What is a Writing Coach? Do You Need One?

If you search for a writing coach using your favorite search engine, you’ll see there are millions of possibilities. Before you see if I’m right, take a moment to learn what a writing coach can do for you.

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.”

And boy do I know exactly 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 need help. Whether you’re starting a new business and need a business coach, or you’re trying to get healthy with a nutritional coach, the person who can help you best is someone who has walked the path before you.

A writing coach isn’t there to teach you how to write. Every writer needs to find their unique process and develop their personal writing voice and style. The right coach will help you do that, not try to force you into their mold.

What Does a Writing Coach Do?

There are different sorts of writing coaches. Some are there to help you develop story structure (and I call them story coaches and I LOVE this aspect of coaching). Some might teach writing craft and help polish your prose; these are book coaches who want to work with you on a specific project that they will read and give feedback on.

Other writing coaches offer accountability and help with goal setting. This is the sort of coaching I learned about in my hope*writers certification course.

If you need help organizing a project, including determining a schedule for writing and setting a realistic completion date, you could benefit from the assistance of a writing coach. A good coach wants to help you overcome whatever struggles are keeping you from reaching your goal of being published.

Once you’ve set a deadline, a book 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. If you aren’t looking for critiques on every chapter, a story coach could help you with this.

The most important role for a writing coach is to support your journey to establishing a unique writing process and developing your narrative voice. Too often, critiques attempt to conform a manuscript into that author or editor’s personal style. That’s not what you’ll get from a good coach.

A writing coach meets you where you are and encourages you to unleash your brand of creativity. They ask questions to help you discover your message. If they offer feedback on your writing, it suggests how to clarify your style and voice.

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 some writing coaches) when I first got serious about being a published author.

Here are some signs you might need a writing coach:

  • Confused by the mixed messages from media about the right way to write a novel
  • Unorganized writing process
  • Underdeveloped plot or characters
  • Lack of consistency
  • Need for accountability to create and reach goals
  • Editing the same story over and over because you’re unsure it’s “ready”
  • Frustrated because feedback on your writing is shallow, contradictory or unhelpful
  • Received a string of unexplained rejections on submissions

Some writers might only need to talk to a writing coach once or twice to get them past their roadblocks. Other writers know that without an accountability coach they won’t keep moving toward their goal. Most coaches work by the hour and many happily customize the sessions to match your needs.

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. Grab three FREE checklists that will help you in your writing. Read more about my coaching services. When you’re ready to get serious about finishing your book, schedule fifteen minutes FREE with me to discuss how I can help you overcome what’s holding you back.

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

1 thought on “What is a Writing Coach? Do You Need One?”

  1. Pingback: So Many Writing Coaches. Who is Right for You? – Sharon Hughson, Author

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