Archive for the ‘Writing Coaching’ Category

It all started when I was climbing the conning tower of the UK’s latest nuclear submarine.  Yes – you’ve guessed it. HMS Astute. My knee not so much gave way as disappeared out of my leg completely.  And that was it – over twenty years of freelance journalism and poor workplace ergonomics (I work from home) were catching up with me. Musculo-skeletal disorders were rearing their pretty ugly heads. Along with a rather peculiar form of adrenaline-aversion which is triggered particularly by deadlines. And deadlines – as we all know – are an essential tool in journalistic productivity.

‘No work’ was not an option and ‘Less desk-bound work’ and ‘using my expertise’ were imperatives.  And – with unusual foresight as opposed to journalistic crisis management – I just happened some time ago to have taken a coaching course. So now, I was able to re-jig my career – for the fourth time if you include motherhood.

I still do occasional medical journalism assignments and I’m working on a series of short stories and a novel.  But, since 2005, when I founded the Lonely Furrow Company, a new world has opened up. Trained in co-active coaching, NLP and transactional analysis, I am now a writing coach.

As a result, clients ask for my help with projects ranging from novels to academic theses. And tricky but common writing coaching problems  include writers’ block, time management and work life balance, where to find ideas, how to handle feedback and how to write a book proposal.

But, it doesn’t stop there. I improve people’s communication skills – personal and professional – by drawing on my eclectic knowledge of literature and my Masters in Sociolinguistics. Communication impacts on human relationships and the simple equation is: better communication skills = better relationships. Of course, other aspects such as shared values and a GSH help. But communication contributes here too.

Within the Lonely Furrow Company stable, there is also the workshop facilitation service, Out of the Box Workshops. Some workshops on offer embrace creative writing for personal development – such as memoir writing and journaling – writing coaching, creativity and opportunities for peer review. Others deal with media coaching issues such as how to write a winning press release or how to give a good account of yourself, your work and your organisation when interviewed by the media. Other presentations deal with corporate interests such as the role of communication in leadership and team building and yet more, deal with the highly-charged areas of family breakdown and healthcare.

And I am a storyteller. I use story to help people reflect on their personal and professional lives. And I train others in the use of story. Clients for these workshops range from healthcare workers to family lawyers to organisational leaders.

In fact, put simply, I tell stories for a living and help others to do the same. And this – in the brave new world of the economic downturn – is what retirement means.

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Many things can cause an otherwise worthwhile writing project to founder.  Your writing coach will keep your project, your writing career and your writing ambitions safe.  Your writing coach can help you:

  1. Set clear goals and deadlines
  2. Organise your life as a writer
  3. Identify training needs in the genre of your choosing
  4. Organise your research
  5. Start writing and keep going to the end of the first draft
  6. Handle feed-back, edit and re-write
  7. Publish, broadcast or share in other ways

1. Set clear goals

Where do you hope to go with your writing project?  Following your nose can work.  But sometimes planning can help you arrive where you want to be more quickly and with better results.  So, some writers start work, bristling with diaries, ‘road maps’ and post-it notes – lending a writing project the air of a military offensive.  If you favour this style – and many do – your writing goals may benefit from the strong-minded application of management principles.  Your writing coach can guide you here.

The SMART formula is currently popular.  Adopt this and consider:

  1. Is your writing goal Specific?  (What form(s) of writing do you want to work on?  A novel?  A radio play?  An academic treatise?  The ultimate letter of complaint?)
  2. How will you Measure your success?  (Do you, for example, want to hold your published book in your hand by the second August Bank Holiday?)
  3. Are you Able to produce this piece of writing?  (Or do you need more training?)
  4. Does this piece of writing Relate well to who you are and what you want from your life?  (And does writing mesh well with your other hopes and aspirations at this time?)
  5. What is your Time-line for this goal?  (Deadlines work wonders for some.)

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