What If The Queen Should Die?

By John-Paul Flintoff

A literary-historical adventure, based on the true story of Britain's most tragic queen

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

How coaching helped me to overcome writer's block

A few years after I gave up writing about Queen Anne, my friend Fenella Rouse called me. She'd started training as a life coach, she said, and wondered if I might be one of her guinea pigs.

If it hadn't been Fenella, whom I hold in the highest possible regard, I might have curled the lip. I might even have sneered. "Life coaching? Sounds a bit, er, Californian!"

But having somebody talk with me about the things that matter to me, and help me work out what I want to do, was revelatory. Towards the end of one session, Fenella asked if I'd ever thought of writing a novel. I told her I'd started one long before, and given up. 

Do you still want to write it? she asked.

Yes, I said.

Why don't you?

Alright, I will.


I'll start on Monday, I said.

OK, said Fenella, and when will you finish?

End of October, I promised. (Not a very long time to write a novel, but I already had the plot very clearly set out in my mind.)

I might not have thought of the novel, far less decided to write it again, if I hadn't been coached. And for that, I will always be grateful to Fenella. But that's not all that came out our sessions. Another was the decision to workshop characters, and scenes, with theatrical improvisers...

(credit: Thanks to Fenella, and to Ben Spencer for interviewing her.)

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