This time last year, I started the process of writing my first book, Heal Your Inner Good Girl.
I’d wanted to write a book for the longest time. Ever since I was a little girl, I’d dreamed of being an author. I’d even started writing books before, but never got past a few pages.
If you’ve ever begun a creative project, or got a new idea for your business, you’ll know there’s a BIG difference between taking the first, tentative steps and actually getting it finished.
So, what made the difference for me this time? What were the key points that meant I actually completed my book and released it out into the world?
I’m sharing my top 3 lessons here with you.
I say in the title that they’re lessons I ‘relearned’. As with all of the most important lessons in life, we learn them over and over again in different ways. Each time we reach a new level of awareness. And that’s why I wanted to share them in context with you here.
1. Trust your guidance and inner knowing
Can I tell you a secret? The Universe is ALWAYS sending you signs about your right next step. That’s why you get so many ideas coming to you – in the shower, when you’re out for a walk, in the queue at the supermarket.
But very often, although we get excited about that initial idea, pretty soon we can get disheartened and distracted. (Hence my numerous previous attempts to write a book!)
Fortunately this time, I was very strongly guided to write Heal Your Inner Good Girl.
This time last year (September 2015) I was in a pretty low place. Things were very slow in my business and I was completely unsure of the direction I wanted to move in.
Desperate for some insight, I ended up booking an angel reading with the wonderful Isobel Gatherer. During this reading I was very clearly guided that I needed to write a book. And I was told that I already had more than enough content to fill it.
The fact that I’d been wanting to write a book for so long and that the instructions in my reading were so clear meant that I had no doubt that this was the right next step for me.
I just knew that writing my book was what I needed to focus on. And although it took a little longer than I initially imagined, write my book I did.
You don’t have to wait for a low patch to listen to your inner knowing. If you have an idea that keeps coming to you, take action.
There’s some more to say here about trusting your own process.
Before I actually started writing my book, I read a lot about how to write the perfect book for your business. And to be honest, I kinda got stuck here.
I knew that I had an important message I wanted to share. And I knew it related to my business in some way (helping women to create the perfect money-making mindset). BUT I also knew that what I felt called to write about in my book was much broader than simply money mindset.
As I was out for a walk one day, the title of the book – Heal Your Inner Good Girl – just came to me. I loved it. And I knew that I had a lot to share around this idea.
So I decided to trust that even though this maybe wasn’t he perfect book for my business, it was the perfect book for me.
In Heal Your Inner Good Girl, as well as having a chapter on money, I share my personal story and talk about areas such as creativity, goals, relationships, people-pleasing, anger and knowing what you really want in life. So, even though it’s not obviously 100% aligned with the work I focus on in my business, it kinda is!
Although I focus on money mindset and business coaching with my clients, the idea of healing your inner good girl and living in a more unbound way applies to this too. So maybe I’ll write another book which speaks more directly to what I do in my business, but for now I was happy to throw the rule book out and write what was already there in my heart. (And I encourage you to do the same if this frees you up to create).
2. Get an accountability buddy
I’ve written about this before, but it’s SO important. When you’re working on any challenging project, accountability is key.
By the end of last year, I’d pretty much written a first draft of my book and I thought I was nearly there. Little did I know that getting the initial draft done was the easy(ish!) part.
The nitty-gritty of transforming what I had into a final, ready-to-be-published manuscript was set to be super-challenging.
Fortunately for me, I’d been telling people left, right and centre that I was writing my book (so there was no going back!) and one of those people was the gorgeous Jess Baker who was also in the process of writing a book. Jess contacted me over the Christmas break to ask whether I wanted to team up as accountability buddies to keep us on track during the book-writing process.
Of course, I said yes and I’m SO glad I did. Jess and I checked in with each other over Skype every single week to see how we were doing.
We set goals, shared our challenges and celebrated our successes. I can honestly say that if I hadn’t had Jess as my book buddy, I’d probably still be floundering around trying to finish Heal Your Inner Good Girl.
I can’t overstate the importance of having an accountability partner and checking in regularly (once a week might seem like a lot, but it’s SO easy for time to drift by with no real progress being made).
So, find yourself a friend, a coach, an acquaintance or a mentor who can hold you accountable and harness this super-power to get your shiz done.
3. Feel your fear of criticism (and do it anyway)
In Heal Your Inner Good Girl I share a story of when I was a little girl and a teacher described my work as ‘absolute rubbish’ in front of the whole class. It was a formative moment for me, one when my inner good girl came to the fore and warned me to be far more careful with what I shared in the future.
That experience (amongst others) basically taught my younger self that it wasn’t safe to be me.
And this is a belief I carried with me for much of my life. So I held back, second-guessed what it was ‘okay’ to share and generally tried to keep my head under the parapet. And maybe you’ve been carrying the same belief?
But of course, when you’re releasing any sort of creative project into the world (or running a business for that matter), sharing yourself and your work is part of the process.
When I came to actually finishing my book and publishing it, I stalled. I kept telling myself and my book buddy that it needed more work, it wasn’t clear enough or that I should write more words.
But when I came to read through the final draft for the upteenth time, deep down I was happy with it. I knew it was okay. I knew it was complete. So why was I stalling?
Mr H actually summed it up perfectly one evening as we were having dinner. I was talking about my resistance to finishing Heal Your Inner Good Girl and speculating that it was my dislike of endings that was getting in the way. But Mr H pointed out that it was actually my fear of being back in the classroom and having that teacher call my work out as ‘absolute rubbish’.
Yes! That was it.
I was terrified of releasing my book out into the world and someone saying, ‘Well Nicola has written this book and it’s abolsule rubbish!’
In that moment, I resolved to acknowledge that old fear and say ‘Fuck it’. I decided that the message I wanted to share in Heal Your Inner Good Girl was far more important than any criticism I might receive. And I was ready to put it out there.
So, if you have a fear of being criticised (and let’s be honest, who doesn’t?), tune into your bigger vision. What’s the message you’re here to share with the world? What’s the work you’re here to do? Don’t let this old fear hold you back. We need to hear you.