Insights On The Enneagram And Sustain Your Author Career With Claire Taylor

How can you use insights from the Enneagram to help you with a sustainable author career? How can you get past your blocks and move towards success, whatever that means for you? Claire Taylor provides her insights.

In the intro, will TikTok be banned in the USA, and how will this impact authors and publishing? [TechCrunch; Kathleen Schmidt]; Hugh Howey on the Tim Ferriss show; I, Cyborg: Using Co-Intelligence [Ethan Mollick]; Using AI in award-winning writing [Smithsonian Mag; Editor and Publisher];

Plus, I’m now an award-winning author for Pilgrimage! [Pics on Instagram, Buy the book from me, or on other stores]; Spear of Destiny, Unstuck with Rachael Herron; I’m interviewed on the Casual Author Podcast, and Cops and Writers.


Today’s show is sponsored by Draft2Digital, self-publishing with support, where you can get free formatting, free distribution to multiple stores, and a host of other benefits. Just go to www.draft2digital to get started.

Claire Taylor writes comedy fiction, science fiction, paranormal cozy mystery, and serial killer crime, with more than 40 books under various pen names. She also teaches authors through courses, consulting, and her books for writers, which include Reclaim Your Author Career, and her new book, Sustain Your Author Career.

You can listen above or on your favorite podcast app or read the notes and links below. Here are the highlights and the full transcript is below. 

Show Notes

  • What is the Enneagram is and how can it help authors
  • Differentiating questions to determine your Enneagram type
  • Dealing with the unhealthy sides of your Enneagram type
  • Overcoming blocks that authors may face
  • Navigating changes in the (ever-changing) indie author industry
  • Building resilience to sustain a long-term author career

You can find Claire at, and Sustain your Author Career here on Kickstarter.

Transcript of Interview with Claire Taylor

Joanna: Claire Taylor writes comedy fiction, science fiction, paranormal cozy mystery, and serial killer crime, with more than 40 books under various pen names.

She also teaches authors through courses, consulting, and her books for writers, which include Reclaim Your Author Career, and the new book, Sustain Your Author Career. So welcome to the show, Claire.

Claire: Hi, thank you so much for having me.

Joanna: There’s lots to talk about today, but first up—

Tell us a bit more about you and how you got into writing and publishing.

Claire: Well, I was one of those people who wanted to be a writer since I was like 10 years old. Then I had just years of people telling me that was unrealistic. So that was fun.

Luckily, I’m a little bit bullheaded. So I decided I was going to keep writing anyway and studied it in college. All of my professors basically frowned upon the kind of writing that I wanted to do, so I was trying to figure out, well, how am I going to do this anyway?

Then I joined a critique group after college. That’s where I met Alyssa Archer, who introduced me to all of the options that are included in publishing independently. I knew immediately that’s what I wanted to do.

So I skipped all the querying and just started learning the skills of self-publishing, and it’s basically just been from there. I like being a one woman show and being able to call the shots. So I never looked back once I went indie.

Joanna: Just give people a date then. When did you start self-publishing?

Claire: Well, I did like a semi-self-publishing thing, one of those hybrid borderline rip off kind of things in like 2012. Then in 2014, I started publishing my own stuff through KDP.

Joanna: You mentioned that you’re a bit bullheaded and like to be in control. I’ve been wondering about this, because I feel like I’m similar, and—

Do you think that there is a personality type who does well as an indie author, or can anyone be successful in this industry?

Claire: I think anyone can find something that really resonates with them in this industry.

I think as far as the perspective I come from with all of my training, every personality type, every positive healthy quality we have, can be overdone and work against us.

So it’s really about finding out the way that you want to go about this indie publishing business and making sure that you’re not overdoing it.

Joanna: Yes, I do wonder, though, because people email me now, and they say, “Oh, it seems like a lot of work.” I’m like, yes, it’s work to do this career. If you don’t want to do the work of publishing, then you need a publisher, like a traditional publisher.

