Finding the perfect writing or creative coach can feel as effortless as looking for a needle in a haystack. Type “writing coach” and you will suddenly feel inundated with too much information.
If Google could only use its keyword magic to help you find “the one” that will help you get your writing on track, get that manuscript completed, out the door and give you the oomph you need to start on that project you’ve been meaning to get working on.
Instead, I’ve done the next best thing and wrangled together two coaches, a writing and a creative coach to dish out the facts about how coaches can help fuel your career.
Debunking Those Writing Coach Myths
First up, let’s address those commonly held misconceptions of coaching.
1. Coaches aren’t big, bad, meanies who enjoy pumping you up (although they can be). Coaches have all kinds of styles and specialities. Six year writing coach Marla Beck, for example, has a MFA in Creative Writing and a soft, supportive voice. But more than that, she works with writers specifically on life and career coaching for writers. “I help writers to take their freelance writing career more seriously and that means treating it as a real business, putting structures in place, learning to make sure their business is viable,” Beck says. This brings me two myth #2.
2. Writing coaches aren’t necessarily coaching you on how to write.
I’m betting a few of you were confused about this too. Although there are coaches who could help you write better and can coach you on the technicalities of the written word, not all do.
Robert Ressler, Ph.D. is a 12 year creativity coach with an office in San Francisco, California. He works with both artists and writers who are “encountering some internal conflict about the writing they’re doing or their aspirations to write.” Ressler’s focus is helping creatives uncover the deep dark, psychological issues that comes up in the minds of anyone willing to take that big leap and write.
Very different from a coach helping you to become a freelance writer so be clear about what you want to get from a coach before you set out to hire one.
3. Coaches don’t steal big chunks of your time.
I know one of the reasons why you’re reading this. Perhaps, you’ve hit a wall with your writing or maybe you are frustrated because you have a great idea for a story, but don’t have the time to write it.
In that case, why hire a coach right?
The job of a writing or career coach isn’t too consume all of your time. What they do in spend maybe an hour a week working with you so that you can eventually depend less on them and more on yourself. In fact, one of the things Beck does is, “help writers, freelancers and writers in other professional careers really busy people with a lot of responsibilities to make the time and structure they need to write and complete their projects.”
In this case, they may even save you time, money and help you finally get you started on that project you saved for “some day.”
“One of the hardest things for writers to do is to overcome the inertia to get going on a project, to have something start or to resume it after a long absence from it. It’s like overcoming inertia is a big part. There’s a lot of start up costs to writing and once you get rolling it’s easier to keep rolling then to start from a dead stop,” Ressler says.
Sometimes you just need a push or a shove in the right direction.
4. Coaches are not therapists.
Ressler has a Ph.D. in Psychology, but he’s not offering any therapy. And you shouldn’t expect that from any coach either. Even though Ressler assists artists and writers on the psychological blocks that prevent them from being creative, he nor does any coach work on psychopathological issues. Beck says, “[T]his isn’t therapy, we don’t have to go into the how or why this happens or the roots of things.”
That’s a whole lot of info for a post so I’m going to “To-be-continue” this mother. Stay tuned for part II when we talk about creative fears, benefits of coaching and how to know when it’s time for you to start hunting for a coach.