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Writing Coach

"I can't go on, I'll go on." -- Samuel Beckett

Beckett, one of my own masters, was talking about life, but I'm confident, given the inseparability of his life and work -- really, any writer's life and work -- that he was also talking about writing.  And in that short sentence, he seems to get at the two personalities of the writer:  the one who struggles and sometimes can't go on, and the one who, like an inner writing coach, says, "But you will."

 

Coaching is coaching:  we'll ferret out what blocks you, talk through challenges, co-create solutions, develop action plans, and insist on accountability for productivity. No published written work was ever created but one page at a time. But writing has its own unique challenges, and it is for writers who savvy the power of coaching that I developed a practice of coaching writers through their own inevitable ups and downs.

 

Do you see yourself as a writer who:

Can't seem to find the time to write?

Agrees with Red Smith's old saw that "there's nothing to writing.  All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein"?

Suspects the time may be there, but the motivation is lacking?

Is experiencing resistance to writing in general, or to a work, storyline, or character in particular?

Has tried and tried and can't seem to zero in on something to write about -- on a theme that could also, not coincidentally, be said to be a key theme in your life? 

What else would you write about, if not the great themes of your life, but believe it or not, we can spend a lot of time writing because we think we ought to, and well before we've figured out what matters to us.  These are our themes.  This is why we write.  When you find your theme, resistance evaporates.

 

Writing is every bit as much an intellectual and spiritual discipline as Zen.  That means that when you write, if you write truly, as Hemingway put it, then you will, at one time or another, bring to the surface all of the stuff that your life tries to keep below.  Do you need a therapist?  It's not inconceivable.  But far more often, you need an ally (in Joseph Campbell's sense as well as literally), a muse, a listener, an experienced literary ear, a supporter, and of course the odd kick in the pants.

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You may just need a writing coach

I coach writers because I am a coach who has been a writer in practice and not merely thought for half my life, and I live for (perhaps I live on) the creative process.  In the late 1990s, while I was an intellectual property lawyer, I even dabbled in being a literary agent. But I am not an altruist:  midwifing your creations spurs on my own.  I also derive great personal and professional satisfaction from the epiphanies my clients experience.  I can help you:

Make time for writing

Get past writing blocks

Root out resistance

Get motivated and inspired

Find your great themes

Be accountable to metrics I help you to choose: time spent, pages drafted, projects completed, and so on.

Write awesome query letters

Identify and contact agents

My work as a writing coach is conducted in weekly phone coaching sessions as well as in the email or instant messenger reports, updates, and correspondence that you need in order to keep your eyes continually on the prize.  This is accountability, but it is also part of the gestation of creativity:  unless your conscious attention is trained on your work, your ideas, the story problems, your subconscious will not go to work for you.

 

I specialize in novels, novellas, short stories, and screenplays.  Poetry is not my own medium, but even here, the technique and disciplines of coaching are the thing.  I won't write for you, whether poetry or an historical novel set in a time I may know little about, but with coaching you'll want to write more between sessions.


A Peak Into a Week in the Life of an Artist in Coaching


It's always better to show than to tell. Here's a glimpse into coaching:

Hi Cameron,

OK, I would definitely like to add back in a commitment to report to you on good nutrition/stable behavior with food. Starting today, I will fill out my spreadsheet every day including calories. Furthermore, and let me say most important, I am not just committing to fill it out, but am also promising a limit of 1400 calories a day at least for the next 4 days until we talk.

Studio hours for Friday: 3 On target. Adequate progress with idea.

Studio hours for today will be 6 at least without any doubt.

When we talk on Tuesday, I will have the 4 day spreadsheet filled out, sent to you, and will bring it up in conversation first. If I suspect it might not come up in conversation, I will rationalize over the weekend and dodge the topic on the phone.

It's very hard to be this honest. It is also helping more than anything else ever has.

Thanks.

B--

 

 

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