I was privileged to spend last week in a writing retreat in the southwestern France in Fauroux in the wonderful, cozy resort The Happy Hamlet. The coach was a distinguished author of many books and plays in Finnish, Katja Kallio. We were eight participants and received group and private coaching.
The other participants were much more experienced writers than I am. That does not require much as I have not really written before, aside these and some other blogs. But the other participants had already written a lot and some of them had already published a book or had a publisher for their upcoming book. They’d been in many writing courses before and had read several guide books about writing. I had not. And I knew it beforehand. So for me this and the whole idea of writing a novel or short stories was very exciting and interesting. It was again a jump into a cold water as was also my jump almost six years ago from the Executive Teams of large corporations into coaching and sole entrepreneurship.
Trusting the inner voice
But an inner voice told me to look into this and as soon as I arrived I knew I was in the right place with the right kind of people. I have always loved reading novels, ever since I learned to read so that helps. Writing usually means a lot of reading, too. So I just started writing, got great inspiring feedback and I have a list of new books to read. I love it!
Novels, by the way (as I’ve written also before), teach you a lot about human nature. They take you into the head of the various characters of the book and make you understand or question their behaviour. All that comes from the observations by the author, and the many other authors that the writer has read. In this era, where good leaders are, thankfully, seen to possess self-awareness, ability to relationship building and presence for the others, what could be a better way to expand your understanding on human behaviour.
The Common Base for Writing and Leading
As a Director and a Leadership Coach with a Business Coaching Certificate I found a common base in Katja’s coaching on writing and my leadership coaching. Instead of theories of writing, she emphasized the listening of ourselves, having a dialogue with ourselves and the book, believing in our intuition and, oh yes, asking the big question “why” which is so important also in the dialogues with team members, colleagues and in self-leadership. Why is something that is mentioned important?
Whether in a book or in a dialogue, the things you assume to be too small or irrelevant may be presented too quickly and leave the matter with too little attention. As a leader and a writer, be present, ask questions and listen actively. Ask the other and yourself the question why. Because the small details may be the big things that enlighten the matter and help you forward.
Self-Leadership in Writing and Other Work
In writing and also in leadership and any independent work really, especially remote work, focus on self-leadership helps produce results. Understanding the meaning of your work and keeping a balance of work and free time will give you strenght and motivation. Deciding the targets and the work hours and also realizing when you’re at your best for the job (in the morning or afternoon?) will increase your creativity and productivity. And as well as in e.g. remote work, in writing you can have your own rituals (e.g. reading, having a cup of tea or having a walk outside) that will help you to transfer from your free time to work and vice versa and to obtain the right state of mind.
Happy writing whether it is a work report, blog, social media post, nonfiction book or a novel you are working on!