I went through a bad burnout period a couple years ago that took me nearly two years to recover from, so I got used to treating myself very gently during my recovery. I tried to give myself the compassion I would give my best friend. In fact, even the compassion I would give a stranger would be better than how I had gotten used to treating myself!
So I was surprised to find myself hearing over and over this idea of — am I truly giving this writing life my all?
It’s a growth mindset and I’ve been feeling myself itching to move from a stable recovery back into growth again. That’s probably why I kept noticing — but quite possibly it was also a matter of hearing what I need when I’m ready. I think God was pushing me to consider some areas of my writing life anew.
I “accidentally” had a Disney movie with Mark Wahlberg on in the background while I was working last week — “Invincible” about a professional football player who was a bartender and former teacher the week before. He was waiting to find out he was cut from the try-outs, but he didn’t get cut. However, the coach yelled at him during the first game that he needed to start giving 100% or he was out.
That was such an inspirational movie that I turned on “Miracle,” which I had already seen a couple times (meaning: so I could work and ignore it, use it as background noise), about the US Olympic hockey team that beat Russia back before they started using professional players. Again, the coach was incredibly tough on those college students, pushing them to give 100% or get out.
Trying again to turn on something I could ignore, I put on “The Blind Side.” Again, I’d seen it several times, didn’t have to get caught up in the story, and I genuinely dislike American football so…ignore, right? But these stories aren’t about sports so much as they’re about the underdog doing more than they think they can.
Fully inspired now, I turned on “The Rookie” today and specifically looked for the most inspiring parts because…the movies weren’t the only things reaching out for my attention.
We’re having a prayer and fasting week at church so I’ve been praying specifically over my writing business. The Bible verse in my Bible app was about — “are you trying hard enough?” The devotional there led me to a book about creativity (The Last Arrow by Erwin Raphael McManus), and the excerpt on Amazon ended with the author asking himself if he was trying enough, praying enough, expecting enough.
Then, because apparently God wanted to be very clear that He’s talking to me and didn’t want me to think some of these things were coincidences, I opened up a devotional book (My Utmost For His Highest) I hadn’t read in a couple years and turned to today, February 9. At this point, I can’t say I was shocked to discover it was asking, “have you given all you have?” And it reminded me to stay aware of my “why” — why am I doing what I’m doing? Because that’s what will keep me going.
By the time I’d had all of these things filling my brain, I was full of questions. Am I giving all I have? Am I giving 100%?
And you know what I decided my answer was? No.
Even though I’ve been working 6 days a week, and 3 nights, too, every week for months to build my writing and coaching business, I’d say I’m giving about 98%. Like Vince, the teacher-turned-bartender-turned-professional-football-player in “Invincible,” there is a small part of my mind that isn’t sure I can do this and is ready to lead the way out when I fail. (Vince was sitting on his bed with his duffle packed waiting for the knock telling him to go home, he was cut.)
Like Vince, it’s easier to say, “Look how far I’ve come, I should be proud of my accomplishments,” and have my duffle bag packed and ready for when someone points out that I’ve failed to build this business but boy, you sure tried hard.
But like the coaches in those movies, and the writer of the Bible verse, and the writer of the devotional — someone is pushing me to just believe and give that last 2%. Because it will change everything!
I was an A student in school. While I tried to get 100% on tests just for the fun of it (and for my pride), I was happy to get a 90 or 95 or whatever other number gave me the highest grade. Sadly, being an A student doesn’t prepare you as well as being a C student. I didn’t learn to work for it; I learned that 98% is generally more than enough.
But 98% is not enough in professional sports.
And apparently Someone is trying to show me that 98% is not going to be enough to achieve what I very much want to achieve.
I genuinely and passionately want to write books that change people and change the world, and I absolutely want to help others finish and publish books that do the same.
But it’s going to take 100% of me to do that.
What are you thinking about right now? What do you need to give 100% to?
Happy New Year, friends!! I hope the first week of 2021 was a beautiful surprise, with more peace and more joy and more hope than you expected. (With one glaring exception, that’s how my week went.)
