MF 120 : Write Your First Book and Move Forward, with Monica Miller
Monica Miller is an experienced writing coach, working with businesses, entrepreneurs and new authors. Learn how you can write your first book and move forward!
Successes at a glance:
Founder, Monica Writes
Content Strategist and Writing Coach
“From Presence to Profit”
Coaching individuals and businesses on leveraging content to build their brand
Creator and Instructor, The Author’s Blueprint Course
Setback failure or time when things fell apart:
As you’ll learn from Monica’s story below, her life has been as intriguing as a novel w/ many exotic locations and plot developments. When it comes to setbacks, Monica shares a hearty laugh; proclaiming that as an entrepreneur “you have them about once a week!” But a particular one that stands out for Monica occurred in 2015. Monica was just starting out as an entrepreneur. During that first phase, she and her husband were struggling financially; to the point where he suggested she find a job. This set off an alarm bell as Monica knew she didn’t want to go to a standard 9-5 life. However, Monica knew that this meant she would either have to grow her business or follow her husband’s suggestion. Shortly after, she put on her first paid workshop w/ 10 people. At the very end, Monica presented her offer and to her dismay, no one bought her service. Monica went home and cried. Imagine, you’re brave and bold enough to strike out on your own but you have debt hanging over you. You make your first pitch to a room w/ 10 prospective buyers and don’t land a single sale. At that point, many of us would probably give up, throw in the towel, and get a job. Not Monica. While she ended up getting a part-time job to help make ends meet, she didn’t let go of her dream …
The “aha” moment that sparked a pivot:
Before we get to the major shift in Monica’s mindset and entrepreneurial trajectory, let’s step back and take a look at her early life. As far as she can remember, writing has been a constant part of Monica’s life. The foundation came from a homeschool education and her mom who early on, gave her a curriculum that taught how to write a book w/in a school year. Monica notes a certain irony as her parents were far from creative; having strengths more on the math and accounting side. Yet, both Monica and her sister were bitten by the writing bug. As a teenager, Monica wrote a number of books that as she shares “will probably never see the light of day” due to some “copyright issues!” But the experience of immersing herself in writing at an early age provided the framework for her later work as an author and writing coach. The effort paid off as Monica published her first book, The Cave Nemesis
As Monica went to college, she pursued a professional writing degree. However, Monica shares that the regimen of reading textbooks and writing numerous papers “killed” a lot of her creativity. Quite the opposite of nurturing her love of writing, being a professional writing major turned off Monica from writing and reading for a long time!
Monica got married at 22 and soon after, her husband was stationed at Ramstein Air Force base in Germany where she moved w/ him. A year after settling there, Monica started writing human interest articles for the base newspaper. As Monica was interviewing guests and putting their stories to paper, she fell back in love w/ writing. That’s when Monica’s first “aha moment” came to her. She realized she wanted to start her own business.
After spending a couple years in Germany, Monica and her husband moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming. In 2014, Monica launched her first business as a freelance writer. Interestingly, Monica soon discovered that writing for others didn’t always fit her style and unique voice. That’s when Monica made a pivot and decided she would be more adept at coaching others to tell their stories thru their own voices. However, as you learned above, her first workshop didn’t provide an easy start.
So what happened when she had to land a part-time job after she couldn’t make any sales at her workshop? What she couldn’t change were the results of that first event. But, what Monica could change was something far more important: her mindset. While she initially saw that workshop as a “failure;” one that caused a lot of tears, there was another way to look at it that she didn’t realize at the time. She had 10 people in the room. That in itself was an accomplishment! Looking back, Monica has flipped the script on that first event. Rather, than see it as the end of her entrepreneurial journey, it was just the beginning.
Since then, Monica has been on an incredible growth streak which has led to a series of great “aha” moments which are also great knowledge bursts for you, Moving Forward listeners:
Your content strategy should match your marketing strategy
And what is content strategy? Monica defines it by looking at several key questions:
What is your content saying?
What “job” are you giving your content? Is it to lead your readers to your product, service or a webinar to learn more? In other words how does your content turn readers or visitors into sales leads?
Knowledge bursts for writing:
Mindset hack for getting your first book done:
Know this: out of 7 billion people in this world, you are the only one who can write your book! Monica picks apart every excuse not to write a book by reminding us that no matter how many people have written on your topic, no one has written it the way you can write or say it. In other words, you have a unique point of view and a unique voice. Don’t deprive the readers who will benefit from your voice by not getting that first book out there!
Time management practice to carve out the time to write and finish your first book:
Write 10-15 minutes a day, 2-3 days a week. That’s it. Don’t make writing a big daunting task. If you chunk it into small time frames; even a few times a week, you can write your first book. The beauty is that you can allow additional time if the inspiration hits you but only have to write 10-15 minutes on those days where you may not be feeling as inspired or high energy. This practice is how Monica managed to write two books in 90-days!
Favorite app/website/resource or productivity hack for writing:
Google Keep: if you come up w/ an idea, use this as an ideal journal and have it sync to all of your devices.
Monica adds this productivity hack: do a quarterly check-in to see if you are staying on task. Gather and implement lessons and takeaways into the next 90-day calendar!
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Advice to past self while going thru a difficult time:
Monica advises that being an entrepreneur is a journey and journeys are processes. The value of going thru these processes is that you will discover who you are and your purpose, even (and especially) during those difficult times. Following that first workshop, Monica would tell her past self that it’s ok, you are on a long journey and a road to meet people who will know other people that will become power partners or will help you along your journey. Go thru each process, take your time and get ready for the next one. Finally, don’t forget to celebrate your wins. For Monica, that first workshop was a win. She just didn’t realize it at the time. Many of her friends commented they were impressed she got 10 people in a room to hear the pitch! Moreover, just by doing that first event, Monica had accomplished something that many people wouldn’t even attempt to try. This is what it’s is all about: the big and small victories that move us forward.
Parting wisdom (in a few words):
“Celebrate your wins!”