Claire: Yes, so I would say that if you don’t want to do work, this is probably not the path for you. If you don’t want to do a whole lot of work, maybe just publish it as a blog or something like that.

I mean, I love a good challenge. So I love teaching myself new skills, I find that very engaging. So I think that is probably a necessary thing. Also, I think it’s not just the person, I think it’s the time of life where you’re approaching this.

Maybe you were a person who had a lot of energy to do this and that might have been the right time, and now with just the situation of your life, you’re like, I just don’t care to do this much work anymore. Then maybe it’s time to switch.

Joanna: Interesting. Okay, so you’re well known in the author community for your work around the Enneagram and how that helps writers. So for anyone who doesn’t know—

Can you outline what the Enneagram is and how it can help authors?

Claire: Of course. So the Enneagram, it’s a personality system that describes nine core fears and desires. So we classify those as types or sometimes a lens, or sometimes we call it an Enneagram style.

Each type is defined by what it fears and desires most.

So those fears are very deep things, like being bad or corrupt, or lacking value, or being trapped in deprivation. They’re not like a fear of snakes, that sort of thing.

What arises from our core fear are these patterns of thinking, feeling, and doing that we can get very, very stuck in. So it’s like having these blinders on before we start doing this work. So those blinders really limit our options.

In our industry, we have a crisis of people being stuck and trapped because they’ve limited their options. Their subconscious mind has limited their options because of the patterns that it’s functioning in as a default.

So they can’t always see an aligned path forward when the industry undergoes swift changes, which it does very frequently. So I can give you an example.

If you’re an author who’s what we call a type three, this is the achiever, then your core fear is lacking value or being worthless, and pretty much everything you do is to avoid confronting this fear or feeling like you lack value or are worthless, if you’re three.

A pattern that almost always arises from this is the belief that they earn value through accomplishments and achievements. This can look like how many books they have in their catalog, how high their books rank after launch, and how many subscribers they have on their email list.

So it all seems well and good to attach your sense of worth to those things when they’re going well for you, but everyone who has been in this industry for a little while sees that all of those numeric indicators are becoming more difficult to come by.

The result is that we have a bunch of Enneagram three authors whose self-worth is being eroded because they’ve attached it to something fleeting. So they may be trapped in that pattern, and they may not see another way of being because it’s kind of the water they swim in.

The Enneagram is a roadmap for many, many other ways of being and how we can be the healthiest and most sustainable version of ourselves.

Joanna: I like the idea of the lens because I think that’s important. Obviously, we’re both friends with Becca Syme and that Clifton Strengths side of things. I also like the Myers Briggs. All of these are different elements of personality, and they can all help in different ways.

So it’s funny because people did recommend to me your work and the Enneagram, and I didn’t go anywhere near it. I just didn’t have time to look at it.

Then when we arranged this interview, I’m like, okay, I need to read your books. So I’ve read both of these books now. So we’re going to do a bit of diagnosis for the listeners. I’m going to get some free consulting on the show.

I was reading it, and like you mentioned there, this achiever, the type three, and I’m like, yes, that’s me. I just work really hard. I’m goal orientated. Some of the things you said weren’t necessarily true, but I do have on my wall, “Measure your life by what you create.”

I’m quite fixated on making and creating things, and work is my worth. I definitely am questioning this in the age of AI, you know, if a machine can generate stuff, what does that make me? So I’m definitely going through that.

Then our mutual friend Becca Syme said that she thinks I’m a five, which is more about curiosity. I was like, oh, my goodness, that’s totally me too.

I’m sure this will happen to other people, like if they read your book, they’ll be like, “Oh, but that’s me, and that’s me, and that’s me.”

How do we work out which Enneagram type we are?

Maybe we can work out what I am together?

Claire: Okay. Yes, definitely. So it is a thing that a lot of people run into because we often haven’t thought of ourselves and sorted it into these sorts of terms before. So it can take a little bit of time, and there’s value in that discovery process.

