What Great Writing Coaches Actually Do for You

May 17, 2023: Your Process
To write more, better and
achieve the success you deserve:

Our Elite membership includes monthly personal coaching sessions.

When you think of a writing coach, you might envision Ted Lasso looking over your shoulder as you write, ready to blow his whistle if you stop.
It’s a funny image, but what does a writing coach actually do? And how can you tell a mediocre one from a great one?
There are thousands of individuals, if not tens of thousands, claiming to be writing coaches. Unfortunately, fake coaches and outright scams abound, as do well-meaning amateurs who are just that: amateurs. An inadequate coach can significantly impede your progress, and even push you backwards. To be a great writer, you need a great coach.
You might be wondering, “Hold on! Do I even need a coach?” Well, consider the following:
  • I wish I was further along in my writing.
  • When it comes to my writing, I feel stuck.
  • I don’t know what I want out of my writing.
  • I'm unsure how to reach my writing goals.
  • I struggle to prioritize my writing.
If you agree with any of those statements, a coach can help tremendously. Your coach should be your motivator, cheerleader, teacher and trusted mentor. The right coach can bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be (in my world, that's called the "zone of proximal development"). Here’s how your coach should work:
1. A great coach draws from a wealth of knowledge and extensive experience.

A great writing coach has years of experience. But it’s more than that: they have success. It only makes sense that if you aspire to achieve success, you should seek guidance from someone who has already attained it.

There’s a place for peers in your practice, but great coaches are true experts on writing. You should be able to ask your coach about everything from how to create well-rounded characters and develop your personal writing style to how to write a query letter. Credentials like education, published works, awards and teaching experience are all indicators of a coach’s expertise.

2. A great coach carefully considers your needs and goals.

The first job of a coach is to understand who you are as a writer. Before sharing any guidance, they should analyze your habits, strengths, challenges and goals, to create a full picture of your writing identity. Only then can they provide the type of support you need. This is the purpose of our success plan assessment.

If you aren’t sure what your goals are, don’t worry. A coach can help you determine that too, whether it’s making money, personal fulfillment, or anything else.

3. A great coach designs a plan tailored to you.

Piecemeal advice makes for piecemeal progress. We’ve found that writers make much more significant progress when they construct a specific path to their goals. I can assure you that, as long as you have a realistic goal (not “I want to sell one million copies of my first book!”), you can achieve it. This is why we design a custom plan for every Elite member, based on their assessment.

To be effective, your plan should be detailed and concrete, outlining actionable steps toward your goals. Once you have it in hand, you’ll be confident you’re making the right moves.

4. A great coach keeps you on track.

You don’t want your coach to just provide a plan and disappear. Obstacles are inevitable, and your coach should be there for you when (not if) they arise. For example, your character arc may not be working. Or you may receive a rejection from an agent and it’s a serious blow to your confidence. Time to reach out to your coach!

Many writers struggle with productivity, and like a writing group, your coach can hold you accountable. They can set expectations with you, such as writing a chapter or an author bio before your next meeting. When you know another person will be checking in with you, you are much more likely to make progress. Any time you swerve from your path, a great coach will steer you straight again.

5. A great coach updates your plan as necessary.

As a writer, your process is fluid. Change is expected and your plan should be flexible. Our success plans are solid starting points, but they’re not set in stone. Your plan should adapt to your evolving needs and goals.

If something isn’t proving effective for you, it’s important you feel comfortable discussing it with your coach. It’s all about finding what works for you, together.
The bottom line is this: if you are looking for a coach to take your writing to the next level, our team of coaches check all the above boxes. We are ready to help you achieve the success you deserve. Find more info here, and email me at celeste@bardsy.com if you have any questions.

Add tasks to your sortable list, then revel in checking them off.

Cache your gems as they fall in this always accessible place.

Reflect on your process — good, bad and ugly — in your dated diary.

Measure your progress with key writing metrics, automatically,
Show Dones