AnnaMarie Houlis
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Journalist & travel blogger

So you have a writing project over which you're stressing, and you want to hire a writing coach to help you make the words you put on paper, well, readable.

Is hiring a writing coach worth it, though? Here's what a writing coach can do you for you, when you should hire one, what you should look for in a writing coach and where you can find one.

What Is a Writing Coach?

A writing coach, in short, is a professional writer who can help you organize your thoughts and writing project, determine a deadline for your writing project if you don't already have one, and then work with you on completing the writing project to the best of your ability.

They do this by mentoring you throughout the entire writing process, from the conception of your writing project to its completion — whether you're working on writing a paper, a book, an article, a speech, a journal or something else entirely. A writing coach will help you focus and organize your thoughts, come up with an objective for your writing project and kick your writer's block to get started putting words on paper, if you haven't already.

Once you've begun writing, a writing coach will work with you to primarily restructure your piece if necessary and edit for grammar, punctuation and tone of voice. But a good writing coach will help you with revisions beyond what meets the eye. They will work with you to ensure that your writing project is exhaustive and meets your initial intentions.

In short, a writing coach is like a personal trainer for a writer.

When Should I Hire a Writing Coach?

You should hire a writing coach if you are working on an important writing project or if you simply want to become a better writer. A writing coach can either work with you on one piece of work or on a continuing basis with writing practices to enhance your writing skills.

For example, if you are working on writing a book, you might want to hire a writing coach to help you clearly organize your ideas for the book — how it'll open, what each chapter will look like, and how you close the book. Having another set of eyes on your work is helpful, and a professional writer who can offer you objective advice is valuable. 

Likewise, if you are writing a speech, you might consider hiring a writing coach to help you take what you want to say and make it more engaging for the specific audience you'll be speaking before. Maybe you've never spoken publicly before, and you need assistance communicating in a way that's compelling, inspiring and even rousing. Or perhaps you even know exactly what you'd like to say, but you don't know how to cut it down to a five-minute speech or less. A writing coach can help you figure out how to say exactly what you want in the best possible way with a powerfully written speech.

Another example may be if you are working on practicing some more self-care time, and you're interested in getting started journaling. But perhaps you don't know how to make the most out of your journaling time, and you're curious about different methods and techniques to get the wheels in your head turning. A writing coach, in this case, would work with you on a more long-term basis to help you throughout your journaling journey. They may provide you with questions to answer and other writing prompts to get you started journaling — and they may even talk with you about your journals to help you in the reflection process.

Or you may simply want to enhance your writing skills, since written communication is an essential skill that's necessary across all industries and careers. Maybe you write a lot of emails at work in your PR job. Maybe you have to write big proposals for your sales job. Maybe you have to write legal paperwork or medical literature or scientific research. Whatever the case, writing is an important tool that helps you communicate with your colleagues, clients and others in the workplace. And you can work with a writing coach to improve the way you write. You may learn how to write more clearly, concisely, effectively, persuasively, detailed, etc.

What Should I Look for in a Writing Coach?

A writing coach should be your mentor throughout your writing project or writing journey. Therefore, you'll want to work with a writing coach who cares about you and your writing goals.

It's also important to note that, just because someone is a skilled writer themselves, doesn't mean that they're able to teach those skills. For some writers, the skill comes naturally, which makes it hard to explain or communicate why they do what they do and how to immitate them. 

An excellent writing coach should possess the following skills.

  • A willingness to understand your unique writing goals
  • A strong understanding of the English language (or the language in which you're writing)
  • A comprehensive understanding of writing rules, from grammar and punctuation to tone and more
  • A keen eye for detail
  • Structural awareness
  • Verbal communication skills so they can help you understand the revision process
  • Patience
  • Listening skills
  • Ample experience as a professional writer, preferably as a writer who's worked on projects similar to your own

Where Can I Find a Writing Coach?

You can look for a writing coach on sites such as the following.

  • Upwork
  • Life Coach Hub
  • Fiverr

You can also search writing coaches in your area, as many have their own websites and portfolio pages but may not be part of bigger directories. Likewise, put out a message on LinkedIn or across other forms of social media, letting your networks know that you are seeking a writing coach. The chances are that someone in your circle will either be a writer with experience and knowledge to share, or someone will know a writer or writing coach who may be able to help you.

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AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.