Can life coaches help you be a better freelance writer?

Philippa Try

Enticing Writing

It can be difficult establishing yourself as a freelance writer. It takes immense self-confidence, conviction and inspiration. It takes even more perspiration. Only a few years in and I’ve had some great clients and projects to work on, but there is still so much yet to be achieved. It’s time to expand operations and become something more. As such, further to the advice of a loving parent I suddenly find myself in the office of a business coach… or life coach… I wasn’t quite sure which.

So why a business coach? Well that’s obvious. Sometimes a business-oriented perspective can be very useful, not least when most advice comes from friends and family. It can help achieve a refreshing look at the day to day realities of enterprise. Business mentoring is not a new thing but when you’re freelancing there’s more to it. Achieving that work-life balance becomes a real art form. You have the opportunity to create a lifestyle that’s perfect, working from just about anywhere. You also have the freedom to be your own boss and work when you choose. However, it can be easy for work to take over or be too scarce. There are times when you spend long hours on underpaid projects or miss out on those great ones; writing is a part of life. This is where business coaching becomes life coaching.

Next thing I know I’m asked to look at all the things that seem wrong with my life, rating the extent of any possible drop of dissatisfaction I might be feeling. Not quite what I was expecting… but it had some interesting results. First, I realised how little I like looking at the negative. I also realised that no matter where you are in life, there is always the opportunity to look for clouds… and it’s not every day that you see unbroken blue skies.

So, decision made – none of that. It’s always much brighter looking for the sun – you can even see its reflection at night. Perhaps this life coaching thing was working, I’m suddenly all philosophical and filled with the conviction that an optimistic outlook is and always has been the way to go.

But did it help me become a better freelance writer? Well, within 24 hours I’d set up a website in pursuit of my entrepreneurial goals and was writing my first blog for the Professional Copywriters’ Network. It seemed like money well spent…

However, perhaps this sudden flurry of activity had more to do with the need to justify a cheque for £75 to a complete stranger rather than the effectiveness of a coaching session. Afterwards it felt like the shine had been taken off everything, feeling a little like I’d been robbed, so somehow the balance had to be redressed. I’d been given a new perspective on life, but it wasn’t exactly refreshing. Encouraged to complain about such things as my noisy neighbours, who often cause distraction when I’m working from home, to my delightful boyfriend, who occasionally needs a prompt to do the washing up; it all seemed a little petty. So what if life isn’t perfect? Perfect is boring.

With writing you have the opportunity to think about anything and everything. If you’re not writing for someone else, you’re writing for yourself. You can think about things positively or negatively, but usually it’s a bit of both. The possibilities are endless; especially when you have the ever-optimistic notion that as long as you’re enjoying the writing overall it doesn’t matter if you’re raking it in. It’s all much like life, probably because it’s all part of life.

You might be limited by how much is in the bank. You might even be having a tough time at work or be in need of a relationship, but as I see it there are always two options. There’s either a blank page to play with, where there is a story yet to be told; or there are some words already on the page, and if we’re not too keen on what they’re saying, we can always edit, edit and edit again.

So can life coaches help you be a better freelance writer? It remains to be seen. I am writing for a new purpose, which in itself is experience. I might even have found myself writing from the heart, but does that always make a better writer…?

Would I go again? Too soon to say. While not the most upbeat of experiences, it does seem to have had results directly related to my freelance writing. In appreciating that spending all day producing marketing material for others meant I had inadvertently neglected my own, I have finally taken a more proactive role in my own promotion. It prompted a confident step forward.

I also had a new beautiful question to ask myself: where is the sun in the story?

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