I believe the muse to be a fickle being whispering oftentimes in the night that brilliant idea you scribble down in the dark that resembles something like a magnetic poetry ransom note the next morning that makes zero sense if it’s even legible.
But sometimes? Sometimes the muse has the subtlety of a toddler’s temper tantrum when you cut the grilled cheese into the triangles he asked for but really he meant rectangles and now the sandwich is useless and no he doesn’t want a new one, he wants THAT grilled cheese miraculously uncut and recut into rectangles and don’t worry, rectangles isn’t what he’s thinking about either it’s really that he wants his grilled cheese to resemble the Eiffel Tower even though he has no concept of that that looks like. Oh, never mind, he really just wanted buttered noodles.
Throughout 2019 and 2020, Jennie Nash, founder of Author Accelerator, was everywhere I went. Listening to a podcast at the gym? She was the guest. Watching a webinar for a writing organization I belong to? Jennie was the speaker. A blog post that made a lot of sense on writing process? You guessed it, Jennie wrote it.
At first, I figured the muse meant I needed a coach (and yeah, I probably do and you probably do, too…more on that later), until I clicked a link that lead me to a workshop starting the next week on how to decide if you should be a book coach. Bingo. Or rather, buttered noodles!
So in the spring of 2021, after some hemming and hawing, I took the leap and signed up for the course.
This was a big leap for me. Spending money on anything having to do with my writing and goals is hard for me. But it felt more like an investment. An investment that would allow me to contribute financially while still pursuing the creative writing life I love. I committed myself to the self-paced class and entered the coaches-in-training community and fell in love. After a year of coursework and three practicums with fantastic volunteer writers who let me hone my skills on them, I am pleased to announce I am officially an Author Accelerator Certified Fiction Book Coach!
But what the heck does a book coach do, anyway?
A book coach is part cheerleader, part teacher, part accountability partner. My goal as a coach is to help writers who are stuck–stuck in a draft, stuck in a revision, stuck on how to begin–and get them unstuck. I’ve been stuck. Shoot, I’m stuck right now in my revision. All writers get stuck sometimes and need a helping hand. Remember all that quick sand in every cartoon and adventure movie of the 80s? The more you struggled on your own, the deeper you went, the darker it seemed, the harder it was to escape? What you needed was a friend with a stick or a horse with a rope could pull you to safety.
A book coach is a friend with a stick.
Writing can be a solitary and isolating endeavor. As writers we scribble in journals or pluck away on a keyboard and can spend weeks, months, years sinking into our drafts. At some point, we need help. A book coach can be the guide you need to shorten that time, help you create stronger drafts, and keep you on the path to completion by navigating you around those quicksand pits.
And I couldn’t be more excited to get started!
I have done beta reading professionally in the past and while I loved it in theory (reading stories, helping writers, yay!), I hated that I was stymied by the type of feedback I could give and I never knew how it was received or what happened to the story or its writer. I am thrilled to find an opportunity that allows me to work with the endlessly wonderful writers in this world, help them find their voices, and share their stories. More stories in the world! What could be better?
Maybe the fact that I can do this work and still write my own stories.
So thanks to my muse for not giving up and pointing me to this new path. I have to admit, she’s been banging the drum about another new idea lately, but I have to finish my current revision before I can make heads or tails of it. If only the muse were more direct in all of her communications.
If you’re interested in learning more about coaching, visit my website. If you just want to keep up with what’s going on in my coaching world, get a few reading/viewing recommendations, as well as some writing tips, sign up for my monthly newsletter.
In the meantime, be on the lookout for your own muse. Is there a topic or theme that keeps hitting you over the head lately? Maybe take a second to look at it more closely to see what it’s trying to tell you. You never know where that new idea may lead.