Welcome back to Alchemy for Authors!
In this solo episode I share a look at my day-job as a teacher and the lessons I’ve learnt that impact upon my writing life.
Some of the topics I discuss include:
- How writing Fan-Fiction can make you a better writer.
- How to move beyond just using the Hero’s Journey as a plotting device, but also how to use it to help guide you through the ups and downs of your author career.
- How to move past feeling that everything is about you!
- Why people pleasing can be a recipe for disaster if you want a successful writing career.
- Why being called consistent made me bawl like a baby.
- The habits you need to embrace to ensure the longevity of your author career.
Whatever your day-job, life situation, or the state of your author career, listen as I share my insights from the classroom to guide you towards making 2024 your best writing year yet!
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Find the full transcript of this episode below.
Episode 69: Lessons From The Classroom For Writers
Jo: Hello, my lovelies, welcome back to Episode 69 of Alchemy for Authors: Lessons From The Classroom For Writers. It is the 17th of December, 2023, as I am recording this, and we are only a couple of weeks away from a fresh new year and all the excitement and potential and possibilities that many of us often feel as we head into a new year and head into January. For me, this is always one of my favourite times of the year. It is summer here in New Zealand. I have just finished up at the day-job for the year, so I’ve got a little bit of a break now. All those things I have been putting off for months in my case, I’ve got the opportunity now to start to dive into some of those things, and that’s everything from getting out into the yard and doing some yard work, which is very much needed, to drafting out my next book, Hades’s Hex. That’s the second book in my paranormal cozy mystery series. And then I’ve just got like a million emails to catch up on and diving into some courses where I’m looking at things like maybe selling direct next year, and a whole lot of other things that I’ve really been neglecting over the craziness that has been maybe the last six months, to be honest. And, yeah, I love this time of year simply because I love the idea of closing out one year and starting fresh a new one and yeah. I know not everybody feels that way. But this is for me usually the time I start making new goals, rethinking my business plan. I quite often go back to Joanna Penn’s, Your Author Business course and book of hers that I think I have. And yeah, just reevaluating a lot. So I’ve got a lot kind of buzzing around in the back of my brain as to where I’m headed for next year. But I think I will save that topic of discussion for the 1st of January when a new episode of Alchemy for Authors is out.
Today, I want to talk about what’s been on top of my mind recently for me. Which is a combination of my day job and finishing up there for the year and having a bit of downtime, and how that relates to me being an author and a writer, and what lessons I’ve kind of learned that transfer over into that other domain. So as many of you probably know, cause I think I’ve spoken about it a little bit on this podcast, I have a full-time day-job outside of podcasting and writing and all the rest of it. And that is as a teacher. I have been teaching for nine years. So I’ve been in education for nine years here in New Zealand. Before teaching, I was volunteering in schools, to tutor literacy both here and in Canada. And yeah, so I’ve been in education for a little while. I love learning myself. So I have been to various universities and done various degrees and diplomas on a range of topics over my lifetime. So it was kind of a natural progression, I guess, for me to go into teaching. I came to a stage of my life where I’d had so many different jobs and was looking for something a little bit more stable that I could do the, I guess, that tick box thing of having a stable job and making a stable income and just settling down a little bit. And I really didn’t know how to go about doing that or what normal job would suit me. And so I was really looking for something that would marry my passion for learning and be creative enough that I wouldn’t get bored. Because with ADHD and my natural inclinations, I can get bored kind of easily. So I needed something that allowed for lots of variety and lots of creativity. I don’t like doing the same thing all the time. And so I somehow landed on being a teacher and I went to teaching college quite late in life, I guess. Not super late in life; I was in my early thirties, but I’d already done quite a few different professions and things before that.
And yeah, and I’ve been in the classroom teaching for nine years, and I’ve taught five-year-olds all the way to more recently 13-year-olds. And I definitely love teaching the older children for sure – the young teenagers. And next year it’s a little bit of a change for me. I’m still teaching in a full-time context, but I’m actually moving through to a high school level, at the same school I’m at at the moment, but through to teaching high school and being the English teacher specialist there. So that will be fun and a little bit of a new challenge.
I suspect there’s probably a few of you who are either in education yourselves or know people who are. It is not the profession often painted by the media at all. There’re quite a few differences to how we’re often portrayed, how our jobs are often portrayed in the media and that. It’s a pretty complex job where a teacher’s role encompasses lots of different aspects from pastoral care to almost being like a surrogate parent sometimes. And then of course, all the education, and sometimes too with different governments and that, we end up being a little bit of the ping pong ball being thrown around with new initiatives, and quite often we are also the scapegoat for lots of societal ills as well as it’s often portrayed in the media. So it’s got a lot of complexities to it. And I know a lot of people who are like, Oh yes, but you get so many weeks off for holidays and that. From my experience most teachers don’t really feel that way. We do tend to work a lot of our holidays, and it can take us a long time to unwind. The breaks that we get in between terms, or semesters, tend to be prepping and preparing for the next term or semester. And during term time, it is near impossible for most of us to even shut our brains off from what we’re doing in the classroom.
So for the last couple of weeks, it’s been pretty intense as I’ve wrapped up my class. I’ve literally had to pack up my class and bring a whole lot of things home. I don’t have a new class at this point to move into next year. It’s in the process of, we’re getting new buildings on site and all sorts. So, I will be incredibly busy end of January getting set up for my new students. But I’ve spent the last couple of weeks report writing, putting on assemblies and that in the evenings and that for my students and for their parents. And there’s been meetings, there’s been the usual Christmassy work do’s and secret Santa’s and everything that generally goes on in most workplaces around this time of year. And it is also been a little bit of an interesting time because although our school continues through to high school level, a lot of my students whom I’ve had for two years, they are heading off to different high schools. So it was the last time I was going to be seeing some of them. It was emotional for them. It was emotional for me. There were ups and downs with behaviour with some of the children and that as we come up to the end of a term, and there’s a tiredness and there’s, you know, those anxieties and excitement for what’s around the corner for them and everything like that. So it was a really interesting time. It is a little bit of a change for me because next year is the first year that I don’t have just one group of students that I’m teaching and guiding and all the rest of it. Being in high school, I’m obviously going to have a few different classes, mixed classes come and go. So it’s a little bit different and I’m expecting the relationships and that to be a little bit different too.
