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07 December 2016

Tick, Tock...Time Is Running Out | IWSG



The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) is a place to share and encourage, where writers can express their doubts and concerns without appearing foolish or weak. It's a great place to mingle with like minded people each month during IWSG day.

Every month there is a question which may prompt folks to share advice, insights, a personal experience or story. Some folks answer the question in their IWSG blog post or let it inspire them if they're struggling with what to say.

This month's question prompt is:

"In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now, and what’s your plan to get there?"

Check out how people have answered this month's question, as well as the other insecurities and writing topics they may have shared by visiting the IWSG sign-up list here. If you want to know how I answered the question, have a read below.

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When I read this month's question all I could think of was that five years from now I'm going to have a lot more gray hair and way too many wrinkles. I'm not getting any younger. Time is running out. I probably should have started this whole writing thing a lot earlier in life. {Sigh}

It was all kind of depressing so I decided my best course of action was to ignore the question. Not to brag or anything, but I'm a real pro when it comes to procrastinating difficult and unpleasant tasks. Instead, I turned my attention to searching for that bag of emergency cookies I stashed someplace.

While I was digging through the cupboards, I felt someone tapping on my shoulder. I screamed and jumped back, bumping my head on the cupboard door.

"Well, hello there! I'm Esme, your personal life coach," a woman said brightly as she sat down on the settee. "I'm here to help you work through this month's IWSG question."

"My personal life coach," I spluttered as I put the bag of cookies on the table. "How did you get in here?"

"Never mind that," Esme said. "We're here to talk about you, not me. Do you know what a personal life coach is?"

"Of course I do," I snapped as I rubbed the lump on my forehead. "I used to do career and development coaching as part of my job. I even went on a week-long course in Sydney to become an ICF credentialed coach."

"Oh good, then you know how this works," she said. "Let's start with some questions using the GROW model. You know - G is for Goals, R is for Reality or your current situation, O is for Options or how you can achieve your goals and W is for Will or what you're going to do and by when."

I folded my arms and glared at her, but she didn't seem to get the hint that I wasn't interested in a coaching session.

"Can you pass me those cookies?" she said as she settled back into the settee. "So, what do you want to achieve in the next five years in terms of your writing?"

"I know what you're doing. You're going to ask me a bunch of open ended questions and try to get me to increase my awareness of the situation and identify my desired outcomes," I said. "It won't work. I'm on to you and your coaching Jedi mind tricks."

Esme just smiled at me and ate another cookie. At the rate she was going through the cookies, there weren't going to be any left for me.

"Fine," I said as the silence grew uncomfortable. I tried to grab the bag of cookies from her, but she was too quick for me. "If I answer your question, will you leave me alone?"

She countered with another question. "If you were in my shoes as a coach, what would you do in this situation?"

I hated to admit it, but it was a good question. "I guess I'd try to get my client to understand why they're resistant to being coached."

She handed me a cookie and didn't say a word. More uncomfortable silence. I shifted around in my seat and after a few minutes said, "I guess I don't like answering questions about goal setting because I might not achieve them."

She handed me another cookie. I was beginning to think my middle name should be Pavlov. "Okay, fine, I give up," I said. "In five years, I'd like to have finished and published the murder mystery I'm working on."

"And...," Esme prompted.

"Isn't that enough to accomplish in five years?" I said, noting that she hadn't offered another cookie.

"What do you think? Is that enough?"

"All right, I could aim higher. Maybe I could also write and publish the second book in my mystery series." I really wanted another cookie so I continued. "I suppose I could also turn my short story into a novel and try to get a couple of other sci-fi/fantasy short stories published," I said as I held out my hand for another cookie.

"Looks like our time is up and there aren't any more cookies left. We'll have to tackle the other parts of the GROW model another time," she said as she passed me the empty bag. "One last question. What specific actions are you going to take between now and our next coaching session?"

"Buy more cookies," I said.

****

In all seriousness, this isn't really how coaching sessions should work, although having plenty of cookies at hand isn't a bad idea. The GROW model is a simple and well-established coaching model (there are lots of other good models out there too). If you're interested in finding out more about it to help with your own goal setting, you can find information here and here.

What are your goals five years from now? Have you ever had worked with a personal life or performance coach?

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68 comments:

  1. Love your posts!
    And so spot on with the trying to wriggle out of giving a straight answer (guilty)

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    1. I am the master of changing the subject or distracting people when they ask me difficult questions. :-)

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  2. Such a good way to tackle the question! Buy more cookies did it for me.

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    1. You can never have too many cookies, especially McVitie's plain chocolate digestives.

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  3. You're super clever with answering these questions.

    "Buy more cookies." I laughed at that.

