The Role of a Writing Coach

When I mention to people that I offer coaching services to writers, I’m sometimes met with a blank stare. 


Sports coaches help athletes improve their game.

Financial coaches help people better manage their money.

Fitness coaches help with people’s various fitness goals.

We’re already used to enlisting the help of a coach in some industries. So I ask you: why not a writing coach to help you get your story out into the world?

Think of it as having your very own cheerleader, but instead of pom-poms, they’re armed with heaps of encouragement and more than a decade of experience in life writing. 

The Magic of Accountability

First off, a writing coach is all about keeping you on track. I can review your previous month’s work and discuss any challenges you faced. Maybe you’ve hit a wall and just need to talk it out with someone who can provide you with guidance on the next steps. Think of these coaching sessions like having a monthly coffee date where you get to brag about what you’ve accomplished and confess where you’re stuck. 

My coaching services vary, according to what the writer needs. Maybe you need more than once-a-month check-ins—some clients like to communicate weekly, for example, to keep them on track. Some time meetings with when they plan on writing particularly difficult scenes in their story because they know they will need additional support. Other clients, who’ve embarked on a longer writing project, may choose to schedule quarterly or semi-annual check-ins (although I will say that the more frequent the sessions, the higher the motivation for working on said writing project…usually). 

These calls keep you accountable but they also ensure that you keep moving in the process because you know I am going to ask you what your goals are for our next chat. And if you’re anything like me (a Type A Capricorn), you won’t want to show up and admit you didn’t do anything.

Honestly, there’s something kinda magical about saying your goals out loud to someone else—it’s like making a promise to yourself, but with a witness who is hired to hold you accountable. There’s science and psychology to back this up, but I can tell you: anytime I’ve had a goal, my chances of actually meeting said goal increase exponentially if I tell another human being about it and state a timeline out loud.

The Opportunity for Friendly (yet Valid) Feedback

Some folks want a bit more than just a pat on the back and a “see you next month.” They crave feedback as they go, kind of like sending a chapter to a friend and asking, “Hey, does this make sense?” Except, your friend is a professional editor who can offer up feedback on story arc, character development, order of info, readability,  tone, voice, perspective, and all kinds of other book-ish things… For this type of coaching, we dive into your chapters together, not to tear them apart, but to explore what’s working and what could use a bit of love.

Please note: this is not a full editing experience. Those cannot be done until the actual manuscript is complete and whole but you do receive guidance along the way; it’s an effective way to spot inconsistencies and note places that could use a bit more focus. Say we’re halfway through and I find a character is kind of underdeveloped, I’m gonna tell you. Or if you’re writing a mystery, we can keep track of the red herrings and what you want the reader to be aware of at any given moment in time.

There is flexibility, too, for my coaching clients who request ongoing feedback. I don’t demand a minimum number of pages—although I may state a maximum, depending on my schedule and availability. Additionally, the exact number of pages can vary month to month. I offer varying payment scales to allow for all the ebbs and flows of creative writing! So, if one month, you’ve managed to write 50 pages and you’d like me to review them before our call? Amazing! But the next month, you stall progress and aren’t really much further ahead (because #Life and all), that’s okay too. Our call would focus less on specific edits and more so on what comes next and how to get over that hurdle. 

Maintaining Momentum When Edits Feel Like Homework

I’ve had people come to me for coaching after I’ve conducted a full thorough structural edit and they want some help implementing those changes and just staying on task. For them, I act kind of like a teacher giving homework. We will focus on the edits that make the most sense to them and then create a plan. We can go chapter by chapter, if that makes sense, or for bigger stuff—like say you have to change a whole character— then, we can go change by change. 

This model helps you reach that next step when you find motivation has stalled. Humans can be funny that way. Sometimes we’ll run 20km, only to collapse before reaching the half-marathon (21km). We can tap out at the eleventh hour; rather than feeling energized, sometimes those last little bits completely wipe us out. Editing is the same. Your brain thinks you’ve completed the story—after all, you have a significant word count and you’ve even invested in an edit. It can be challenging to rally for yet another round. Bringing in a teammate (moi!) can not only help with that whole accountability science thing, but also trick your brain into thinking you’ve entered a whole new phase that requires additional people—it might just keep you on track to finish the darn thing.

Is a Writing Coach for You?

Imagine having someone in your corner who’s not only got your back but also gets your creative process and cheers on your progress. Whether you’re drafting your first memoir or polishing your umpteenth fiction manuscript, a writing coach is like that friend who’s always there with a word of encouragement, a helpful tip, or just a listening ear when you need to vent about how hard writing can be sometimes.

So, if you’re looking for a sign to take the plunge and partner up with a writing coach, this is it! Let’s make those writing dreams a reality.