So with my day job very much on the brain for the last little while, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on the lessons that I’ve learned over the years through being an educator and how they relate to me also being a writer. Sometimes my day job and my writing complement each other. It can be a source of inspiration. It is a great source of financial stability with being able to pay for editing and covers and things like that, that my royalties don’t always allow me to do. But also, as you would have heard me talk about on this podcast, sometimes it is also in a little bit of conflict with my writing life as well, particularly in the sense of how much time it allows me outside of what is deemed normal working hours to focus on my writing. With teaching there isn’t really normal working hours. People like to think, well, you just teach from nine to three. And that’s not the case. We are usually there quite a bit early. There’re morning meetings, there’s afternoon meetings. There is planning usually often in our own time, planning, marking, parent conferences and meetings, and weekends also. We often pour a lot of our own time and a lot of our own money, if I’m completely honest, into being a teacher. And this on its own as a full-time job, you’ll hear probably from a lot of teachers and educators, that burnout is quite prominent in the profession. And then for myself, I’m fortunate in respect that I don’t have young children or anything. I can’t imagine how a lot of my colleagues manage to balance a full-on family life on top of being a teacher. But I do spend a lot of hours getting this podcast out, writing my books and trying to stay on top of things, which I do to differing degrees throughout the year. Sometimes I’m feeling like I’m on top of things and other times I’m just really not, as you would have noticed from the late release of my last podcast episode.
So in this episode, as I kind of go through some of the things that I have learned over my time teaching that relates to my writing life, at least, maybe there’s some tips in there for you as well. Do keep in mind that every teacher, every educator comes about teaching and their role in a school in very different ways. So my experience is likely going to be very different than other people’s experiences. How I interact and run my classroom is not necessarily how others do. So this is my own personal insight, I guess, and maybe there’s some lessons in here that will resonate with you and help you as you start to plan how you want your writing life and author business to look next year.
So here we go. They’re not really in any particular order, so I’m just gonna get on with it here.
First off, I highly recommend make writing fun. I know this is a bit of a cheesy kind of cliche, you know, whatever you’re doing, try and make it fun. But it really does carry weight. The moments where I’m having fun in the class, the moments where there’s humour and my students are laughing and we’re just coming at everything with that lightness, that kind of messiness, but just having fun and enjoying the moment, are really the times that the best learning happens, the best learning soaks in. And we get the best results out of whatever we’re trying to do. With writing, I have learned that too. If you’re not having fun, your writing can become quite stale, quite forced. Writer’s block is more likely going to kick in. It’s going to be a bit more of a hard slog. So always, whatever you’re bringing to whatever is in front of you, try and add an element of fun, because I promise you it will make everything so much easier and you will probably find that the end product is of a much higher quality. So having fun is really way up there with one of the things I most highly advocate for. Have fun.
Number two. Give yourself a reason to write. Now, not everyone’s going to agree with me with this. And sometimes you don’t need a reason to write, just write for the heck of it. And that is totally cool too. But I know in the classroom, we get better results when our students know the purpose behind what we’re doing, know what the learning intention is for the day. Or if there’s an assignment, they know what the expectations are, what the marking rubric’s going to be, anything like that. Having a reason and purpose behind what you do gives you a direction to head in and can stop some of the procrastination and flailing around wondering if you’re doing something right, and imposter syndrome and all the rest of it from kicking in.
Now, a lot of my students love to write whatever they want to when it comes to writing. I think that’s fantastic. But I always have a small number of students who like to be told explicitly what to write, otherwise they find it near impossible to get started. And this can carry over into our writing lives. If we’re just forcing ourself to sit down and write sometimes we can stall on getting any words on the paper. But if we’ve made it easier for ourselves by giving ourselves a purpose or a reason for doing what we’re doing, it can sometimes make things a little bit easier. So what that might be is if we’ve got a particular deadline, like for me early in the year, I needed to get a short story written for a particular anthology. It needed to have a particular theme to it. And so from there I was able to grab an idea from the ether and bring it down and then just start writing because I knew that it had a specific word count it needed to meet and specific parameters without being too detailed that it bogged me down and took away that creativity.
It could be that maybe writing is your main source of income, and so therefore you’ve got a reason and a purpose. So you might need to write 60, 000 words of a romantic comedy or whatever genre your book is, and you need to get it to the editor on this deadline or whatnot to get it published, to keep that income flowing.
Sometimes the instructions that I give my students in regards to their writing for those that need it, that need a reason or a purpose, it might just be that I set them a bit of a challenge in that they have to incorporate this object and this mood into their piece of writing. Sometimes I’ve made little challenges or games where we’ll do a writing sprint and they got five minutes and let’s see how many words they can write in five minutes. Or it might be that we’re doing a persuasive letter to try and encourage a member of the government to think differently about some law that they might be looking at implementing, or it might just be that I want to see their best paragraph that is focused on using the senses to show, not tell. It can be anything like that. So it could be really, really in depth or the purpose could be smaller with lots more room for creativity. But sometimes giving ourselves a sense of purpose or a reason for whatever project is before us, will make it easier to actually get started and get those words down.
Number three. Something else that I see in the classroom all the time and something that I’ve always implemented in the classroom is “Writing is not always writing”. And I remind my students of this all the time. The last class that I took on two years ago, when I mentioned, Oh, we’re going to be doing some writing, there was this general sense of, no, I don’t want to, kind of echo throughout the room when I brought it up. And so one of the first things I did was trick them into liking writing, and by doing that I was to take away the writing aspect of the writing. So we focused on playing games and a lot of verbal storytelling where we had little competitions and tried to outdo each other, some role play, different kind of ways to get the idea of story, to get the idea of plot embedded, and to get that sense of satisfaction that our words matter, before we actually moved it to the page. Writing isn’t always writing is an idea that I really strongly embody and I argue against others with.
So for me, writing is sometimes watching that movie or reading that book that is in a similar genre or might spark some inspiration for my own stories. Sometimes writing for me is listening to a playlist I’ve made for the book that I’m going to write. Sometimes it is just going for a walk somewhere that I’ve not been before and getting inspired by nature. Or for me, I often get my story ideas from settings, so going to different places, or it could be going to museums even. Just anything that kind of fills that creative well. But I think it is important that we give ourselves permission to know that for a lot of us, our writing process includes things that don’t directly look like writing. It could be researching, it could be plotting or planning, or like I said, it could look to anybody else or any family members that we’re not really doing a lot of anything, we’re just sitting on the sofa watching Netflix. And that is okay too. You know your process, or you’ll be working out your process, and just know that that is still valuable time that can count as part of your writing process.
