Before I started coaching, I sort of expected it to be helping writers out of writer’s block or helping them set doable goals in order to finish a project. Now, even though I’ve only been doing this for a little over a month and a half, I realize it is so much more.
As writers, we don’t usually fall into these issues out of nowhere. I’ve come to understand that even the most common writer problems generally stem from our outer life. Whether we are stalled on a project because of stressful daily life, or can’t get started because of unpacked emotional boxes, we all have outside factors affecting our writing.
Something else I’ve learned? Not all writers–and I’d venture to say none–are the same.
Not that I really thought all of my clients would be the same, but I did imagine they’d take a similar approach to one another. Boy, was I wrong! I’m so glad my mentor told me to keep an open-handed approach, because each of my new writer friends needs something different from me. It makes this “job” so interesting and fun, and I love it.
For example, one of my very first clients was actually looking for help writing academic papers. This person is intelligent and knows the advanced class material well, but struggles to get it down on paper without feeling overwhelmed. I completely understand. The knowledge was there, and having a sounding board to help organize the intense amount of information was all this person needed. This client changed the way I think about coaching, and made me a better listener, for sure.
The rest of my clients fall into the writer category. I’ve got a few novel writers, ranging from sci-fi to memoir, and a very talented poet. While each of these share the INFJ/INFP/HSP traits and some of the same issues, each of them has needed a slightly different approach.
Maybe it’s fate, or perhaps it’s the fact that I’m also INFJ/HSP, but I’ve found that I share some unique threads of experience with each of these people. I see it in my mind when we have that first consultation phone call–a few glistening strands of their life’s woven pattern, intertwining with mine and giving me insight into what they’ve been through and what they will become. Now, my life’s pattern is connected to these others, and I can’t help being invested in their path to happiness.
The most important thing I’ve learned over the last month is that none of these writers have a simple problem. It’s not one thing preventing them from getting the words down, it’s many things. The actual writing itself has faded into the background, while the emotional issues take precedence. Those emotional difficulties are wrapped around the pen, clogging up the ink, and there’s no way around them except to go through them.
So, I listen. Through listening, I understand. Through understanding, we both learn, and by learning, we grow–them as writers and me as a coach, both of us as people.
If you’re one of my clients and reading this, I want to say “thank you” from the bottom of my heart. You have truly changed my world and I can’t wait to see where life’s journey takes you!