Will writing a book increase my reach and bring me success?

This week there was a fascinating debate in one of the business groups I belong  to. A coach asked this question: “A book helps a person establish themselves as an expert in their field. True or false?’ Now what a juicy question. There were as many people who said false as people who said true. 

And here is what I think. 

There are so many experts books out there that if you want your book to stand out, it needs to have that little extra in it. At the very least it must be well written, but that is not enough. It is however, essential if you don’t want your book to actually damage your reputation. It is so easy to self publish these days that the temptation is real to just write away and publish something way before the book is actually polished to a professional standard. 

But I believe it needs to be much more than an “expert book” How-to books have their own value but they are not inspiring. They are just manuals. Usually they are written by people who teach how to do something because their whole career has been about honing one specific skill. Say you want to learn how to grow vegetables in your garden, you would turn to an expert book written by a seasoned gardener. 

These books are good but they don’t excite me. The same goes for business books. Every topic under the sun has already been written about. So to increase your reach, your book has to have more. It needs to be inspirational. And there is a great way to turn your “expert” book into an inspirational book. You need to change your perspective. Instead of trying to pose as an expert, you need to get down your pedestal and walk amongst peers. You need to write your book with curiosity. You need to write your book as a journey and share compelling stories that prove your point. You need to have a clear argument. And you need to learn how to write a good book. This take time, dedication and guidance. 

This exciting book that you could be writing is called a big idea book. It borrows from all the different genres and blends them into one compelling read. As a book Angel who works with inspirational writers, it is the kind of book that gets me excited. 

If you have a big idea book in you but don’t know how to write it or feel you could benefit from the guidance of a supportive community and  group coaching from me, why not join my writing academy. The doors open on the 1st September. Ladies only. Click here to find out more.

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How to increase the likelihood of reaching your goal

Suppose that your goal was to write a book. This is something you have been thinking for a long time. Maybe friends and even clients have told you that you should write a book.

The first step is to understand what your book is about and to map out a plan with milestones. This is what my seven day mini course is about. It will connect you to your book so that you understand what it is all about by going through a guided meditation. The next round of my mini course will start on the 21st of August 2017. Sign up here if you want to have some really good foundation for your writing.

Once your foundations are in place, you want to start establishing a routine. So you will be writing daily or weekly goals. It really doesn’t matter what word count you set up for yourself but I suggest that you start small rather than big. You want something that is sustainable. So set your timer for 25 minutes and see how much you can write in that time slot. Make this your daily goal. When I tried that technique to estimate how many words I could write in twenty minutes, I managed to write 1,200 words.

An average book contains 80,000 words. My calculator says that if you wrote 1200 per day, by focusing your writing in slots of only twenty fives minutes, you would have written your first draft in 66 days. Personally, I don’t want to put the pressure on myself to write seven days a week. I don’t think it’s healthy. You need to get out of your head at least two days a week. So let’s assume you write 22 days per month. This means that by sticking to the goal of writing 1,200 words per day, five days a week, you will have your first draft in four months. How fantastic is that.

But this doesn’t mean anything. Because we can talk about this until we are both blue in the face, it won’t make it happen. What will make it happen is your commitment to your book. Something I invite you to do on day 7 of my mini course. If you are a commitment freak (read: fear of success), that might take a little bit of work. I am very good at helping with this, by the way, so don’t hesitate to book a one to one session with me if you are afraid to commit.

Did you know, however, that being a member of a supporting community or hiring a coach increases your chances of completing your first manuscript by 40%. Especially if you are the kind of person who thrives on external accountability. Only one person out of four is self reliant. I am lucky to be one of those.

UPDATE: the launch price of £22 is no longer available. To join, click here: http://www.paypal.me/AngedeLumiere/GBP33. Ladies only

To your writing,

(c) Ange de Lumiere 2017

The writer’s mind

If there is one thing that writers do, is spend a lot of time in their heads. It can be a good thing but also a bad thing. Understanding how the mind works is a top priority for writers and this is the reason why I will be offering. A free webinar on the subject in October 2017 (the date and time will be emailed to you later this month). Click here to sign up: http://eepurl.com/cYKhYP

I learnt all about how the mind works when I trained as a clinical hypnotherapist in 2007. This has literally transformed my career as a writer. I had been suffering from a writer’s block for over eight years which has pushed me to explore other creative avenues, i.e. visual art. But the niggle to write was still in me. I had so much to say.

