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On The Table Read, “The Best Book Reader Magazine in the UK“, author and Wellness Business mentor, Vicky Shilling, talks about her book, Just Start Now, her writing process, and what motivates her.

JJ Barnes editor of The Table Read online creativity, arts and entertainment magazine

Written by JJ Barnes

I interviewed Vicky Shilling about her work as a Wellness Business Mentor, what inspires her, and work that went into her latest book release, Just Start now.

Tell me a bit about who you are.

​My name is Vicky Shilling and I am a Wellness Business Mentor, helping health practitioners turn their expertise into income.

Vicky Shilling, Best Start Now, The Table Read
Vicky Shilling

I’m passionate about making well-being solopreneurship as simple and supported as possible in a world of advice overwhelm. I share tips and straight-talking action steps through my Just Start Now award nominated podcast, community and 1:1 mentoring and now… my book!

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When did you first WANT to write a book?

I’ve always wanted to write a book, ever since I was a child. I used to write ‘chapter books’ when I was 8 or 9 years old, I remember one about a mouse and his life living in a field (!) and another which was very heavily influenced by Enid Blyton Secret Seven stories, in which I wrote about a group of friends going on safari and having an adventure. Most of my writing was about the picnics they packed… so a love of food was also always there too!

When did you take a step to start writing?

I got back into writing when I started a healthy eating food blog in 2016, to share my journey changing my diet and lifestyle to overcome IBS symptoms. I’d forgotten after a decade working and only ever writing emails how much I loved writing and explaining things and conveying a message. Blogging became a bit like journaling for me – a way to process what I was learning and going through, I just happened to share it with the world.

Since then I’ve always blogged and now write blog articles as well as social media captions for my business. I got into writing regularly for my book through a writing group run by book mentor Erin Chamberlain and that habit of writing really helped me get the book complete.

How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?

A year, almost to the day. I have an Instagram post I shared with my following on 11th February 2021 saying “I think I’m going to write a book!” And I released the final version in paperback and e-book version on 4th March 2022.

Focusing on your latest release. What made you want to write Just Start Now?

I found in my work as a business mentor I was repeating the same pieces of advice over and over again. A lot of my tips to that point were scattered through podcast episodes, blog posts and on my social media channels, or in notes sent to clients privately. But there wasn’t one single place where I could direct people new to my work to really understand my way of working or helping them with their mindset (which is what I share in the book). So it gradually became a no brainer to put all the advice I offer in one place in the form of a book.

What were your biggest challenges with writing Just Start Now?

Just Start Now by Vicky Shilling on The Table Read
Just Start Now

I think my biggest challenge was the editing process. I felt confident enough to get the words on the page initially and get the word count to what I was aiming for, I had a lot I wanted to say! But refining it down and trying to keep an overview of the whole flow of the book was tricky. It was easy to get lost in each chapter or paragraph and endlessly tweak or get confused about what was covered where. Eventually I had to trust the editor and proof-reader with an external view to assure me it made sense!

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What was your research process for Just Start Now?

The research was effectively my work over 3 years with 1:1 clients and group programme members – all early starts in setting up a health or wellness based business. During that work I have been able to see the common patterns and blocks that people experience when it comes to setting up a business that is sustainable and being visible and attracting customers. This is what I wanted to capture in the book, using some of their stories as well as my own to reassure and give tools to other new health business owners starting out and facing the same problems.

How did you plan the structure of Just Start Now?

I worked with my book mentor Erin Chamberlain on a book plan during a planning day which I found immensely helpful. The structure of the book is based around my 5 pillar process to setting up a business, and tackles each of the mindsets that pop up at each stage of the process. Having this structure really helped to identify where the stories and tips should go and give the book direction.

Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did Just Start Now need?

Yes, Erin was both my mentor and my copyeditor and we also hired a proof-reader too. She tells me it needed a ‘light edit’ – but I don’t know if she’s just being polite!

I like to think I’m a fairly good writer in general and understand the English language, but I trusted her to ensure the book read well and fitted standard practice for business books that are in a similar category. It did take a number of hours and I know the proof-reading took 17 hours. Writing a book is not quick or simple if you want it done properly but I appreciate the support of experts.

What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a book?

Vicky Shilling on The Table REad
Vicky Shilling

Know your reader. It’s just like I advise in business – if you want a book that will sell, you need to know who it’s for and what they’re going to gain from reading it. I have a really clear idea of the person I’m trying to help and what problems they have, so I could speak to these and their experiences in the book, and offer the right advice and tips and wisdom I felt they needed.

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Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?

I am sure I will write another book in future, but currently I don’t know what that will be! This book was very much for new starts and beginner business owners, so it might be that I create something for people more established in their businesses next. But that won’t be for a few years I don’t envision, I really want to get this book circulating as much as possible first.

And, finally, are your proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?

Absolutely. I am a bit of a perfectionist and there are always things you notice afterwards you’d like to change or little mistakes you want to correct. But over all I’m delighted with it, I think it looks brilliant and I’m obsessed with the layouts inside which I’ve had great feedback on and I am confident it will be an amazing and powerful marketing tool for my business long into the future.

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