Number four, and I’ve talked about this one a lot, but I think it is also important for us as writers to know that planning and plotting our stories looks different for everyone. There is no one way of doing this. I am a huge advocate of this in my day job, where as a teacher, there is an expectation that we plan our lessons. Where I get hung up, and I’ve been very, very fortunate but I’ve had leadership teams that haven’t been too stringent with this, but where I do get hung up is if there is an expectation that all of our planning looks the same. Some people are hardcore planners, they like everything written out, almost word for word scripted, how they might deliver a lesson. I have a colleague who has been in education for so long that they work so much better when they’re just working on the fly. They might’ve done a bit of research and just carried that knowledge in their head of the points they need to get across and how they’re going to deliver it, but there’s not a lot going on paper.
I’m a little bit of an in between person. My planning would be completely indecipherable to anybody who came into my classroom. If I have a reliever or somebody covering for me, I always have to script out a much more in-depth lesson plan for them, because there is just no way anybody would be able to put together my scribbles, and random post it notes, and packages of research and everything that I do that I call my lesson planning. My planning for lessons and what I’m teaching the class is quite a messy process. I like to do a lot of research first before I deliver a lesson, but I don’t like to completely bullet point or plot out how I’m going to deliver what I’m going to say. The times that I have done that and that has been the expectation, when I get in front of the class, my lesson delivery is really stale, and I think part of it is because I’m completely over it just by going through the process of planning a lesson in depth. I feel like I’ve already lived that lesson, delivered that lesson, that by then I’m kind of bored of it. So for me, having just enough to know that I’m getting what I need to across to the students that they’re going to be learning what they need to learn, and the learning intentions and everything will be met. That is what I need. Anything more, and my delivery is stale. I’m over it. The students probably feel that, they’re not as engaged as they would be otherwise. So for me, my lessons are more dynamic when I’m finding that middle ground of knowing what I’m doing, but also having that flexibility to pivot when I need to and bring a little bit of fresh creative energy to the moment.
And this translates over to my writing. So I like to have very, very bare bones in regards to plotting. I’ve talked about this, I think, extensively in other episodes, but quite often setting is what gives me the inspiration for a story. I might have a character, I might have a scene in mind or an ending, but I don’t have all the chapter by chapter, scene by scene bits filled in. And the joy for me is as a discovery writer, filling those bits in as I write. It keeps it an exciting adventure for me to go on through the writing process as I learn about my characters, and as I learn about who the villains are and all the plot twists and surprises that I didn’t even see coming. And it makes it a much more engaging and fun process for me, which my hope is comes through to the reader as well.
Now, not everybody, like I said, not everybody operates like me. Some people work so much better with a much more in depth point by point plot. Just like some teachers are much more effective when they know point by point what they’re teaching and how they’re delivering it. So again, the point that I’m trying to get across here is that our process of planning or as a writer, plotting, looks different for everybody and that is okay. You need to work to your strengths and do what is going to make you most effective for you, if you’re an educator for your classroom, or as a writer for your readers.
Number five: write messy first drafts. Again, this is from my experience, it doesn’t work for everybody, but I love the concept of writing messy first drafts. So when I’m writing a book, I would never get one finished if I let my perfectionist tendencies rule the process. So when I write, I’m all about getting words down on paper. Even if I know they’re not the right words, and you would have heard me talk about this, where I will write a placeholder or something into my draft if I can’t think of the right words. Sometimes I’m not all that articulate, my brain’s a bit sleepy. And then I always go through and do a proper full edit at the very end. I fix up any plot points, then I fix up mistakes with changing characters names or eye colours partway through, and I’m just all about getting the words on the page, to get the story on the page, to get that first draft done, so then the real magic can happen in the editing.
I have found in the classroom that by teaching my students that it’s okay to write messy first drafts, they can also push aside a little bit of that tendency towards perfectionism that can sometimes hold them back from getting started. That permission to be able to make spelling mistakes and punctuation mistakes and not worry about it at the very beginning is key to a lot of them getting words on paper. I have had in my time being a teacher, some of the most amazing storytellers and writers who were highly dyslexic or had real difficulty spelling and if they had only been marked on the surface features of writing, would have felt like absolute failures probably with their writing ability. And yet giving them permission to just get words on paper and then finding ways that later on we can work through and we can tidy it up and we can work on punctuation and spelling and all the rest of it, the confidence in themselves has just grown to levels that were absolutely amazing. They’ve come to the realization that even though they may struggle with spelling, for example, the quality of what they have to say, their storytelling is still way up there and can hold its own. So sometimes taking away those barriers of not having to have a perfect first draft allows for a better story to be written. When we hold ourselves back because we are stuck in that it’s not good enough, I don’t know how to spell, I don’t know how to use punctuation properly, we can head down that route of procrastinating or just being too scared to get our words out. It can cause writer’s block, if you believe in writer’s block, and yeah, it can just stall a lot of people from getting their stories written.
So writing a messy first draft is something that I always implement in the classroom. There are so many tools and things out there to tidy up our first drafts. First and foremost, it’s about getting our ideas down on paper. And so that is a huge focus for me. I don’t want any student to feel like they’re failing because they haven’t quite mastered one of the surface level aspects of writing. Even for myself, and I feel that I am a relatively competent speller, my stories could not go out there in the world without going through several edits and being professionally edited as well. There are so many mistakes that come through and I still mess up with punctuation and all sorts, all the time. Like this reliance on having to do everything perfect the first time, is really what is going to burn people out and hold them back from being able to express themselves fully. Because that’s another thing that I’ve seen with some of my students, and maybe there are some adults out there too, is that if they’re feeling insecure about spelling, then they might choose only words that they know how to spell, which can limit the vocabulary that they use in their writing, and just hold back some of the magic that their story would otherwise offer. So there we are. There’s my tip. Write messy first drafts.
Again, not everybody works this way. If you listened to the last episode where I talked to the lovely Charlotte Lobb, she is one of those people, one of the few people that I’ve met who does edit as she goes along. So there we are, but just a tip, if you’re finding that editing as you work does not work for you, try writing a messy first draft.
