How do We Keep Improving our Writing Practice?

Writing Your Destiny picI spent over a decade of my life as a professional business writer. Add to that my years as a Sustainability Director at a non-profit in Chicago, which required that I do a lot of grant writing and create many types of marketing collateral,  I did a lot of writing.  Even during my years as a product engineer, writing was a big part of what I did to make money.  And during all these years, I appreciated editors.

I never had much problem in receiving criticism on ways my business writing could be improved.  It wasn’t difficult to keep a distance from my writing.

Creative writing is different for me, but probably shouldn’t be so much.

Many years ago, I took a few classes where my creative writing was critiqued in workshops, and I mostly hated the process.  I can’t really imagine getting a MFA where my creative writing would be workshopped and made to fit some mold.

Yet, I have to admit that I will need an editor for my novels.

I have been refining and editing drafts of my novels for years.

This year, I will finish the first novel, because my attitude about writing the novel is beginning to feel like it did when I was writing professionally for someone else.

I have stopped thinking of my creative writing as needing to be perfect or precious.  I want it to be beautiful, which I believe is a different focus.

Thought for today:  How do you view your writing as less precious, so that it can be edited and refined to be the best it could be?

Would you like to be a Writing Coach?

One of the big opportunities for writers in years to come is coaching others on what you know or have learned about writing to others.   If you’re a writer, and you haven’t considered coaching others, you might want to consider the possibility.

It is true that coaching other people to write can have it’s problems.  Coaching takes time away from your own writing, and can be a long, winding journey as you help someone else discover their voice and what they want to say in a book or piece of writing.  Also, coaching is different from teaching, in that it’s not your job to train someone else how to write, unless you’re paid to do that. 

You may ask, how can I become a writing coach?  Do you need an advanced degree or a teaching certificate or years and years of experience?  These help, but I don’t think so. The primary credential you need is that you can show someone else that you are a good writer and that you can help them start and finish a project more quickly and effectively than if they did it themselves.  This is not to be confused with being a ghost writer, where you do the writing.  As a coach, I do edit writing sometimes, but not the bulk of the writing.

In my case, I have experience of working a professional marketing and technical writer for ten years, writing my own books and several years of business coaching experience.   When I began coaching, I worked with people who knew I could help them create and refine the message they wanted to share.  Most importantly, my clients trusted me and knew that I was committed to helping them share their work in as big of a way as possible.

To me, the biggest benefit of being a writing coach, is that my coaching clients are my patrons.  Working as a writing coach allows me to have the lifestyle that I want with time to spend with my children and time to be a writer.  The biggest joy of being a coach is watching my clients write the book they wouldn’t have had the courage or discipline to write on their own.

Have you been a writing coach or found other innovative ways to support your writing lifestyle?