Author Insights: Elaine La Joie on Making Peace with the Possibility of Bad Reviews (+ an Autographed Book Giveaway)

And we're back! It's time for the next installment of our "Author Insights" series. In this series, I'm introducing you to writers who've taken their writing all the way to the finish line of publication, and they share their "lessons learned" with you. There's nothing quite like learning from a writer who has made to the other side.

Plus, if you leave a comment at the end of the post before Friday, May 12th at 5 p.m. Pacific Time, you'll be entered to win an autographed copy of the author's book in a random drawing. Please note that you must be located in the United States to win.

Meet Elaine La Joie, author of The Empath as Archetype

I'm thrilled to introduce you to Elaine La Joie. Elaine and I have worked together in various ways over the past 15 years since we first met after attending the same coach training program. Elaine has gone on to become not only a coach but is now also a shaman, who specializes in working with empaths. Elaine has chosen the self-publishing path and has put out five books, now bundled into one in the The Empath as Archetype. Her books are particularly valuable for sensitives and empaths who find themselves stuck in challenging relationship situations. Being a shaman and an expert in the Enneagram Four, Elaine always brings a higher view of relationship interactions I find illuminating and freeing. 

I asked Elaine to share her insights about writing her books with us. 

Elaine La Joie on Writing The Empath as Archetype

Elaine La Joie

I had wanted to write ever since I was a child, but I always thought I’d write fiction. However, after coaching empaths for a few years I found myself writing non-fiction.

At first I wrote short essays for my blog about topics that came up during client sessions that I thought most empaths would appreciate.

Then, as I expanded my knowledge base from plain coaching to the Enneagram to shamanic energy work, I found myself explaining these concepts to new clients, which took too much time away from diving into the healing work, so I decided to write a guide that clients could read before they started working with me.

Structuring a Complicated, Massive Topic

However, the book I imagined was complicated. I was bringing together topics from the Enneagram, shamanic energy work, and archetypes, and then writing specifically for the empath archetype. It was overwhelming.

Instead of writing I found myself spending time thinking about how to arrange this massive treatise, which led to frustration and procrastination. I solved this by going back to observing my clients and what we needed to unravel and work on first before major progress could be made.

This helped me see the three disparate topics my clients needed to understand before they could achieve deep healing and shift their ingrained patterns, and I organized my work accordingly. I wrote three books about the archetypal drama triangle, which is particularly problematic for the sensitive empath, shamanic energy work, and the enneagram archetype of the empath. I published these on my website.

Navigating Expanding My Reach with Amazon

Once I had self-published the books on my site, I had a few sales, mostly from new clients and others curious about my work. The feedback was good, but small. I kept writing, this time shifting to major case studies with the assumption that the reader had absorbed the concepts in the first three little books.

Because I wanted to expand my reach, I started looking into how to upload my books to Amazon. Luckily by the time I was ready to publish on Amazon, they had made the process relatively straightforward and free with both their digital system (Kindle) and their softcover publisher (CreateSpace).

But I noticed that I was procrastinating again—the thought of having my books reviewed by the general public was for the most part scary and unappealing.

Making Peace With the Possibility of Bad Reviews

My books were written for a very specific audience, an empath who wants to change his or her life. A non-empath would not understand these books. An empath that was interested but not ready to look at the shadow work required to heal themselves would most definitely find my books upsetting. They might leave rotten reviews. In many ways I felt like I was setting myself up to be misunderstood and misrepresented.

At the same time, I knew this work would be helpful to that segment of the population of empaths who were ready to dive in and do the deep healing work.

