Stéphanie has been a freelance writer, copywriter, blogger, goal setter, habit nerd and sticky note lover for as long as she can remember. Here are a couple of questions from the interview.
[video_player type=”youtube” youtube_remove_logo=”Y” width=”560″ height=”315″ align=”center” margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”20″]aHR0cHM6Ly95b3V0dS5iZS96V2lKZHRzV2U1TQ==[/video_player]
Amy: What goals have you already reached?
Stéphanie: One thing that I really wanted to do when I was growing up when I was younger was publish a story and I’ve just published my first short story in a actual book when it came out it was in the shops in 2008. That was really exciting. And the other thing that I set myseIf to do last year was to run, swim and bike in a sprint triathlon. and I did that as well.
Amy: So what did you do to make sure that you could get to that stage?
Stéphanie: Well for the first one last year I did a lot of training. I trained with a group. We had weekly training sessions together. Where we tackled different aspects of it and we had a detailed training plan. This time I focussed more on running and I didn’t go as well as I hoped it would do, the training. so to be honest I kind of winged it this Saturday, which is not a good thing to do!
Amy: So the book publishing one we’ve actually got someone people in the group who are interested in books and we have an author so it might be good to talk about how you went from wanting to write a book to how you made it happen.
Stéphanie: Since I was very young I’ve always been a reader and I was always telling stories in my head and when I was about 11 it clicked that I could actually write them down so that was how I started. and that was always my dreamt o become an author. So I chose the route that you might expect, so when I finished high school I started journalism school. There was a school here in the Netherlands that was just for writers, so I tried out and I got in. Turned out that wasn’t a great school as they kept saying to me, “you’re too young, you do not have life experience to be a writer” and that wasn’t very nice.
So then we had a free Facebook thing here which was kind of the same thing but a bit different. And I saw a call from someone who said, “I want stories, that – anthologies that are mostly about people who are travelling”, but he wanted around the airport and on the actual plane. So I emailed him and I said “I can do that” and he said “well, I have a few really renowned writers who are actually already doing this…. but if you want to you can have a shot”, so I with my 18 year old self, very cocky, said “O, I can do that, I just got into this school”. Looking back I was thinking “what did I do?”and then I wrote the story and I really struggled to write it to be honest, I wrote the first draft and it was just crap, pure shit, and I was just about to give up, and then there was this friend of mine he said “you’re not giving up, you know you can do this, you are going to sit your butt down in this chair and you are going to do this”, and I wrote a new draft version of the story completely from scratch in two hours and the deadline was before Christmas and he got back to me the beginning of the year saying “you’re in” and I actually beat a few renowned authors to get in and that was just – wow!
… Determination is a good one, and also sometimes it’s really good to not feel so sure of yourself because a lot of my breakthroughs happen at a point where I was just thinking “there’s no way I’m doing this”, with the story that got published I was thinking “there’s no way I’m doing this” with the triathlon, half way through I think “I’m just gonna drown, this is not happening” there’s no way I could finish, and then to keep going I would urge someone to say you can do that. With the book it was a friend of mine said ” you can do this” for the triathlon I came out of the water feeling dizzy and nauseous and thinking there’s no way I’m going to go on a bike and then my mother and my boyfriend are just standing cheering and clapping on the side as I was trying to get on the bike, and it’s just – you don’t want to lose face for those people. And it feels like getting up and as long as you- even if you don’t want to keep going or you find it hard to keep going – but you feel like giving up is giving up and disappointing yourself, then you still have it in you to keep going.
… I actually plan it in and I make a week planning, I have a rough daily outline as well, when I’m going to do this, when I’m going to work on some client work that’s returning every month, I actually gave them a timeslot every week or every other week depending on the client, so that when that time hits I just know that I need to do that. And I have Fridays – I made Fridays my business day, so on Friday I’m going to work on those pages and just really do work that just helps my business forward without worrying that I still have to do client work.
Amy: All about the planning!
Stéphanie: and the colour coding!
Stéphanie de Geus is a copywriter & content strategist living in the Netherlands. She’s a former editor-in-chief and has been a blogger for 9 years. Her goal is to help women business owners create an awesome and effortless online presence. She has every colour highlighter you can imagine, enough sticky notes to last two lifetimes and is not so secretly addicted to planning. She blogs about creating content and getting yourself organised over at www.thestorysparks.com.