Writing Coaching with Charlene Smith
December 16, 2011Most people consider themselves competent writers until they want to write a book, a dissertation or a press release and find themselves staring at a computer screen wondering how to begin.
It should be some consolation to know that even professional writers can wrestle with a good introduction for hours, days or months. Sometimes the way to begin is to not worry about the beginning but simply to write and in telling the story or structuring your argument or pitch, the introduction will present itself.
Writing is made easier when we understand whom we want to write for and why.
I do face-to-face writing coaching in Greater Boston and online (email, Skype and telephone calls) with writers across the world. I also conduct workshops for institutions, whether university creative writing courses or corporations that want their executives or scientists to communicate more effectively.
At present, I have clients in Massachusetts, District of Columbia, California, New York, Rhodes Island and New Hampshire, as well as Tunisia, England, Japan, and South Africa.
Coaching is $150 an hour paid upfront or on the day of the lesson. It can be paid in cash, by check, PayPal or direct into my bank account.
Lessons are intensive and are always accompanied by written material. This coaching program will see you feel increasingly confident as a writer and as an individual; by the end of the process you should have a well-rounded idea of how to write a book, how to get it published, and how to market yourself and your book. It will have a positive impact on your life and work too, it could see your life completely transform for the better.
Before our next meeting (in person or by Skype) I always want a copy of what you have written and we will go over some of that and also new learning material. It is best to start with a minimum of three sessions no longer than two weeks apart. If you then feel ready to do writing and research on your own, then go ahead and return when you feel you have material you want assessed and for updated learning.
Do not underestimate how much you need to know and how complex writing a book is. The more you invest in coaching, the better the final book is likely to be and the stronger the potential that you will find a publisher or launch a successful self-published book that will get reviews and sales. There is no point in spending hours on a book that does not get published, or that does not sell.
How much you put into this process will determine how much you get out of it. Think of it like starting an exercise program: when you begin you hate it, you drag yourself to the gym, but once the endorphins start kicking in and you understand the machines or exercises better, the more you start enjoying it, and the more you can’t wait to begin each day. Writing is like that. However, with exercise you may stop at some stage and become overweight and unhealthy, with writing if you have written beautiful, well-considered words, they remain.
Coaching is structured according to the needs of individual clients, it can include:
BOOK WRITING (this also includes essays, articles and short stories or poems)
• Advice on how to research your subject.
• How to begin writing and keep writing.
• Chapter layout.
• How to conquer writer’s block.
• Discovering and writing for your target audience.
• Learning how to critique and correct your writing.
• Develop descriptive talents.
• Other places, people or institutions to obtain more material.
• Interview techniques.
• Avoiding purple prose and cliches.
• Developing a unique voice.
• Additional reading.
• Guidance about competitions you may want to enter – this can provide good testing ground for your skills and provide a reward and an audience if you win.
• Marketing yourself, your subject and your book has never been more important. As we near the end of the book-writing process I will assist with this.
• Writing a book proposal that will attract a publisher.
• Finding the right literary agent.
• How to go about self-publishing.
• Determining if you need a book publicist.
• Developing and maintaining a strong public platform that keeps interest growing in you and your book.
• Developing additional work or speaking opportunities for you and your book.
• How to conduct yourself during a media interview – print, radio and television.
- Structuring your release.
- Target audience.
- Outlets for distribution.
- Ensuring yours is a release the gets published and does not get binned.
- Chapter layout
- Developing the correct tone for the subject and institution
- Actual writing
Charlene Smith is an award-winning writer who has had 14 books published. She has had chapters published in a dozen more, and has edited eight books. She is a biographer for Nobel Peace Prize winner, Nelson Mandela, and has ghost-written books for high-level individuals. She also acts as a communications and marketing consultant and publicist for authors.