So, I had to prepare to get bad reviews. I made two shifts with my thinking that helped tremendously:

  1. I made a conscious decision not to take any reviews personally and to trust the work would reach the audience for whom it was intended. Because I am an empath, and empaths tend to take everything personally, I had to remind myself that my feelings in the moment would pass; I should honor my feelings, but not take them too seriously, even the happy feelings around good reviews. This helped me be both less attached to good reviews and less fearful of bad reviews.
  2. I reminded myself that personal work for anyone is very difficult, and that it is a common human behavior to shoot the messenger. My work is all about being the messenger for people who are hurting and wanting to heal themselves. In doing one-on-one work with clients, it is relatively easy to match my client and maintain a relationship that works for both of us, but every once in a while a client tries to shoot the messenger. It doesn't happen often because we have built up a relationship of acceptance and trust, but when it does, I don't take it personally because I understand the nature of healing work and the role of the shaman. Once I started thinking of my writing as working one-on-one with my favorite clients as my audience, it was easier and less scary to move forward. However, because I wasn’t really working one-on-one with each reader, it was guaranteed that I would be shot down at least one time out of ten.

Luckily for me, most of my readers so far have wanted to do the work, so most of my reviews on Amazon have been very good. Many empaths can be shy, so I receive much more positive feedback through emails than through reviews, which is also heartening. There are awful reviews as well, such as one from a reader who gave my last book one star after starting with it first instead of last. This person did not to read the other books, but gave them all one star reviews anyway. This was both amusing and upsetting at the same time, but in the grand scheme of things, the work is out there, and people can take it or leave it, just as they take or leave one-on-one session work.

Overall my writing experience has been a very good one. I have been very lucky to have a niche in which to write. I also entered self-publishing right when the process became easy and straight forward.

As it turned out, the literal process of self-publishing was easy—the hardest step was moving past my fears and putting the work out there.

About The Empath as Archetype

The Empath as Archetype by Elaine La JoieThe Empath as Archetype contains the first five volumes of The Empath as Archetype series by Elaine La Joie, including:

  • The Empath and the Archetypal Drama Triangle
  • The Empath and Shamanic Energy Work
  • Motivations of the Empath
  • The Empath and Shadow Work
  • The Empath and the Fan-Hero Family System

These books, written over seven years, are a compilation of case studies of Elaine's clients, and are now available in this collected edition.

Elaine begins with the Archetypal Drama Triangle, explaining the most common archetypal system humans can be caught in, but gives examples particular to empaths. She moves on to describing shamanic techniques including Soul Retrieval and Underworld Work, used in her practice to help her clients heal wounds common to empaths. Next comes a description of the most typical blindspots and faulty beliefs for empaths as described by the Enneagram Type Four and how to change to more productive beliefs and behaviors. In the final two volumes she explains particularly troublesome relationships in which empaths can become entangled, including the common family system that can produce the narcissistic personality.

The Empath as Archetype is available on Amazon.com.*

About Elaine

Elaine La Joie, shaman and certified life coach, has worked with empaths and highly sensitive intuitives for more than ten years. During that time she has helped empaths understand themselves and their relationships while using shamanic energy healing to resolve past traumas, including severe abuse. These books offer empaths insight into their relationship and into the hidden motivations of themselves and others so that they can understand their loved ones and create the lives they truly desire.

Please visit Elaine’s website at https://secure.clearreflectioncoaching.com for more resources for empaths.

Enter to Win an Autographed Copy of The Empath as Archetype

Elaine has graciously offered to give away three autographed copies of her book to my readers. Leave a comment on the blog about one of your own writing lessons or something you learned from Elaine's insights before Friday, May 12th at 5 p.m. Pacific Time and you'll be entered in the random drawing. Please note, you must be located in the United States to win.

 

* This is an affiliate link, which means my Called to Write business receives a small commission from any purchases you make using this link, and which I deeply appreciate.

 

Getting comfortable with being seen, heard, and read, Part 2

We resume our story where we left off, with a young woman who had sworn never to speak in public again.

She couldn’t quite get away with that, and even found herself drawn into the public eye giving presentations through her professional work.

But she always dreaded it.

When she left her regular job to go out on her own, she knew she had something to say, but wasn’t sure where to start.

