• Feb 28, 2020 | Your Work

    My 4 Greatest Lessons Learned While Writing My Book

    One thing I’ve been thinking about recently is my unique business recipe for success. It’s an interesting concept, right?

    We’ve all heard about our unique value proposition, but when we get down to it, what makes you win in business or in any creative pursuit, for that matter?

    What are the structures and practices that truly set you up to master your business or your goal rather than be mastered by it?

    Writing my book Belonging was illuminating for me in seeing what works and what doesn’t. Ultimately, the proof was in the word count. And when you’re working on reaching 30,000 – 50,000 words, your performance becomes excruciatingly clear.

    Some of my high performance habits may be obvious given my favorite topics of conversation here: self-care, normal work schedule, personal responsibility, and work prioritization.

    But these ones totally caught me by surprise….

    I hope today’s blog serves in helping you zoom in on your unique business recipe for success. I often resisted what worked best for me while writing my book because my inner critic wanted me to muscle on through. May my lessons learned help you leverage the strategies and habits that help you soar and enjoy the journey.

    Here’s what I learned…

    I only made meaningful writing progress during the early hours of the morning. Read 5am – 9am. Some afternoons, I would attempt to force myself to write. But let’s be honest, while I may have cut down that word count, the hours it took and the misery I endured was not worth it! I would wake up resentful the following morning and resist writing then too.

     Eventually, I got to a place in my writing routine where if I couldn’t make the time in the morning to write, then I chose to relate to that day as a break day. It allowed me to come back the following morning refreshed rather than irritated because I forced myself to sit at my desk for 2+ hours to muscle out 1,000 words.

    I realized I write better when I’m away from my office. It’s as simple as that. As a recovering perfectionista, the To Dos and outstanding tasks were simply too loud and too opportunistic for me to make as much progress at home as when I was away traveling or even visiting family. I completed the lion’s share of my creative writing in Canada, Detroit, Portugal, and Spain.

    Even when I was home, I made more meaningful progress writing from the comfort of my boyfriend’s office during the wee hours of the morning (where I could subconsciously avoid seeing loose papers, receipts, etc) than was possible in my own office.

    Community is a game changing source of accountability for me. Some days, having loved ones check in on my progress was stressful (especially when I hadn’t progressed as much as I wanted to) but ultimately, it was what had me keep doing. We are so much more accountable to others than we are to ourselves. If you have a dream that you’re committed to pursuing, SHARE IT! Let others know, find an accountability group, hire a coach, declare it to the world, but you must say it out loud.

    Our inherent fear of failure often presents us from expressing what we want. We must be more committed to what we want than the growth we will need to overcome to get there. I had an editor, coach, fellow writers, 5am writing buddy, publishing company (let alone family, friends and clients continually asking me about my progress) keeping me accountable at every step of the way. I wouldn’t be one month out from publishing my book if it weren’t for their often daily check-ins.

    Lastly, I write better when I’m inspired. Whether that looks like journaling out my anxious thoughts so I can access my creative ones in the morning, lighting a candle, writing on the porch of my family’s cottage in New Brunswick, Canada, or reading before writing…. Whatever it is, generating the experience of inspiration before attempting to access my own was a game changer along my writing journey.

    On that note, I wanted to share a gem of wisdom I got while reading The Body Keeps The Score. The quote perfectly illustrates why trying to fix someone’s feelings or tell them why they shouldn’t feel that way is fundamentally ineffective at causing change or a new belief pattern.

    The author shares what a patient says to him after he tried to discourage her feelings of self-criticism during a session. Her response,

    “Yes, it’s true; I instinctively blame myself for everything bad that happens to the people around me. I know that isn’t rational, and I feel really dumb for feeling this way, but I do. When you try to talk me into being more reasonable I only feel even more lonely and isolated – and it confirms the feeling that nobody in the whole world will ever understand what it feels like to be me.”

    This is such a profound quote to me. Fundamentally, I know that we all want to help others feel better or not be so hard on themselves, but when we try to “fix or change” someone’s feelings or tell them “why they shouldn’t feel that way,” we consistently make them feel less heard and more alone. The next time someone tries to tell you how they’re feeling, consider just listening and really hearing them. This is often times the greatest gift we can give to another and the most supportive we can be.

    Reading this quote affirms why my book is meaningful to me. It inspires me to keep going and to share my own voice while honoring others’ voices by truly listening.

    To honoring ourselves,