Do You Need a Writing Coach?
What Is a Writing Coach?
A basketball coach will help you to perfect your jump shot. A baseball coach will help you with your swing or your pitching motion. A singing coach (a shout out to Audrey Hunt) can help you to develop your voice, and a piano coach will help you with your note-reading and interpretation of various pieces.
So why not a writing coach, for those of you who wish to become better at your writing craft?
- Could you use some mentoring as you slog through the book-writing process?
- Do you find it hard to achieve your writing goals and finish your writing projects?
- Do you need to improve your grammar, spelling, and punctuation, or do you need to work on structuring sentences and paragraphs?
- Do you need help in developing a stronger voice, more realistic characters, or better plots, but you just don’t know how to do it?
- Could you benefit by enlisting the help of a mentor who will provide thoughtful, honest, and constructive feedback?
Would a Writing Coach Be Beneficial to You?
You just might find a writing coach to be beneficial if you answered “YES” to any of those questions.
People often assume that hiring a writing coach implies that they’re incapable of writing on their own and need hand-holding. That may be true, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but a writing coach/writer relationship extends way beyond encouraging aspiring or veteran writers, holding them accountable or even teaching them about the craft of writing. It’s like having a partner on your creative team who has a fresh and objective perspective that can so easily be lost when immersed in a big project. Writers, when working on a project, often cannot see the whole picture. A writing coach still has a sense of the forest and not just the trees.
What Can a Writing Coach Do for You?
Writing coaches can help you in the following areas:
- Critique material you’ve already written and provide ongoing, positive feedback on the growing pile of new pages or posts.
- Help you organize your thoughts, enrich your work and find your voice.
- Brainstorm ideas with you.
- Help you design a realistic schedule and hold you accountable to target goals and dates.
- Provide writing tips to help you focus as you work.
- Help you bloggers assess your blog’s success and re-assess your approach as needed. Teach you to improve your writing.
- Keep you motivated and focused.
- Hold you accountable.
- Make writing something you look forward to.
- Help you navigate the SEO waters to find more readers and a larger audience
And any other aspects of writing you deem to be weak and in need of help.
“To excel at the highest level - or any level, really - you need to believe in yourself, and hands down, one of the biggest contributors to my self-confidence has been private coaching.” Stephen Curry
What Does a Writing Coach Cost?
Prices are all over the board with regards to the cost of a writing coach. I have seen best-selling authors advertising their services for $1,000 or more per month. I have seen teachers offering the same services for $25 per hour.
I have seen price structures based on particular tasks, and I have seen a monthly payment cover unlimited email/text/phone call sessions.
What most writing coaches will not do is help with editing and/or proofreading a manuscript. Consider a writing coach to be an overseer, more focused on the task of improving your skills rather than improving one particular writing piece.
Can you afford a writing coach? The only way to find out is to begin a search for one, compare prices, and determine whether it is worth it for you.
Do You Need a Writing Coach?
It is my opinion that all writers need a writing coach. Even those on the NY Times Bestseller List have writing coaches. Harper Lee had a writing coach. Steinbeck often worked with an advisor/coach. There are very few negatives regarding having a writing coach, other than the possible prohibitive cost. Writers have a tendency to get too close to their own work. They lose perspective and they never have an objective opinion about their own work. A writing coach can give you honest feedback and help you to hone your craft . . . if that is truly what you want to do.
How to Find a Good One
Ask around! Get recommendations! Do more than a Google search. Ask other writers who they think would do a good job for you. Ask at your local college. Join an online writing group and solicit opinions and suggestions. Ask people on this site, HubPages, who they would trust to coach them.
Do not pay a penny until you are convinced you are paying for quality help.
What’s It Like, Working With a Writing Coach?
I have coached writers on quite a few occasions. I have found it to be a rewarding experience on many levels. Making suggestions and watching the figurative light bulb turn on over the heads of my students, that is a great feeling; watching a student’s writing improve dramatically in a matter of months; seeing the joy as a student comes to realize that they do, indeed, have talent; these things are so incredibly rewarding for me as a coach.
Knowing that I have had a small part in improving someone’s skills is a pretty cool thing, and any writing coach you hire should have that same passion and connection with you and with your writing. If you find a good one, a bond will form, and you will begin to feel safe and secure. You will receive positive feedback and encouragement throughout the process. You will eventually begin to feel good about yourself and your abilities.
The Bottom Line
We could all use help!
I’ve been doing this full-time now for almost ten years, and I need help from time to time. I am a freelancer who actually makes enough money to pay my bills through writing, but still I need advice on certain projects. I write online material for a couple Fortune 500 companies, I’ve written eight novels, six novellas, 2,000 articles, and two non-fiction books, and I still need help.
We could all use help!
The only decision you have to make is whether you need or want help enough to pay for it, and how much you are willing to pay for that help. The help is out there if you want it.
Best wishes to you all along your writing journey.
2019 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”