If you’re going between a couple, and you’re like, “I don’t know if I’m this or this, they both seem really common,” then there are some different differentiating questions that we can refer to.

So it’s kind of like, okay, if you answered more this way, then you’re probably going to want to read a little bit more about this type versus if you answer a little more this way. So it’s very useful. There’s a process for this.

You can also take a test online, but the tests aren’t super accurate, with the exception of the iEQ9, which is one that I can administer and work with you on. That one’s about 95% accurate on type and subtype.

You don’t have to take a test though, you can read about it. So if you’re looking between a three and a five, there’s going to be some major differences and a lot of overlap. This is why we always want to go back and look at those core motivations rather than the behaviors.

If you’re looking at someone who’s like a real high achiever, they’re not necessarily an achiever. They could be, but maybe they’re a high achiever because they actually think that good people are hard workers, and they want to be a good person. In that case, they’re probably an Enneagram one.

So we want to make sure that we’re not looking too much at behavior. So if you’re ready, I can ask you some differentiating questions.

Joanna: Yes.

Claire: Okay.

Do you find that your sense of competence is more about the results of your efforts and what you can achieve, or more about what you know?

Joanna: Oh, this is hard because I turn everything I know into a book.

I love, love, love research. I am so deep in research right now for my next novel, Spear of Destiny. I’ve read all these books on the Nazis, and the occult, and all this.

I consider it the way to turn my curiosity into something. So the process is I guess why I do it. This is why I love it, but then I need to turn it into something in order to say like the process is finished. Isn’t that right down the middle?

Claire: That’s pretty close down the middle.

Do you use the books as an excuse to validate what you want to learn about?

Joanna: I think it’s the other way around.

For example, I’ll go to a place, like I went to Amsterdam one time. I had an amazing time, I went to all these cool places, found out all this stuff, and then said I need to write a book about it.

The curiosity definitely comes first, and I use that to drive the outcome. I think then it gives me an excuse to spend more time on it.

Claire: Okay, so let me go to the next question. So the five is in the thinking triad. The three is in the heart triad, so that’s the emotion.

Joanna: I’m thinking. I’m definitely thinking.

Claire: Okay, all right. So, now the three doesn’t look a whole lot like a feeling type because it’s what’s called the contradicted type of the triad. So threes can put their feelings aside to get things done, but they can also kind of access those feelings from time to time.

Now, the five is much more in their head. Probably early in life, and as you’re getting older maybe now you’ve done a lot of work, but the feelings are a little harder to access for the five.

Fives tend to tell you what they think when you ask them how they feel.

Joanna: Oh, yes, that’s totally me. Do you know what’s so funny with AI? A lot of the stuff I do now with AI, is I’ll be like, “Can you help me make this more emotional?”

Claire: Please help me, computer.

Joanna: Okay, I genuinely trust whatever Becca says, so I was like, okay, maybe I’m a five. So yes, I’m definitely more of a thinking type.

Claire: I would say that you might want to look at the five. The five can be very productive as an investigator, it can be this sort of high achieving type. That’s a pretty healthy five.

So sometimes fives get stuck in the thinking realm, and they don’t remember to necessarily use that knowledge that they’ve gained. So they gain a bunch of knowledge for this sort of sense of security of like, okay, I know how to do the things, I’m capable, I’m competent. That’s the core desire of the five.

As the five has these healthy expressions, it starts to take on some of the qualities of the type eight, which is the challenger. So that’s more of the doing energy. The challengers are in the body or gut triad, so that’s the action triad. They are going out and doing things. So the five tends to actually use that knowledge and expertise.

Joanna: Okay, so that sounds good. I’m going to read more about that.

Then I guess we have to be very clear that there’s some dark sides. I mean, you mentioned fear and desires, and these things can be not so healthy. So just give it to me, like—

What are the unhealthy sides of a five that I might be struggling with?

Claire: Okay, yes. So Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson have this measurement, they call it the levels of development, for each type. So each of the nine types has nine levels of development. Three are healthy, three are average, and three are unhealthy. So it’s kind of the sliding scale.

