July 16, 2019

Writing Coach, Not “Do as I Do” (Interview, part 3)

[This is the third and final portion of an interview Tim gave.]

Interviewer: Do you also write?

Tim: Yes, I am a member of the Romance Writers of America and its local affiliate, North East Ohio RWA

Interviewer: I recognize the genre as one of the best-selling of all in the U.S. Is this what has drawn you to romance?

Tim: Well, I have been drawn to the group of writers that gathers monthly. It contains writers working in every genre. Many of the attendees are published, but those who are not find a great deal of support. I cannot say enough what a great group it is.

You are correct, of course. The rules for the different sub-genres are quite fascinating. And we get a chance to explore some of these.

For example, each year our group has an expert in forensic science talk to the group about murder and crime investigation. I don’t write murder mysteries or the like, but I have worked with writers who are working on these.

Interviewer: So are you published?

Tim: Yes, I write under a nam-de-plume and am published. I also¬† ghostwrite. One ghostwritten work finaled in a contest, which made me a little nervous. I hadn’t anticipated that the credited author might do this. Yet, he was extremely excited about the book we created.

Interviewer: Why?

Tim: Well, in my ghostwriting, part of my agreement is that I will not disclose the author, book, or how much of the final work came from me. But then having that blended work judged as the writer’s own work seemed disingenuous.

Interviewer: But, why would you keep your own publishing and such finalist news (even without mentioning the writer or title) under wraps?

Tim: Most people, when asked about something, give advice. And published writers or authors can be the worst (or maybe right after amateur golfers) in handing out free advice.

Then the advice given most often is “do what I did. I’ve been successful. Therefore, you will also succeed.” And sometimes such advice is useful.

But “do what I did” is not always a successful strategy and, I think, is not really coaching.

Interviewer: So when you say “coaching focuses on an author, his or her writing project, and any resistances or confusions in the process of getting published (or finished),” you really mean focusing on the author.

Tim: Exactly. I mean, what do you want to accomplish? What is your vision for your work? What have you done so far to achieve this vision? And so on.

My goal is to focus and unlock (or maybe, focus and illuminate) your energies for your project.

The rules are the rules–until a writer violates them and creates something fresh. And what has led a writer to undo the rules? Her or his own vision for what will capture readers.

Well, I don’t think I can say anymore about it. Thanks for the interview.

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