After training as a clinical hypnotherapist, it was like a tap had been open. The words started to flow. There is nothing that pleases me as much as helping others do the same. All it takes is for us to understand how the mind works.

Talented writers often suffer from fragile egos. They are also prone to fears. Don’t be fooled by their outward confidence. Their inner world is full of demons. Maybe it is because they are so sensitive. Or maybe because they spend a lot of time in their heads. Heads are dangerous places to live in. It is easy to overthink. It is easy to become the target of your inner critic and get paralysed. So knowing how the mind works and how to step out of a thinking rut is pretty important.

In my free webinar, we will use a combination of hypnotherapy theory and guided meditations to overcome fear, doubt and limiting beliefs. Sign up here if you are interested. http://eepurl.com/cYKhYP

I will be talking about what I call the two hippos.

These are two very important parts of your brain. I bet you didn’t know you had two hippos living in it. No wonder we get big headed.

The Hippocampus is part of the limbic system. It is an essential element in the process of building memory. It collate all the things that happen to you and try to make sense of them. This is where fears are born. And unhelpful beliefs. Naughty hippo. Well, not really. It is useful and its role, as part of the amygdala (the reptile brain) is to keep us safe. With hypnotherapy, we can bypass the conscious mind and go reprogramme the unconscious mind as shaped by our memories. That’s pretty cool stuff.

The Hypothalamus, on the other hand, is also part of the limbic system and it links it to the endocrine system. In lay terms, it manages all your body function and gets its instructions from the amygdala. This means that if you feel there is a danger, it will increase your heart rate, stop your digestion and freeze your reproduction system. All sorts of wonderful things to trigger the fight or flight response. I call them the three Fs. Flight, fight or freeze (pretend to be dead).

Understanding how these little guys work gives us tremendous power over our minds because it enables us to become aware that we are not our thoughts. It helps us realise that we don’t have to believe every thought we think.

So this is the kind of really useful process that I offer my clients. If you want to work with me up, why not book a session? Click here to pay. Then I will book an appointment time with you.

To your writing,

(c) Ange de Lumiere 2017

Top self care tips for writers

Today I want to share about self care for writers. None of the writing professionals I have come across talked about self care. Their focus was exclusively on the book. But books don’t exist in a vacuum. Books are one of the components of a relationship between a writer and their book. It’s a bit like the mother and child relationship. If you focus only on the child, the mother will deplete and soon the child won’t be care for properly.

So let’s treat ourselves as the carers of our books and make sure we look after ourselves. As a healer, I have come across hundreds of depleted women whose bodies have broken down for giving too much. There are specific risks related to the writing life and I would like to offer my three top tips for writers today.

Tip #1: Use the pomodoro technique

Only write for stretches of twenty five minutes at a time. Set a timer on your phone. Stick to it. And by stick to it, I mean both switch off the phone and distractions but more importantly: do not exceed that time. You will start to become less efficient. There is a lot more to the pomodoro technique to this but if you start with that, you will already be ahead of your game.

At the end of your twenty five minutes, get up, have a good stretch, do five to ten minutes of yoga. Or go do something completely different. Again, put a timer for this so you don’t get distracted. But if you only have twenty five minutes to write per day, then great, you have already achieve your daily goal.

Tip #2: Take up a physical activity that will get you toned

As a writer, it is very important that you have well toned core muscles and generally be fit. Agreed, for most writers, this is probably bottom of their priority list. But I am urging you to think differently. Even if it is just going for a half hour walk every day, you need the physical activity to get you out of your head. Writers live in their heads. They often neglect their bodies. This is no long term strategy. Your body is your friend for life. Neglect it now and you will regret it later. Bitterly. Besides, if that was the only reason to do it, being fit will help you think better. I get my best ideas whilst running. And some writers even dictate their books whilst on a walk. Break down the myth of the writer bent over their computer in a stuffy room.