Now the healthiest level is called liberation, and people like to learn about what their liberation looks like. That’s when we’ve integrated the truth, we already feel like we are the thing we’ve been seeking. So our core fear feels unimportant, and our core desire feels fulfilled.

No one spends that much time in liberation, so nobody freak out. But that’s the part that we like to learn about because it’s like, oh, look, it’s our higher self.

We spend most of our time at the average levels. So that’s where we can get in our own way about some things, and we’re not necessarily living for a higher ideal, but the things that we’re doing aren’t immediately harmful.

Then we get down into those unhealthy levels and things get very dicey. So the unhealthy levels are the ones that people tend to create these boundaries around of like, that’s not me, and that will never be me.

So when we do the shadow work, we want to accept that that could be you, and in accepting that, we really lessen the likelihood that it will be. So these unhealthy levels, it’s where we start to not just kind of get in our own way, but we start to create harm.

We harm ourselves and others, and we don’t have the tools of self-awareness to actually get out of them sometimes. So we can get trapped in these lower levels, and that’s where we spiral.

For a five, this can look a little bit like hoarding. The need for security and the need for gathering resources can get a little out of control.

Joanna: I’m laughing because you can’t see. We’re not on video. You can’t see my office. I have so many books. We have a rule between my husband and I that spending money on books doesn’t count.

I mentioned the research with Spear of Destiny, I mean, I kid you not, I have so many books. What I also do is hoard books for future projects, and a lot of them are hard backs, a lot of them are expensive, beautiful books.

I literally pile them up around me. Here in my office right now I am surrounded by piles and piles of books that contain knowledge that I need to learn to turn into books.

I think the word hoarding made me laugh because I think books are an acceptable form of hoarding for writers, I suppose.

Claire: You’re absolutely welcome to tell yourself that!

Joanna: So maybe some people listening are like, okay, hoarding. It’s an interesting word.

Claire: Yes, I mean, so it’s sort of fortifying this fortress of knowledge to keep ourselves safe. That’s what can happen with the five, and that’s pretty average five.

Most fives I know have an extensive library, especially author fives. I mean, the rule about how it doesn’t count if you’re buying books, you can just buy as many books as you want, that’s very common.

Joanna: That’s good. I feel I feel better. I guess I’m thinking, I know sometimes, I’ll admit it—

I can be a bit of a know it all. Is that a bad side of it?

I try not to be, but sometimes I want to prove that I know all this stuff.

Claire: I would say that’s a pretty average expression of a five. The average expressions are kind of things that we’re like, yes, I know that about myself, and I try not to, but it just kind of happens. There are things that people may note about us, but may not be like deal breakers for friendship and that sort of thing.

Joanna: What else is in the shadow?

Claire: So the five tends to go into, “I have to know things other people don’t.” So the dark side of five can be almost trollish behavior.

So sometimes the five will, because they’ve become so detached from their own heart center, they will try to needle people to get the other person emotional, almost like to torment them. So that can be the trolling, right?

This is very dark stuff. It can be if someone is giving some heartfelt thing online, and they use the wrong version of “your,” the response just being the asterisk and then the correct spelling of “your.” That would be sort of an unhealthy behavior of a five.

Joanna: Okay, I definitely don’t do that, mainly because I’m not on social media. I do feel myself in my head sometimes, I might think things like that. So yes, I can see that.

Claire: Yes, so the five moves towards isolation, because the five can feel like, okay, I have this limited amount of energy, and if I let too many people in, they’re going to just completely drain me of all of this energy.

So that sort of awareness of the battery of the five can lead to the five building a lot of obstacles between them and the outside world, so the outside world can’t encroach on their energy.

Joanna: I put that down to being an introvert. Do you think that’s like a double whammy?

Claire: I think it might be a double whammy. I think that might be a multiplier. I mean, you’re going to have the boundaries, but the five is really aware of it, and so that can turn into that isolation.

