Ready to find a writing coach?
ARE YOU TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO FIND A WRITING COACH? And not just any writing coach, but the best writing coach for you? This article will help you with your search!
If you’ve googled “writing coach” or “book coach,” I’m sure you’ve seen there are many, many folks out there ready to help you write your novel, or your memoir, or your nonfiction book. (I just googled “writing coach,” myself, and got 816 MILLION results!!)
Even assuming that ALL of these people have the credentials, experience, and know-how to show you how to write a book, simply sifting through the list could take you as long as it will to actually finish your book and get it published!
That’s why I’ve compiled this list of strategies to show you how to get the writing coaching support you need right now.
How do you find a writing coach that will meet your needs?
Here are seven strategies to help you find the kind of solid writing coaching that will move you toward your writing dreams.
7 tips to help you find a writing coach
1) Where do you start? As I mentioned, a Google search will serve you up millions of writing coaches. On the first page of your search, you’re likely to find coaches who have paid big advertising bucks for their position there. This doesn’t necessarily make them top writing coaches. It just makes them ad savvy. With that in mind,
- read all the way through the first five or six pages of your Google search. You never know. You might find gold on page four!
- ask your critique group or writing class for recommendations.
- join a local writing organization; there will be members who are writing professionals who can refer to coaches in their network.
These suggestions will get you started—but don’t stop here! Developing contacts and resources is as important for your writing career as it is in every other part of your life.
2) Find a coach who knows your genre. You’ll fare best with a coach who understands and loves the type of book you want to write. For instance, I specialize in coaching novelists, memoirists, and nonfiction book writers. Other coaches might focus on picture books, literary short stories, biography, or academic writing. Avoid coaches who say they’re experts in every genre!
3) Get your feet wet. To get a feel for what it’s like to work with a coach, set up a free consultation. In that conversation, you can share your publishing objectives, learn about their relevant coaching experience, and ask how they can help you achieve your book writing goals.
4) Select a coach that fits your communication style. A good coach wants to make sure you’ll work effectively together and enjoy the journey. Complementary communication styles make these both easier to achieve.
For example, I like to talk with my clients by phone or video call. I appreciate the immediacy voice-to-voice communication offers. Other coaches might prefer email and other written forms of communication. What’s your preference? That initial free writing consultation mentioned above will let you know whether you two are a good communication fit.
5) What’s their response time? When you contact a potential coach, it’s reasonable to expect a response within 24 business hours. (Reach out on a Friday? Expect a response on Monday.) The way a writing coach responds to your first query is likely an indicator of how they’ll respond for the duration of your relationship.
I don’t know about you, but in my own dealings with professionals, I like to work with folks who reply quickly and courteously!
6) Check out reviews and testimonials. Ask your prospective coach about their experience—and get referrals so you can check out what their coaching clients have to say about their work with him or her and the results of their time together.
7) Expect transparency about rates and charges. Some writing coaches charge by the package or the service. (That’s my approach: You can view my rates page here, for comparison.) Other coaches charge by the hour. No matter how a writing coach charges, though, their pricing strategy and rates should be absolutely transparent.
While not everyone posts their prices on their website, all credible writing coaches should be completely forthcoming about how much they charge and what, exactly, you are getting for your money. As in all communications regarding your relationship with your potential book coach or writing coach, your discussions about money should be clear, straightforward, and informative.
Finally, ask yourself this question: Am I ready? Early-career novelist Peg Love and I worked together on her second novel. Here’s what she has to say about being prepared to enter into the process of working with a writing coach.
Finding the right writing coach is much like dating: trying out personalities, finding which one fits best to foster your productive and fruitful work. I believe, though, part of what makes [your relationship with] a writing coach great is you, the writer. Are you open-minded? Are you clear on your goals? Are you ready to deep dive into the work?
I’m an expert writing coach with well over a decade of experience. So, I’m ready if you are! I’d love to meet you. Let’s chat: Book a free initial consultation.
While you’re learning how to find a writing coach, here’s some inspiration!
It was not in my nature to be an assertive person. I was used to looking to others for guidance, for influence, sometimes for the most basic cues of life. And yet writing stories is one of the most assertive things a person can do. Fiction is an act of willfulness, a deliberate effort to reconceive, to rearrange, to reconstitute nothing short of reality itself. Even among the most reluctant and doubtful of writers, this willfulness must emerge. Being a writer means taking the leap from listening to saying, ‘Listen to me.’ –—Jhumpa Lahiri, Pulitzer prize-winning author of INTERPRETER OF MALADIES
We live and breathe words. It was books that made me feel that perhaps I was not completely alone. They could be honest with me, and I with them. Reading your words, what you wrote, how you were lonely sometimes and afraid, but always brave; the way you saw the world, its colors and textures and sounds, I felt–I felt the way you thought, hoped, felt, dreamt. I felt I was dreaming and thinking and feeling with you. I dreamed what you dreamed, wanted what you wanted–and then I realized that truly I just wanted you. —
Read,read, read. Read everything—trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window. —
By now, it is probably very late at night, and you have stayed up to read this book when you should have gone to sleep. If this is the case, then I commend you for falling into my trap. It is a writer’s greatest pleasure to hear that someone was kept up until the unholy hours of the morning reading one of his books. It goes back to authors being terrible people who delight in the suffering of others. Plus, we get a kickback from the caffeine industry. —ALCATRAZ VERSUS THE EVIL LIBRARIANS
Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it. —
The only way you can write the truth is to assume that what you set down will never be read. Not by any other person, and not even by yourself at some later date. Otherwise you begin excusing yourself. You must see the writing as emerging like a long scroll of ink from the index finger of your right hand; you must see your left hand erasing it. —THE HANDMAID’S TALE