Helping the Chronically Overworked Find Life Balance

Wear Two Hats as a Writer and Be Happy

Untitled by Demi-Brooke Photography via Flickr CC

A guest post by Teresa LeYung-Ryan.

I met Coach Teresa at the San Francisco Writers Conference in the session “Writing a Tagline That Will Sell You and Your Book that she co-taught with Elisa Sasa Southard.  After talking with Coach T, I have come to believe that everyone should have a personal tag line, but more importantly, everyone should know and appreciate who they are.  As part of her guest post, Coach T will share some of her tools to help you sort that out.

Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan here.  Who do I coach?  Writers.  I help clients polish their manuscripts and map out their publishing journeys.

Teaching at San Francisco Writers Conference every year gives me the joy of seeing colleagues and meeting other fascinating writers, one of whom being Greg Marcus.  He hooked my attention with his mission statement: “I am a modern-day Abraham who smashes corporate idols and help the chronically overworked find a more fulfilling life.”

I checked out Greg’s  and his May 25, 2012 post Why Work More Than 50 Hours Per week? got me thinking about when I worked in a corporate setting 8:30am to 5:00pm.  Most days, by the time I “found” time to walk to the café for lunch it was already 3:00pm.  I reasoned with myself that by not taking a normal lunch break I didn’t have to wait in a long line to order my food.  Trouble was . . . the “daily special” was always sold out by the time I got there.  And, there was no one to talk to.  I was cheating myself.

Back at the office, I heard my coworkers say: “I didn’t even have time for lunch” or “I didn’t have time to use the toilet.”

That last statement really shocked me.

Depriving ourselves to that extent?  If we can’t take care of our basic needs, then how are we going to take care of our heart’s desires?

Fast forward . . .

“What is your heart’s desire?” is one of the initial questions I ask a new client.

Here’s a response I hear often. “I want to write a book,” says my client, “Trouble is finding the time to write. And the other obstacle . . . I hear that agents and publishers prefer to publish celebrities and best-selling authors, not unknowns.  Maybe I’ll self-publish, but, I’m so confused.”

This is what I say:  “I love helping writers reach out, not stress out.  Remember, in any story, the protagonist (main character) wants something, and the protagonist takes action to go after what he/she wants. You are the protagonist of your life.  If you want to be a happily published writer, you’re going to be wearing 2 hats  – one to work on the craft of writing, and the other to build your writer’s platform.  Polishing your craft gives you a quality product to sell. Identifying your platform gives you a chance to compete with more established authors and super famous people.  Be the protagonist.”

Unraveling the Mystery Of Platform

What is a platform?

Platform = “Making your name stand for something to attract targeted consumers who are likely to buy what you have to sell.”

What are you selling?  Your literary products.

Who are the “targeted” consumers?  People who buy literary products showcasing subjects they care about.

Making your name stand for something = making your name synonymous with the subject matters you write about (whether you’re writing fiction, narrative nonfiction or prescriptive nonfiction aka “how to” publications).

In other words, your platform is the equalizer that will let you overcome “rejections” from agents, publishers or the competition among authors.

First Step – Understand Your Values and Who You Are