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  4. I completely agree--I should've started this writing thing way sooner! And I agree with more cookies. Starts baking. Yum! Thanks for stopping by:)

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    1. That's the thing about getting older - you look back and realize that there are so many things you should have started when you were younger.

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  5. LOL I think I need a personal life coach too. How do you get one to just appear in your house?

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    1. I need to start locking the door. Annoying people, like life coaches, keep popping in unannounced. :-)

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  6. Sounds like a great counseling session. I know I'd keep coming back for more! Great advice with the GROW model. Happy writing and goal setting in 2017.
    Now, I'm going to bake some cookies and plot my next play, maybe set in a kitchen and/or counseling office.
    Thanks for the nice comment on my blog. Here's to reviewing Hamilton!
    Mary at Play off the Page

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    1. How about setting your next play in a bakery and then the cast could hand out cookies to the audience at the end? I'd go see that.

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  7. I think we should all eat a few cookies then get back to writing. :)

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  8. Well this was an entertaining look at coaching. Love the GROW model. That would work for everything.

    More cookies is key in my view.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. Thanks Sandee - I'm glad you liked it. :-)

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  9. Hilarious! Yes, you'll need more cookies. Ask her if she can find that spider next time as well.

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    1. How funny that you remembered the spider. I haven't seen it in a long time, which kind of worries me. Where is it hiding?

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  10. "Coaching Jedi mind tricks"...mwahahahaha! So true!

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    1. I think they offer special advance coaching training on Jedi mind tricks. I should probably sign up.

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  11. I am liking the GROW model! I had such a hard time answering this question because I want to do so much but I really have to narrow it down.
    Have a wonderful holiday season!

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    1. I had a hard time answering the question too, but I thought it was a good one to think through for this month so that I can try to stretch myself with my writing.

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  12. Tis the season to eat cookies. Now I'm hungry for something fresh warm and sweet.

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    1. I have a feeling a lot of people who read this blog post are going to be craving cookies now.

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  13. Ha! I once set goals that seemed very similar to your GROW model. It's one of the things that shows me how delusional I actually was three years ago to think they were obtainable. Bah. Oh well. I learned my lesson. No goals for this squirrel. I might be uncoachable.

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    1. Goals definitely need to be realistic or else you'll feel like a complete failure when you don't achieve them. I can relate - I've been there and done that many a time.

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  14. I dunno, if a stranger showed up in my house trying to coach me I would probably punch them in the nose.

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    1. You just made me laugh out loud :-) Esme was just too quick and wily for me. It was easier just to comply.

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  15. I've been letting your blog post marinade for a couple of hours, thinking about the importance of long-term goals and how I've grown slack in that department because of this ever-changing lifestyle. Perhaps it's time for a change . . . or some cookies!

    Stephanie @ SV CAMBRIA

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    1. That's so true what you say about this lifestyle. It's hard to plan when you don't know where you'll be next or what you'll be doing.

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  16. Not to brag or anything, but I'm a real pro when it comes to procrastinating difficult and unpleasant tasks. ---this made me laugh so hard! But I can totally relate. Love your post! I think next time your coach should be the one to bring the cookies if she's going to eat most of them. LOL Good luck with your reluctant 5 year plan. With Esme on you, I'm sure you'll get there. :)

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    1. Esme is not allowed back unless she brings cookies, that's for sure. Glad I was able to give you a good laugh. :-)

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  17. It's funny--these questions originated as a prompt for people who didn't know what to write about for IWSG, and now I think most people feel they have to answer them. But your post was an extremely entertaining way of illustrating that. :)

    I guess our posts kind of collided this month--hope I didn't offend you! But yes, I have had life/business coaches. Two of them. Neither did much for me, except encourage me to do more self-reflection. But it was really expensive. The danger now is that anyone can call themselves a coach, and so many do, after taking one course (or not even bothering to do that). And they're not cheap. One of my coaches has gone on to sell makeup--not sure what the other is doing.

    I think a good alternative is coaching yourself, as you suggested. Happy holidays, Ellen! What I'd love to know is how you celebrate the holidays on your boat.

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    1. Offend me - not at all! You raise some really good points about coaches: (1) they're not for everyone and (2) you have to pick a coach very carefully. They're are too many people out there claiming to be a coach who haven't had proper training, haven't logged a certain number of hours of coaching under supervision, who don't adhere to a code of ethics or who delve into areas that they're not competent to deal with and should be left to a mental health specialist. They give proper coaches a bad name and even worse some of those unqualified and incompetent people can do harm to their clients. If someone thinks coaching might be for them, they need to research carefully and make sure it's really the right solution for them and that they're working with someone who has proper credentials. Anyway, rant over :-)

      Now on to more fun stuff - holidays on our boat. We never were big ones for celebrating the holidays on land, so we don't do too much on our boat. We'll go to the Christmas lunch that the marina is putting on and we'll have our traditional Christmas curry the next day (Boxing Day) while we watch Monty Python's Life of Brian. I know people that do decorate their boats and they're really clever with using ornaments and decorations to bring a festive spirit to a small space. I hope your holidays are wonderful and that the New Year brings you much joy and happiness.



