There was a time when I decided to pursue my master’s in counselling, but I soon discovered that there was a lot of “looking back” at a client’s life with the goal being to bring them up to whatever “normal” is for him or her. I prefer to look forward, to say, “here’s where you are in life, how can we improve it?”
If you want to buy a bike, hire a consultant to tell you what’s the best on the market.
If you fell off a bike once and need to get over your fear of it happening again, hire a counsellor.
If you want someone to run alongside you as you bike through life and to cheer you on or to help you plan the path you want to travel, hire a coach.
It was a very natural move from personal development coaching to coaching writers. I get writers and there’s very little that I haven’t personally experienced in the writing life. I keep people accountable. Since I’ve written 80 books, I’m hard to fool. Also, for my final paper for my master’s program, I created a new coaching model just for writers. I use this with fiction writers. With non-fiction, I enjoy being in the visioning and organizational process with the writer.
My best coaching advice for new authors?
I’m self-taught since I didn’t know any writers when I started and the big writers’ organizations had not yet begun. I read about writing, I read books that were of the type I thought my books would be. I took classes. I poured over Writer’s Market—and I wrote and wrote and wrote. I compared my prose to that of really big name writers and tried to see what techniques they’d used to make their stories compelling.
I think motivation, determination and refining the craft can do a lot for the aspiring writer.
Of course you should always read. Frankly, I listen to books on tape now rather than read anything but non-fiction because I find myself analysing it—either thinking of how it could be improved or wishing I’d been clever enough to write like that!