Welcome back to another guest post for May Collaborations. I am absolutely thrilled to be introducing Jan to my blog, and even more excited to have her guest posting on my blog. So without further ado I am handing it over to her!
Thanks to Rhianne for this opportunity to guest post on her fabulous site! I’m looking forward to reading the other posts as much as I enjoyed contributing this one.
Guest blog written by Jan L. Bowen, author of It’s Not That Complicated: How to Create a Personalised Template of Alignment. Jan is a passionate Leadership and Life Balance Coach and public speaker who helps her clients align their lives so they find more joy and greater connection.
Writing relaxes and inspires me. I know myself to be a writer. It is part of my identity. Ever since I could first hold a pencil in my hand, I wrote. Sharing my writing, however, required me to overcome major doubts and achieve a depth of self-confidence I may not reached otherwise. Getting from the ease of drafting my thoughts beyond the paralysing thoughts of someone reading my writing required me to construct a new process I could trust.
For me to become secure to share my writing required me to be confident in my concepts. Until I shared them, they were safe. My purpose in writing is to express what is uniquely mine to express, and stimulate whatever it will in the reader. My hope is that what I write will encourage and inspire. But once I release the words, I have no control over them.
It took a significant change in my life for me to realise there was a benefit to publishing my work. I had considered writing an internal process — completely selfish, indulgent self-care. One year, though, I suddenly noticed a pattern of other people repeating my words — often in print, to great acclaim. Even when I didn’t see my words published, I would hear my concepts repeated verbatim but passed off as someone else’s idea.
As a Leadership and Life Balance Coach and Public Speaker, integrity and living authentically are integral to me. The peace found from writing — gone. But I quickly realised I had only myself to blame. If I freely shared my ideas but wasn’t willing to publish them, who lacked integrity? I pointed the finger at myself. And got busy submitting.
My morning writing continued unfazed and remains the most calming part of my writing process. The missing elements were to somehow organise the pieces into cohesive articles.
These are the steps of my process now:
1. Begin with free-form writing (my morning writing)
2. Create a title as a theme to clarify thoughts
3. Develop an outline
4. Connect morning narrative to outline
This is where I also check if I need to include any research or links to outside resources.
5. Add information as needed
After cutting, pasting, and reviewing a few times, I see what information is missing, and add what’s needed.
Check spelling, test word usage, punctuation, grammar, etc. Add SEO, and if a picture is needed, find a picture and apply a tag to it.
Many excellent websites exist for the benefit of helping writers, bloggers, and other business people like this one. Oh, if I’d only known to look for them years ago. Three particularly resource-rich sites are olyvia.co, byregina.com and julieharrisdesign.com.
The more I published, the easier it became. While I expected readers would be important to me, because that is what I feared most, I’ve discovered other aspects of this world far beyond what I imagined.
Beyond the Readers
Writing for others required me to learn new skills and a new language. I could no longer ignore “Search engine optimisation, tags, alt tags, or Google analytics”, and pretend I was responsibly publishing my work. Learning enough about each topic brought me into workshops and introduced me to new people, many more wonderful contacts who enrich my life.
Technology still retains the capability to confuse me, but also to astound me with the power of its humanity. Through science we are able to personally connect in ways that previously didn’t exist. That is a gift my writing created in a way none of my other work did because it required me to reach a new depth of bravery. Once I proved myself willing, it gave back far more than I paid.
My way through the process of internal writing to sharing was fine for me, and brought me to the wonderful place I am. Imagine, though, if I’d known of the many resources and groups that were just waiting. Oh, what a different path it would have been! Now I’m using what I’ve learned and am forging the next path of my writing chapter with tremendous enthusiasm. What about you? What is your writing path and process, and where will it take you next?