Category Archives: Writing

Writing Help

Last year, I started working with a writing coach. I know, how lame that I would need help, right? I’ve been writing my whole life. Or at least that’s what one person said when I told him. He didn’t believe that ‘real writers’ needed a coach. Well, I do. And I’m a real writer.

I was able to work out an arrangement that was beneficial to both of us, and I enjoy our weekly phone calls. It is a half hour each week. It’s a check-in, but it’s also a motivation. There is nothing like knowing that in a few days someone is going to be asking you how you did with your writing this week. My husband never asks me that. So this is nice.

There is also the question of ‘What would you like to focus on today?’ Sometimes the calls go off in a completely different direction than what I thought we would talk about. Sometimes I have no idea at all what I want to discus. But we always, always find something that is meaningful and helpful. This is because my coach is a professional coach, and she grabs on to little things that I gloss over. And sometimes, they are not such little things.
CoachingTxt
During my recent personal crisis, which comprised three different situations (any one of which would have been enough to deal with, thank you very much), my coach was invaluable. I was writing a lot, but it was mostly what I call grief poetry, which meant that most of it was just emotional outpouring. Not anything I’d care to share. But she helped me see the value in that. And the fact that maybe, someday, there might be a kernel of something, a little nugget of gold, in one of those pieces.

I spaced out at least two of our coaching sessions during the holidays due to rescheduling, but also because I was so out of my normal space that I simply forgot about them. But she didn’t guilt me about it. She didn’t accuse me of not being committed to my writing and not taking it seriously. She understood. And that was invaluable as well.

I have participated in coaching before, and this was not the case then. A coach is like any other relationship – you have to make sure it’s the right one for you. You have to have a connection, and above all, respect for each other’s work. I tell people this when they are looking for any professional to work with – a designer, a publicist or an editor. Some of these roles make it easier to overlook a bad fit. But they all benefit from a good fit.

And if you are a writer, and you think you might benefit from a prod now and then, consider getting yourself a writing coach. I know, lots of folks belong to writing groups. But for many reasons, this doesn’t work for everyone. I have never belonged to a writing group, and I think I finally figured out why.

Aside: I’m reading Quiet by Susan Cain right now, and in it, she writes about group dynamics for introverts. She explicitly discusses in chapter three why creatives may not work well in groups. Oh, this was music to my ears!

Maybe you just don’t know anyone with whom you could form a group. Maybe you live way out in the middle of nowhere, or have small children that make it difficult to commit to meetings. Don’t let this isolate you or make you feel as if you are not committed to your writing. If you can get a writing coach, that might work better for you than a writing group. Or it might be a good addition to belonging to a writing group. You will get a different kind of help from a writing coach. The point is that writing coaches are not just for elite writers. You are eligible.

But if you can’t do either, don’t dwell on it. Put it on your “someday” list and get your butt in the chair.

And just keep writing.

Further Resource: My writing coach is Rosanne Bane, author of Around the Writer’s Block: Using Brain Science to Solve Writer’s Resistance. You can find her at http://baneofyourresistance.com/ If you’d like to see further articles on this topic, let me know in the comments below. Questions? Concerns?

Starting out

You may have visited this site because of the nomination for Top Ten Blogs for Writers on Write to Done that I posted for Rosanne Bane’s fantastic blog Bane of Your Resistance.

I admit, I was a little pleased that I was able to post my own blog in order to nominate her blog – but only because that made me eligible to do so. Not because my blog was in any way really ready for discerning eyes. But because it made me part of the club that could nominate Rosanne.

And then, something else happened.

My very best friend since ninth grade, Laurie, passed away after a long battle with cancer. These are all relative terms, I know. Laurie is my very best friend because that is the badge she gave me. Whenever she introduced me to someone, that is what she said, “This is my very best friend, Linda.” I wore that badge proudly, not only because she had so many friends, but because I felt the same way.

There are not many people who come along in life that this can be said of. You have to appreciate them when you find them. And I think we appreciated each other. And the length of our friendship wasn’t the important thing, but it was mentioned a lot, because it really stood out. The important thing, though, was the depth.

It has taken me days to get to the point where I can even talk about this. And to try to figure out how to work around the hole in my life. And to fathom how to move on.

Her battle wasn’t that long, really. It was only 14 months. When she was diagnosed, she didn’t tell me the prognosis (her mother did). But when she got another prognosis in August, it was 3-4 months. She was mad, because prior to that she had been doing so well. But then she got an infection, which led to appendicitis, and the tumors in her lungs took off. At least I think that’s what happened. They seemed to be related. She said, “Four months isn’t long enough.” No, it’s not.

Where I keep ending up with this is: Be kind. Make your time count. Do what matters.

And that is one reason why I am doubly glad that I have embarked on this website and blog journey. Because it brings me back to writing. Helping other people be successful, while also having time to do my own writing.

It should be further along by now. So please do bear with me for just a tiny bit longer. I didn’t have enough in the can to make this seamless. I have to get through this week, and then I hope to get back into the saddle with a vengeance and share with you as much of the wisdom of the industry as I can. I’ve got lots of great interviews planned, two that I need to write up, lots of great articles, tip sheets and so much more to come.

The journey’s just started.

NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo

Are you participating in National Novel Writing Month? It started on November 1. You can sign up for free on the NaNoWriMo website, and then, if you complete a 50,000 word novel (presumably coherent) during the month of November, and upload it onto the site, you will receive a certificate and other goodies.

I tried this once, and it’s a great exercise, if nothing else. But honestly, they should do it some other month. November is a terrible month to be taking on a project like this. But someday, I’ll do it again.

What I learned before is that you have to do your prep. There are all kinds of planning aids available, and there are even meet-ups in some cities where writers can hunker down together and type away as a group. The common wisdom is that you need to write 4,000 words a day. Heck, who can’t do that?

It’s all about being part of something bigger. If you want to try it, it’s not too late. Get on over there, check out the forums and sign up for your very own NaNoWriMo.