If you already have back problems, I highly recommend Somatics. Click here to find out about downloadable classes that can help you correct your posture and do away with back pain or RSI. (Note this is not an affiliate link – I do not get paid to share this).

Tip #3: Embrace another creative activity

Sign up for a calligraphy class, a gardening class or a crochet club. Do things with your hands. It ties in with tip #2 but in a different way. To get creative you need to get our of your head. As a writer, you have a higher chance to get stuck in your head because your head is your tool. You need to spend a lot of time there to write but you can also get lost in it. Trapped. To get you out of that trap, play with crayons, take up painting. Do something that does not require thinking. Or you will run the risk of overthinking everything. Your writing will be enriched by it. Who knows, you will then have the necessary experience to describe what your main character, a painter, is going through because you will have first hand experience. Writers need to be curious. They need to do research. The more activities you try, the broader your writing vocabulary will be. And by vocabulary, I don’t mean just word. I mean real life experience.

Voila. Here are my top three self care tips for writers. I would love for you to comment below and tell me if this article was useful of share your personal self care tips as a writer.

Self care is one of my speciality as a well being professional. If you would like to have a coach that helps you look after yourself better and maybe support you emotionally through your writing journey, why not book a session with me. You can pay for it here at an introductory price. Please note that I only work with female writers. 

To your writing,

(c) Ange de Lumiere 2017

Define success and the little wins along the way

In my Facebook group, on Wednesdays, we celebrate our wins. As I was encouraging my members to boast about what they had done for their writing this week, I came to the realisation that all too often, we only celebrate when we reach our goal. This is true in every area of life.

It is true in weight loss. In business. In health. But the truth of the matter is, success is made my a thousand of sustained steps in the right direction. I believe it also includes the detours and the epic fails. So when we suspend our celebrations until we reach the finish line, we actually deprive ourselves of a string of smaller successes that are paramount to the overall goal.

So today, I want to invite you to look at your journey to success as a writer in a different way. I want you to see that sitting at your desk every day, even for ten minutes, is part of your success. I want you to realise that it is the consistency, the grind that is propelling you towards your overall success. Success is also being able to ask for a critique, taking it on board and making the changes that are necessary to improve your book. Success is overcoming those horrible feelings when the critique seems to slash your book and leaves you feeling like a failure. Success is also making your first selfie if visibility is an issue for you.

Do not wait until your book makes it to the NY best seller to feel successful as an author. Of all the people who claim that they want to write a book, 95% of them just love the idea of saying they have written a book. They are not actually willing to put the effort in. They are wannabe writers. If you are actually doing the work, if you sit down several times a week and put words on paper, if you sign up for classes to improve your craft, you are already way ahead of the game. Acknowledge that.

Seasoned writers often say that once they become that best selling author, they move the goal post of success and deny themselves the joy of celebrating because they immediately doubt as whether they can repeat that feat. This is the way the mind works. It never seems to be satisfied. If you don’t have a grounded vision of success, you will constantly beat yourself up about not having achieved the success of another author or not having achieved it as fast as someone else. This is not helpful. Stop now.

Success can just be completing your first draft. It is a massive achievement. An achievement that 95% of the people who say they want to write a book never accomplish.

When I work with a VIP client, I make sure they understand this and during our coaching sessions, I point out to them how much they have achieved so that they keep going. It is easy to start a book but finding the stamina to finish it can be a little harder. If you would like help to finish your book, why not work with me? Contact me through my page if you are interested and join my group. 

To your writing,

(c) Ange de Lumiere 2017

The power of vulnerability

Vulnerability is incredibly powerful. It is also super scary.

As authors, we need to be vulnerable. And when we start off, especially if we write a memoir, we use writing for healing. We bare our souls on the page. But then, we feel naked and horribly vulnerable. We start having doubts about writing that book where we share our life experience, including what we might still feel shame around. We back track on our book because it is too much. Don’t worry if you have, that’s perfectly natural.

Connection with our readers is what we want and vulnerability is an incredible way to connect. But as writers we need to learn where the balance is between not enough vulnerability (we act as superheroes and alienate our readers) and too much vulnerability (that’s called flood lighting). Let me give you an example from a completely different area. Business.