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  18. "Not to brag or anything, but I'm a real pro when it comes to procrastinating difficult and unpleasant tasks." <---LOVE.

    I'm cool with a life coach, but they had better bring their own cookies.

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    1. Definitely, coaches should come equipped with cookies :-)

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  19. GROW is a good model, but not nearly as entertaining as what you just wrote. LOL

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  20. I enjoyed reading this. Brag away at procrastinating. :) I can be really good at it, too.

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    1. Procrastination is definitely a skill one should be proud of :-) It takes years of practice to attain my level of mastery of it.

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  21. Loved that - even though I was eating cookies and getting nowhere. Great way to answer the question and more entertaining than a straight answer.

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  22. Wonderful interview with your life coach - and funny, too. :) I procrastinate housework professionally - well, okay, unprofessionally.
    Best wishes on all of your writing, with goals or without.

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    1. Procrastinating housework is one of my specialties too. There's always something more interesting to to.

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  23. Ellen, you are so amazing with these short stories and IWSG questions. Very creative and a joy to read! Five year goals aren't my thing. We need to live more in the here and now, and all I can say is that I hope to keep writing and get that memoir written and published as soon as possible!

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    1. How funny that you call them short stories - I never thought of these random brain dumps as stories.

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  24. Well...now I want cookies. Food is a good incentive. Especially food full of sugar. That's why I get a milkshake when I finish the first draft of a novel. Fun way to answer the question!

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  25. Every time I start to obsess about how many decades it took me to start writing fiction, I think about all the experiences I've packed into my <> years, and the insight it has helped me gain (not to mention the children I raised).

    Hopefully there are still many decades left to write and I don't regret my previous choices at all. :-)

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    1. That's a great way to think about it - while I've not always been writing, I've been racking up experiences to write about.

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  26. I know what I need to do to get where I want to be. It's a matter of putting my butt in chair and keeping it there. And less cookies so the butt fits in the chair.

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    1. That's the thing I struggle with - sitting down and just writing. Once I get into the groove, it's generally good, but I tend to get distracted a lot before I get to that point.

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  27. Maybe you hit your head a bit too hard on that cupboard door. ;) It sounds like a good plan, especially about buying more cookies. :)

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    1. Yes, that's true, it could have all been a hallucination. Except that doesn't explain who ate all of my cookies :-)

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  28. Time is running out (no matter our age). And it's one of the many unnecessary pressures we put on ourselves. I'm quite familiar with that particular one ;)
    I love your life coach... and cookies... Now, where did I stash mine?

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    1. That's true - it really is an unnecessary pressure.

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  29. I love the way you answered this question :) I felt the same way about answering it, thinking I don't have any goals for my writing. But after (finally) sitting down to write my post, I realized I do have goals, I just need to break them down into obtainable chunks.

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    1. That's the key - breaking your goals into manageable chunks. Otherwise it can all seem overwhelming.

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  30. In a way, it's a good thing you ran out of cookies. Imagine how many books and stories you'd have to write in the next five years if there were more!

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  31. Your posts are so funny. Love how you sneak in the answer (non-answer) to the question. Best wishes.

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and your family.

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  32. LOL. Now I'm hungry for cookies. Also, I just want to state that I do not believe that actually happened and I'm pretty sure you made that story up. I'm smart like that. ;-) Good luck with your writing. Apparently, you know how to tell a really good story!

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    1. Sometimes it's hard for me to tell what actually happened in real life vs. in my head :-)

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  33. I haven't been to your site in about 6 months or so and this is the 3rd entry I've read in a row just now. I simply cannot resist the compulsion to comment and commenting is not my style. All that is said to somehow articulate that I really mean this: You're writing has grown leaps and bounds in both topic and delivery. Great job and keep up the fantastic work! Not that I'm anyone of significance to judge, just an everyday average Joe.
    Looking forward to reading more, thanks for sharing your life with all of us.

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words!! You've made my day :-) You have no idea how encouraging it is to get feedback like this. Thanks so much!

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  34. I had some really, really good cookies in NYC. You should be envious. Also, I love, love, love your IWSG posts. Just thought you should know.

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    1. I am very envious and jealous and all sort of other coveting sorts of emotions :-) Thanks for your sweet feedback on my IWSG posts - it means a lot!

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