I recently completed a goal I’ve been working towards for almost two years. I got through the Author Accelerator Book Coach Training program. It’s a thorough and, in places, intensive course with gobs of good information and instruction. I originally signed up as an experiment. (Calling something an experiment is a way I sometimes trick myself into trying things that challenge me.) I figured that even if I decided not to become a book coach, the course would improve my writing.
And the course has improved my writing. I understand more about both the craft of writing, and the process of writing. Craft is fundamental to writing a good book. But so are many other things, such as novel structure, motivation, meaning, and persistence. The Author Accelerator program does a good job of addressing all these elements.
The training required me to work with actual clients—an intimidating prospect. It also turned out to be the most joyful aspect of the work, and I discovered that I really like helping people bring their visions to life.
All in all, the course has been great. But it hasn’t gone the way I hoped it would. When I started in January of 2020 (remember those days?) I laid out a plan to finish the training in six months. It was an ambitious plan, which was soon sidelined by other opportunities that came along for my writing.
I won’t say I gave up on the course—I always intended to complete it—but I certainly gave up on my ambitious schedule, and on thoughts of setting up a book coaching business in 2020. Yet, while I was temporarily giving up on book coaching, I was at the same time demonstrating exceptional persistence in my novel writing. Seven years in, and I was still going strong, writing and revising and learning how to write a novel.
I’ve done this before, many times. Nowadays people call it a pivot. Back then it was giving up. I gave up majoring in engineering so I could study dance. But my engineering experience was not lost. Later when I studied architecture, my engineering background made the technical courses a breeze. At different times in my life I’ve given up writing, dance, architecture, and professional work of any kind. Yet through it all I’ve been persistent in pursuing work I found meaningful. Much of my past work informs what I do now. And truthfully, many of my past pursuits are still with me.
So was I actually giving up when I stopped dancing professionally? Maybe. Or maybe it was a necessary step in persisting on my creative journey, which has now taken the form of writing (with dance classes tucked in here and there.)
Book coaching is still an unknown for me, but it has already enriched my creative journey by improving my writing. It has the potential to become an anchor for my creative work, one which can allow me to continue learning while also helping others.
I’ve had to learn patience for the sake of doing the things I love. The things I love don’t always come easily and they almost always take longer than I want them to. Sometimes they’re interrupted by life, or by other things I want to do. Giving up my expectations of how the things I love are supposed to go, helps me be persistent in still making them happen.
Do you have any pursuits that you’ve given up on or been persistent with? Maybe both?