7 Tips to Help You Succeed With a Writing Coach (Including a Definition of “Writing Coach”)

Frustrated woman biting a pencil in front of a computer.
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Are you frustrated with your writing project? Struggling to organize your story, your characters, your life? Wondering how the heck you’ll ever reach the finish line?

If you’re nodding your head to any of the above questions, a good writing coach may offer exactly the help you need.

“So what’s a writing coach and why do I need one?”

A writing coach meets with writers for one-on-one sessions to offer guidance, support, and accountability.

You may have only a general idea for a story or book and don’t know how to begin. Perhaps you have a detailed outline but feel unsure about next steps, or possibly you’ve written the first 20, 30, 75+ pages but now feel lost in the muddy middle of it all.

For all of the above and more, a good writing coach is out here and ready to help you meet your writing goals. The LAEWG team includes many outstanding writing coaches.

What a writing coach does not do: A writing coach does not read and offer feedback on a completed manuscript (first, second, third, tenth drafts). If you’re seeking this kind of support, you may want to employ a developmental editor. (Read more about developmental editors HERE and HERE.)

7 Tips for Success With Writing Coaches

    1. Clarify your needs and expectations. These may include, “I don’t know what I need!” Most writers seeking coaches are looking for someone to help them meet their writing goals. To begin, describe your goals to yourself.
    2. Collect basic information from writing coaches who seem compelling to you.
      • What is their fee?
      • How often do they recommend meeting?
      • How many pages per session will they read/discuss with you?
      • What is the mode of feedback? (e.g., written response, verbal, or both)?
    3. Interview at least three prospective coaches. (The LAEWG team offers many outstanding coaches.)
      Most writing coaches will offer a complimentary 15-to-20-minute Zoom or phone call. In addition to discussing your needs and expectations, as well as clarifying all the basics, your engagement with the prospective coach will offer you a sense of how comfortable you are with that person. It’s essential that you work with a coach with whom you feel at ease.
    4. Consider the prospective coach’s capacity to be a positive advocate for your writing. Like any good coach, strong cheerleading can influence your enthusiasm, your determination, and your success.

Once you’ve found your ideal writing coach, use the tips below to make the best use of your time and money:

    1. Work with your coach to set realistic goals. Many of the LAEWG coaches encourage writers to keep a low bar. Slow and steady will get you to the final page.
    2. Communicate clearly with your writing coach and expect clear communication in return. If your coach makes a comment on your writing you don’t understand, or that feels “off” in any way, ask for clarification. Also, if you’re frustrated that your coach isn’t offering you the support and guidance you most need, ask for it directly. Most coaches will do their best to accommodate their clients while keeping their eyes on the prize: achieving the best possible product.
    3. Let your work marinate after your coaching session. When you finish your coaching session, you may feel overwhelmed with ideas and motivation to revise and edit your writing. Take a moment to breathe. Most often writers benefit from setting work aside overnight or even longer, and then returning to it with fresh eyes.

Questions? Interested in connecting with some of the best writing coaches? The LAEWG team is here for you!

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