Previous Webinars 2

September 2020 to August 2021


August Webinar Archive

–  what to do if your agent doesn’t like the pitch for your next book?
–  how to ‘let go’ of a book once it’s finished and published and out in the world?
–  how to choose between a ‘Pitch your novel’ course and hiring an editorial consultant
–  if books 1 and 2 don’t find a traditional publisher, should you move onto book 3 or consider going digital first?
–  that ‘So close, but still not quite there’ feeling and how to handle it
–  how to get started on writing again when you’ve lost the flow
why ‘dream-goal’ is such a powerful concept

– Brewster! He makes a guest appearance and says hello!
– Is it okay to write about the murder of a fictional version of a famous person? 
– How accurate should writers be about weather conditions, if writing about real times and places?
– How to feel supported, not betrayed, when you want people to stick up for you and they don’t. 
– Fear of the excitement created by one’s writing going well. What does it mean?
– Should you leave an agent who is uncommunicative and unenthusiastic?
– What to do if you’re scared your book might provoke a Twitter Storm/social media shaming
– How to find evidence of success even while failing, in order to increase positive action towards the goal
– Should you write a more commercial book first in order to get a foot in the door, if your more experimental literary novel is being rejected?
– Scarcity thinking – what is it, and how can we stop it from getting in the way?

– how does Sophie use her Full Focus Planner for writing?
– why creating a title page and table of contents before starting to write can make a positive difference
– how to use Dream Author thinking in your favour rather than against yourself
– what does it mean when we think about sacrifices we’ve made for our writing?
– how to avoid goal-entanglement by separating out and clarifying individual goals
– unconditional love – how and why we might choose to practise it
– why massive action on your w-i-p might not be the best option if you’re feeling really unmotivated
– how to feel better when you’ve been treated badly

– how to feel great before external validation arrives
– what to do when you look at your book again and suddenly decide it’s no good
– how being dropped by your agent can turn into an amazing opportunity?
–  what to do when your old thoughts return in disguise
– should you ever send out your manuscript with an ‘It still needs some work’ proviso?
– how to develop and test out ideas
– how important is a grabby hook?
– context switching and how to deal with it
– how to avoid anti-climax after a cliff-hanger
– how do husband-and-wife team Nicci French write their books?

July Webinar Archive

_ why trying to take our minds off things is the wrong approach
_ how to choose between two projects
_ high-concept versus low-concept (and why ‘low-concept’ isn’t a thing!)
_ the ‘Both/And’ approach and its pitfalls

– how to do a Gnocchi for a graphic novel
– how to know what you want and own your own agency
– how to choose between 4 different book projects
– how to deal with tiredness and overwhelm when there are many things you want to do
– what’s the next step, post Gnocchi draft?
– what to think if your agent doesn’t reply for a while

– how to avoid self-sabotaging when practising the A, B, Succeed, Fail Method
– what to do if you need a rest/break but worry you’re being lazy and unproductive
– series characters: should they age realistically from book to book, or be ageless?
– tips for how to approach author events – eg, how to handle difficult or personal questions
– do you need a special author signature for signing your books?
– why it’s great, rather than inadvisable, to get our hopes up
– the importance of choosing firmly, then taking action, then evaluating results

June Webinar Archive

– how to ask writers to read your book with a view to blurbing
– what to do if your critique group writer friends seem not to be responding to your feedback on their work
– how to write dialogue without getting hung up on what’s formally correct
– why does editing make you want to procrastinate when writing doesn’t?
– why are you so desperate to finish your book but also not taking steps to make this happen most efficiently?
– the true point and purpose of trying to inhabit our future reality/result that we want
– what to do if your research reveals something in your book to be inaccurate?

– how to focus on writing again after a period of emotional overload
– choices: the ways in which we can and can’t choose
– an unusual take on forgiveness
– what to do when your agent says she loves your book…but doesn’t want to submit it to publishers
– how to get out of limbo and empower yourself while waiting for news
– what to do when your editor wants you to make changes that alter a crucial character’s voice

– cognitive load, aka the ‘stuff’ that goes with being a writer and how it can clog up your brain
– how to tell if your book’s doing well
– how to think and what to do if your agent is taking a bare-minimum approach
– mental health and self-criticism
– the needs of our nature versus the needs of our culture
– how long should a book pitch in a cover letter be?
– what should a synopsis be/do?
how to get press coverage and cover quotes for your novel.

