What is writing coaching? How does it work and is it for you?
Writing Coaching is a way to both educate you as a writer and accomplish a long-form writing project. Typically people come with an unfinished project, or a project at the idea or research stage. A coach will, ideally, help you discover your strengths in your writing, shore up your weaknesses, strengthen your confidence, give you techniques, give you assignments, and work on a project with you as an experienced developmental editor. Developmental editors are not copy editors concerned with minor editing. They are looking at the big picture structure and flow of your piece as well as the nuances of style and storytelling. Your coach should look at the end game, as in, who is your readership or audience? What are your writing goals? This can also involve some publishing and marketing advice. In this way developmental editors and writing coaches should be willing to work with you at any stage of initial development to make your project better and your skills stronger. In short, a writing coach should bring out the best in what you can offer as a writer, new or experienced.
Still not sure if writing coaching is for you? Test it with these 10 reasons why writing coaching may be right for you:
1) Writing Coaching will keep you on track. With your writing coach, you will be able to set up a schedule for handing in pages much like a publisher would require of a seasoned author who has been commissioned to write a piece. If you have any procrastination demons in you, or, have been trying to get a project done for a long time, or have been thinking about it for years without getting started, writing coaching may be your answer. In a long-form piece of writing (novel, non-fiction book, memoir, screenplay, story or poetry collection, etc.), you have to be able to get through what J. Jenkins calls, the marathon in the middle. First drafts are the toughest part, and you want someone who has done it and helped others through it many times and will know how to get you through it too.
2) Writing Coaching will teach you customized writing skills faster than any writing course. If you are newer to long-form writing or perhaps new to a particular genre, or just haven’t taken up writing since high school, you will quickly realize that there are some skills to sharpen. Sure, you can go to writing classes for basics but one teacher for up to 30 students may not get you the focus you need to improve your writing, focus on your strengths, and get you the writing skills boost you need fast. Coaching will do that.
3) Writing Coaching will give you confidence. If you have a coach who is truly trained as a coach (not just as an editor), then they are trained in generating your creative enthusiasm. This is a crucial difference between an editor and a writing coach. A writing coach is going to help you gain confidence and conquer, or completely side-step, your inner writing saboteurs. They will focus on your strengths and get you excited about your possibilities so you leave a session chomping at the bit to get writing.
4) Writing Coaching will save you time. Having a pro in your corner means you can avoid some of the major pitfalls that new writers and even seasoned writers can fall into. This will save you time and effort. Some major pitfalls are trying to put everything and the kitchen sink into one book, not knowing some basic genre rules, having a plan or outline before going too far down the road, not doing enough pre-work from back stories to research, not having a central thesis or through-line to your story. The coach will make sure you won’t waste time over writing things that you will have to cut later, or scrap and start anew.
5) Writing Coaching will save you money. Saving time will generally save you money, but beyond that, a writing coach will help you make good, sensible choices for your writing career or project. Whether it is your next steps in publishing, showing you resources that it didn’t even occur to you to look for, let alone knowing where to look, or making some smart marketing choices, a writing coach can save you dollars you could waste if you tried to do it on your own.
6) Writing Coaching will improve your final product. This is probably the most marked upside of someone without a coach and someone with a coach: quality. Everyone literate can write, but how do you want to write? What are your standards? And, how is that accomplished? Whatever your goals for the quality of your writing, a writing coach will help you get there. Their objective should be to help you produce a highly professional product that can stand up to the best of the genre you are writing in. This should show not only in the quality of the writing, but in all other publishing details, especially self published works. In major genres, self-published authors or “indie authors” are now dominating eBook sales, and popular indie authors do a good business in paperbacks as well. Yet, they can’t do this if they are not producing quality, high standard books. Or, as professionals say, the best way to sell your books is by writing a good one.
7) Writing Coaching will improve your chances of publishing success whether traditional or self-published. Even if you decide to go the route of traditional publishing, the superior product you get from having a writing coach is going to improve your chances dramatically for success. A coach can introduce ideas to you, from plot twists to how to gain a readership. They can even help you pitch a project.
8) Writing Coaching will be less lonely and more fun. Some people are happily solo acts, but do not underestimate how much more fun it is to write with someone else there. Make no mistake that writing coaching is a collaboration of sorts, you are the leader but you have the benefit of two brains and bouncing ideas around. Many people also need the ongoing feedback that writing all alone in a long-form way lacks.
9) Writing Coaching will help you develop a process. A good writing coach will introduce you to ideas to streamline your writing process. At the very least, they will make you pay attention to what your process for producing your best work would be. Where do you carve out time to write? Should you have goals like word counts? How much research do you do initially? How much time do you spend on character development? When should you outline? Should you outline at all? Do you need a daily schedule? When should you have a clear theme? Do you need to have visual props to help you keep your sense of it? Many of these questions are explored in writing coaching.
10) Writing Coaching will be a great investment for the next book or project. Many people go into writing coaching only focused on the project at hand, but in reality it is a great investment for all their future projects. Someone who has been guided through the process, now knows the way and naturally will take that wisdom forward into their next projects, and will also be more efficient.
Those are ten solid reasons why writing coaching may be the ideal solution for you. Please comment below if you have been helped by a writing coach.
To find out more about writing coaching at VSW and costs, take a look at our coaching page. If you have finished a manuscript you may want to consider a professional reader’s report. Don’t hesitate to contact us with your questions about writing coaching, writing retreats or other writing services and events at vswwriting at gmail dot com.
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