I started the coaching boot camp for which I signed up two months ago.  As the date grew nearer, I grew increasingly unsure as to how effective this very expensive endeavor would be.  I had a private coaching session with the coach who is leading the workshop and I was just unsure that an extended version of my individual session would be of any increased value, considering the price-tag was definitely…increased.  But, I took a leap of faith and decided I would try it.

After the first call, I am still unsure as to how much I will get out of it.  The first session of the group is the same as the session I had privately with the coach.  The pre-call homework was the same.  And the feedback was the same.  This time there were other people talking, though, not just me.  And perhaps there is value in that: hearing other people’s challenges, their excuses, their triumphs, and applying them to my own challenges, fears, and worries.

The group began with introductions and then the aforementioned pre-call homework.  We were give 18 areas of life about which we were to write our “ideal” and then we were to rate where we think we stand now and honestly access what that area of life looks like now.  When I did it the first time, I had interesting reactions in the ensuing days.  I started getting paranoid, about my relationship, my personal safety, all sorts of strange things.  When I went over the homework during my private session, the coach pointed out all these instances where I was creating excuses.  I even at times overstated my contentment or success in certain areas of life.  It was as though I was trying to convince myself that everything was wonderful, when really…I don’t look in the mirror everyday and see a body I love.  I don’t always feel free to speak my mind.  And I started blaming the apartment for my inability to get more writing done.  In going over the homework last night, I read to the group my “dream” for my writing career and “where I am now.”  I admitted to the group that in my first version, I went on a considerable tangent relating to the relative inadequacies of my workspace and the fact that I share a one-room apartment with another person.  The coach laughed, and quoted my words back to me.  She was prepared, I’ll say that for her.  She obviously had all our materials laid out in front of her, from wherever she was doing the call.  She made mention of the library or some other quiet place.

At the end of the call, there was talk of reading assignments.  I am looking forward to those.  In the meantime, I have revise my 18 areas of life assignment so that my dreams are big and juicy and specific and contain no negatives – like I cannot say “in my ideal workspace that I have quiet and am no longer annoyed or distracted by the incessant drivel on MTV2.”

Here is what I conjured when I revised my dream career after my private session before the New Year:

I am an important new voice in teen fiction.  When I sell my first novel, I get a $500,000 advance.  This is enough to enable me to freely pursue a career as a novelist.  I live in a house  (or apartment) with a writing room or “studio.”  It’s a study with white-washed walls and floors and it’s a serene space that allows me to banish distractions and concentrate on creating amazing characters, plotlines, settings and full realized fictional worlds.  My agent Alex is working proactively on my behalf.  I am in demand.  I tell him I want to be considered for unconventional opportunities like writing a book in The Amanda Project series or writing something in partnership with another successful author.  In the morning, I wake-up, drink coffee, exercise, eat a little something then head into my office to check my email.  I have letters from people who have read my novels.  I have helped open people’s eyes, entertained them, and they love my books.  After a few minutes of email-checking, I open a word document (a new one, or the most-recent draft of my latest novel) and I start working.  I can write for two hours straight.  It’s exhilarating. My fingers move across the keys and I let myself fall into the work – the world I’ve created. I listen for the characters’ voices in my head and I write exactly what they say.  The writing comes easily to me and even on days when it doesn’t, I am able to muscle through and complete the first two hours of my writing day.  Around noon I allow myself a break.  I check email again, so I can transition back into my real-life world, then I eat lunch and go back to work.  I sit back down at my desk and go back to the latest piece.  I picture myself quite-literally jumping back into this fictional world.  I write for two more hours before I take another break, which includes a snack from the amazing kitchen in our spacious house, then I dive back into work. I devote at least an hour to social media, staying in touch with influencers who will help keep my books selling in markets around the country and around the world.  I work on marketing and publicity for my titles, writing blog posts, booking school visits, readings, attending book clubs and participating panel discussions. I do signings at our local bookstore and I travel around the country each time a new book of mine comes out.  I love the travel and the attention and I love staying in hotels.