It’s common for first-time authors to experience resistance. That can show up as sneaky thoughts we start having, such as, “it’s too late to start,” “no one wants to hear what I have to share,” “my ideas aren’t interesting,” and many others. 

If this sounds familiar, you’ll want to listen to this episode on The Book I Had To Write podcast with host Paul Zakrzewski.

Tune in to discover how you can overcome these hurdles using mindfulness techniques, plus: 

  • My writing journey and transition into developmental editing and book coaching
  • The mindset challenges faced by first-time book writers and how to overcome them 
  • Common challenges faced by clients when working on their books
  • Examples of resistance and some ways I guide writers through it
  • The importance of platform and marketing in the publishing industry
  • The fear of social media and the misconception that it’s the only way to promote books
  • Observations on changes in the publishing industry over the years, including the focus on platform and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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My Writing Journey 

My passion for writing was really a passion for expressing how I experienced the world. Even as a chid I had a strong sense that my perspective was different. In elementary school, I’d write poems while waiting for the school bus. In college, I won competitions, had a poetry zine, and writer friends. I took a risk and applied to an MFA in New York City to work with poets I admired. 

However, it is not possible to live in New York as a poet only. I eventually worked in publishing, a very practical field. I needed to keep writing, to have an audience and an outlet. In a surprising twist, I started writing and publishing about yoga culture in the US. It was thrilling to see my byline in the New York Times, TimeOut New York, Yoga Journal and more. 


Transitioning into Developmental Editing and Book Coaching

My journey took an interesting turn when I left publishing. After almost a decade in-house as a developmental editor, I began to realize that people needed a different kind of guidance and support to bridge the gap between their dream of being an author and actually publishing a book. This led me into book coaching.

As a book coach, I provide more than just editing. It’s actually a great blend of my skills and experience. I not only evaluate and help improve their work, I also help clients with mindset and expectations. I work with clients at various stages of the writing process, from those who have completed manuscripts to those who are just starting with an idea.


Addressing Mindset Challenges

One of the key aspects Paul and I discussed on the podcast was the importance of addressing mindset challenges such as fear and perfectionism. Too often, these sneak up and block writers’ progress. Many of my clients come into the book writing process with excitement and high expectations of success. Then, when they really start to take the necessary steps, they can experience a crash as their inner resistance kicks in and tells them all kinds of stories about how they are not going to succeed. Or about how they should not express their ideas or stories.


Overcoming Resistance

Some common manifestations of resistance in my clients are feeling behind, or like it’s too late to start, or that no one wants to hear from them, or that their ideas are not interesting.

My background as a yoga instructor (and let’s face it, a yogi and meditator) helps me guide clients through these challenges. It’s not easy! But by slowing down, helping them to witnessing their thoughts and feelings, and bringing in somatic practices like movement, color, and sound, I help people become aware of these hidden internal beliefs. Then they can move out of the critical freeze or fight-or-flight response and gain a fresh perspective. This shadow work can be very eye-opening.


The Importance of Platform and Marketing in Publishing

My conversation with Paul in this episode also touched on the importance of platform and marketing in the publishing industry. Regardless of the publishing avenue they choose, authors need to consider how to get their books into the hands of readers. Very often new, enthusiastic writers haven’t quite registered this. 

While some writers may initially resist the idea of strategizing and promoting themselves or their work, in today’s publishing landscape, having a presence is essential. Many fear having to be big on social media– like Instagram or TikTok. However, “platform” goes beyond social media. Publishers know that social media metrics don’t necessarily translate into book sales. So it’s helpful to think about presence and marketing more broadly and more sustainably.


Observations on the Changes in the Publishing Industry

Around 15 to 20 years ago, “platform” became a crucial element that publishers were looking for in authors, especially authors of non-fiction (memoir has a little more leeway). The publishing industry is currently at a tipping point due to factors set in motion by the COVID-19 pandemic, the mergers of big publishers, and the pressure on those big publishing houses to secure bestsellers to meet their bottom lines.

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