Number six. Equally, whether you write a messy first draft or you go through a new edit as you write, it is so important to get another set of eyes on your writing. This is something with my older students in particular, I implement. They cannot show me their work until they have edited it themselves, and had another set of eyes, one of their peers, on the work to get feedback and critique and all the rest of it before they show me, before I can help them with any other things that need to be corrected. As authors and writers, this is also, I believe anyway, super essential that before we publish anything out there in the world, get another set of eyes on your writing. For me, I have a professional editor. I rely a lot on her. That’s always the most nerve-wracking part of my writing process is actually when I send a manuscript to her and I wait to not just see all her edits and all the things that I need to correct, but she’s so lovely enough to sometimes write little comments in the margins and things like that about things that she’s enjoyed and whether she thinks the story works and all the rest of it. That is key to me. It helps with my confidence, and also helps me to know if I’ve hit the mark or not. Beyond that, I also have ARC readers. So before I put my book on all the different platforms and allow it to be purchased, I do send it out to a group of ARC readers. It’s not a particularly large group, but it just allows for a few more eyes over the script to pick up things that myself and my editor might’ve missed, or plot points or something that are just not landing. So, that in itself can also add a little bit of confidence before pushing publish and putting your book out there. So I do advocate for getting another set of eyes on your writing before you put it out in the world. And it doesn’t have to be lots of eyes, but if you can get, whether it’s an editor, beta readers, ARC readers, whatever, friends, family, anybody, it’s all going to help make your manuscript the best it can be in reaching the right people. So there we are.
Number seven. And this was something that my students have really taught me. That it is okay to write fan fiction. Not that I ever thought it wasn’t okay to write fan fiction, but through my students, I’ve realized that that’s actually a really necessary step for them to get confidence in their writing abilities. So fan fiction is obviously writing any type of fiction based on an existing work of fiction, maybe the characters or something like that. So you’re imitating an existing story and changing it up or continuing on the story based on a work that’s already established. Now a lot of my students use this in the beginning, and I think it’s fantastic. Because when we imitate other authors we learn different styles, we start to over time develop our own voice, and hopefully we’ll end up emulating them and creating our own amazing works of fiction that are almost tributes to those who have gone before us. And so one of the best ways of learning to write is sometimes taking established characters and storylines and working with those and finding our own author voice that way.
I have read some fantastic stories in class that my students have written by using this way of writing, and it’s given them confidence. Rather than having to think up their own characters from scratch or their own world building from scratch, they’re just writing the story that they want to write and not having to worry about all those intricacies. So they grow their confidence that way. And when you look around you, the amount of bestselling fiction that is out there that started as fan fiction, is incredible. I mean, there’s City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James, just to name a couple, but there are so many books out there that started as fan fiction. And I think one of the best things we can do is to learn from other authors and experiment with similar characters and world building, and then grow from there and build that confidence. And so I think that is a really cool thing to take back as having a little bit of playing with established worlds and characters if we’re looking at fine tuning our own writing skills.
Number eight. The Hero’s Journey, in my mind is so much more than just a plotting device. It is a way to live our lives and pull ourselves out of those bad moments. It speaks so fully to the human experience that it really does infiltrate everything we do. Now, obviously this is just my own perspective. I do teach the Hero’s Journey in my classes, and I teach it as two things. I teach it as a plotting device for creating well rounded stories, to remind us that we need conflict, that our characters need to go through transformations. I also teach it to my students as a map for what learning can look like. So whenever we’re presented with a new learning challenge, whether it’s maths or PE or science or anything, there is that call to adventure. And quite often, if it’s something that seems a little bit tricky or hard, there is that refusal of the call that happens as well. So we talk about that in class. And this really comes into all aspects of our life when maybe we’re called to a new writing project or something that we want to do, and there’s a little bit of that insecurity or imposter syndrome kicking in. We’ve had that call to adventure, but we don’t know if we’re ready to step out. There might even be a little bit of a refusal of the call. And then we find our feet, we find our guides, our mentors, and we set out on that journey. And then there is no turning back.
And this is what it is like for all aspects of our life. In my classroom, I also teach it as a reminder that when we’re faced with lots of trials and ups and downs and conflict and that, and then when we really do hit that dark night of the soul, that if we look at the Hero’s Journey as something that tends to happen in like a cycle, we know that after that dark night of the soul, when we’ve gone through it, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. There is always a way out and a transformation that happens.
And so we can see this cycle of the Hero’s Journey mirrored in all aspects of our lives. Whether we’re learning something new, whether it’s something’s happened in our personal life or our home life or in society in general, or in our author life, maybe we’re going through something where we’ve had a little bit of a dark night of the soul, not sure what to do, had a few things go sideways, to remember that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, that there is transformation on its way, and to keep on keeping on.
Not only do I find the Hero’s Journey, a really valuable way of plotting my stories. And again, I know I just said I don’t really plot, but I do hold the hero’s Journey in my mind. So as a discovery writer, as I’m going along, I do try and think, okay, so what part of the story am I up to? Where do I need to go now? Have I introduced a mentor or a guide or somebody who can help out? Have I had enough trials that have led up to the big ordeal or the greatest challenge yet? How is my character going to transform at the end of this as well? So I do keep that in mind, but I do try and keep that in mind in my personal life as well. And I think it’s something that can be mirrored in all aspects of our life. And there can be a little bit of solace found in it too, particularly if you’ve had a bit of a rough ride or going through a bit of a rough ride. So there we are, it’s something that transcends my classroom teaching through to my own life as well.
Number nine. Something that I see in my classroom all the time, and that is “The problem is often not the problem”. So this is something that I talk to my students about because they’re a little bit older and they’re starting to understand what I mean by this. It is something that I have to remind myself of all the time. And something that can also help create some diversity in characters as well, when we’re adding in conflict and that to our stories. The problem is often not the problem.
So, as you can imagine, being a teacher, being surrounded by lots of kiddies, lots of problems can arise and it can be in the classroom or it can be in the playground. There are lots of things coming at you all the time from things that at face value look really ridiculous, to bigger issues and conflicts and that between friend groups or individuals. And it has served me well as a teacher to think beyond what the problem is presenting to what it might represent. So that student acting out in class, who’s suddenly in a bad mood and maybe throwing things or swearing or acting out, and they say it’s all because somebody said something to them or looked at them in a certain way, and trust me, this happens, being aware enough to look beyond that, to think about, well, is that actually what the problem is that somebody said the wrong thing to them, or is there more going on? Sometimes it might be something that happened at home that they’ve brought into the classroom with them and they may not have any idea that that is actually what is triggering everything and lowering their resilience so that they’re not dealing with small things that wouldn’t normally get under their skin.
