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Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Life coaching for writers

A while back I, along with several other writers, was approached by an author to contribute to her book, Life coaching for writers, by answering a few questions. The author, Sarah-Beth Watkins is a freelance writer with over 20 years' experience of writing for magazines and websites on a variety of topics including writing, parenting, crafts, literature and women's development. She has also tutored writing courses within community settings and as a distance and online learning tutor. She lives in County Wexford, Ireland. I was happy to oblige; no fee, no royalty, no problem; my writing CV's at the back.

The result, as this blurb reveals, is that “Life Coaching for Writers is a self-help and personal development guide for every writer that will help you to unleash your creative potential. Whether you are a fiction or non-fiction writer, it's not always easy to be creative - life conspires to throw up obstacles, fears and external influences that get in the way of our writing lives. It is aimed at writers who know that they want to write but are struggling to realise their full potential. It is specifically aimed at more experienced writers who have had some successes and want to move from the life of an amateur scribbler to a professional writer.”

Happily, I don’t have a problem with my imagination or my creativity. Indeed, I have far too many projects and stories begging for space in my cranium. Some say writing is a lonely business. I don’t see that – I’m always accompanied by several characters clamouring to be heard, insistent that it’s their turn to appear on the page now. Even so, from time to time it’s helpful or encouraging to read about how other writers cope with the process of writing. And, in truth, we can all glean fresh insights from this kind of cross-pollination. This book offers plenty of perceptive viewpoints and even some trails to follow to get those creative juices flowing.

A glimpse at a few of the chapter headings will give you a rough idea:

Your creative purpose – this may be important. When I first started writing in earnest (a small town in southern Hampshire), the correspondence course tutor presented me with a list of questions, among them, “Why do you write?” That helped me focus on the why.

Setting your writing goals – this makes sense; be practical, with your feet firmly on the ground, even if you aim high.

Creating your writing ritual – some writers are superstitious, even without knowing it, and follow certain rituals before they feel able to write…

Clearing writer’s block – put it in perspective.

Balancing it all – your writer’s day, how to cope with life and chores.

Crossing genres – and ‘Is it worth it?’

Get exercising!

Dealing with rejection – and success!

Getting it down on paper – a must!

Online support – masses of this…

Resources for the writer’s mind – lots of helpful references here.

There's a good deal more than the above, of course. You can check out the first 5 pages including the contents on Amazon here (UK) and here (US).

The other contributors are many and varied, among them:

Meadhbh Boyd Bread and buttered in County Clare, Meadhbh is an Ethnomusicology graduate of the School of Music and Theatre, UCC. She has contributed as a writer on Big Brother (C5, 2012), and is currently working as a barista, and Creative Producer for musical comedy, Laundrette Superstar, with writer Fortuna Burke.

A.M. Dunnewin obtained a BA in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice. Although her stories cover a wide range of genres, she primarily writes historical fiction and thrillers. She lives in Sacramento, California.

Deborah Durbin has spent the past 16 years doing her dream job – writing content for lots of glossy magazines, along with writing books as and when a subject comes to mind. She is the author of 11 non-fiction books and two novels. Her latest book, So You Want To Be A Freelance Writer? is now available.

Amanda J Evans is a professional freelance writer, author, ghostwriter, poet and spiritual teacher living in Ireland. Amanda is the author of two non-fiction books. From Those Death Left Behind and Messages From The Angelic Realms. She is currently working on a YA novel.

Melinda Feeney comes from an oral culture (Mohawk Nation) and this reflects in her writing. Joe Griffin is a well-known writer, journalist and presenter who he has written for The Irish Times, The Guardian, The Irish Independent and The Sunday Times, regularly appears on TV and radio.

Marilynn Hughes had a career in broadcasting as a news anchor, reporter and producer. She has experienced, researched, written and taught about Out-of-Body Travel and Mysticism since 1987 and has appeared on innumerable radio and television programs.

Krystina Kellingley is a reader and commissioning editor/copy editor/publisher of imprints Axis Mundi Books (esoteric books), Cosmic Egg Books (Fantasy/Sci-fi/Horror), Our Street Books (children’s books) and Dodona Books (divination). She has just had her first children’s book, Mistower – The Loneliest Mouse, published and is currently working on an adult supernatural novel. She has a BA in Imaginative Writing and Literature and an MA in Creative Writing. She lives in the UK.

Niall McArdle is an Irish writer based in Canada. His fiction has appeared in Phoenix Irish Short Stories. He has had work published in The Irish Times, The New Orleans Review of Books and The Malahat Review.

Anna McPartlin was a stand up comedienne for four years and it is her experience writing sketches that ignited her passion for storytelling. Her debut novel Pack Up The Moon (2006) was a best seller; she has written three more novels, So What If I’m Broken being her latest work. She’s also written School Run, a TV comedy-drama for TV3 which was nominated for both an IFTA and a TV award. Anna’s books are published in Ireland, Germany, America, Russia, UK and Australia.

Suzanne Ruthven, former editor of The New Writer, started her professional writing career in 1987 by founding the small press writers’ magazine Quartos, which ran for nine years until its merger with Acclaim in 1996 to become TNW. Author of over 20 titles on spiritual, country-lore and self-help matters (including two novels) she has regularly contributed freelance articles to a variety of publications as diverse as The Lady and the Funeral Director’s Journal. Currently commissioning editor for Compass Books (an imprint of John Hunt Publishing), she now lives in Ireland.

Sarah Zama has been a bookseller in Verona (Italy) for eight years. She has been writing since the age of ten and has published fantasy short stories for children and adults in magazines and anthologies both in Europe and the USA.

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