“I couldn’t have done it without Vicky’s support.”
I think like a lot of people, I’d always known I had a book inside me somewhere; I just never really knew what it would be about, when I’d write it, or even if I ever would.
I think many people go through phases of saying they’d like to write a book, or do something else significant. And then one day you just do it.
I think the catalyst was the COVID-19 pandemic. I wouldn’t say lockdown increased my time because I was still very busy, but it did allow me to refocus and think differently about what I was doing and where I was heading.
I had a conversation with my mentor, who talks a lot about writing a book to elevate your status within the community and show your expertise. I came away from that call motivated to write my book. And that night I wrote 1,000 words—which was the start of a steep decline into oblivion.
“I quickly realised I had no structure—I was writing without much direction”
I think I probably did about three weeks of writing on my own. And I quickly realised that I was just writing. I didn’t really have a structure. I didn’t really have a direction. I wasn’t really clear on what I was trying to do or exactly why I was trying to do it—or what the key message was.
I’d already had a conversation with Vicky some months previously because I’d recognised how a book could be helpful in my industry. But at the time, writing it wasn’t right for me. I didn’t feel I had the book ready. It wasn’t ready to come out of me.
So I had another conversation with Vicky to see how she could help and quickly realised I needed that external voice to cajole me, to encourage me, to give me feedback—positive and negative—and to help me get clarity in my own mind on the book’s structure, message, and direction. That was invaluable because I think without it, I would have done a lot of floundering around, flapping like a fish out of water.
I might’ve got there on my own, but it would have been a lot harder than it needed to be. Vicky prevented a lot of that flapping and gave me a lot of clarity, a lot of direction, and some fantastic feedback.
“Writing doesn’t come naturally to me.”
Vicky’s coaching was exceedingly helpful. Just having that voice of reason once a week to ground you, to feed back on what is often quite rough-and-ready draft prose, and to be able to say, “Yeah, it’s a bit rough and ready, but you know, the message is in there. It’s a really clear message.”
There were some tweaks, of course there were. But to know that actually the book’s heading in a really clear direction, and it’s going to make a big difference to readers’ lives, is fantastic. It really helped me keep going.
That sort of encouragement, I think, is really important because it is a long, hard slog writing a book, unless you’re Stephen King. Which I’m not.
Writing doesn’t come naturally to me. I’m a maths person, I’m a financial advisor, I don’t write. I do sums. So for me, turning my hand to the English language has been quite challenging.
But working with Vicky gave me A) the confidence to do that and B) the positive encouragement and constructive feedback to grow the book into something that is far more valuable than it would have been had I done it on my own.
It’s having somebody to talk to, an external voice, which is the most valuable part of the experience. Plus, setting aside the actual writing bit, publishing a book is not a simple task. There’s a whole raft of complexity around ISBNs and barcodes and KDP and Amazon. I just thought I could go and figure it out—but it would have taken me forever and really stressed me out.
All I had to do was say, “Vicky, how do I do that?” And the answer would be there. It made my life so much easier, which meant I could do what I do best: which is numbers and looking after my clients. While I let Vicky do the stuff she does best, which is showing me how to turn my rubbish words into really clear coherent prose.
[Vicky’s note: they weren’t rubbish words at all. Nick, like everyone I’ve worked with, is a much better writer than he thinks he is.]
“Little things had a big impact”
The value came from the ongoing accountability, and not just the weekly call. I found it extremely valuable to have direct access via Voxer for a quick question. I could send Vicky a message saying something like, “I’m really not quite getting it today”, or “it’s not flowing today” and getting back, “That’s fine, just leave it, come back to it tomorrow” or “Come on, you know you can do this. Here’s a couple of ideas to get you moving.”
They are only little things, but actually they had a big impact on my experience. She uses Google Drive, which was also very helpful because I could get almost instant feedback on things that were playing on my mind about what I was writing, or how I was writing, or what I was doing, without always having to wait until the following week’s call.
That consistency of a call every week, at the same time in which we were talking about the book, considering its context, continuing to drive it forward, was so powerful. I was watching that word count tick up—and it does: it ticks and it ticks and it ticks and you start off at one word and before you know, it you’re at 60,000 words.
It’s a long, long journey, but I couldn’t have done it without Vicky’s support.
An unexpected by-product
I think one of the things that is an unexpected by-product, is I have a new friend. Vicky’s a lovely lady. She’s really easy to talk to. She’s funny and engaging, and that just makes the whole experience so much easier.
To be able to build a relationship with someone who I’d happily go out for lunch or dinner with makes a big difference. I think that’s a really important part of what’s quite a significant chunk of my life: six months of dedicated, hard work. To share that experience with somebody who knows and understands what it’s like, because she’s written books herself, and really empathises with that experience, is crucial.
And of course there’s knowledge and experience: she knows what she’s talking about and is a leader in her field. So, without doubt she was the right person to choose.
Trying to write a book is not an easy task. I know lots of people do it on their own and I’m sure some of them are very successful, they’re able to write a book and it’s good quality, but for me good wasn’t enough. It’s got to be really high quality, and I think the coaching Vicky provides was able to elevate my book from 60 or 70% good to 90, 95, 100% good. It would have been a real struggle to achieve that level of quality without support.
I would absolutely recommend Vicky.
“She’s provided exquisite support”
Vicky’s support has been consistent. It’s been appropriate. It’s been amusing, engaging, empathetic, knowledgeable. She’s been there for me at the times where I’ve struggled because I remember sending her notes saying my head feels like it’s about to explode. I can’t do this. I’m really struggling—and she’s come straight back with stuff and really helped.
You don’t get that sort of value and support on your own. And you don’t get it from many other coaches. So for me, Vicky is the person to choose—and it comes at a price. But you have to think: you’re writing your book for a purpose. I’m in business and part of the purpose is to help create profit. So writing my book was an investment in my business.
I would absolutely recommend Vicky because I think without her, your book will be a lesser book. I think she’s fabulous.