All writing coaching is not created equal. Even though I’m certified in a general coaching method, the way I choose to coach writers is different from most of the other graduates of my program.
Why? Because I’m not the typical writing coach.
If you’re not sure what a writing coach is, check out this post. Once you’ve decided you need or want a coach, come back to find out which of these three types will meet your current needs.
General Writing Coach
If you’re struggling to set a writing routine, this is the sort of coach you want.
A writing coach helps you discover the best route for you to move ahead with your writing. They’ll talk you through the mental game of being a writer—overcoming imposter syndrome and silencing the inner critic, for example.
If you need accountability, hire a writing coach. They’ll help you find a realistic schedule so you can create deadlines and a time line for finishing your book.
Remember, a coach is not someone who has all the answers to the problems of the publishing industry. Instead, they’re someone who knows the pitfalls and has been trained to ask as many questions as it takes for you to come to the right solution. And they’ll help you make a plan for navigating the obstacles in the way.
I’ve been working with a writing coach for more than a month and talking through the thoughts that keep paralyzing me makes all the difference. That’s why I’m making progress on my fiction project instead of spinning my wheels and wondering what I should write.
I’ll admit, this is my sweet spot. I enjoy helping writers find any of the three pillars of being a consistent writer—process, voice and story—but I love talking about stories.
My stories. Your stories. The story I heard while eavesdropping at the coffee shop. If the plot and character development of the latest episode of The Wheel of Time checked all the appropriate boxes.
Crafting a story takes a ton of brain power. And sometimes, you write yourself into a corner. Or you can’t figure out what a character should do next.
Or your beta reader tells you your character is unrelatable or unlikeable or boring. Whoops! How did that happen?
In all of these cases, you need to talk story specifics with your coach. That’s why they’re called a story coach.
This coach might read some of your pages, but most likely they are going to expect you to tell them the story. They’ll ask about your character’s wound, lie and motivation. You’ll be expected to know your premise and clearly state your story problem, as well as give a one-sentence explanation of your character’s journey.
Yes, this type of coaching is for someone who has their story mostly written but is running into a few issues. This could also be the coach you need when you’re getting ready to tackle rewrites and revision on your manuscript.
Does this sound like you? Let’s talk, my friend. I want to help you tell the best possible story.
This is the sort of coach that is helping you from start to finish with a project. Or they are working through rewrites and revisions with you step by step.
A book coach reads your work. All of it. They ask you what you think is wrong. Although they might offer feedback, most of it is in the form of clarification.
Some book coaches are also developmental editors, so they could give deep critique of your work. I wouldn’t recommend this, though. A coach needs to be able to give you positive insights and delve deeper with questions.
On the other hand, a developmental editor has to have your story and your reader’s expectations for the story clearly in mind. They’ll point out plot holes, lack of character motivation and growth, and question any sort of inconsistency in the setting or time line.
Any sort of coach should care more about the person behind the story—that’s YOU, writing friend—over the perfection of the story.
My goal when I work with clients is to help them find a process they can duplicate so they won’t have to reinvent the wheel when they sit down to write their second book.
If you’d like my help with process, voice or story, you can book 15 minutes with me for FREE. I can’t wait to help you overcome whatever’s keeping you from finishing your story.
What else do you know about writing coaches? Which type do you feel you might need at this time?