I’ve always thought of myself as a very happy writer. I used to put it down purely to the fact that I was a dreamer first, and therefore completely used to coming and going across the threshold of consciousness, which meant I never experienced any kind of writing angst about getting blocked or running out of ideas.
But at the recent Scattered Authors conference in Peterborough, my friend and fellow-writer Penny Dolan recommended a book she thought I might like, called ‘Coach yourself to writing success,’ by Bekki Hill, and it has extended my thinking.
Penny was right – I love this kind of book. I enjoy doing practical exercises that help me to arrive at different ways of looking at things. I’m a great fan of life coaching too, having had some life-changing sessions with astrological life coach, Pat Neill, a few years ago and more recently a brilliant group session with a writing coach at a Lapidus networking day.
What has become clearer for me through reading this book is that another reason I’m very happy in my writing is that my goals are perfectly attuned to my core values.
We commonly measure writing success in terms of sales and celebrity, but I have never felt any of that is important; I haven’t felt jealous, anxious or disheartened about having less of a public profile than many of my writing friends.
My core values, it turns out, are in order of importance:
- Beauty/ creativity. I’ve blogged about the elegant harmonies of structure that please me in my work on the children’s blog, girlsheartbooks http://girlsheartbooks.com/2012/12/18/does-this-make-me-weird/
- Nature/health. I love the writing life because it means I can live somewhere remote and go walking in nature every day
- Loving/caring/sociability. I enjoy the connection with readers, for example here on my blog, although it’s medium-profile and profit-free. One of my main drives in writing for children is to suggest ideas which might help them create positive experiences and deal with difficult ones
- Originality/self-expression. The parable of the talents has always informed my life, and it feels very important to me that we explore, uncover and develop our God-given gifts, whatever they might be
- Spirituality/solitariness. This was the surprising one, because I’d have thought it would rank higher, but when I did the next exercise, expanding upon these core values, I discovered that all of the first four boil down to ways of celebrating the divine, in myself, the world and other people
You are more likely to achieve your writing goals if they fit with your core values in life. Should you manage to achieve goals that don’t, your success is less likely to make you feel happy.
That is not to say you are limited forever to where you are today, because core values can change and evolve. Like you yourself, they are a work-in-progress.
But for this moment and this step, understanding how your current writing goals relate to what your soul wants is empowering and may be a revelation. Like Penny, I can totally recommend this book.
Have you ever thought about how well your writing goals tie in with your core values?