No one can be an expert in everything. I talk a lot about the value of establishing yourself as an expert in your field, and I happen to be an expert book writing coach who helps people who claim they aren’t writers to write and publish their nonfiction books. I am not, however, an expert in everything, which is why I’d like to share my experience working with a coach of my own in order to achieve an important goal.
My husband, Tom, is an outdoor enthusiast, and he has a special relationship with the Grand Canyon. Every year for the past decade he has taken a couple of weeks to float the Colorado River at the bottom of the Canyon, enjoying the white water, scaling the canyon walls on challenging hikes, and sleeping under the stars. He is also a darn good photographer and likes to get up in the wee hours to photograph the deep black sky that radiates light from the millions and millions of stars. The Grand Canyon restores Tom and ignites every fiber of his being with its beauty and majesty. He can’t get enough of it, and he wanted to share it with me.
I also love the outdoors, but the thought of spending two weeks on a raft and living outdoors without the basic comforts of a bed or bathroom was a bit daunting. And then there was the hike in. To get to the bottom of the canyon, we would hike 8.5 miles down Bright Angel Trail, which has an elevation drop of one mile. We had to carry in all of our belongings in packs that weighed about 25 pounds. The hike usually takes between 5.5 and 6.5 hours, and it’s not for the faint of heart. You might think that hiking down is easy but, in fact, the hike down is harder than the hike up. Your shins and calves bear the brunt of the pounding, and afterward hikers often lose their big toenails. They are also prone to suffering intense calf pain for days afterward, pain that is nearly crippling.
As you float down the river, other hikes are part of the trip, and I don’t mean a nice little stroll down a trail. At times you have to plant your hands and feet on opposite sides of the wall in a slot canyon and then scale upward. On some hikes there are thin ledges — only two feet wide — that you must traverse. You have to inch yourself sideways and hope that your hands have a firm grip on the rock wall. It’s a long way down, but when you get past these challenging portions, you reach amazing scenes of beauty that you never knew existed.
I knew I could deal with living outdoors, but I wasn’t sure I could endure the hike down with a 25-pound pack on my back. I also knew I didn’t have the skills to climb a slot canyon or scale ledges.
If I was going to do this, I needed to get help. I needed a coach.
I started training with Brent about five months before our trip. He planned a regimen where on Wednesdays we worked on building strength and on Fridays we worked on balance and agility. In between, I amped up my cardio so I would have the endurance I needed. When I went to my training sessions, I had no idea what we were going to do that day. I didn’t know how to get myself in shape, so I just did what Brent told me. All I did was show up and follow his instructions. When he told me to do twenty jump squats, I did them. When he told me to get on the stair climber and climb on my tiptoes, I did it. When he said to stand on the bosu ball on one leg and catch the ball he threw to me, I did it. No two sessions were the same, and week after week after week, I showed up and did whatever he said to do for that hour. Little by little, I built my strength and agility in those one-hour bite-sized chunks.
The day we hiked down the Grand Canyon, there was an excessive heat warning. Temperatures were expected to rise to 112 degrees on the canyon floor, which is exactly where we were going. We were fully prepared with energy snacks, plenty of water, and our hats and sunscreen, and there were water refill stations about every three miles. We were ready. I was ready.
It took us 5.5 hours to get to the bottom, and I felt pretty good until about the last half mile. It was my toes. They were screaming at me, and I was certain I would lose those toenails. The heat was exhausting, and by the time we reached the bottom it was 109 degrees, but we made it. I made it! Those small repeated increments of time I’d devoted to getting in shape for the trip carried me from the upper rim of the Grand Canyon to the Colorado river at the bottom. I never even had the deep muscle pain that some experience.
Get a Coach
So what does my trip to the Grand Canyon have to do with your book? You have a book-worthy idea inside you and might think, “I’m not a writer, I can’t do this,” but that’s not true. You may not be not a writer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t become an author. You can do anything you want to do if you get the proper help. You need a book writing coach who can take the idea for your book and help you crystallize your message, plan the contents, write the manuscript, edit it to perfection—and finally—publish and distribute your book. You need someone to take you the entire distance so that all you have to do is follow. A great book writing coach can turn a “liver” into a writer.
Here’s the thing: people who write nonfiction aren’t writers. They’re what I call “livers.” You’ve lived through something; you’ve been through something, you’ve learned something, discovered something, or developed something, and you’re busy living your life. You’re not a writer because you’re a doer. You’re out accomplishing things. You don’t need to learn the publishing industry or take any writing classes to write your book. You simply need to get your message out of your head and out into the world, and you need a comprehensive book writing coach to help you do that.
All you have to do is take the first step and get started. You have a message, and I have a process. Why don’t we work together?