So the problem is often not the problem is something that I remind myself of all the time as well, when I am finding myself overreacting to something or not reacting in a way that I normally would. To think about is what is happening right in front of me, actually the thing causing me all this distress or is there more to it? Is it that I’m triggered because this person said this thing to me, or has it reminded me of something that happened years ago? And that’s my clue that maybe I’ve got a little bit more inner work to do to move through past trauma. So I think in all aspects of our life, keeping that in mind, that the problem that presents is not always the actual problem, that it can often represent something else, is not only a valuable tool for understanding ourselves better, but also understanding other people better,
When you can move past whatever behaviours are being presented, whether it’s in the classroom or your own behaviour, and think about what it is that is actually going on, we can be far more effective at finding ways to move through that or helping somebody else move through that as well. If we were using that to help create characters, it’s just such a cool little thing to consider that sometimes our characters actions, are they really acting this particular way because this happened or is there more going on in the background that they might be very unaware of? So I hope that kind of makes sense to you, but just remembering the problem’s often not the problem.
Number 10. This is another one that I have to remind myself all the time, and that is keep the drama on the page. You might have heard me talk about this before. For myself, I can easily get swept up in the drama happening around me, and there is always drama in whatever workplace you work in. Just life in general, there’s always going to be moments of drama that involve other people or involve yourself or things going on. And for myself and something that I’ve been trying to also help my students with too, is that when we feel that bubbling up of drama going on around us, how can we use that as fuel to get words on the page? So how can we move through some of those feelings and get them out through our writing instead? How can we remove ourselves from the drama, but still process it by using it as fodder for conflict in a character in our story or something like that.
So there have been moments throughout my education career, throughout my life in general, where there has been lots of drama going on around me that even if it doesn’t directly affect me, it indirectly does, because I’m kind of soaking up those energies and everything going on. How can I productively utilize that? Draw from that in a way that is not going to hurt me, but could maybe elevate my story or my characters in some way?
The other reason that I kind of use that mantra, keep the drama on the page, is because for myself, being as empathetic as I am, I can often take on emotions and feelings and that of people around me. And it is so easy for me to get sucked into other people’s dramas that I stop writing because I get so lost in those overwhelming emotions. So if I can somehow step outside of that and use those overwhelming emotions as a tool for writing instead, it keeps me a little bit healthier, gets me out of being sucked into that negativity, but is still in a way for myself anyway, being processed through the words that I’m writing. So yeah, that is one of those little things that I have learned.
So we’re definitely going into the psyche here, but another thing that I have learned that being a classroom teacher has reiterated to me in lots of different ways, is that not everything is about you. So again, this very, very much goes back to keep the drama on the page, and the problems, not the problem. But not everything is about you. It is so easy just as a human being to think that the things said to you, the reactions people have towards you, all of that is because of you. That somehow you have done something wrong. Education is interesting because you can go from having students that adore you one moment to being really angry and upset with you at the next, and the parents of the students, same deal. Sometimes it’s really hard to know where you stand with them. Sometimes they seem to love you and other times they are not so nice. And it can be so easy to believe that it is all about you, that egocentric kind of feeling that you’re the reason that that child is failing, that you’re the reason that parent’s angry, that the way that that colleague is viewing you is actually your problem. You can believe that all these things are against you. And being in education you really, really do need a tough skin. It is not something that I have developed, I will admit. But we are often being put down, and put down by the media, by society. Everybody’s got complaints about teachers failing their students or not understanding. There’s a lot of negativity that comes our way all the time, and it can be completely debilitating if we were to take that all on and believe that it actually is all about us.
So sometimes, sometimes things might actually be about us. We might’ve messed up. We might’ve needed to make adjustments. But I’m just saying that believing that everything is about you is not a healthy way to get through life in any form. And that is mirrored in our author careers as well. So that one-star rating, that negative comment made on social media about your book or anything like that, you don’t need to take that on and take that as criticism towards yourself and who you are as a human being. Easier said than done, I know, but I think it’s just an important reminder to think outside of ourselves.
Now, the last couple of years I have been teaching teenagers, but even when I was teaching the littlies, the five, six, seven-year-olds and whatnot, children live in quite egocentric worlds. They do believe that everything is about them. They do believe that every slight is quite personal, that if they missed out on an award, it’s because you hate them. Or, you know, they can take things quite personally. And so that reminder shows itself in my classroom all the time. Some students and some of their parents present with a real sense of entitlement and can’t think beyond just themselves. I’ve been asked to do things in my own time by parents and by students who can’t understand why I’m not willing to sacrifice my own family time or my own money to do things that are actually outside my job description. And understanding that some people do believe that everything is only about them and can’t take other people into consideration that they might have family or a life outside of the job description, is a tricky thing to swallow, but it is something to understand. That some people will believe that everything is about them and you’ve just got to be comfortable with the notion that not everything is about you, regardless of what you may believe, the stories you may have told yourself, or what other people may be trying to tell you that it is all you.
Number 12: imposter syndrome. I don’t know about you, but imposter syndrome is a big thing for me and it shows itself in every single aspect of my life. The classroom in particular. I am always feeling a sense of imposter syndrome whenever I’ve got to deliver a new lesson that I’m maybe not comfortable with, that’s outside of my kind of expertise. Whenever I’m having to do a speech to a group of adults or parents or anything like that. Sometimes when I’m being questioned on certain things at parent interviews, there is that sense of imposter syndrome. I think it’s just important to recognize that that is a normal part of life for many of us. Part of it comes from confidence or lack thereof. Part of it also just demonstrates that we are not imposters, because as the saying goes, imposters don’t feel imposter syndrome. It’s that recognition that we are human, that we are flawed. We’re not imposters. One way to help navigate that is to remind yourself to maybe celebrate your accomplishments. Look back on the positives that people have said. For me with teaching it’s the lovely cards and that, that I sometimes receive from parents and from students over the years, or their pictures and that with all their lovely words and how much I have helped them or meant to them over my time teaching them. And so it’s looking at those positive things and knowing that impostor or not, you’re still serving the world in a positive way.
And that goes the same with your books too. Celebrate your accomplishments. Maybe you’re not that million-dollar bestselling author just yet. But if you have even just one book out there in the world, congratulations, because you’re so much further ahead than so many other people even listening to this podcast. It doesn’t matter if your royalty check is only a couple of dollars a month or a couple of dollars a year. You’re still doing something there are so many people only dream of doing. So in that respect, you’re ahead of the game. That imposter syndrome, that is completely normal. Just remind yourself that it is okay to feel that nervousness that maybe you’re not achieving as highly as people might either think you are or that you hope to be by now. So find those things that you can compliment yourself with, that show that sense of accomplishment, that sense of success, and be willing to look for the small things because it’s those small things that add up to the big things over time. So again, look for those positive comments on the social media posts, those nice words that somebody might’ve said to those great reviews, anything that can help boost your confidence to know that you belong in this sphere, that you are not the failure that you might think you are. You are not the imposter that you may think you are. Whatever you’re doing, you’re doing something incredibly hard that a lot of people just don’t have the fortitude for and you are doing it. So imposter syndrome is normal. Don’t necessarily expect it to go away, but know how to work within it and recognize it for what it is.
