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
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
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.
You may just need a
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:
time for writing
past writing blocks
motivated and inspired
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:
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.