Over time, the five can build a fortress around them if they’re unhealthy. The stereotype would be like the person living in their mother’s basement on the computer all the time. Which I don’t think you’re in jeopardy of becoming, but there’s probably a part of you that can kind of relate to that isolation.

Joanna: I might be happier in the basement, not at my mum’s though, I must say!

I mean, obviously people listening might not be a five. So we should just say that in both the books, in Reclaim Your Author Career and Sustain Your Author Career

You talk about all these types in both of the books.

Claire: Yes, yes. So I talk a lot more about defining them in Reclaim Your Author Career. I do have a section on it in Sustain Your Author Career.

It’s okay if you’re coming into Sustain Your Author Career and you’re not 100% sure of your type. There’s still something that you can get out of it.

Thankfully, we can read books more than once. So you can read it saying, well, what if I’m a four, and then over the course of reading it, there may be information there that I described about the four that you’re like, I just don’t think this is it. That’s okay.

So this discovery process can take a really long time for some people, but it doesn’t have to. If you’re getting frustrated, and you just want to know your type, you can come talk to me and I can help you get there.

So I do talk about the types. There’s a lot of information throughout the book of, you know, this is what resilience might look like for each type. This is the problems that you’re going to run into for each type.

I have these concepts in action, where after I discuss a concept, I’ll give an example of someone I was working with, very well disguised. Don’t worry, guys, I keep your keep your identity safe. I give examples of a specific type dealing with that issue.

So you can see, oh, is that kind of like me? Is that not like me? So there’s a lot of, is this like me, is this not like me, that you can do with the book.

Joanna: Well, just being practical then about how people turn this knowledge into useful information. I mean, like in Sustain Your Author Career, you do have these types of blocks that authors might face.

Maybe you could outline some of the most common blocks that you see and what authors can do about those.

Because I guess they’re also related to the types.

Claire: Yes, definitely. So there are a few blocks that authors face, regardless of their type, that I keep seeing come up again and again in my coaching. So one is that they need to build more rest into their daily routine.

So no one really taught us what rest looks like, which means our idea is kind of this monolithic, like laying on the couch and watching TV. That’s almost never restful. That’s almost never the kind of rest that you need.

So I try and expand our idea of what rest looks like in the book. It’s really about getting into different patterns and figuring out is it my head, my heart or my body, that’s tired.

That can really lead us to some new interesting ways of resting and refreshing in small amounts on a daily basis, so that we don’t have to take a month off to get over burnout.

Another block that I see coming up a lot is the need for certainty.

So people get a little bit confused around certainty because, oftentimes, they’re waiting to have certainty in the outcome before they take the action.

So we can never have certainty in an outcome. So sometimes the information we need can only be found by taking the action, by running the experiment, by testing the ads.

We can’t learn everything ahead of time and be like, okay, then this is guaranteed to succeed.

There’s some action that needs to be involved before we start to have, not certainty, but confidence that we can figure it out. So that shift from certainty to self-assurance is a way to get past the block.

As far as like an Enneagram-specific block, one that I include is this over labeling that we tend to do. So each type tends to attach two particular labels to everything.

So this is a subconscious pattern, and we’re just not aware that we’re doing it most of the time. So our subconscious filters things for us. Then if it passes the subconscious filter, our conscious mind might become aware of it.

So you may not know that this is happening, but a lot of the times when I’m interviewing people and working with people, I can hear these labels come through in their language.

For example, if you are an Enneagram one, this is the reformer. This is a person who’s concerned about being a good person and doing everything right. So they start to slap on labels of right and wrong to everything.

They’re over labeling things as, “This is the right way to do it. This is the wrong way to do it.” It can even be right in sort of an ethical sense, wrong in an ethical sense. Their subconscious is painting with this really broad brush too.

So the reformer ends up ruling out a lot of potentially useful options for their career without even recognizing it. So they go, “Oh, this is wrong, so I’m not going to do this. This kind of thing is wrong.”