– lead magnets and list-building – how much to spend?
– what to do when your editor regularly misses deadlines
– insomnia – how to think about it and deal with it
– the brilliance of meditation and an easy technique
– anxiety and adrenaline – a reframing opportunity
– how to form new neural pathways to establish Intentional Thoughts
– how to deal with envy
– powerful reasons versus scarcity thinking: how to tell the difference

May Webinar Archive

– point of view and dialogue
– when your agent’s deadline is putting you off writing
– how to solve the problem of over-committing to work
– having a Plan B – does it demonstrate a lack of belief in your writing?
– to Deadline or not to Deadline – that is the question!

– what, specifically, is a Thought Download, and how is it different from a journal entry?
– which are the best/most prominent digital-first publishers?
– negative feelings that we forget and ones that we remember – what’s the difference?
– how to think about literary agents and film/TV agents
– marketing: the essential things to bear in mind
– backing yourself and giving yourself permission (using High Profit thinking)

– experimenting with work/life balance and scheduling
– why you’re not getting organised when you think you want to
– how important to your book’s prospects is a big advance?
– can/should a non-planner become a planner?
– the importance of flow and creativity when planning
– should you send your editor book 3 while she’s working on book 2?
– how to write the next book when you’re worried no one might want it
– the relevance of Brooke Castillo’s ‘B-‘ approach
– why enthusiasm is sometimes not what we want or need to be feeling

April Webinar Archive

– how bad advice/no help can give you increased access to your own inner wisdom
– should you stick to writing only one kind of book in order to establish a brand?
– what do you when exciting new ideas disrupt your focus on your work in progress.
– whose (financial) valuation of your book do you want to accept?
– how to be the hero of your own writing journey
– how to deal with ‘I should be writing’ thoughts.

– why it’s vital to see optimism and pessimism as results more than as approaches to belief
– solving the wanting-to-write-when-we-can’t/not-wanting-to-when-we-can problem
– what to do if you’re feeling drained by someone else’s constant complaining
– writing during difficult/uncertain times
– why we’re always wrong to believe we should have done it differently/better
– what to do if you’re feeling disappointed by a temporary result
– the importance of integrity (feeling integrated rather than split) and the benefit of not pretending

– what to do if your publisher disappoints you again and again
– what writers can learn from love affairs with tennis professionals (yes, really!)
– apologetic marketing, and why we should never do it.

–  more writing related topics

– how to write/think about your book’s blurb
– how to take active steps towards your Dream-Goal, and how to think about success while doing so
– how to generate/choose ideas while Gnocchi-drafting
– how to deal with a dread of editing
– should you charge a fee for a writing project when other writers are doing it for free?
– acknowledgements pages and what we can infer from them
– how to deal with a difficult/rude colleague

March Webinar Archive

– how not to be paralysed by fear of failure
– how to encourage yourself gently instead of provoking your inner rebel
– how to think about tropes and archetypes
– Twitter attacks/pile-ons – how to survive them and thrive beyond them
–  what’s going on when you get everything you want and still don’t feel satisfied?
– what if there’s too much great work out there – will yours be lost in the crowd?
– the danger of wanting and expecting positive change to be permanent.
– the advantages of moving towards the scary task and immersing yourself in it
– the pain of oh-so-nearly succeeding, and how to deal with it

– the question of voice.
– procrastination – finding the thoughts behind it.
– to write what you want, or what your publisher and readers want/expect?
– how to think about genre/commercial fiction snobbery.
– how to know if you’ve been editing your book for too long.
– when should you give up?
– comparing yourself to another writer – when you’re not happy if they succeed.
– realism vs perceived realism when constructing timelines.
– the best and worst ways of ‘aiming high’ – as practised by agents in relation to advances.
– when we achieve our goal and still don’t feel good – why does this happen?
– the ‘sagging middle’ – is it real and, if it is, how to deal with it?
– what to do when people withhold/don’t provide enthusiasm in relation to your writing.

