How Having a Writing Coach Helped Me Achieve My Dream

This post today is for all the writers out there…

I was sitting at my sister’s table (actually, it’s my table at her house, but that’s another story) discouraged about my writing career, or lack of it. “I need someone to be in it with me,” I said. Writing is lonely business, and though I don’t mind the solitude, I needed some accountability and encouragement. It was too easy to sleep through the alarm clock, leaving pages unwritten. “Maybe I need an agent,” I said. But no, that wasn’t the answer.

“You need a coach,” came the reply.

I left there and headed straight for the internet. What is a writing coach? What do they do? How does the relationship work?

Everything I read confirmed it. I needed a writing coach. But there was one hurdle to maneuver. My coach–the person I hoped would coach me–wasn’t “officially” a coach. She’d been “coaching” writers for years, sharing her expertise and encouragement with generosity, sharing without effort (or a marketing plan). She didn’t have a coaching business or a coaching website. She didn’t call herself a coach, and I have a feeling the label was a little uncomfortable for her, but she was a coach. She couldn’t NOT be a coach, it’s who she was. All the research I found confirmed this too.

I hoped she’d agree to take me on.

I was in a rut. Frustrated, confused, and did I mention frustrated? I was stuck in a bad pattern. I would blog, work on non-fiction book ideas, and then go back to my novel. Or start a new novel. I’d revamp my website, and start blogging again. Again.

I needed help. I needed a trusted voice to assure me that my work mattered. I needed someone standing on the outside to quiet all the noise and show me the simple steps that would lead me to success. I needed someone to hold me accountable for word count deadlines every Saturday at midnight. I needed a coach, and I found a dream partner.

She did her own research and after some texting back and forth, we set a date in January to commence weekly meetings.¬†Seven weeks later I was typing the final sentence of my novel, seven years in the making. Seven years of stops and starts. Seven years of doubts and moments of wow, that’s pretty good.

I have wanted to write this article since I typed the final sentence on my novel, but I fear these words will fall short. I love writing. I didn’t discover this love until I was in my early thirties. So, for years I was trying to figure it out, struggling against this creative urge, wondering why I was discontent with just about every other pursuit. Discovering I was a writer was like seeing the pieces of the puzzle come together with amazing clarity after years of painfully shuffling the pieces around without success. That moment of clarity–discovering writing–was a gift. Finishing this novel is another. It is a moment of becoming who I’ve known myself to be.

Thank you, Coach, for this moment. Of course, I hear you saying that I’m the one who did the work. Yes, I did the work and God put the dream inside my heart. He woke me in the morning and gave me words that sounded so much like music. (I hope my part in the writing hasn’t diminished the song.) But even so, you, Coach, made me take it seriously. You worked too. You helped me to believe, to have courage. You too are a gift from God, Jessica Ferguson. I am thankful beyond the words.

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