Number 13. You cannot be a people pleaser and expect to do your job well. So as a teacher I’ve had to learn, and I’m still in the process of learning, that people pleasing isn’t really going to get me anywhere, whether my class has like most recently 16 students, or previously I’ve had 37 students, trying to keep every single one of those students happy, and my leadership team, and the parents of my students happy, is really just going to lead to a mental breakdown and a fast track towards burnout.
There is no keeping everybody happy. Being a people pleaser just isn’t going to work. Finding that road of doing the best that you can do and being okay with sometimes needing to disappoint people is going to give you longevity in whatever you’re doing. And this crosses over into our professions as authors and writers as well. We cannot write good stories and be a people pleaser. If we were to send a story out to a team of beta readers or ARC readers and get it back, and if we were to implement every piece of their advice or feedback, we are probably going to end up with some very disjointed stories that nobody is going to enjoy. We’re also going to stifle our own creativity by trying to please everybody. I think in any industry that you’re in, whether it’s writing or teaching or anything, you’ve got to be okay with the fact that you’re going to disappoint people, that you can’t be everything for everybody and do everything for everybody.
I remember receiving from one of my ARC readers, feedback after one of my stories and a long, long, long email because they really did not like the swearing in my story. And it wasn’t even the F words that I was dropping. It was the fact that my character quite often said, “Oh God”, or “For heaven’s sake”, or something like that. But I got quite a long ranty email about it telling me that I was going to go to hell and all the rest of it, but otherwise my story was a really good story. So, did I rewrite the story to get rid of that? No, I didn’t. I didn’t because you know what? It’s just what my characters said, and to write anything else, to have them say anything else just wasn’t going to work for my story. I’d be changing up my entire characters. So in that respect, I had to get comfortable with the fact that I was never going to make that particular reader happy. And that was my choice. I’ve had other feedback from ARC readers too, wanting changes and this and that. But if I haven’t ultimately felt like it was right for my characters or for my story, I’ve disregarded it. And, yeah, I don’t really know how they feel about that. I might’ve lost some readers because of that. And that’s fine too, because at the end of the day, I’m staying true to myself and my story. And being indie published, I’ve got the privilege of being able to do that without other publishers breathing down my neck to change things up. So I get to make those creative choices.
But yes, as soon as we fall into people pleasing, we’re going to stifle our creativity. We’re going to lose that X factor that makes our writing special. And whatever profession you’re in, if you’ve got a day job as well, like I do, you’re going to make things so much harder for yourself if you focus all your energy and just trying to keep everybody happy.
And that really moves on to number 14, which is not everybody’s gonna love your work. And it doesn’t matter how hard you work, how much you sacrifice, how much you do, or even if you try and people please, there is always going to be somebody that is going to find fault with it, and somebody who’s going to give you a one-star rating or misunderstand you, and nothing you say, nothing you do is going to change their mind about you. This is a horrible thing to come to terms with, and something that I battle with, like really battle with, but it is such an important thing to keep in mind.
I have definitely had this in my teaching career, and it drives me crazy, because I feel like I do my job well. I feel like I have fantastic relationships with the students and with most parents, but guaranteed there is always going to be somebody that takes exception to me, that has this negative bias towards me that will only find fault. And yeah, it’s a really horrible yucky thing to work with, but it is something that we need to work with and sometimes just let go of. There is no pleasing everybody. No matter how hard you work, you try you, as a teacher, how much I give to a particular student of my time and my energy and everything else, sometimes you’re just not going to get the respect or the gratitude that you maybe deserve for it. Sometimes people are just going to take exception to you and there is nothing you can do to kind of get on their good side. And that goes with your writing too. Your writing, your stories are not going to be everybody’s cup of tea. Some people will love them. Some people will not love them. And there’s nothing you can say, nothing you can change, nothing you can do to necessarily have them change their mind. And so, getting comfortable with the fact that there’s a good chance that you are likely going to be the villain in somebody else’s story, metaphorically speaking, that’s just life.
Number 15. If that all sounds really negative, here is a big tip for you. Something I recommend. Find a person, find a friend, a cheerleader, find a tribe that is going to have that positive impact on you, that is going to help build you up. In teaching they always recommend having that one teaching colleague or somebody that you can go to, that you can have your little meltdowns with your rants about the bad day, that can offer you advice, that can build you up and make you feel good about yourself. And you can do the same for them. Having that one person, I think in any profession, that you can share your ups and downs with is a lifesaver, an absolute lifesaver. You need that. We all have bad days in our day jobs and things like that. So having a person that you can have a little meltdown with, and then get back to doing your job, is worth its weight in gold.
And that’s important with writing as well to build yourself a little bit of a writing network or find a friend who’s also a writer who understands what you’re dealing with, what you’re going through, the ups and downs, the insecurities, the imposter syndrome, whether it’s somebody physically that you can meet up with for a coffee or network with or whatnot, or if it’s somebody through a Facebook group or a social media or whatever, just find somebody who understands your work, understands what you’re doing, understands the highs and the lows and can be there as a support and you can support as well. That is worth its weight in gold and key to surviving any profession.
So now we have tip number 16: consistency. This is a weird one for me. Consistency. It is something that I think is so important in so many areas of our life. And it was brought to my attention through a recent school event that I was at how much consistency actually means to me. We had an assembly just recently for my students, and their parents were there, and some of the other teachers and that were there. As I mentioned at the beginning of this episode, some of them are going off to new high schools next year. So we were having a kind of special evening, finishing up assembly on them finishing their lower school journey. And a couple of students got up and said the most amazing, beautiful speech thanking a lot of the teachers. And then they turned their attention to me and said some really beautiful things. Quite early on in their speech, they mentioned the word consistency or they said, thank you for being so, you know, they said lovely things like creative, and understanding, and empathetic, and consistent.
