When starting my business, I knew from the get-go that marketing would be my biggest challenge. Why? Because I didn’t want to do it.
I had a whole narrative in my head about how I hated marketing because I hated selling things and I hated selling things because I hated capitalism. And it’s true. I do hate these things. But that’s not why I hated marketing my business (I later learned).
Every time I sat down to write a new post, I felt like I was acting in a play I didn’t even like; I learned the lines but the performance was passionless. And ultimately I just don’t like being told what to do, so when all the advice out there told me I had to pump out 3–5 posts per week, I felt immediate resistance.
But I needed clients, so I did as I was told. I looked at what other editors were doing and followed their lead. I posted because my calendar said it was time to post, I created content that was okay but didn’t come from the heart. Most of the time, I avoided the task altogether.
It wasn’t until I decided to ditch Instagram entirely that something shifted. I called in Chelsea Quint, business coach extraordinaire, swearing I was ready to take all my marketing off the apps. It was too stressful, too limiting, too glitchy, and too tainted with the stench of hustle culture. If I was going to write marketing content, I wanted to do it on my own terms, at my own pace.
Chelsea took me back to square one and had me make a list of my Core Business Values. I wrote down everything that mattered most to me about my creative approach. Everything that made my client relationships worthwhile. Everything I held sacred about creative development. I was surprised to learn that after years of struggling through Instagram captions and infographics, this came remarkably Easy.
Then, as if on cue, I felt a familiar itch. I had to Write. I wrote new website copy. New blog posts. New coaching templates. Literal pages of new ideas, all branching off from this list. Suddenly I needed five new folders in my Notes app to organize all the things I wanted to talk about.
I even went back to Instagram, after swearing it off forever. But something had shifted. I wasn’t nitpicking or overthinking it. I was talking off the cuff, because I wanted so badly to get this or that idea off my chest.
And then it clicked. I know this feeling. That feeling when you’ve been laboring away at your Work-in-Progress and it’s not *bad* but also nothing about it really sounds like you, but you keep trying anyway because you don’t give up on projects. And then that fated moment when you find some random, handwritten, crumpled note stuffed in the pocket of your notebook from when you first started writing the piece, and you remember why you picked this story in the first place. And you open up a blank document, just to mess around a bit, just as an exercise, and the words start flooding out.
I’ve been here before, I thought, when I was writing my last play. Then, too, I was trying to write for the masses. I was writing from a theoretical template, desperately dodging judgment, disapproval, and dissension with every word. And the moment I stopped listening to the Guidebooks and started listening to my gut, I started having fun again.
Like every blog post here, this story comes back to you. Just as Chelsea did for me, I’m going to leave you some questions to ask yourself about your own Work-in-Progress. If you’re getting stuck or feeling out of alignment, try coming back to these questions and see if something shifts for you.
With that, may your writing be abundant, joyful, and unequivocally Yours.
I'm a fiction book editor and writing coach, specializing in anti-perfectionist writing habits for indie authors.
In this house, we leave perfection at the door and write with curiosity, clarity, and joy.
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A biweekly newsletter about story development, anti-perfectionism, and the lovable chaos of creativity.