An increasing number of life coaches, motivational speakers and healers are writing books. The process, though, is much more than a marketing tool. Writing is as much about honing your purpose and healing yourself as it is about attracting clients.
Let’s first look at the practical marketing benefits coaches and others have when they publish a book. Entrepreneur.com did a good job of describing these in a 2015 article.
- It establishes expertise.
- It sets you apart.
- It can open doors.
- It can bring new business.
- It’s a marketing tool.
The benefits for our businesses of having a book to sell to potential clients are obvious, but what of the hidden benefits to our soul, emotions and personal development as writers?
As a book coach to hundreds of people worldwide, and a writing teacher to thousands for the past two decades, I’ve helped dozens of coaches and healers write their books. What surprises many is how healing the process is. Most come to me after years of receiving their own healing, after decades of self development. I tell them that the process of writing the book will draw up old wounds, and they need to be ready for that. They almost always say to me, “No, I’m good. I’ve been doing my own healing for decades.” Some are even therapists themselves. Famous last words!
Every single time I work with a client, they are hit by the intensity of the writing process. They had absolutely no idea they still had so much to heal.
What they don’t understand is that writing isn’t just about revisiting old wounds. It’s about revisiting these tender places once for rough draft, twice for revision, three times for editing, and then a dozen more times for book readings post-publication. I have never had a client NOT be thrown deeply by the writing of their story. We are not just telling our truths, we are turning our lives into legend and poetry. It’s epic. It’s transformative. I promise you, you will not be the same person coming out of the book writing process that you were going in.
“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” – Haruki Murakami
Most coaches and motivational speakers enter the process to get the word out about their services, and to speak to the soul of the people they’re trying to attract. Yes, this does happen, but seemingly only as a secondary effect. The first, and most profound result of writing the book is that the process “rights” the writer, aligning them more fully with their own process of healing, aligning them more closely with their authentic selves.
Let me give you an example. I’d been a coach and healer for years when I wrote my first semi-autobiographical novel, Earth. I wrote about my childhood in rural America, about butchering animals, about growing our own food. And I wrote about my deep mystical connection and love for the land. The level of healing was unexpected. After I’d finished, my food issues healed. I didn’t even know I had issues with food until they healed. I also found myself leaving behind city life and moving back to the earth. I left the rural Midwest as soon as I could to live abroad in cities like Tokyo and London, and in Boston and Seattle in the States. It seems obvious after finishing a book with a title like Earth, that I’d find myself on 80 acres in rural Oregon after it was all said and done. But it wasn’t obvious to me when I was doing the writing. I had no idea that being close to Mother Nature was what I wanted more than (the very real benefits) of city living.
Here’s another example. So many of my characters in Earth and the second novel, Air, seemed to be visual artists. I didn’t mean for that to happen, the characters appeared and demanded to paint canvases, and play out unexpected roles in the plot. Somewhere along the way in my life, I’d forgotten my love for drawing and painting. This passion and desire for the arts found a voice in my characters. Through the writing of my books, I re-integrated my little girl artist, and today have a yurt art studio in the woods, sell my artwork, and have been part of art shows on both coasts. More than anything else I do in my life, art is my “bliss”. Writing the books helped me find my truest and most authentic voice. And all of this was a complete surprise to me, even though I’d done years of therapy, decades of spiritual work, and I’d worked as a guide and healer to others.
While you may write your book as a marketing tool, the book itself will have a few surprises for you and your path. Open to the transformational power of telling your story, and watch your life blossom in unexpected ways.