Deciding if I Need a Coach

In this paradigm of virtual meetings and self-improvement, coaching is the new thing. Don’t believe me? Head to Google and search for coaching and you’ll see I’m not joking.

I did this using the search term “writing coaches.” Google gave me about 122,000,000 results in .98 seconds. Uh what? How on earth would anyone find a match with millions of possibilities?

I hope this post will help you determine what a writing coach is/does, if you need one and whether or not you might have already found the perfect match.

What Is A Writing Coach?

According to this article on Writer’s Digest, a writing coach is “a guide through the often-rocky terrain of publishing.”

That’s right, if you’ve followed me here for long, you know how rocky that journey can be. From pitching ideas to agents and writer’s conferences to signing a book contract, I’ve been there and done that. Along the way, I learned a few things.

The best coach is someone with experience in the area you’re writing in. For me, that’s fiction, whether it’s romance, young adult or fantasy, I’ve had stories published in all three genres.

A coach does more than teach you about writing, and we’ll explore that more in this next section.

What Does a Writing Coach Do?

The same Writer’s Digest article says a coach can help develop story structure, teach writing craft, polish prose and offer accountability and goal setting.

In this article, “The Role of a Writing Coach,” there are even more specifics listed. A coach helps a writer organize their project which includes determining a schedule for writing and setting a completion date. After all, if you’re nebulous about those things the likelihood of finishing and reaching your dream of being published is pretty small. A good coach wants to push you to succeed.

Once you’ve set a deadline, the coach walks you through the stages of your project and helps you develop a salable premise and a solid plot. There will need to be work on character development and a conversation about goals and arcs.

The most important thing a writing coach does is help you find your unique writing process and develop your narrative voice. So many writers who offer critiques want to conform what they’re reading into their personal style. Wrong answer!

A writing coach meets you where you are and encourages you to unleash the creativity bottled up inside. They ask the questions that help you find your message and if they offer feedback on your writing, it suggests how to clarify your style and voice.

Before you answer this last question, I hope you’ll read this article in full.

Do You Need a Writing Coach?

A writing coach is a guide. The time to hire a guide is near the beginning of your writing journey. That way, you can avoid dead ends, detours and switchbacks. I sure wish I’d had a writing mentor (another name for a writing coach) when I first got serious about being a published writer.

Here are some signs you might need a writing coach:

  • Confusion about the mixed messages on how to write a novel
  • Inability to organize your writing
  • Inability to develop a plot or characters
  • Getting bogged down in the process of writing
  • Editing the same story over and over, still unsure it’s “ready”
  • Frustration at never getting usable feedback on your writing
  • A string of rejections without explanation when you submit

The thing is, you might only need to talk to a writing coach once or twice and that will push you past what’s stalling you. Or you might choose to keep an accountability coach in your pocket to keep you moving toward your goal. The great thing about most coaches is that they work by the hour, and many of them customize the sessions to whatever you need.

Before you hire anyone or dump money into online courses promising to save time and money, you owe it to yourself to have a face-to-face conversation with a pro.

Do you think you’re in the market for a writing coach? Click on this. Once you get to the new page, you can grab three checklists that will help you in your writing. You’ll also find more details about my coaching services and a link to schedule fifteen minutes FREE with me.

I love helping writers. I hope I talk to you soon.

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