?
  • Am I wasting my time? Wasting my money?

But while you can’t banish doubt, there are ways to manage it:

  • Hang out with other writers so you feel less alone.
  • Hire a book coach to provide regular feedback, which will give you perspective. PS: book coaches are also great at holding your hand when doubt creeps in
  • And most of all, reconnect with your WHY. Why are you writing this particular piece? Why does it matter to you? Why might it matter to others? 

Doubt will always be lurking, but it doesn’t have to get the upper hand.

Writing can feel like a slog. You would rather do practically anything else (dentist appointment, anyone?) than put your butt in the chair. But then there are those magical times when...

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Let's Get Real: We All Need an Extra Push & Waiting for the Magic

let's get real Sep 13, 2021

We write because writing makes us feel alive.

We write because we have no other choice.

But sometimes writing is the last thing we want to do.

Don’t beat yourself up if you feel that way.

Sometimes we need a specific reason to put our butt in the chair and do the work.

Like finding out a publisher is accepting unagented memoir manuscripts for exactly 2 days this fall.

Yeah, that got my attention. It was exactly the push I needed to ramp up my revision from la-di-dah to full speed ahead. What’s motivating you to get your work done?

Writing a book is hard.

Yep. 

There will be many moments when you feel like you’re fumbling in the dark.

What’s my story really about? When does it start? When does it end? How should I structure it? 

Who will read it? Will anyone really care?

But if you keep at it, a magic moment will happen—I promise!

You will see the light. You will understand what your story is really about. You will know how to structure your...

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Let's Get Real: Words of Affirmation & Avoiding Comparison

let's get real Aug 16, 2021

Let's Get Real: Words of Affirmation & Avoiding Comparison

Avoiding Comparison: The Struggle is Real 

When you’re a writer, it’s hard to avoid comparing yourself to other writers.

You know, the ones who have agents. Book deals. Thousands of Twitter followers. Reviews in The New Yorker.

Meanwhile, you’re toiling in anonymity, just trying to get your draft done.

The struggle is real and so are your feelings.

Acknowledge the envy and don’t beat yourself up for feeling that way. We’ve all been there.

Then get back to the page and get that draft done.

Who knows? Maybe someday you’ll be the one with the agent and the book deal. You’ll never know until you do the work. 

Need A Pat on the Back? 

Writing is largely a solitary pursuit without a lot of validation or “attaboys” or “attagirls.” For writers who thrive on praise (anyone else here whose “love language” is “words of...

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Let's Get Real: Bravery & Accountability

let's get real Mar 30, 2021

Bravery means doing something scary—Elizabeth Gilbert

Writing is an act of bravery. Putting your thoughts, ideas, your story, your choices—your life!—onto the page for the world to see is scary. And it’s also exhilarating. 

>> We do it because the work matters to us.
>> We are not hobbyists. We’re creators.
>> We’re scared, and we write anyway.

Ask yourself: When does fear show up in your writing life? What are your strategies for handling it when it does? 


 

How to write: Stop not writing. Get and keep your butt in chair—Anne Lamott

Distractions, procrastination, self-doubt, and fear: all forms of resistance that keep us from putting our butts in the chair and writing.

Resistance is universal and insidious—all writers experience it so don’t beat yourself up when you do.

TIP: Find out what works for you and stick with it. My personal plan for getting my work includes non-negotiable time blocks...

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