Jana’s weekly responses were very thorough, thought-provoking, and often jaw-droppingly profound. She was very good at picking up on small details and expanding them so that [I] could see their significance.
Many professions have coaches or mentors as part of the deal. Baseball players, for example, don’t just arrive at the big leagues out of nowhere, with all the skills to play at the professional level. They’ve had coaching since they were kids – thousands of hours of it – both general and specific to their position. Yet writers still have that “languishing in the garret” mentality, that we should be able to pick it up on our own, that we should be able to always motivate ourselves to do the work, no matter what. That writing is solitary, and involves sweating blood to put every word on the page.
But if you’re not satisfied with the progress you’re making, if you’re not writing as much as you want to, if it’s been so long since you worked on your project that a big metaphorical cloud of dust whooshes up when you open that file or notebook – it’s time to acknowledge that maybe you need some support. Someone in your corner who can push you through the rough spots, be your cheerleader and the person who holds you accountable to your own dreams. Thinking about it tomorrow might have worked for Scarlett O’Hara, but if you want to get that book written, you gotta do the work today. And tomorrow, and the next day…
Think about it – this time next year, you’re going to be a year older, but will you be any closer to your goals?
Jana’s suggestions, inspiring quotes and her obvious experience honoring [the creative self], was surely a help. She encouraged me to rise to the occasion while also doing what makes sense for me as an artist.
What might happen in a coaching session?
We might talk over the issues and challenges you’re having – and the successes! We might do some goal-setting, focus on time management or overcoming fears and blocks, and set up some accountability structures to keep you writing. Or we can turn writing into play again, giving you the support you need to start exploring (especially if you’re just starting out or have been away from writing for a long time). In other words, we focus on what will work best for you. I don’t have a magic formula that I apply to everyone I coach – I don’t even have a magic formula that I apply to myself! I believe we create best when creativity doesn’t feel like a chore. We can’t just sit around and wait for inspiration to strike, but that doesn’t mean we have to beat ourselves with a stick to get anything done. Talking with someone about our ideas, hopes, and fears, can release energy we didn’t know we had. Getting specific about what we want to accomplish and setting specific goals grounds that energy into productive work. Seeing pages pile up, or other concrete proof of engagement, keeps that energy going.
Some people work with me on a one-off or short-term basis, to get a shot of energy or clarity around a project. If you’re just getting started, have been away from writing for a while, or have a short-term goal in mind, this is where to begin.
Others work with me on an on-going basis, wanting to maintain steady momentum, especially around a long-form project such as a novel, memoir, book of poetry, or a dissertation. Whether you’re just starting out or stuck in the middle, I can help you set goals, gain momentum, and complete that project!
I’m currently accepting new clients on a very limited basis. If you’d like to work with me, email me at jana(dot)vanderveer(at)gmail(dot)com and we’ll set up a time to connect and discuss how I can help you achieve your goals!
I appreciated her patience, knowledge, and encouragement. I did feel like I had a partner in the process, one that could see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel!