Writing Coaching

coaching

“Allegory of Cultivation,” painting by Maud Taber Thomas

This is my invitation to you: Come and talk about the writing you want to do and about how to compose a life that supports your creative work. We will work together to make your visions real.

 If you would like to have one-on-one writing advice and support, and in-depth response to your work, coaching may be a good choice for you.

During coaching sessions, I provide, according to each person’s need: close listening and conversation, mentoring, structure, assignments, writing instruction, writing exercises, creative activities—or a blend of them all. Often people make use of a combination of editing and coaching in the course of their writing endeavors.

If you would like to contact me with regard to coaching, please use the contact form.

 Here are some of the reasons people seek a writing coach:

 I’m a serious writer with a project underway and I could use some support to help me execute it and get it done.

I have all those scraps of writing/journals/letters moldering in the bottom of my desk. I’m dying to gather them together now into a collection of essays or poetry, or a book.

I’m not sure what the outcome will be or what I’m aiming for. I just know I want to write and to have a creative life, and I’d love some support with getting my writing going and creating that life.

I’d like to get the family stories on the page for my children and grandchildren.

I’ve just retired and finally have a chance to write the book that’s brewing in me.

My kids are in school now and I can breathe a little; it’s my chance to write.

I’ve been writing for a while, I’ve gone to writing workshops, I’ve read lots of writing guides. Now I’d like to really focus in and take the book to the finish.

I’m thinking about starting a blog. I’d love some help in identifying its arena, getting it started, and keeping it going.

I write well and I have a great project, but I just can’t get the thing done. I really need someone to be accountable to—someone to schedule me and give me feedback and help motivate me so I actually work on it.

I’m dealing with some tough material in my writing and would like someone to accompany me into this difficult terrain.

I’ve been out of college for a while and want to get back to that story-writing I used to do.

Coaching sessions may include discussion of such issues as:

-your creative vision and aspirations

-the creative process: the stages of revision, how to finish a piece, how to create a body of work

-creativity blocks

-the isolation of the artist’s life

-resistance, rejection, recognition, comparison, envy, and other artistic perplexities

-work-family-creativity balance

-cultural and familial expectations and definitions of success

-the struggle to find time for your creative work and ways to do so

-plaguing questions: Do I have a right to do write? Won’t people find my writing boring? Am I being narcissistic? How can I make a story out of the mess of my life? Is it wrong to expose personal experience to the world? Is it permissible to write about my family? Am I allowed to pursue something that offers little chance of regular income?

 Sessions may also include conversation about real life factors that affect your creative work:

-life transitions

-job issues

-retirement

-child-rearing and parenting

-sandwich generation challenges: caring for elders, children, and partners, while trying to do one’s creative work

-your vision of how you want to live

The coaching will usually include:

-Setting up a schedule and structure for our work together.

-Establishment of goals

-Homework and assignments

Practical Matters:

In my work as a writing coach, I try to tailor the meetings so as to best meet writers’ schedules and goals. I generally meet with people once a week or twice a month. I find a weekly or bi-weekly schedule works best if people are to make steady progress. Once writers are zipping along with the work, the intervals between sessions may be lengthened. Often coaching sessions are paired with editing and consideration of particular pieces of work. (See particulars under the Editing section.)

Coaching sessions may be in person, by phone, or by Skype.

 To schedule a session, contact me at sara@​sarataber.com.

 

 Some Thoughts on the Writing Life: 

I have learned, on my journeys, that if I let a day go by without writing, I grow uneasy. Two days and I am in tremor. Three and I suspect lunacy. Four and I might as well be a hog, suffering the flux in a wallow. An hour’s writing is tonic. I’m on my feet, running in circles, yelling for a clean pair of spats.

 -Ray Bradbury

 Creating is bliss. It offers deep satisfaction and the purest and most dependable joy. On the other hand, sometimes being a person with an urge to create can be extremely challenging. The work itself may be frustrating and elusive, and it is often difficult to hold to a life structure that includes time for the creative work we most want to do. All sorts of things can get in the way. As a creative person—a writer—I have led a life full of passionate interests and the need to translate experience into words. It has been the typical artist’s life: that is, a voyage into unknown seas, undulating with deep troughs and swelling crests—a mix of satisfying, hard work; frustration, disappointment, and struggle; and exhilaration. There have been long passages through calm waters, nights of fierce tempests, and deadening doldrums—and blissful days when the sailing is brisk, the wind at my back, and the sea and sky seem huge and bright and new, and full of limitless possibility.

As a writing instructor, trained as a social worker, psychotherapist, and human development specialist, I have advised and mentored writers and other creative people for many years. One of the things I enjoy most is to help people be creative, live creative lives, and bring out their creative work—in the midst of the inevitable obstacles life throws at us all. Talk with an experienced professional, trained to listen well, and who understands the travails of the artist, can help writers, artists, and others of a creative bent to keep going—to live the sort of life they want to live and to bring forth the work they’ve been put on this earth to create. Conversation itself is a precious thing: thoughtful, focused talk about your life and art can be healing, inspiring, and galvanizing—and key to getting your creative work done.

 There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action. And because there is only one of you in all time, the expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable it is, nor how it compares to other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly, to keep the channels open.

 -Martha Graham to Agnes DeMille

You may enjoy these resources I’ve linked to below.