If you’ve ever written poetry, creative nonfiction, or even a blog post, you’ll understand the dilemma of staring at a blank screen for hours. You gather your thoughts, frame a paragraph, and type it on your laptop. But as soon as you read it, you delete it because it just doesn’t have the energy.
Honestly, you’re not alone. What do writers do when they need help? They join forces with a writing coach who takes a stagnant project to fruition. Writing coaches specialize in helping clients understand their voices, including how the client perceives a subject, what they feel about it, and how they would express it in their own words.
This article will outline what a writing coach is, how to find a writing coach, and what to look for when selecting one.
What does a writing coach do?
A writing coach works with clients to help them improve the overall quality of their writing. They counsel clients on publishing and support writers when they hit roadblocks. They even suggest reading material like books, blog posts, and articles on similar subjects to help clients get inspired and write seamlessly. These coaches act as extra pairs of eyes, helping authors write confidently and creatively.
However, remember that writing coaches neither edit pieces word for word nor are they ghostwriters. A good coach shares global feedback, which concerns a writing piece in its entirety, such as whether it flows smoothly and makes for an amusing read. Based on the feedback, they help writers set short- and long-term goals and an approach to achieve them. They constantly communicate with writers to evaluate improvement and hold them accountable.
How a coach helps with writing
A writing coach uses several strategies, including the following, to fine-tune your writing and push you to produce your best work.
- Analyzes your writing fears: No matter the activity –– playing a sport or producing a creative piece –– everyone performs better when they're comfortable and confident. A writing coach enables you to let go of your fears to display your talents.
- Helps you overcome writer's block: Maybe you have a book idea but, for unknown reasons, can't write the first draft. It could be that every time you begin typing, it feels like you can't express what you have to say. Through writing mentorship, a coach nurtures you through the writing process, helping you isolate the reasons for writer's block and releasing what holds you back.
- Encourages you to become more authentic in your writing: Especially when the writing displays the writer’s unique personality, it increases the authenticity level. Writing coaches train you to produce original and personal work by providing unbiased advice from an outside perspective.
- Pushes you out of your writing comfort zone: When you write thousands of words for hours each day, you might end up writing the same thing, which reads monotonously. Perhaps you’ve gotten used to writing a certain way and have yet to maximize your capabilities. A writing coach can push you past creative boundaries and maximize your abilities.
- Supports you in goal-setting: With defined goals, you have targets to aim for. A coach helps you limit procrastination and work on your time management skills, so you can continually progress your writing career.
How to find a writing coach
While a writing coach can be the catalyst that sparks your career, locating the right one might be challenging. Here are some places to look for:
1. Publishers and editors
Freelance editors and publishers have the experience and flexibility to provide coaching services during breaks in their project schedules. When you're an aspiring writer trying to break through, you lack industry experience. Coaches with a lengthy professional background possess the wisdom to point you in the right direction.
2. Specialized websites
Websites dedicated to linking writers with coaches offer plentiful options. The Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA) has a directory of editors, writers, and more from various professional environments, helping you connect with a coach that fits your unique situation.
Reedsy is another site that houses industry experts and offers tools and educational resources to increase your knowledge base.
3. Writing organizations
NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is a nonprofit organization that helps members work toward writing goals. The site challenges writers to produce a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. It allows writers to work at their convenience by setting personal goals and enlisting the help of writing community members to reach them.
The Novelry is another community that offers online creative writing courses to take prospective authors from idea to published work and emphasizes the art of storytelling. It also provides group coaching and one-on-one coaching sessions with bestselling authors and counseling from publishing industry experts.
In-person classes at a local college take you back to school on your writing journey, letting you share your thoughts and ideas with fellow writers and enhance your know-how along the way. While taking one of these classes, ask the professor to serve as a mentor for guidance and feedback.
How do I know if someone is the coach right for me?
Writing coaches have varying professional backgrounds, writing styles, and personalities. Finding the right combination of these traits is the basis for a fulfilling relationship between both parties. Here are some traits to look out for:
- Writing style: As a writer, you have a distinct voice. When looking for a book writing coach, select one whose coaching style is efficient and whose writing approach is similar to yours. That way, there's common ground between you and your coach, which makes collaboration easy.
- Genre-savvy: Maybe you're writing a sci-fi fantasy novel and need someone to coach you on structure and descriptions. Or, you could be interested in publishing an investigative nonfiction book and need clarification on tone. Either way, find a writing coach with relevant experience in a genre so you receive effective feedback.
- Background: To find a great writing coach that matches your needs, research their past industry roles and whether those align with your goals. Seek a coach who specializes in your area of interest. For instance, if you aim to write an award-winning action novel, work with a coach who’s maybe a best-selling novel writer.
- Excitement: In any coaching situation, an enthusiastic advocate brings passion to the game and the energy to bring out your best. For that reason, a coach who takes a genuine interest in your goals is a better choice than one who gives tepid feedback, even if they have good credentials.
Even the most talented writers can benefit from coaching. If you have the right mentorship and tools, you can bring your ideas to fruition.
Are you ready to hire a writing coach but need help figuring out where to start? Do you have questions about different types of coaching and effective coaching techniques? Practice serves as a central resource for all things coaching, where you can tap into our knowledge base and understand why coaching is valuable. We also offer file storage and scheduling solutions to make your lives easier and more organized. Try us today.