This is just a quick blog update to ask you to go check out my new site page (My Published Authors)! These self-published rock stars deserve a huge shout out for doing the hard work to achieve their dreams. Beautiful souls with wisdom to share and human moments to let us all know we are not alone. All of them have inspired me and become great friends.
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!
This is my review of the book Between the Shadow and Lo, by Lauren Sapala. It is available here, but please read the review before purchasing.
I’m not going to lie, this was a hard book to read, and it will not be for everybody. Don’t get me wrong, the writing and structure are well done, and the language easy to follow, but this book deals with some serious issues, including alcoholism, sex, and drugs, among other things. Not to mention the sheer rawness of emotion bleeding out of the pages, which was hard to take at times. If you can’t handle the ugly, human side of life, please walk away, now, and preserve your happy thoughts.
This book is nothing if not boldly honest, and if you open your mind to truly experience this character, the depth of her pain and anguish will seep into your bones and not let go until the very fragile, hopeful ending. The honesty, in my opinion, is worth the read.
In this book, you follow along inside the head of a young woman named Leah. From the very start, it’s apparent that she has a problem. At first, it seems as though her problem revolves around a breakup, which causes her drinking to rapidly increase over time. As her alcohol addiction takes hold, Leah’s own self-loathing reveals itself as the true problem, steadily pulling her under until all she can think about is escaping herself. For self-preservation, Leah’s mind creates Lo, an alter-ego that is willing to take over while Leah hides behind the veil of (un)consciousness. After witnessing many of her friends and acquaintances fall victim to their own addictions, Leah can’t help feeling alone and starved for meaning in her life. Is this really all there is? After all, she has—quite literally—lost everyone and everything in her life. Finally, hope comes to her in two parts. One, colored on cardstock, making her feel again for the first time in years. The other, a kindred spirit to let her know she isn’t alone anymore.
This description could never do the book justice. Lauren Sapala’s vivid words are above and beyond some of the best I’ve ever read, and even though I have never been an addict, I was able to understand it in a way I wouldn’t have thought possible.
If you want to get the full effect of this book, you have to be willing to feel the hate, depression, and distortion this character is going through. You have to take it for what it is, and accept Leah for who she is at the lowest period of her life.
There is no light reading here. You are all in, or all out. Red pill or blue?
I’m finally getting my review up of Firefly Magic: Heart Powered Marketing for Highly Sensitive Writers, by Lauren Sapala! Let me save you some time…if you’re wondering whether or not to buy this book, just stop reading this post and go do it. The advice in it is definitely worth more than the awesome 3$ Kindle price tag, and when I have a house someday, I’ll be re-buying it (and The INFJ Writer) in paperback. I haven’t read her memoir yet, but I bought it and I’m sure it’s amazing as well.
Ok, so now it’s time for the breakdown and my favorite parts! Well…some of my favorite parts. There are too many to include here. The book is set up in chapters with a common theme mixed with her awesome personal stories, and then questions at the end to help you think through your thoughts and feelings.
**If you’re not an INFJ or INFP, you may not relate as much. But, if you’re even mildly sensitive, I believe you will enjoy her books.**
As I’ve said in a previous post or two, Firefly could not have come at a more perfect time in my life. I can’t help but believe the universe crossed my path with Lauren’s for a reason, and I’m so glad it did! Reading her words, all I can do is shake my head in disbelief at how many of the same sentiments I’ve had, but that nobody has ever understood. She even talks about how she learned to blend into her environment “like a chameleon” and about how she was never interested in the things everyone else was, nor was anyone interested in the things she was. This meshed with my previous post so perfectly, but she words it much better.
One of the things she talks about is “achievement oriented” vs “relationship oriented” mindsets.
“If you’re wondering what an achievement oriented culture looks like after it’s been allowed to run rampant for years on end, look no further than Hollywood or the political scene in Washington, D.C. People who engage in gossip and slander, point fingers, denounce, boast, and threaten and intimidate others are all very much a part of any achievement oriented scene. In this kind of culture, aging and illness are unacceptable, emotions are suppressed, and compassion is seen as a weakness.” – Lauren Sapala, Firefly Magic
I love this description! There are so many marketing ploys that are in-your-face, “if you don’t have this (thing, service, etc.), you’re trash!” This mindset is why we, as artists and writers especially, dislike the idea of marketing. You find yourself asking “Do I have to market this way to get my stuff noticed?”
Lauren seems to have hope for our world, though, saying that things are changing. She believes people are “waking up” and realizing it’s a broken system, and that “relationship oriented” (where we are all connected and supportive of each other, rather than in competition) people will prevail. I hope she is right. In Firefly, she details how you can use the “relationship oriented” frame of mind in all kinds of marketing, and how HSPs can stay true to themselves and still be successful at it. This eliminates jealousy and comparison with other authors, and is beneficial to both your platform, as well as your peace of mind.
Firefly has great guidelines on how to create a healthy (for you) environment on social media. There are general rules you should consider adopting, such as “Only accept Friend requests from people you like and feel comfortable with.” and you can unfriend or unfollow ANYONE who ceases to make you comfortable. That’s so important! She also reminds us that we choose what we post about and share. We have the power to control what we do or say, and to add or remove people from our environment as needed. And, as she says, “You don’t need a reason.” That’s both powerful and comforting.
Of course, Firefly details how to attract followers and readers (with an adorable animal story), how to use the right key words/tags, and how to follow your intuition and curiosity to be a better writer and marketer. Near the end, she talks about how nothing in this line of work is permanent, and that sometimes you need to step back, take a deep breath, forgive yourself for any mistakes, and take the time to figure out how to do it right. That is a sentiment that really struck home for me. As a perfectionist, I’m usually very hard on myself, and it can send me into an anxiety attack and serious self-debasement if I make a mistake. So, being able to remind myself that I can fix things is important.
I have so many other things I want to say about this book, but that would run into thousands of words, and honestly you should just go buy it. If you want to know more about your inner Prostitute and your Unique Spiritual Purpose, go buy Firefly Magic here.
Are you an INFJ, INFP, or other HSP, and want to have your mind read by a book? If so, this is for you! She even pegged the fact that I don’t have a profile picture… I’ll have to ask her opinion on how to stay anonymous.
I’ll leave you with this quote:
“Every time you immerse yourself in marketing work with integrity, an open heart, and the desire to be of service to yourself and others, you are growing and evolving as a human being.” – Lauren Sapala, Firefly Magic