David’s post about what a writing coach isn’t got us thinking about what a writing coach is. A teacher? a trainer? an editor? a therapist? a mentor? a spiritual adviser? a life coach? all of the above? Definitions of “writing coach” are as varied as the writers our coaches work with. No two writing coaches are the same; no two coaching experiences are the same.
Since the concept of the writing coach means so many different things to so many people, we figured we’d go right to the source. What follows is a roundup of responses from a handful of our coaches to the following questions:
What is a writing coach to you? What role do you play in your clients’ writing lives? What role do your clients play in yours? read more
Our writing coaches spend plenty of time dishing out wisdom for aspiring writers in one-on-one settings, while delivering our signature writers’ services. But we can’t let our clients hog all of the great advice, so today we’re presenting the third installment of our video series, Words of Wisdom for Aspiring Writers.
Turn off Netflix and go paddle a canoe, Brad Tyer says. Resa Alboher wants us to listen to the music of our own words. Chris Mattix urges us to show our work to others. These three and five more talented WriteByNight writing coaches and consultants share their knowledge with us in the video below, which, along with lots of other goodies, is also available on our YouTube channel.
And here is a transcript, if you want to spread some of the love on Twitter, Facebook, et al. read more
For many of us, the word “coach” summons images of some square-jawed dude or dudette gripping a clipboard in his/her meaty paws, a shrill whistle around his/her beefy neck, and a demonic, otherworldly red face out of which pour buckets of spittle and furious commands to give 110 percent, to be aggressive, and to leave some vague “it” out on the field or court, because in order to succeed, “you’ve gotta want” some ostensibly different but equally vague “it.”
Right? Maybe I have bad associations with “coach” because I’ve only dealt with athletics coaches.
Does “writing coach” conjure similar impressions? Maybe it summons no images at all? Although we constantly and shamelessly brag about our staff of talented writing coaches, with good reason, lately we’ve received several emails asking, “What is a writing coach?”
Back in July, our Writers at Work at Work series hit a bit of a… well, let’s call it a work stoppage. I’ll assume it’s because you’re way too busy writing at work (and at home) to answer any questions about your writing lifestyle. But! This series has reopened for business, because earlier this week we heard from another courageous writer at work at work. Below is a Q&A with this brave and funny writer/worker bee, who is probably high right now.
You may recall that this series was inspired by a conversation I had with a friend who writes his novel while on the clock. I asked for volunteers to share their experiences of writing at work, and so far we’ve heard from: Raymundo, Jake, Dana and Ivan Glonstein. Today we’re talking to:
Do you want us to use a pseudonym for you?
Yes! For reasons that will become obvious. read more
“Writing is so easy for me; I never have a frustrating writing session,” says a writer who’s totally lying. You’re going to have hellish days, days when you’re thisclose to printing out your manuscript only for the satisfaction of setting it aflame and watching that garbage burn.
(Protip: Do that in the shower or the kitchen sink, and not, like, on the carpet near the drapes and the lighter fluid.)
Bad writing sessions are unavoidable. And sometimes a crummy writing day bleeds into another, and another, and soon it becomes a bad writing week, and then Sunday turns to Monday and you’re still stopped up, and if you can’t rein it in and you can’t get unstuck then, look, now it’s two weeks, and now a month, and then damn, where did the summer go and what’s to do about that vow you made to finish your book by Halloween? read more
On our recent post about the different types of editing, WriteByNighter Glynis J. commented, in part, “I definitely am going to beg, borrow, and steal to get the professional copy editor. I paid attention in all of my English classes but… you know what I mean.”
I wish I’d paid attention in my English classes, because then I wouldn’t have to ask Justine “What’s a subordinate clause?” and “Just what in the hell is pluperfect?” In a couple of weeks we’ll discuss whether one needs a strong grasp of grammar in order to be a writer. It’s a question we’re asked often.
But today we want to address the “beg, borrow, and steal” aspect. While we strongly encourage you to hire a professional copyeditor when your manuscript is ready (of course we do — copyediting is one of our offerings), we understand that it’s not always feasible. So if you’re in a situation similar to Glynis’, we want to suggest a great strategy to help you edit your own copy.
In fact, we recommend doing this even if you do plan to hire a professional. After all, as we discussed a few weeks ago, even with a professional editor there is always a margin of error. The more eyes on your work, the better the chances of spotting goofs.
So are you ready? Because for some of you, this could get ugly. read more
When’s the last time you said “no”? To an invitation, an opportunity, a favor. To a family member, a business associate, a friend. How did it feel to say it? What did you do with your time instead?
I recently read a book excerpt on Medium that got me thinking about saying no. Who does it, who doesn’t, who should, and why.
This excerpt, called “Creative People Say No,” from Kevin Ashton’s book How to Fly a Horse, tells of a Hungarian psychology professor who requested interviews with creatives (writers, artists, composers, etc.) for a book he was writing. Of the 275 creatives contacted, only a third said “yes”; a third said “no,” citing lack of time as the reason; and a third didn’t respond, presumably due to lack of time.
That response isn’t so amazing in and of itself, but what is thought-provoking is the care with which these creatives guarded their time. read more
Manuscript Prepartion: How to Do It Right
Finding a Writing Space in Your Home
3 More Cover Letter Don'ts
Conquer Your Fear of Writing ... By Writing
When Should I Stop Rewriting?
Worst. Advice. Ever.
Writings From a Past Life: David Foster Wallace