How to Find a Writing Coach

writing coachIf you’re a writer, or an aspiring writer on the journey of writing a book, memoir, or simply want to make writing a more prominent part of your life, you may want to consider looking for a writing coach. Finding a writing coach that can help you through your process to grow and evolve into the best writer you can be will change the way you write and also the way that you look at writing. A writing coach can help you find focus, accountability and encouragement to keep going when the going gets tough. It’s also important to remember that the relationship we have to the writing process and what happens in our heads before putting pen to paper is just as important to work through as the writing itself. It can be difficult to get passed blocks that we’ve created in our heads related to writing, whether that be writer’s block or a belief that writing your book is too daunting of a journey we all need encouragement, tools and positive feedback or assistance to make our writing dreams a reality.

Find Your Coach

It can be difficult to find the right match, or perhaps you don’t even know where to start. Most importantly, you’ll want to determine what your writing goals are; creative writing, editing, starting a book project, freelance writing, and so on. Determining what it is you’d like your writing coach to help you with will be a major help when searching for the proper assistance. Make a list of your goals, needs and trigger points so you have a solid starting point. With roadblocks and goals in mind you can narrow down the TYPE of coach you’ll need, below are few examples:

  • Creative Writing Coach
  • Editor
  • Life Coach- rather than helping with the technical aspects, they can help with making the dream into a reality and big picture visions.
  • Business Coach
  • Published Author- Mentor
  • Journalist- Mentor

Where to Find Your Coach

Once you’ve narrowed down the prospects that match up with your goals you can start seeking out the right coach. You want to find a writing coach who will listen to your desires and tailor their advice to your project. Also take into consideration when you deadline is, whether you need creative help or editing help and be honest about any blocks that are causing delay. Use your peers and writing community to help you find the best option. Check out these resources as a jumping off point:

  • Check your local colleges for lectures and workshops
  • Browse the web, you can find a great coach at the click of a button
  • Take a creative writing workshop. Getting involved in a community will help you find a group of peers that can help guide you
  • Read magazines and resources for writers; Writer’s Marketplace, Writer’s Digest, Writer Mag, etc.
  • Follow online resources, websites to explore; Winning Writers, Write to Done, Easy Street Prompts, Absolute Write, Critique Circle, Writers, Cafe, Story Fix, Novel Rocket, and Writer Underground are a good place to start.
  • Read Blogs; Problogger, Men with Pens, Copyblogger, The Renegade Writer, Seth Godin

Be Your Own Coach

If you’re struggling to get a project off of the ground or need some new tools and systems to move your writing forward in a new way, you can start building out a new routine for yourself by trying these tips and tricks from various authors that help them get into a groove.

  • Elizabeth Gilbert, writer of “Eat Pray Love,” says she has a two-hour sitting rule at the beginning of every morning when she’s working on a new book. Two hours, at the desk, in front of your computer. No getting up, just write.
  • Try not to edit while creating your first draft
  • After writing, read the text allowed. You’ll be able to see if sentences come off clunky or awkward and edit from there.
  • Start before you’re “READY.”
  • Find a routine- refer to tip #1
  • Create an outline
  • Get good at asking and accepting feedback
  • “Never take a mundane experience for granted.”
  • Build up your tool shed; books, journals, online references
  • Designate time to do the research
  • Cut 10% from your word count

What to Read

If you’ve decided to work with a writing coach, or are coaching yourself through a slump or project, check out these books to give yourself the best opportunity for success.

  • The Writer’s Way by Julia Cameron
  • Write Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
  • Reading like a Writer by Francine Prose
  • On Writing Well by William Zinsser
  • On Writing by Stephen King
  • The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
  • The Writing Life by Annie Dillard
  • Bird by Bird by Ann Lamott
  • The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp

What do the Experts Say?

When digging for inspiration looking to writers who have already done the work is a great way to push on through the blocks that you may experience during the project. Below are some of the best quotes from writers on the writing process.

  • “To gain your own voice, you have to forget about having it heard.” Allen Ginsberg,
  • “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” Ernest Hemingway
  • “Style is to forget all styles.” Jules Renard
  • “The first sentence can’t be written until the final sentence is written.” Joyce Carol Oates
  • “Beware of advice—even this.” Carl Sandburg
  • “Just write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens. Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers.” Ray Bradbury
  • “Keep a small can of WD-40 on your desk—away from any open flames—to remind yourself that if you don’t write daily, you will get rusty.” George Singleton
  • “Don’t expect the puppets of your mind to become the people of your story. If they are not realities in your own mind, there is no mysterious alchemy in ink and paper that will turn wooden figures into flesh and blood.” Leslie Gordon Barnard
  • “When I sit down to write a book, I do not say to myself, ‘I am going to produce a work of art.’ I write it because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing.” George Orwell

Now that you’ve got a powerful resource of tools, it’s time to get started. Don’t let your fear or procrastination keep you from making your work of art. It may be tedious, but in the end all the toilsome hard work is worth it. There is no greater gift than that of completion.