She began with writing with an online newsletter, then added blogging, and eventually began writing articles that were picked up by other websites.

But she still found herself hesitating when it came time to hit the “publish” or “send” button. What if people didn’t like it? What if they disagreed or thought she was wrong? What if she was too “woo-woo” or different or controversial or …?

So she moderated her message, held herself back, and tried to toe the line.

Despite that contradictory dance of trying to hide out and be seen simultaneously, she began to build a following: She had something to say that her right audience wanted to hear.

And with the feedback from her audience, her voice grew stronger, even though she still felt nervous when she pressed the “publish” button.

Eventually, she felt inspired to teach classes and found a venue to offer free classes as a place to start.

And people came!

She was TERRIFIED!

But she held her ground, practiced her energy skills, and reminded herself that she could trust herself to handle anything that came up, even if she didn’t know the answer.

And it was great.

Of course, she couldn’t sleep that night and laid awake late into the night processing the whole experience endlessly.

But she did it again. And it was easier. And she laid awake less and processed less and enjoyed it more.

So she taught another class, and another.

Eventually she began offering her classes online for a fee. And then weekend-long workshops.

And it just kept getting easier and easier and easier.

Have you guessed by now? Did you know already?

This woman was me.

I’ve traveled a path from being terrified of speaking and writing in public to feeling much more comfortable with it. While it’s true that I still get nervous — I even ask myself, “Why am I doing this?” from time to time — I’ve learned that the level of satisfaction I feel when I share my message with my audience is so very high that it is entirely worth it.

As a sensitive person who loves to hermit herself away at home and write (just ask my friend Kris how hard it is to pry me out of my little cave), I’ve learned a number of ways of understanding and working with myself and my sensitive, introverted, empathic wiring so I can handle being seen, heard, and read.

I’ll tell you that as I stretch myself farther with my screenwriting and other writing, it is becoming increasingly uncomfortable again, but I will not let that stop me from reaching for my dreams and sharing what I have to say.

Your turn

What about you? Does this inspire anything for you? Your comments are welcome.

Warmly,

 Jenna

Expand your Spotlight Comfort Zone
With practical and spiritual tools to help you get there
In a safe, sensitive-friendly 6-week study group

If you want to summon your courage and step into YOUR spotlight, join my upcoming Spotlight Study Group, where we’ll have a safe, sensitive-friendly, small, intimate coaching group to clear up the fears, doubts, old wounds, and other obstacles to claiming your place in front of your audience — where you belong.
 
Starts May 1. Early registration ends Sunday, April 15th. Details are here.
 
 
Questions? Email my team.
 

Coming Attractions

~> NEW DATE: April 10th, 2012. My teleclass, “Sensitives in the Spotlight: How Artists, Writers, Hermits & Introverts can Navigate a Call to the Public Eye,” will be held on April 10th at 3 p.m Pacific Time (4 Mountain, 5 Central, 6 Eastern, Midnight GMT). Find out more and register here.

~> April 12th, 2012. Last day to register for the next session of my Writer’s Circle session starting on April 16th. Get my Free Writing Tips series too, and receive a coupon for a savings on your first 4 week session. Sign up here.

~> April 19th, 2012. Last day to register for my next Life Purpose Breakthrough Group on May 17th. Only 4 spots. These groups consistently sell out, so if you’d like to join me, reserve your spot ASAP. Register here.

~> April 19th, 2012. Teaching a live webinar for Writer’s Digest, “10 Practical Tips for More Consistent, Productive Writing.” Details soon!

 

What I'm Up To

~> Ongoing. Writing in the ProSeries class at ScreenwritingU. Closing in on the complete draft.

~> Friday through Monday. Sacred writing time while I complete my draft. The Do Not Disturb sign is up.

~> Still reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban with my boy.

 

Getting comfortable with being seen, heard and read

As artists, writers, and messengers, we have work we want to share with the world: Something to say, write, or show.

But for those of us on the more sensitive side, the intensity of being “seen” in this way can be completely overwhelming.

