Monday, 11 May 2015

MAY GUEST BLOGGER: Writing Coach Bekki Hill

As both a writer and a creativity coach for writers, Bekki Hill's first message for her guest blog with KTWs is that… 

Writing can be a slow and frustrating business. 

Have you ever told anyone that you write, to met by the question:

‘So you’re going to write the next 50 Shades of Grey?’


‘So you’re going to be the next J K Rowling?’

Or something similar.

Coach Yourself to Writing Success
 by Bekki Hill
Such encounters can needle away at our confidence. Even friends and family can erode self-assurance by asking too frequently if we’re published yet or if we’re still writing that book. Few books make it big. However, if you're responding to such ill-thought out comments by explaining that you’re pre-published, that you publish short pieces, you can be left feeling pretty flat. 

In reality, unless we’re fortunate to be truly gifted or lucky enough to hit on a bandwagon that doesn’t ask us to write competently, we writers need to spend years developing our skills. Furthermore, in a tough market, even the most brilliant prose can fail to make it through acquisition. Even once we’re published, we have to keep proving ourselves over and over again. On top of that, the whole publishing process can be a very very slow. Meantime the idea that we write, therefore we must have written something everyone has heard of, and/or are being frequently published, penetrates our earshot far too often. Worse still repeated, well-meant, enquiries from family and friends can unintentionally suggest we must be slow or stupid or both. 

If you’re frustrated by the speed at which the writing business moves, doubting yourself because others don’t understand, or becoming increasing shy about admitting you write, here’s a few things you can do to help:

  1. Start by identifying what you want to achieve in the short as well as the longer term. That way you can manage both your own and others expectations more effectively.
  2. Tame others expectations by being more detailed about what you do. For example instead of saying you write, say you have an interest in a particular area and write articles about it, or if you want to write for children, say you’re learning about writing for children. If you’re not aiming for publication consider why you write so you can help others understand you’re not interested in publication.
  3. Don’t try to do too much too soon - you’ll eventually lose faith without any help. That doesn’t mean you can’t reach for the stars, just make sure at each step you’re being realistic.
  4. Remind yourself that your writing is strong or improving by collect things such as positive rejections, competition wins or good feedback from tutors.   
  5. If you’re not ready to be published and others make you feel negative about it, remind yourself that just because you can type it doesn’t mean you’re ready for publication - just as people who can pick up a tennis racket aren’t ready to play at Wimbledon and not everyone who knows how to use a scalpel can perform brain surgery.
NLP for Writers
by Bekki Hill
One of the best ways to build self-belief in your writing is to spend time with other writers who are in a similar position to you. They can help you feel less isolated and recognise you’re not the only one who other people expect to write a bestseller in the blink of an eye. They can also provide support when your work is rejected and help celebrate when you do well. Their future successes will also underline that it’s possible for you too to achieve your goals.

Seek out communities that have writers of your level and/or share your interests. Organisations such as the Romantic Novelist Association and The Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators accept both published and unpublished writers and have both physical and virtual gatherings. Writers’ conferences are also good places to meet new writers as well as hear seasoned writers talks about how they overcame  rejection and confidence dips. Also seek out bloggers who are supportive and/or that you feel attuned with.

Above all be proud of what you achieve, don’t knock yourself for what you haven’t done yet and keep on learning and growing until you succeed.

Bekki has written features and short stories for many publications. She holds an MA in writing for children, has written part of an MA in screenwriting and is the author of three books including NLP for Writers and Coach Yourself to Writing Success. 

You can read Bekki's regular posts at her blog; http://www.thecreativitycauldron

 Links for RNA and SCBWI


  1. Thanks for sharing such practical tips.

    1. Thanks for your comment. Glad you've found the piece useful.

  2. Great tips. Thanks for the information.

  3. Excellent advice.

    Creativity seems to go alongside rejection negativity and roadblocks. You are right about our family and well meaning friends, because these well intentioned comments sting more than any rejection from a stranger.

    What ever your expression, be it writing, or painting or singing, I believe it is something that needs to see the light.

    Like a deep spring, it will surface somehow and the more resistance (usually fear driven) we have - to go out and expose it to the world, or our families, or on a blog anonymously, the more we will feel the labour pains of our creativity.

    I belive to be anything, writer, artist or poet, we just have to do it.

    Once we have given birth to our 'baby' be that a book or painting, we become artists.

    The world's reaction, rejection or such, cannot take that away from us.

  4. Thank you for all your comments. Roadblocks is a good metaphore, Susanna, for all we writers have to go through. No nice grants from friendly arts councils; no chance to just 'show' someone your work as, say, a photographer might.
    And, yes, once we've produced our writing work of art, no rejection can take away that success.
    Nina Milton