– relationships with publishers and agents – expectations and formalities
– how to choose a submission strategy in a regret-proof way
– when you feel as if your agent has no faith in your ability to succeed
– taking action from determination and belief, not from resentment
– creating a decision-making plan versus indulging in confusion and inaction

–  why one person’s take on what’s wrong with your novel is not enough data.
–  how to create a brilliant ‘freebie’ to build your email list.
–  how to set daily wordcount/work targets in the best way.
–  are you being too ambitious with your first novel? Is there such a thing?
–  what’s the appropriate etiquette when writing to an author?
–  a publisher is interested in your book but has asked you to change its genre – what does this mean and is it do-able?
–  what counts as a publisher expressing interest?
–  why it’s better to fail at something we love rather than at something we don’t care about.

February Webinar Archive

– should you tell someone if you haven’t enjoyed their book? Honesty vs kindness.
– how to come up with a super-intriguing next-level plot hook.
– how to improve your craft in the psychological thriller (or any) genre.
– what to do while you’re waiting to hear from agents?
– how to find/choose agents to submit work to, if you’re not involved in the writing community.

– you’ve finished your book. Now what? Agent? Publisher? Pitch letter? Where to start?
– how to start/not start your book’s synopsis.
–publishing during lockdown – how to approach it.
– what should you be doing to help promote your book?
– assumptions that reveal we’ve given up – how to spot them and reverse them.
– the pointlessness of resenting what we’ve chosen to do for our own highest good.
– blurbs: how they should and shouldn’t start.
– why doesn’t X/Y/Z part of the process feel easier, when you thought it would?
– grief and productivity: how the two interact.
– beware of the metaphor!
– what if your Creative Writing tutor/course is trying to make you work in a way that doesn’t suit you?

–  what questions should you ask an agent who’s interested in representing you?
–  might your strong desire to do justice to your subject matter be holding you back?
–  why it’s important to know how thoughts (like ‘It’s now or never’) feel, however good they sound in theory.
–  why it’s sometimes better to get coaching while/after taking action rather than before.
–  ‘Own Voices’ – should you/can you write a protagonist from a different class or ethnic background.
–  how to think about negative reviews.
–  how to create a new, improved version of your book when your mind seems to want to stay focussed on the old/current version.
–  how to make writing plans around an unexpected pregnancy.
–  how much do I need to focus on trying to stay in one definite genre?

January Webinar Archive

– what to do if you’re struggling with one of the narrators in your novel
– is it worth trying the ‘Save the Cat’ approach to plot structure?
– why we should all beware of ‘sort-of-person’ thinking
– what if my plot idea is too ambitious?
– how to think about and approach research in the most efficient way
– why, sometimes, we just need to say no instead of coaching ourselves or getting coached
– what if another book has the exact same hook/shoutline as yours?
– what to do about old resentment from a previous publishing experience
– why it’s so important to allow ourselves to be where we are, without judgement

– how to handle people asking you how much you earn from writing.
– should I worry about small typos/mistakes in my manuscript?
– how to handle covert sabotage attempts from friends.
– what to do if you are haunted by a past upset.
– what if your novel is perfectly fine but still nobody is accepting it?
–  how to schedule work effectively.
– loving your present self in order to create your future self.
– how should I answer when asked what my novel is about?
– my editor has asked for changes – should I start from scratch with a three act structure.

– how common is it to receive a huge advance for your book (and why this is the wrong question)
– shiny new object syndrome: how to know when to ditch a book idea and when to stick with it.
– how to show the reader, effectively, that your protagonist is in a particular emotional state.
– how to think about being a member of a writing group.
– the integral relationship between a book’s Story Promise and its Driving Question.
– Sophie talks about a particular piece of writing advice and offers her take on it:  What does your protagonist want most in the world(physically and emotionally) and what is stopping them from getting it?

– should you part company from your agent if you’re dissatisfied with her performance? What are the options? What if you’re afraid you might not get another agent?
– can your Dream-Goal be a personal development goal, or should it be specifically a writing-related achievement goal?
– what to do if the process of editing your book makes you hate your book? What’s really going on there?