A story for you

Today I want to tell you a story about a woman who went from being terrified of being seen, to writing, blogging, teaching, and speaking her message in the world.

Here it is:

In her 10th grade English class, this woman — a girl, then — was asked to choose a poem, read it to the class from the front of the room, and speak about how it related to her own life.

It was the first time she had been asked to give an oral presentation on such a personal subject. She had never enjoyed speaking in front of the class before, but this took her anxiety level much higher.

When the day of the presentation arrived, she had practiced endlessly, but she was still so nervous and tense about the whole thing that as she sat in the hallway before class, she had tears streaming down her face. Her friends didn’t know what to do or say. Knots were twisting in her stomach, she was as pale as a ghost, and she felt like she could be knocked over with the slightest breath of wind.

When the bell rang, she mustered herself into the door and sat at her desk, her head spinning with pounding voices and everything she was supposed to say. She was so nervous that she couldn’t concentrate at all on the teacher’s or on the other students’ presentations. The class dragged on interminably and she was in agony waiting for her turn, watching the clock ticking closer and closer to what felt like a death sentence.

Then suddenly she realized there wasn’t enough time left for her to present — the bell was going to ring! She was off the hook!

A huge wave of relief swept over her. She was saved. The bell rang, and she left, practically levitating out of the room.

But then the next day at school, she had to face the same situation again. She cried in the hallway again. She sat through class on pins and needles, again. And the class ended without her having to speak, again.

It went on like this for days, literally. Even over a weekend. It must have been at least 7 consecutive school days of this torture, including the crying and her friends not knowing what to do with her.

It was truly, truly awful.

Finally when she did give her presentation — it went fine — and it was actually behind her, only then did she feel true relief from the anxiety that had built up inside her.

I’d like to tell you that she learned from that experience that public speaking wasn’t so bad. But she didn’t.

Instead, she swore then and there never to speak in public again.

It didn’t quite work out that way, with more schooling to come. But she was crystal clear that she would NEVER speak in public voluntarily. NEVER.

Until, of course, she realized that she actually had something to say. Something that was important to her. Words she wanted to share, verbally and on the page.

Her message.

That’s when things really changed for her.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this story, coming soon.

Your turn

Your comments are welcome.

Warmly,

 Jenna

Expand your Spotlight Comfort Zone
With practical and spiritual tools to help you get there
In a safe, sensitive-friendly 6-week study group

If you want to summon your courage and step into YOUR spotlight, join my upcoming Spotlight Study Group, where we’ll have a safe, sensitive-friendly, small, intimate coaching group to clear up the fears, doubts, old wounds, and other obstacles to claiming your place in front of your audience — where you belong.
 
Starts May 1. Early registration ends Sunday, April 15th. Details are here.
 
 
Questions? Email my team.
 

Coming Attractions

~> March 27th, 2012. Last day to register for my next Life Purpose Breakthrough Group on April 24th. Only 3 spots remaining. These groups consistently sell out, so if you’d like to join me, reserve your spot ASAP. Register here.

~> April 10th, 2012. My teleclass, “Sensitives in the Spotlight: How Artists, Writers, Hermits & Introverts can Navigate a Call to the Public Eye,” will be held on April 10th at 3 p.m Pacific Time (4 Mountain, 5 Central, 6 Eastern, Midnight GMT). Find out more and register here.

~> April 12th, 2012. Last day to register for the next session of my Writer’s Circle session starting on April 16th. Get my Free Writing Tips series too, and receive a coupon for a savings on your first 4 week session. Sign up here.

 

What I'm Up To

~> Ongoing. Writing in the ProSeries class at ScreenwritingU, which was recently named the #1 screenwriting class by InkTip. We’re finishing our “First Ten Pages” module. It’s amazing!

~> Daily and especially Fridays. Sacred writing time. The Do Not Disturb sign is up.

~> Now my son and I are reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and loving it.