I’ve been asked the most epic question: What makes a good Writing Coach?
At my book launch in August, I was asked this by an audience member and it really made me think. I thought my answer might be worth sharing here too, especially as I’ve included the things I’d be looking for if I were a new writer.
They have studied writing.
You don’t need a qualification to be a coach, in the UK it is not a profession that is regulated. Anybody can be a writing coach or even a life coach. Anyone. If you have enough knowledge and experience in a specific area, that alone could be enough to help you coach others on the same path. But with writing, you have to consider that the literary world works differently.
If you’re looking for a writing coach, it would be ideal to work with someone who understands writing more than you do. Whether it is self-taught or university studied, a good writing coach won’t depend on spell check. They’ll demonstrate their knowledge in the way they guide you through your writing process. Just putting it out there, I’m in my third year of a Creative and Professional Writing degree, and four of my books I wrote before I enrolled.
Traceable online portfolio.
We’re in an era where people are a little more open to trying new ventures, which is awesome. But if you’re paying for a writing coach, you’d feel a little more secure knowing that your coach has been doing this for a while. And by this, I mean writing for themselves and for others. They should be on social media platforms, perhaps have a website and a few features on other blogs. You should be able to search their name on Google and read through examples of their practice over the years. Here’s mine as an example.
They have a strong social media presence.
Writing Coaches of 2017 should not be hiding from social media. Their presence should be loud and constant. They’ll be clued up on their personal brand and utilising social media to promote their services/workshops/books/initiatives. I’d say this is important because a good writing coach will be encouraging you to do the same, so it makes sense that they lead by example. Here’s a few of my Facebook lives as an example.
They focus on writing at almost every opportunity.
A desirable writing coach is clear about their focus and what they represent. You will be able to glance through their social media accounts and website, and get the sense that they are passionate about writing. A writing coach will often share tips and advice for aspiring writers, for free, on their blog, website of social media, and this ensures that you understand what they stand for. Snapchat filter selfies, food photos, rants about bus stops… none of this makes any sense unless they are demonstrating to you how to use life as writing inspiration or it contributes to their personal brand. Here are my blog posts about writing.
They have a good reputation.
I’ll be honest, as much as we can spend time developing super fancy social media graphics, high-end business cards and impressive roller banners, none of that will promote a writing coach as much as word of mouth. People love to complain about a bad service, sure, but when it is repetitive it is worth paying attention to. A good job well done exceeds itself and you will most definitely hear about it. A good way to test this is to post a status on Facebook about wanting to write a book and getting guidance on it. Ask for recommendations and you’ll see certain names being put forward.
If you were in Birmingham UK, I’m confident that one of those names would be mine. *flicks curls*
Whether you’re planning on writing a book, developing your blog or just want to build your confidence in your writing, get in touch with me for a free 20-minute consultation.