I emailed my list this week and encouraged them to believe that each of us can change the world with our books and writing. I shared what a nurse friend told me, that when she loses a patient all she wants when she comes home is to escape into a story with a happy ending. Now, more than ever, I want to be part of encouraging those with necessary and difficult jobs to keep going.
And I want to encourage you to keep writing stories that help people feel connected, stories that give them hope, or nonfiction books that help people where they need it. If you’ve been stuck in your writing, if 2020 seemed to have stolen your artistry or creativity, maybe my Finish Your Book one-to-one book coaching can help. Reach out to me (kitty at kittybucholtz dot com) and let’s talk. Finishing your book and getting it out into the world is a worthwhile use of your time this year!
You may know that I always have an Encouraging Words episode on my podcast on the first Sunday of every month. This month’s episode is a great boost to get 2021 on the road to being a great year. I hope it encourages you!
I’m excited to share with you that I have a mini-season on my podcast all about editing in honor of all the first-drafting that went on in November for National Novel Writing Month. Five episodes of editors and agents talking about editing and giving you their best tips. Jennie Nash, my first guest, even gives you two handouts!
Check out the episodes every Thursday on WRITE NOW! Workshop Podcast. You can find it on your favorite podcast app or watch the episodes on YouTube. Be sure to subscribe, either way, so you don’t miss out! In 2021, I’ll be moving to seasons, which means there will be a couple weeks in between without an episode and I don’t want you to miss anything.
As we finish up a difficult year, I also wanted to share my Encouraging Words episode with you. I hope you find it uplifting and hopeful. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!
I’ve been doing more book coaching this year, and what a blast it’s been to see people accomplish their writing goals — and generally exceed them. I have a small group program called Finish Your Book Intensive Coaching Program, and in the first group one woman finished a book she’d been working on for 22 years! Another man set a goal to write a chapter a month on his new nonfiction book, but during the 8-week program he wrote five chapters.
I was trying to think of how I could help more people, especially people who mostly need encouragement more than coaching, and I came up with Finish Your Book Membership Program. In this group, we have at least two writing sprints a week — three during NaNo — where we get on a Zoom call, write for 30 minutes, then share our word counts. We also encourage each other in our private Facebook group.
In addition to the eight writing sprints, we have a guest speaker join us each month to talk about their own experiences in starting and finishing books, and tips and tricks they’ve used to keep themselves on track. These authors are always multi-published with a lot of helpful information. We also have a monthly Ask Me Anything call with me so I can answer questions and help people stay on track toward their goals.
If this sounds like a great way to get more writing done, join us! It’s $105 for 3 months, $210 for 7 months, or $300 for a full year. During the time you’re a member, you’ll have access to the recordings of our prior guests as well. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or find more information on my website at https://www.writenowworkshop.com/writingcoach/.
One of the things I’ve noticed about how the pandemic has affected writers is that many have lost their mojo. All the craziness in life has been filtered into a never-ending news stream that is sucking the joy, creativity, and peace from our days. I know a lot of people who haven’t been writing, or not nearly as much as they normally do.
On the other hand, I’ve also talked to quite a few people whose lives have been disrupted to the point that they’ve started thinking about finally writing that book they’ve been dreaming about. They’re just not sure where to start.
These friends and strangers have encouraged me to create a group coaching program to help writers finish their book. Over the course of eight weeks, I work with you to rebuild a foundation for making solid progress on your book. One client finished a book she’d been working on for over 20 years! Another wrote 2 1/2 times his goal during the program. It works. And I’d love to help you or someone you know.
I did a series of webinars last week to give folks some tips on getting back into it, and explaining the program. Check out the replay and let me know if I can help you. At the very least, I hope you get some ideas and energy from listening to me. I’m excited for you to finish your book! You never know, you could write a book and change the world!
How do we say more with less? Can short, simple words make what we write so clear that the reader gets it? Or will it remind them of reading a child’s board book?More info →