A lot of times there’s a sort of knee-jerk ick with the ones when it comes to marketing and marketing options. So we want to dive in and just hold these things up and say, is this actually wrong? Or is there a way that you could do it that felt good to you? So we stop painting with a broad brush.

Now for a three, the labels are success and failure. For the seven, the labels are pleasurable or painful. So each type has these labels to look through and say, am I attaching these labels to things where they just frankly don’t belong?

Joanna: You have to say the five now.

Claire: The five is wise and foolish.

Joanna: Oh, okay. Yes, and foolish not being the word, stupid would be the word.

Claire: Right, yes. Would a smart person do this or what a dumb person do this? That’s kind of the label.

Joanna: It’s so funny, isn’t it? Labeling is a difficult problem, when you label something, as you say, almost without knowing that you’re labeling it, but then you recognize it later. So yes, I think both your books definitely have this insight that’s fascinating.

Is it easier to see these things in other people than it is in yourself?

Claire: Oh, absolutely.

Joanna: Wait, you have to tell us what you are.

Claire: I am a one. So I am the reformer. I was over labeling things as right and wrong too much, and it really narrowed my options. I mean, I think that’s why this is like the biggest secret weapon of the book, this over labeling, because I was doing that so much.

Then when I realized that, like, “Oh, gee, Claire. Maybe there’s not a morally right or wrong way to do most things in this business.” It was like the clouds parted and the angels were singing down to me like, “Oh, you have options. Congratulations.”

So, yes, there’s plenty of things that just are perfectly reasonable options and they don’t conflict with my morals, but I had experienced this sort of ick around them.

Ones really have this gut sense of like, I don’t like that. So I had experienced that and written off a bunch of stuff, and now kind of going back and be like, well, is there a way that I can do this that is perfectly fine and works morally and ethically for me? And the answer is almost always yes.

Joanna: That’s good to know. So coming to this, because I think the labeling might help, in Reclaim Your Author Career, you say,

“As the indie publishing industry matures, the cracks begin to show.”

I was like, yes, that’s totally it. I’ve talked about the splintering of business models, and also the splintering of the community.

Now, it’s happened many times since I started here in like 2007 when I started self-publishing. I mean, there’s been a lot of splintering. I like your phrase, “The cracks begin to show.” So what do you mean by that?

How can authors navigate these changes and this need for certainty?

Claire: I certainly agree with your assessment of the cracks that are showing. On top of that, from what I do and my perspective, I think we’ve had really unreasonable expectations of this career as a collective.

So those expectations are very slow to catch up to the reality. So some of the beliefs that were proliferated were just out of touch and really played on the desperation of a bunch of people trying to make writing work as a profession.

There’s this hope and this desperation to get there, and these ideas were sort of these false promises that we saw some examples of happening. Like, oh, yes, there’s a few people who did these things and followed these ideas and had this success, the sort of nebulous dream of being an indie author.

So like, the idea that there was a silver bullet, right? If you just start doing Amazon ads, your books will take off. Or TikTok, that’s your ticket to the big time.

These silver bullets, we’re starting to see, I think more collectively, that they don’t exist.

There’s also that belief that if you do X tactic, then Y sales are guaranteed, and if it didn’t work that way, that was because you didn’t do something right. So those beliefs aren’t really built on any solid foundation, and now I think the cracks are showing with them.

I think we’re starting to see that they aren’t true, and they probably never were true.

We’re seeing people burnt out as a result of that. People’s frustration with their own lack of sales, it’s more morphing into these moral panics in the industry.

So much of that intensity can be calmed simply by turning our attention to the basics of what we can and can’t control.

So you can control what you do, and you can’t control the results of it, including how other people feel about what you do.

It’s a very basic concept, but I think we kind of got outside of that wisdom when we started thinking that certain actions in this industry would lead to certain results, and that if it didn’t happen, something was just not right about it, rather than the assumption was faulty.