And as soon as they said the word consistent, two emotions just flashed through me so fast. First, I wanted to laugh out loud because I don’t think of myself as very consistent and in fact, I think of that as such a big struggle of mine. And then I instantly just burst into tears because I couldn’t believe that these two lovely students of mine who were saying all these amazing, wonderful things about me, thought that I was consistent. I didn’t hear a lot of the rest of the speech because I was honestly a blubbering mess and I was rummaging through my bag for a tissue and trying to wipe my eyes and refocus myself again.
But it is funny how the word consistency really hit me. Because I don’t feel very consistent. I don’t feel very consistent as a teacher. It’s been a bit of a rough year with some family events and death in the family and some other things going on. I’ve been sick on and off this year. I’ve had things outside of the day-job that have taken a lot of energy and focus as well. And so as much as I try to show up every day fully in the classroom, it’s not always been the case, or I don’t feel like I’ve been able to. Quite often it feels like I’m faking it a little bit. It’s that imposter syndrome again. But I also feel that way in my author career as well.
And so I had to do a little bit of reflection on why I was so affected by that word, ‘consistent’, being consistent. Where was I feeling like I wasn’t being consistent? And I think part of it was because the last episode of this podcast went out a little bit late and it really threw me. It’s amazing how much that is still on my mind, where there’s that little bit of a sense of being a failure because I missed a deadline that I’d set for myself. And yeah, and it was the first time in terms of this podcast. And then I had to look at things a little bit differently and reframe things. That consistency does look like different things. Consistency means different things to different people. As much as I prescribe to the mantra that consistency builds success, consistency can look different at different times.
So for me, I’d always believe that consistency was the fact that I put out this podcast at a scheduled time. So for the first year, it was every week on a Monday in New Zealand. This year, it’s been every fortnight on a Monday in New Zealand. I have a podcast newsletter that goes out the same time I have a readers’ newsletter that goes out fortnightly on every Tuesday or Wednesday. Sometimes I do play around a little bit with that, but always the Tuesday or Wednesday. I try and show up on social media almost every day or at least every second day. I try and meet my writing deadlines. I often miss those and have to extend them a little bit, but I try and build this sense of consistency. This knowledge that every step doing these things is getting me closer to my goals. Writing these books: every book I write is getting me closer to making a stronger income, building a larger readership, all of that good stuff. Every episode of this podcast I do is reaching more people and building that consistency and making me be seen as somebody that shows up. However, on reflection, it’s also knowing that consistency doesn’t necessarily mean not missing a deadline, because sometimes life happens. And I think sharing that vulnerability with our readers, or for this podcast, my listeners. Knowing that life happens to me too, things are not perfect, things go sideways, can actually help people resonate with me a little bit better because they know that I’m human. I’m not pretending to be somebody that I’m not. I’m not pretending to have my life completely together and to be just sailing through nice and easily with everything going my way. And so I had to rethink about the fact that just because one podcast episode was a few days late does not mean that I’m inconsistent. Just because I’ve had some personal struggles through this year and had to miss a little bit of time off my day job, does not mean that I am inconsistent in showing up when I’m there. So when I’m there, I still put my whole heart and soul as best as I can at that time into what I’m doing. And so I think being consistent is really important. Showing up is really important. Showing up regularly is really important, but if we miss a deadline, if we show up a few days late and it’s more of a once off situation, it doesn’t happen all the time where you’re just showing up all over the show, then I think that can still count as being consistent.
Even though I was a few days late, I still showed up. Even though sometimes my newsletter comes out at slightly different times, I still show up. I’m still there. Even though sometimes I can’t get to my emails as consistently as I want to. I can’t get to them every day now there’s just so many of them, I still show up when I can, I still answer them as I can. So I’m still there. I’m still accessible. I’m still around. I haven’t disappeared and fallen off the planet. And so that counts as something. So I think consistency in whatever form that looks like for you is important, and building that into your author business is an important thing to consider as well.
Seventeen: perseverance. Just find perseverance. Whatever you want to achieve, keep on working towards that. In my classroom, of course, that’s what I advocate for all the time. Whenever students are learning something new or they’re struggling a little bit, or they’ve set a goal for themselves, it’s cheering them on and encouraging them to persevere because at some point things are going to get easier. That new math strategy that I might’ve taught might seem really tricky at the beginning, but the more we do it, the more we practice, it’s going to get easier. And there’s going to come a time where the thing that we’re facing is not going to be half as challenging as it used to be. In fact, it might end up being considered easy to us. So that persevering and challenging ourselves and continuing to practice and to learn and to commit and dedicate ourselves to whatever it is that we are working on, or learning, or trying to do, is key to success in whatever we’re trying to achieve.
Eighteen: look for efficiency. Look for efficiency in everything that you do. I think this is so important and something that I’m still working on, but try my best to do. In the classroom this, I’m going back to maths again, but when I’m teaching maths, I’m always looking for those ways that I can help my students be efficient in solving problems and learning different strategies and that. I can teach them a million different strategies for solving a particular problem. And sometimes I’ve been encouraged to do so. But what I really want to do is I want to work with them in finding ways that work for them, that is an efficient use of their brain power.
So for myself at school, I wasn’t a fantastic mathematician. It didn’t come super easy. I liked the challenge of it, but I didn’t always get it. And so over the years I had to find my own strategies and that, that worked with the way my brain worked and were more efficient ways of solving things that worked for me. And so in all aspects of my life in whatever I’m doing, I try and adapt ways of doing things that work with the way my brain works and my strengths. So again, if I went back to lesson planning, doing the big meaty lesson plans with scripted dialogue of everything I’m going to say, and all that stuff that we’re actually taught at teachers college, that’s not an efficient use of my time and it does not make me a better teacher in the classroom, and so I’ve found ways to pare that back into a form that works for me. There are things in my author career that I’m learning to be a little bit more efficient with. I’ve been playing around more, it’s taken me a long time, but I’ve been playing around more with batching like social media posts, with creating all the graphics and audiograms and that for a podcast at the same time that I put together a podcast ready to go out, so that it’s there for the week or the two weeks that I’m advertising and marketing a podcast episode. So that it’s already done for me and I’m not having to every evening think on the fly of doing a new graphic or audiogram and wasting time that way. So find things in your writing career and your life that just makes life a little bit easier for you and more efficient to get your tasks done.
