Wondering if you need to hire a writing coach? Or wondering what kinds of editing actually exist and if you need it?
You’re not alone.
Since I started working as a freelance editor, a lot of writers ask me: can you help me edit my book?
But “editing” is very broad, so that always needs to be narrowed down to what they actually need at that moment.
Also good to know: it’s not possible for every type of editing to be done together.
To clarify some misconceptions about the different types of editing and the services an editor might offer, I thought it might be a good idea to start a series of blog posts about it.
First up: a developmental writing coach.
What is a developmental writing coach?
When you’re writing a book, a writing coach can be invaluable.
But there are some differences between freelance writing coaches, both in their pricing and in their services.
Some writing coaches focus more on the business and marketing aspects of writing a book.
This is great when you’ve already finished your book, and would like to know more about marketing or getting it published with traditional publishing.
An example of this type of writing coach you can find here.
Now, a developmental writing coach is much more about actually writing the book. They will help you from beginning to end. If all you have is a vague idea, they will help you conceptualize it into an outline.
If you have a few scenes written, then you will figure out together what the rest of the story is going to be.
But besides helping with crafting the plot and characters of the book, a writing coach will also evaluate the author’s writing and give feedback to improve their craft.
So, why does an author hire a writing coach?
Obviously, hiring a writing coach is a big investment. So why do it?
You want to learn how to play the guitar. What do you do?
You can watch youtube videos and learn to play some songs, read some articles on music theory, but all of that costs a lot of time. There’s also no accountability and there’s no one to correct you and give feedback on what exercises might help.
The best way to learn how to play the guitar is to hire a teacher. (And practice—there’s no point to it otherwise.)
So why would that be different when it comes to writing?
Of course, the skill of writing is different than a music skill; there’s no set of notes to play or an exact sheet to follow.
But there are tools that can help considerably.
A writing coach will help you level up your craft a lot faster than if you just stick with free writing articles and a feedback group of other writers who are at a similar level as you.
A writing coach can teach you what to pay attention to when you’re writing.
How do you know if your scene works or not?
What steps can you take to improve it?
When you hire a developmental writing coach, not only will your writing improve heaps, you will also work toward a story that works.
And if you’re someone who’s not great with deadlines, it also doesn’t hurt to have that extra accountability.
How do I know?
I work with a developmental writing coach for my work in progress as well.
What can you expect?
Usually, a writing coach offers several services/options.
One difference in the services is how often you have a meeting.
Generally, you can choose bi-weekly or weekly, and sometimes monthly. It goes without saying that the more often you meet, the more feedback you get, the faster you’ll grow.
But at the same time, the more often you meet, the more expensive it gets.
For me, I found bi-weekly to be the best balance between cost and growth.
I’ve also seen some freelance writing coaches use a ticket system.
For instance, for a certain price, you get 10 sessions, which you can distribute whichever way you want. This does allow for a certain freedom, but it also takes away some of the accountability and consistency in your progress.
Finally, it’s also good to look at what’s included.
Does the writing coach offer unlimited support? By which I mean: can you email them anytime when you have a question? Or is there a limit?
Does the writing coach also include written feedback? Or do they only give feedback during the session?
Will you get a recording of the session so you can watch it back later?
Will you get resources if necessary from the writing coach?
Do they have some exercises to help you practice, or does it only revolve around writing scenes and outlines for your book?
Is there a focus on learning theory or is the call more focused on discussion and feedback?
This isn’t to say that some options are better than others: it all depends on what you need and prefer.
Also have a look at what their policy is when it comes to canceling (due to illness or holidays) and if there’s a possibility to pause the service when you need to.