I didn’t intend to hire a coach. Actually, I was a bit of a know-it-all about writing. I have a Masters in writing, I’ve written a couple of books, albeit non-fiction. One day, I was browsing a Facebook group and stumbled across a post calling for authors to try out a new coaching programme. ‘I’ll do it,’ I wrote. ‘I want to write fiction.’ I sent her a list of six ideas. A week later, I had my first Skype call with Emily Tamayo Maher. She was in Columbia, I was in Sussex. And that was in April 2017.

Fast forward to today, one year and seven months later, and I am ten thousand words into my fifth novel. I’m the one who puts in the work, comes up with the ideas and writes the words, but there is absolutely no way that I could have written four and a bit books in a little over eighteen months, without the help of Emily, my coach. I admit I am a bit biased about coaching as I am a trained coach myself, but even so, I hadn’t realised quite how important coaching is to an author. Here are my reasons why:

  1. It’s damned lonely. Sitting by yourself with a laptop, most probably at home, is solitary work. It doesn’t bother me too much, as I’m predominantly an introvert, my husband works from home and I’ve got a wonderful dog. Even so, I miss camaraderie, teamwork and office banter. Having someone checking in on me, even if it’s just an email, reminds me that I’m not alone.
  2. Creativity. The best creative work comes about from bouncing ideas between and off other people. If you are writing alone, you are missing that sparking of ideas, those insights that are almost impossible to come to alone. My coaching calls with Emily are predominantly about plotting. I need to bounce ideas off her, for her to challenge me if my ideas don’t work, or if I come up with something that is too similar to a previous book.
  3. Focus. It is hard to stay focused when there are a million and one other things calling for your attention. When the words don’t flow, it’s much easier to tidy up the kids room or nip out to do the shopping or make those phone calls. When I have a coaching session in the diary, I know that I need to send Emily what I have written during the previous week or fortnight. Frankly, it’s a waste of my money and both of our time if I haven’t moved my books forwards. For other people, they may simply need someone out there, encouraging them to focus.
  4. Making time. I am writing full-time, so I view writing as my job. If I don’t write a certain number of words per day (normally a minimum of 2,000) I don’t feel as if I have completed a good day’s work. In fact now, a day when I’m not writing, tends not to be a good day. Period. I have fallen in love with writing. But for many authors, writing has to be fitted in amongst work and family. It’s hard. I know that Emily offers support in this.
  5. Understanding the world of books and literature. I might have sought support from any type of coach, and I would have got some benefit from that. But Emily has a background in teaching English and is a published author herself. She knows the industry and brings a unique perspective as to how best to grow your book brand. She’s fast become a connector in the world of authors and through her facebook group, The Writer’s Block, has introduced me and a plethora of other authors to each other. That in itself is invaluable.
  6. And now for the big one: Confidence. Writing a book is a long process that often involves exposing your vulnerabilities. It is absolutely inevitable that there will be dips and troughs. As I explain in the video above, my gremlin tends to speak up about ten thousand words in, then about a third of the way and probably two thirds along too. There is the little voice that says, ‘it’s not good enough’; ‘you’re a rubbish writer’; ‘this isn’t a new idea and someone has done it better’; ‘who are you to write this story?’. And from time to time, confidence hits so low, that you put your manuscript to one side and leave it in a drawer. Whenever I come off a call from Emily, I feel excited, brimming with ideas on how to move my story further along, back in love with writing. For me, that is the true value of a coach.

This really isn’t an advertorial for Emily and in fact she doesn’t even know I’m writing this blog post! But if you’re planning on writing a book, you might want to check her out at https://www.meaningmethod.com. And please remember, I have a regular slot so don’t try and nick it. I’m not prepared to give it up!