Number nineteen. Set boundaries. Set boundaries, my friends in all aspects of your life. This year over the last couple of months, in my day job as a teacher, I started to set boundaries around email. Email is something that drives me absolutely crazy. I have just a million emails in my inbox all the freaking time and it stresses me out. And I was finding that first thing in the morning, I was checking my phone for my work email and then I was stressing out because I might have a stressful email from a parent or somebody wants me to do this and do that and do this. And I would just be starting the day off in such a stressed-out mood. Or I would be before I was going to sleep, I’d be checking my work email and then spending the whole night stressing over whatever had landed in my inbox that I needed to do the next day. That was not a good use of time whatsoever. And so I removed my work email from my phone so that it was no longer accessible. And I don’t have a lot of access, believe it or not, to my computer during the day at my day-job. So on arriving at school and on leaving school, were really the only two times that I could check my email, and then I could only deal with things then at that time. I don’t check my email on my home computer and it’s been amazing. It’s been absolutely amazing.
So finding those things that are maybe causing you a little bit of anxiety and stress and set some boundaries around them. Boundaries might look like saying no to doing certain things. It still makes me cringe every time, but I’ve certainly had to say no to a few things in my day job just to ensure that I am not over committing myself. Knowing that outside of normal work hours, I also have this podcast and writing deadlines and other stuff. And so that might mean that I can’t take on extra responsibilities or I can’t do extra evenings of work or this or that or weekends. So sometimes, yeah, I’ve had to take those tough stances and say no to things. I try and protect myself from my day job impacting on my personal life by ensuring that I don’t give out my personal contact details to parents of any of my students or anything like that so that they can’t be texting me or calling me or anything else. They have my work email and now that I’ve taken that off my phone, I only access it at certain times of the day and I try and stay away from it in weekends and holidays. So that’s even setting those ‘Away from my desk’ reminders on my email or whatnot that goes out as well during the holidays. So it’s just finding those ways to set some boundaries and you might need to do the same thing in your day job or definitely in your author career too.
That will look different for different people, but if there is something in your life that is stressing you out a little bit, just set those boundaries. I’ve had to do that with some direct messaging too. I was getting some direct messages through Instagram and social media from supposedly other authors who are really just out to waste my time and I think to sell me some different marketing and that, after they wasted a lot of time getting to that point. And so now I’ve learned to be just a little bit more kind, but abrupt, in shutting people down if it looks like it’s going down the track of just a marketing spiel. I’m happy to connect with other authors if they generally just want to connect but if they’re just there to sell me something, I’m really not interested.
I’ve also been going through my author emails and things like that and unsubscribing from some of the newsletters that I’m getting that actually just fill up my inbox and stress me out and I never really read or get to or anything like that. So just think of some ways that you can set some boundaries in your life and make things a little less stressful for yourself.
Alright, number 20. If this year has taught me anything, it has taught me that taking time for downtime, and reading a book is so, so important. This has been a crazy year, both in the day-job, and personally, and in my author world as well. And one thing I’ve not been doing a lot of is actually reading. And the importance of reading is, well, we all know it is so important. We’re writers, right? So in the classroom, it is something that I preach on to my students all the time. I give them lots of time for free reading. Some students like reading more than others. The students that tend to excel in writing are usually readers as well. They read a lot. A wide variety. It’s why people say that when you’re not writing, you should be reading. And it’s something that I’ve neglected horribly this year. Fortunately, now I’ve got a little bit more downtime, kind of, sort of, a little bit more anyway. And my big pile of books that I’ve been wanting to read all year is staring at me and I cannot wait to dive in. But it’s just that reminder of find time to read. Find time to read in the genre that you write. Find time to read in genres that you don’t write. I read both nonfiction and fiction. It fills my cup. It’s my learning. It’s my relaxation. And, I’ve neglected it horribly this year. So number 20 on my list of lessons from the classroom is really take some downtime and read a book. There we are.
And finally, number 21, lessons from the classroom for writers, and for everybody, and for teachers even, and that is: look after your health. So, move, eat, rest, have some downtime, and sleep. This is also another area that I neglected horribly this year. Life can get so busy, being a teacher in the classroom gets insanely busy. Quite often we don’t have the opportunity to grab a drink or grab any food during the day or even a toilet break is out of the question just because of the fast pace of how things move, and everybody needing us. By the end of the workday, I’m usually exhausted and quite frazzled to be honest with you. And because of that I’m trying to stuff in, you know, lesson planning, and organizing for meetings, and calling parents and doing all this other stuff outside of the normal work hours. Then I’m also trying to write books, or do social media posts, or some learning to do with my author business, and I’m finding I haven’t been going to the gym, that kind of went out the door quite early on this year. I’ve not been moving. I’ve been sitting on my computer a lot longer than I normally do. I’ve not been eating well because you know, I need that sugar and that caffeine to kind of keep me going, or I felt the need for that. And I’ve not been sleeping well at all. And of course, that takes its toll on your health. And then when you get sick, that means that I miss some time from the classroom, which sets me behind, which stresses me out more, or I miss deadlines for book related things, and the same thing happens. And you just generally kind of feel a bit shit in yourself to be completely honest, when you’re not looking after yourself. But the longevity of us doing what we want to do in regards to writing or anything, spending time with family, enjoying life, is completely solely dependent upon our health and our wellbeing. So if we’re not looking after that, then all aspects of our life is going to suffer and we’re going to reduce the longevity of how long we are on this planet. And from my experiences this year with a few people around me passing away, life is too short. No matter how many years you manage to get through on this planet, it is always too short. So look after yourself. This is my pep talk to myself as well. Look after yourself and make your health a priority. Remember to move, eat well, find some downtime, rest and get some good sleep. So there we are. There’s a little bit of a lengthy episode for you there, but those are my lessons from the classroom for writers.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode and it’s got you thinking about different things. Being at the end of the year, this is a great time to start to reflect on the lessons that you’ve learned over the year and how you want your author business or writing life to look like for 2024. So I hope this has been of interest to you anyway, and that you’ve enjoyed it. And if you have, I would really appreciate if you would rate or leave a review or share with a friend. Word of mouth is always one of the best ways to help me out and get this podcast out there. If you’re feeling super generous, I always appreciate support made through Buy Me a Coffee. You can go to https://www.buymeacoffee.com/jobuer and for just a few dollars, the price of a coffee, you can help me out that way. I use the proceeds of that to help me with all the different software and subscriptions and everything that I use to actually get this podcast out into the world and to other listeners and that. So I always appreciate any support that you’re able to offer.
Other than that, my friends, I am wishing you an amazing last couple of weeks of 2023. If you celebrate Christmas, have a wonderful Christmas, enjoy time with family or time away from family, if that’s what you prefer, but do look after yourselves and I look forward to chatting with you again in the new year. Bye for now.