December Webinar Archive

– Does your non-fiction book need to be finished before you approach an agent?
– Should you create a slick and snazzy website/Instagram before you approach an agent?
– How do you know when you’ve reached the end of your novel and the story is complete?
– How can you tell when you’re ready to stop working on your book and are ready to submit/publish it?
– Are cross-genre novels off-putting to agents, and hard to make work? How to think about the possible advantages and disadvantages of a cross-genre approach.
– Why it’s important to notice when we’re feeling defensive, and thinking that we need to stick up for ourselves.

– Should you ever try to write two books simultaneously? How to decide, and what are the pros and cons?
– What to do if your boss wants you to do something you’re not trained for and that you don’t want to do?
– Cultural diversity: how to think about it as a writer.
– How to make sure your thriller is thrilling enough before the ‘reveal’ moment, and after.

– Should you narrate your own book?
– How can we tell if our writing is good?
– The difference between a streamlined model and a ‘normal’ model.
– What to do if you’re stuck in the middle section of a Gnocchi draft because you’re unsure about the best way to order plot events.
– What to do if you’re worried you’re spending too much time planning your book before starting to write it.
– A reminder about the concept of ‘Best Questions’.
– How to live by the Dream Author philosophy when you’re surrounded by people who don’t know about or practise it.
– Should you stop writing and go back and fix your book so far, or continue to the end and fix them in the next draft? 
– A Dream Author’s dilemma discussed: how to change her concept of her book so that she’s able to turn it into the best possible version of itself and make it irresistible to publishers.

–  how to solve for when you’re obsessing about a particular section of your book and can’t move on.
– two different ways that you might get ‘stuck’ midway through your novel, and how they’re different.
–  overcoming resistance in order to achieve goals.
–  is it worth overcoming your dislike of someone and ‘playing nice’ with someone if they’re a prominent book industry person who could maybe help your career?
–  how to allow and process an urge without responding or reacting to it, and why it really matters that we learn to do this.

November Webinar Archive

– why you shouldn’t wait for a publisher’s encouragement and commitment before you encourage yourself.
– how to think about deadlines.
– does a sad ending need to be depressing?
– psychic distance – what is it, and is it a useful concept?
– when to hire an editorial consultant.
– how to think about editorial input/help in relation to your own authorship.
– how to achieve structural balance and at the same time do justice to your novel’s real-time chronology.
– how to value yourself highly, rather than getting annoyed if other people don’t.
– why you should take responsibility for meeting your own needs instead of waiting for others to do it.

– how to handle fear of doing something ‘wrong’ in your book and having to change it later
– can you practise Literary Diagnostics at the Gnocchi-drafting stage?
– was Sophie always as confident as she is now? How and why is she so confident?
– recognising your childhood ‘training’ in order to see if you need/want to retrain your mind into different thought habits
– can/should you write from the point of view of a Greek or Polish protagonist if you’re English? What do we want to think about the concept of ‘cultural appropriation’?
– how to feel good about your work again after receiving criticism.

– what to say/think if agents ask ‘Why are you the best person to write this novel?’
– what is self-coaching and how to do it.
– what to think about writers who hire other writers to write their books for them.
– the crucial difference between the fantasy of doing a thing and the reality of doing a thing
– how ‘Success Expectation’ can de-motivate us (spoiler: Success Expectation is a very different thing from Belief in Your Future Success!)
– Hard or Fun, versus Hard and Fun.
– Self-publishing versus Traditional publishing when you also run courses and have a company/website in the same area as your book.
– How to hook your reader from the beginning.
– What to think/do when a competition asks for the first 500 words and you’re tempted to send different words.

– Sophie coaches a Dream Author who can’t decide what to do with her fifth novel.
– What if the names in your novel don’t feel right, but changing them would make the characters feel unfamiliar?
– The differences between traditional and digital-first publishing models.
– What are the advantages and disadvantages of having and not having an agent?
– What if your editor leaves the company and you’re assigned a new editor?

