Wednesday, November 2, 2011

RTW: The Coach

Welcome to our 103rd Road Trip Wednesday! 
Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.
We'd love for you to participate! Just answer the prompt on your own blog and leave a link -- or, if you prefer, you can include your answer in the comments.

What kind of writing coach do you need? When you have to coach friends, what kind of coach are you

What a doozy of a question. Honestly, I've never thought of myself as a very good coach. When I dabbled in team sports, I found that I didn't like listening to the coach or doing the actual practicing. I prefer to be allowed to do things on my own in an organic fashion. That dislike of coaches translated over into my own practice of coaching. But that's just me. Not everyone dislikes coaching, some in fact need it. 

When it comes down to encouraging my friends and writing buddies, I'm not always the best at finding the right thing to say to motivate them. I tend to make a lot of jokes and say stuff like "Won't know until you try" or "You can do it! I know you can! You're the bestest of the best!" 

It sounds lame and often feels pretty lame while I'm saying those things, but it's all I can think of. I mean, what else do they want from me? I can't give them any ideas, the best thing I can do is to just provide a good sounding board for their thoughts and give them encouragement. 

That's all I would want. That's all I do want. Sometimes the best coaches don't tell you exactly what to do, they just distract you from your worries long enough for your brain to recharge and find a way to cope with whatever obstacle finds its way to your path.  

Coaches, in my mind, can either be a distraction from the path or a distraction from the obstacles. Finding a writing coach who keeps you focused on your path while also helping you see past/around/through/between the things in your way is not easy. 

Sometimes people are lucky enough to find good writing buddies (like mine: Kills and Tiger! Love y'all!) who are both friends and motivators for your writing. They may not always know the right things to say, but they don't give up on you, and you in turn don't give up on them. The best writing coach is someone that you have a sort of symbiotic relationship with and that isn't afraid to tell you what they think. 

It's scary to let someone get that close to you, especially to your writing if you are a newbie to letting others read your stuff, but it's a necessary step in this process. In order for a writing coach to be effective, you as a writer have to be willing to hear both the good and the bad, and take what you're told and deal with it. 

On that note, I end this little discussion of writing coaches. I feel like I'm getting a little preachy, and y'all don't want to hear me get up on my soap box. I get really chatty up there because I feel powerful with the extra height. 

Until next time...y'all are the bestest of the best! 


  1. Which is why my wife makes such a great beta reader/CP for me. We already have a relationship that is not based on the quality of my writing, so she is free to offer her thoughts, suggestions, and both positive and negative critiques without fear that it will affect our relationship. She knows I won't always agree--but more often than not I do because, well, she's right. :) Once my work has been through her, it gives me courage to then share with others.

  2. I like this, and totally agree: "The best writing coach is someone that you have a sort of symbiotic relationship with and that isn't afraid to tell you what they think."


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