Turn Off Your Internal Critic and Write!

2015-02-06 22.14.14 (4)Sometimes you don’t know what you need until it appears in front of you. Such is the case with a creativity coach. In the fall of 2013, an offer came across a writer’s loop for free sessions from Denise Agnew. She had to work with a certain number of clients to earn her coaching certification. I jumped on the offer without really knowing what it was about. I only knew I needed something to help me get out of the hole I’d dug myself into.

The first thing Denise did was tell me to lay it all on the line. What did I see as my problems and issues with writing? What was holding me back or keeping me from writing.

Creativity coaching is a bit like therapy. You offer some background information and the coach says, “How do you feel about that?” “What could you do about that?” “Could you try this or that and see how it works?” In other words, the coach forces you to confront your problems and solve them yourself. She is there to nudge you into doing SOMETHING besides what you’ve been doing. The ultimate goal is to get you writing (and we hope selling) again. Or whatever your individual ultimate goal is, I suppose.

Part of my problem was I wasn’t writing at all. I told myself it was because I was working my day job which exhausted me. On my days off from that, when I intended to write, I allowed the rest of my life to interfere. I didn’t have long periods of time to sit down and concentrate on writing. Coupled with the fact that I had several projects in various stages of completion that I’d been working on simultaneously over the past several months (or years), each time I went to work on one of them I had to reacquaint myself with the status of that particular project.

Writing wasn’t fun any more. It was work. I already worked at my day job. I deserved time off from work. I didn’t want to do more work.

I write flying by the seat of my pants starting with a vague idea of the story and the characters. I build as I go and sometimes I haven’t thought far enough ahead and I don’t know where my story is going. I hit a wall. I have to think about that story so in the meantime I work on something else. Until I hit a wall there and move on to another and so on. Which is why I have several things going at once and at that time none of them were getting done. I had nothing to show to an editor, nothing to sell or publish myself. My only thought was, oh what’s the use?

I’d stalled out. I wasn’t writing anything. I wasn’t blogging. I wasn’t Tweeting. I could barely come up with a witty post for Facebook.

Denise asked why I thought plotters had it any easier than pantsers.   She suggested to me that they probably don’t. I had assumed for most of my career that having some idea of the plot before you started writing would be easier than making it all up as you go along.

Next Denise suggested I turn off my internal critic and editor and simply write. Could I find an hour a day to write? Yes, probably. If I stopped watching Castle reruns while simultaneously playing Bejeweled Blitz every night. If I couldn’t find an hour, could I find a half hour to write every day? If I’d said no to either of those I’m sure Denise would have whittled it down to fifteen minutes or even five, just to get me back in front of my laptop working on something for any length of time on a daily basis.

She didn’t have to. She asked me which of my projects I’d most like to finish. I told her Fantasy Man because I thought it was the most likely to sell to my current publisher. But when I sat down to start working again, I started on Cool Beans, which is the second book in my AJ Tillock screwball fantasy series, Grinding Reality.CoolBeans_CVR4 like3

finalGRcoverAlthough very few people have read the first book in the series The Forbidden Bean, the ones who have loved it and have been begging for the second book. Admittedly, most of those people are related to me, but still, when someone says a book you’ve written is the best book they’ve ever read or that it’s their favorite book of all time, you kind of want to write more of that.

So I concentrated on Cool Beans and got it to a place where I needed to print out a rough draft and take a hard look at it. Next I bounced over to Fantasy Man and discovered it wasn’t quite as “done” as I thought it was. I thought I might go back and take a look at Rich Woman, or mis·con·ceive or Nobody’s Fool. The point is I started writing again. Without someone coaching me, I’m not sure I would have.

Denise’s coaching business and website is called Creative Pen Coaching and the website is www.creativepencoaching.com  You can contact her at denise@creativepencoaching.com

If you want to see what else Denise is up to visit her here: www.deniseagnew.com

Author’s Note: While I still haven’t published Cool Beans,

NobodysFool72smNobody’s Fool became available from Samhain Publishing January 2015.

Misconceive is currently available in ebook format only from Amazon.Barbs_Book_Front What A Rich Woman Wants released May of 2015 and Fantasy Man is scheduled for release February 2016.

WhatARichWomanWants72web See what happens when you just allow yourself to write?

Thank you Denise!

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Twitter: @barbmeyers and @ajtillock

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