I may have mentioned before that last year I had some writing coach sessions with the lovely Heidi Williamson. Heidi is published poet and a copy writer (as well as a mother) so she knows only too well all the stresses of trying to juggle the writing life with family commitments and earning a living. A writing coach is a lot like a life coach only they focus solely on your writing life. It is not a magic fix by any means – you have to be prepared to do some work. I wanted to look at my writing practice and see if there were ways I could improve it and be more productive.
I came to the meetings with a list of things I felt I was not doing so well with and Heidi asked me lots of (sometimes uncomfortable) questions. We looked at how I spent my time and how I could slot writing and writing related tasks into my week. It is not always easy to examine the hows and whys of what you do, but I found it to be an invaluable experience. I was also surprised by the some of the things I discovered about my writing practice. Perhaps the biggest personal revelation I had was discovering how little work I had actually been sending out – maybe one submission every three months – if that. On the back of what I had discussed with Heidi I made a resolution to send out at least one submission per week and also to do a writing related task every day – even if it is simply reading a few pages of a poetry collection or typing up a poem.
Unlike my normal pie-in-the-sky resolutions, I have actually found these two resolutions relatively easy to keep, and the odd thing is that once I got into the habit of sending out a submission a week, I often found myself sending more than one. The positive upshot of this is that rejections feel less heavy as I am having them more regularly but also that quite a lot of my work has been accepted for publication both in print and online journals. It’s very exciting and I just wish I had been more pro-active all along.
I would highly recommend coaching sessions if you are at all stuck with any aspect of your writing. If you are in East Anglia Heidi is now offering coaching sessions through Writers’ Centre Norwich – more details can be found here.