I Never Thought Of Myself As A Writer – Interview With Author Evelyn McKelvie

by Marilyn R. Wilson

Evelyn McKelvie

Please share a bit about your journey to become a published author?

What can I say about my journey to becoming a published author? I never thought of myself as a writer. When I put up my first website for my business and began to write blog posts I was terrified to put my words out into the world. But I had to get over myself if I wanted to get clients, so I crossed my fingers and clicked on PUBLISH and the sky didn’t fall around me.

I have been writing and saving bits of writing for quite some time thinking that I might someday write a book – but inside I never believed that it would happen. After a couple of years of being in my business full time, I decided a book was necessary to help people understand what I do and, hopefully, to expand my reach. Around that same time I saw a notice about a weekend retreat that promised to get me ready to write the book. It was Julie Salisbury’s workshop. I signed up – thinking it was a comfortably low level of commitment.

Imagine my surprise when I came away from that weekend with a book title, an outline, a process, and some understanding about how to write and publish a book! From there, I set myself a deadline nine months hence to have my book out in the world. Julie and another friend coached me through the tough spots. Another friend who is a publisher also helped as a content editor.

Having a deadline worked well for me. It would be so easy to continue to postpone and avoid the writing. It can be a painful process to face that blank page or screen. It was so easy to edit paragraphs that were already written and edited. It was so easy to surf the net, do the laundry, clean the toilet – anything but face the writing that the book needed. Having that deadline kept me focused and if I write another book I will likely use the same process.

How does the writing process work for you? Do you schedule a time every day, work madly when inspiration hits or ?

Something I discovered a number of years ago was that my writing and creative brain was engaged when I was away from the computer. The left brain-right brain dichotomy became vivid while I was recovering from a whiplash and was getting regular massages. At the time I was working in IT and usually my left brain was engaged in analytical concepts related to technology and communication of non-creative, structured ideas. While lying on the massage table as I relaxed I noticed that my mind would flood with whole paragraphs of writing and creative ideas for my website and newsletters. When I would get home and get set up at the computer those ideas were nowhere to be found. I discovered that I needed to keep a notebook with me and capture nuggets that would stimulate my recall later when I could get to the computer.

When the time came to work on the book I couldn’t write every day but I blocked out several days a week that were devoted to writing. The deadline I set drove my process and helped me to be focused. When I got stuck – which happened a lot, I contacted a coach friend to discuss the ideas that were backing up in my mind until the threads untangled and I could carry on writing out those thoughts. Having a coach was essential to my process.

What did you find most difficult about the writing and publishing process? What was the easiest?

Conceptually the most difficult part was creating a through line. The material I wanted to cover in my book could be presented in a number of ways and I was not clear at all on the best approach. The most difficult part of the writing was pushing through to capture material that was difficult to describe. My business is very experiential and personal. I had to make decisions about which tangents to cut off and which ideas to include. There was the potential for a lot of material but to meet my goal and deadline I had to get tough with myself and let go of certain paragraphs and chapter ideas.

The most difficult part of the publishing has been the marketing. I am not an author by trade. My purpose in writing the book was to have a sales tool for my business and to have the credibility that goes with being a published author. It seems that one has to invest huge amounts of time in the marketing of a book to make it a success. My book is an “expensive business card”. I am proud of it and see it as an accomplishment. It would be very rewarding to see it sell more widely but I do not have the resources (time nor money) to put into making it a real ‘best seller’. It is lovely to have those cheques show up when sales are made.

The easiest part was writing about the things that generate my passion. Writing when the ideas are flowing faster than your fingers can capture them is thrilling. Reading those words later after they have been lovingly edited into word gems is a delight and sense of real accomplishment.

What title (or titles) have you released? Please include a short synopsis of what your book is
(or books are) about.

So far I have only written one title: The Executive Horse: 21st Century Leadership Lessons From

Horses. It is a book about my unique business – how I came to create the idea, my process for bringing the business into being, the science that underpins what I do, as well as the benefits that are available to my clients.

Do you have any new books in the planning or writing stage?

I do plan to write a book about my life. My audience for that will be my son. Now that I am older I appreciate those who have gone before much more and wish they had left behind the stories and details of their lives. I also toy with the idea of writing a book of fiction. There are some incidents in my life that would make an interesting basis for a fictional story. Maybe someday…

What would you like readers to know about you?

I am now in my 8th or 9th career (depending on how you define a career) and am enjoying this one more than any other. I have been involved in art, music, theatre, student financial aid and awards, and – prior to focusing on my current career – was a manager in technology environments. Now my focus is on coaching people with horses as co-coaches. There is no riding involved. The work is all about the development of greater emotional intelligence, leadership skills, mindfulness, and improving communication skills. The name of my business is Equine Coach – to reflect that the horse acts as co-coach in the process. I developed my own coaching model after many years of study and am certified as an executive coach and horse trainer, as well as certified to give EQ assessments. I developed a coaching complimentary self – assessment tool called the 8 Fold Path of Equus which is available on my website.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers?

I work with emotional intelligence, leadership, and awareness – awareness of self, other, and environment. It is more than mindfulness. It is not therapy but is highly therapeutic. In simplest terms I work with presence, something that doesn’t sound very sexy and ground-breaking but is about the most fundamental thing we ‘own’. I use the word ‘own’ purposefully. Presence is the felt sense of who we are. It is a fluid sense of embodiment. We all have a presence but for the most part we’re unaware of it. Others know us by our presence. Presence is what is missed by our loved ones when we are absent. It is a critical factor in our lives because it is the ‘who’ we declare ourselves to be in the world and how we are known, more so than by our name. Our presence will get us a second interview, a second date, another chance at creating a first impression.