When you read a blog about a coach that makes five figures a month, whose profile picture is so perfect she could be on the cover of Elle and who boasts about how you can do the same with her thousand pounds programme, how does that make you feel? If you are anything like me, you will run in the opposite direction. Not enough connection. Not enough vulnerability.

If on the other hand you read a blog about another coach who constantly shares her mistakes and all you feel is shame and embarrassment for that coach, you are not likely to want to work with her either.

The right level is in between. Someone who clearly knows what they are talking about but who also shares her epic fails. It makes her feel human. It makes her feel more relatable to you. After all, you might not feel like a success so someone too successful will put you off. But someone who shares how it took three failures to succeed and who shares with you her learning curve so you can bypass what she had to go through will probably win your attention.

Vulnerable posts and posts about epic fails always get more engagement than the perfect posts.

So where is the balance? I made a little chart that sums it up. Terror zone

You want to be in the learning zone. Just a little out of your comfort zone but not in your terror zone. How will you know? Tune in to your body. When you write about something that happened to you, make sure you are completely in your body and not in your head. (Note: writers tend to spend far too much time in their heads so that’s another practice that we will engage in, during the masterclass). Take a deep breath and check how you feel. Do you feel sick in the stomach? Then you have gone too far. If you feel no discomfort, then perhaps you haven’t been vulnerable enough.

Does this help?

Write your reaction in the comments. I would love to know what you think.

And if you are ready to take your writing to the next level, why not sign up for my six month masterclass. You can find out more about it here.

To your writing,

(c) Ange de Lumiere 2017

Writer, know thyself

The practice of journalling is paramount for writers. Why? Because as writers, our job is to look at what is around us and make sense of it. Most people have things happen to them. They go through life in a passive way. Some of them have no clue why. Writers need to be more aware. More proactive.

As writers, our job is to make sense to this world. We are observers who then tell stories to entertain others and in my case to inspire. Most of what we write about comes from our experience or our observation of others. Observation can only happen if we constantly reflect on what we see. Reflection happens when we take the time to think about what we see around us but also to understand our feelings.

In 2007, I trained as a clinical hypnotherapist. I was greatly surprised to see in the group of students a man who was an established writer and who ran creative writing workshops. I wondered why he would chose to become a therapist. It only made sense, years later. A part of him enjoyed the interaction with others and helping, but also this interaction made him a better writer.

Of course, the biggest asset of a writer is their imagination. Being able to tap into that creative juice and invent stories and situations. But lest the writer has a high level of emotional intelligence, the stories will feel shallow and disconnected.
This is also the reason why, most writers have had rich and sometimes painful lives. And have gone through more than their share of heartaches. This becomes the fertile soil from which they can grow beautifully crafted stories. These are the writers that I prefer. “Clever” writers have never hit home for me. I like depth and emotion.

But this means being willing to do some inner work. Willing to look at what happened in our lives. Exploring our deepest emotions and our shadows. Understanding fears. Because if we don’t do the work, then our characters wil lack that depth too. So my invitation today is to know thyself. To explore the human psyche. To explore your own psyche. To become more self aware. How do you do that? By journalling. Writing thing on paper allows to put distance between you and what is happening to you. It helps you to recognise what is truly happening. It might not happen immediately but it starts a process. You could even set an intention around your journalling.

For writers of memoirs, I think this needs to be taken to an even higher level. How can we write about ourselves if we still feel raw about something? How can we explore our stories if they are too painful to look at? Or if we feel shame? Hence, comes the need to heal ourselves. And love ourselves too. There is no magic bullet for this. But writing our stories (memoirs) can start the process. Writing your story is an act of honouring what happened to you. Writing memoirs is a way to say that our story matters. That is huge.

This is a process we will be exploring in my six month masterclass. The first month is all about you. Knowing yourself. Healing yourself. Self care. Tools to safely explore deep emotions. To find out more about the course, click here.

Share in the comments what you do to know yourself better.

To your writing,

(C) Ange de Lumiere 2017