So I think that a lot of that basic wisdom was being drowned out by the sort of six-, seven-figure author razzle dazzle. Like if there was a way to guarantee that your formula resulted in authors making six figures a year, then every author would be making six figures a year.

So I just think as an industry, the promises and the expectations that were these givens or these accepted beliefs, by and large, are just being proven false. We’re seeing the fallout of it through the negative emotions that are resulting from it.

So those cracks are starting to show in those beliefs. The people who are going to stay on and stay in this game are the ones who are adjusting to the reality.

Joanna: I was just thinking then about the Japanese art of kintsugi, where they fix broken pottery with gold and silver. I would love that to be our community. I feel quite sad, having attracted quite a lot of negativity myself, and some other people in the community.

I just wish we were just this healthy, happy, creative community. Is that just unrealistic? I mean—

How can we mend these cracks and make it something beautiful?

Claire: Well, I think that might be an unrealistic goal, but I think it’s a perfectly fine purpose.

Joanna: I think I should just hang onto that.

Claire: Well, you know, a purpose is just something we move toward each day. It’s this ideal, and we don’t get frustrated when we’re not there, but we can commit ourselves to making it a little bit more like that.

I think that if enough people are doing that, then we can make progress, and we can at least create a space where the people who do want to be part of that sort of vibrant, nurturing community have a place to come. Then the people who don’t want to be a part of that can go be disgruntled elsewhere.

I really think that the upheaval of our industry, which this industry is kind of one upheaval after another. You kind of ride the waves and learn to surf.

It’s an opportunity for us to really get serious and look at ourselves and build the sustainable author, who then will build a sustainable author career. So I think that that metaphor used of the gold filling in the cracks, that really is it.

Like we have an opportunity to fill in these cracks of, not just our author career, but who we are as humans, and to heal these parts of ourselves that have been sort of thrown into the light in this environment. That’s really, I think, what keeps me going.

I know that some of the stuff in my new book is a little bit iconoclastic. So I know I’ll get some heat.

But for every person who is mad at me, there’s a lot of people who are falling back in love with their writing, connecting with it again, letting it nourish them after this work, and watching the benefits of it expand into their life as a whole. That seems like it’s worth the time for me.

Joanna: Well, it’s interesting, because I referenced your book in my book, Writing the Shadow, because so many people said it was a good way to look into the shadow work. I felt when I put that book out, oh, my goodness, I’m going to get some response to this.

It’s interesting, and I think the same with your books, is —

The people who read these types of books are looking to do the deeper work around their personality and their lifestyle and build resilience —

and all that kind of thing. I don’t think they’re the ones who react so negatively.

So it’s been positive response to Writing the Shadow. The people who do read it, think about it, even if it does trigger them in some way. Just as your book certainly could as well. So I want to encourage you there. It might not be so bad.

Claire: Yes, I’ve been very lucky to have most of the people who have a strong reaction just kind of show themselves out.

Joanna: You mean, as in they’re not talking to you any more, they’re not buying your books, but they’ve just left the building?

Claire: They’ve left the building, they keep their trash talk to back channels that I never see. That’s blissful for me.

I was just thinking about this recently. It’s so amazing when we do this work, when we ask people to look at themselves honestly, and share honestly, and be this like authentic version of themselves, and when we show them that that is okay, all of the parts of them are okay, like I’ve ended up surrounded by these amazing human beings, where I’m like, wow.

You know, people come to being an author a lot of the times after they’ve lived these full lives doing completely different things. Then you get to meet them, and you’re just like, wait, you did what?

They’re just so insightful and wise. It’s really amazing. So it does make me nervous. I would be lying if I didn’t say that I get a little anxiety every time I publish something, but, man, it’s added so much to my life being able to meet so many people.

Joanna: Yes, it’s worth doing, for sure.

So you’ve mentioned resilience a few times. I guess I’ve always talked about the long-term game and always thought ahead. I’m a futurist type person. So I’ve always mentioned that.

I’ve definitely always been fascinated by authors who are still publishing decades after they started because they have something and they’ve survived all the changes and all of that. So—

How can authors build resilience in order to sustain their author career for the long term?