October Webinar Archive

– what’s a good (or a bad) day job for a writer to have?
– Sophie’s writing routines/daily routines, and how to think about routines in general.
– how to write a book with one or more other people
– are you setting yourself up for a fall if you aim too high and then fail?
– Sophie live-coaches a Dream Author who is in an interesting situation with a publisher that seems determined to choose to believe a whole range of sub-optimal thoughts.

– if your readers know you as a fiction writer, will they ‘come with you’ for a non-fiction book?
–  writing different kinds of books under the same name, versus writing under two or more different names.
–  how to think about entering competitions, where the prize is publication by a publisher who might not be your first choice.
–  how to promote and sell poetry/short stories online using Facebook Ads, freebies (lead magnet PDFs) and email list building
–  what to do when your publisher wants to be your only publisher…but they don’t reciprocate by making you their only author!

– a good reason for sending in your Mini Missions!
– should you feel guilty for being happy (about your writing success) when your close family are going through some kind of suffering?
– does it adversely affect your chances of success if another writer on Amazon has the exact same name as you?
– how to have a brilliant relationship with your publisher.
– how to think/what to do if your publisher doesn’t stick to the agreed time scale.
– what if you’re asked to blurb a book that you didn’t really like?
– why can’t you move forward with your work-in-progress? Why are you endlessly tinkering with old words instead of forging ahead and writing new ones?
– if you’re writing a historical novel, will publishers be put off if your characters have views/behaviours that are ‘of their time’ and would be disapproved of today?
– how to promote your poetry most effectively.

_ do you need a new/different name to write in a different genre?
_ what to do when you’re not making progress with your current/next book and you can’t understand why.
_ how to strategise and plan ahead in order to be able to feel happy and calm while your book is out on submission.
_ the advantages of constraint and the ‘one-thing-first’ approach, instead of trying to cover all bases.
_ why it never benefits us to give ourselves a hard time – even after we’ve made a mistake.
_ how to describe and think about yourself and why it matters.

–  we take a deep dive into the workings of the CTFAR coaching Model – in particular the relationship between the thought and action lines of the Model
–  what to do before embarking on a Gnocchi draft
–  what happens to belief once we achieve our goal? Is it irrelevant, or even more relevant?
–  how it works when we have a positive and negative mindset model that are arguing with each other
–  how to get from first idea to finished plan
–  why we commit to projects that we know deep down are wrong for us, and how to avoid it in future
–  why we sometimes need to let go of a commitment to a plan in order to honour our commitment to our dream.
–  how to improve all relationships by stopping taking other people’s models (which are always about them, not you!) personally
–  how to describe a sound that you haven’t ever heard in real life
–  how to avoid limiting ourselves by describing ourselves as ‘rubbish at’ something
–  the problem with saying ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I don’t know how’

September Webinar Archive

–  fictional Drama as podcast – a new and exciting form!
–  podcast advertising and podcast sponsorship – what’s the difference?
–  how to overcome fear of public speaking (and do writers have to do it?)
–  the Wrong Project versus a problem with perseverance and follow-through – how to distinguish between the two.
–  fatigue as a physical symptom – how to think about it and deal with it
–  if your agent is a lovely person, but isn’t getting you the results you want, is it disloyal to leave?

–  how to write good baddies
–  how to approach the naming of characters and places
–  how to work towards choosing your perfect Dream-Goal
–  what to do if your agent asks you for confidential information about offers you’ve had from other agents
–  how to process anger/disappointment/sadness when you get a not-ideal result
–  to write the next book in your series, or to switch and try something knew – how to decide

–  reviews: fear of bad ones/reactions to bad ones, and how our responses can actually be form of escaping/avoidance.
–  how to shift to an intentional model when it feels as if you can’t.
–  why is it sometimes easy to shift to an intentional model and sometimes impossible?
–  how to talk to your agent/editor about your intention to get a bigger advance and more commercial success for your next novel.
–  how to think about your next book if you want it to be your special/best ever/breakthrough book
–  ‘First option/first refusal’ clauses in contracts – how to think about them, and how agents feel about them.
–  A Dream Author’s dilemma: he was about to decide to self-publish, and then an agent issued a severe warning against doing so. But should he listen?

“The point about how we create our own experience is a crucial one. And we create that experience not with the external facts of our lives but with our thoughts and feelings about our lives.”