Claire: I think the biggest tool for resilience is recognizing that we’re already resilient, that we’ve already done the hard things.

We tend to dismiss the challenges that we’ve overcome almost as soon as we overcome them. Like, well, if I could do it, that obviously wasn’t that hard.

I think really taking a moment to look back can help us recognize that we have tools that we haven’t been naming. So naming those tools can be really useful.

We tend to carry around a lot of anxiety about like, what if the worst happens? Will I be able to handle it if my book flops? What will I do? How will I be able to live with myself?

So it can be really helpful to remember that we’ve already had bad things happen to us, and we’ve found a way forward. Maybe the exact details are different, but if you found a way before, you will find it again. Like there’s more evidence for your resilience than there is against it.

So on top of that trick, which can be eye opening in itself, each Enneagram type has this force inside of them that they can fall back on.

So for example, sixes have a huge amount of courage and a sense of duty to the group. That can light them up, if given enough space. They get knocked down, and why did they get back up? Because they have this sense of duty to the group.

They have the most fear of any type, sixes. Due to that, they’ve built their muscle of courage the most because they know how to act in spite of the fear.

So nines are urged on by the sense of harmony, and they have this gift of perspective. These are healing forces that we have, but they’re also really subtle. So learning what they are and how to spot them, that’s what gives us a leg up and the confidence that they’ll be there when we need them.

So, it’s always okay to lick your wounds a little bit. You know, you have a book that fails, get up from the computer, go do whatever you want to get your mind off it, talk to your friends, rage, cry a little, whatever works for you.

Go lick your wounds, that’s fine, but the healing process requires a little bit of space to get started, and these forces that we have that get us back up are a little bit quiet.

So knowing what they are and how to name them, and you know, how to recognize them, we can take heart in knowing that they will show up for us. As long as we don’t fall irreversibly into self-pity, we’ll be fine.

Joanna: Eventually, yes.

As this goes out, you have a Kickstarter for Sustain Your Author Career.

[Click here for Claire’s Sustain Your Author Career Kickstarter.]

Tell people what they can find in the book and in the campaign, and hopefully, they’ll come over and have a look.

Claire: The Kickstarter runs through March 29th. That includes the book in its various forms. You can also pick up Reclaim Your Author Career through there if you haven’t done that yet.

Then I’m offering all of my author services through there at a discounted rate, or the regular rate, but you get a book with it. Some of the stuff is limited seating, so the first place you can get it is through Kickstarter.

That includes any coaching, I have some workshops in there, I have a book club with reflection questions, my Liberated Writer Course is offered through there, that’s a five-week course. My Liberated Writer Retreat, which is in October, all of that you can get through there.

So basically, look at the book and say, okay, how much support do I need? Because we are very independent people, by and large indie authors, and we sometimes overlook the step of finding the support we need. We can do anything if we have the support we need for it.

So just kind of understanding like, okay, I’m new to this, I don’t have a whole lot of help at home, or my energy is limited, a lot of people I work with are dealing with chronic illness, how much support do you need? Then you can look at the tiers and find what makes sense for you. That’s how I’ve designed it.

Joanna: Fantastic.

Where else can people find you, and your books, and everything you do online?

Claire: Well, so I should say the Kickstarter. If you go to, you will go to the Kickstarter. Then everything else for me can be found at That’s all of my other offerings and books, including my fiction.

Joanna: Yes, your fiction. We didn’t even talk about that. You have lots of quite unusual types of books, so definitely people should have a look at that. All right. Well, thanks so much for your time, Claire. That was great.

Claire: It’s my pleasure. Thank you so much for having me.

The post Insights On The Enneagram And Sustain Your Author Career With Claire Taylor first appeared on The Creative Penn.

Go to Source

Author: Joanna Penn

  • If you’re an artist, up to a creative challenge, and love this story, enter your email here. Click here for more info.

  • March 18, 2024