Mentoring and coaching for writers
I love working one-on-one with writers, helping them find the way from where they are now to where they want to be.
And I’ve had some success in doing it, too.
Questions for a prospective writing coach
Coaches and mentors are essential for success in any field. Whether it’s playing the piano, or competitive tennis (two of my favourite things), the champion players typically have coaches not far from their side.
These days lots of people are putting up a shingle online and calling themselves a writing coach.
When you’re looking for a writing coach, my only advice is to make sure that your prospective coach actually has some skin in the same game you’re attempting to play.
- Where has their work been published?
- What genre/s have they published in?
- Whose work have they edited or helped to develop?
- Who has edited their own work?
- What level of practical commercial understanding of the business of book publishing will they bring to your working relationship?
If a prospective writing coach does not have experience either working in-house at a trade publishing company, or as a traditionally published author, then I cannot see how they can add the sort of value you need at the point in your writing journey when you seek a mentor.
If you’re looking for someone to keep you on track in terms of a monthly word count, then join a writers’ group. It’s much cheaper.
My ideal students for mentoring / writing coaching
Writers get the most from working with me when they have already been working on a manuscript for some time. It could be months. It could be, well, a lot longer than that.
My best mentoring students know, deep in themselves, that they need something else, something more, to develop their work to publishable level.
They just can’t figure out what that something is.
Do you need a sounding board for your project?
Having assisted writers of fiction and nonfiction to land literary agents and book publishing deals, and having worked with a mentor on my own second book, I understand the value of a trusted reader for your work and creative goals.
And with experience as an editor and literary agent, I know a fair bit about how book publishing works, and what agents and editors think when assessing manuscripts.
Mentoring with me is a confidential relationship dedicated to your work in progress.
Mentoring/coaching is best for writers who are:
• finding their feet with a project that is underway
• new to working on a book-length project
• getting knocked back by agents/publishers and don’t know why
• need some professional advice to know whether or not their work has the potential to get published
What my writing coaching clients say
Here’s a testimonial from a fiction writer I recently mentored.
I thought I had an interesting story to tell but it was far from being a persuasive and well constructed manuscript. When Virginia had a look at my work, her analysis was immediately encouraging, constructive, insightful and very specific about what I needed to do with scenes, character development and plot.
Virginia is so down to earth, practical, hard working and she knows the industry as a writer, agent and editor. She also knows that writing can be a lonely, introspective process. When you need that dose of self-belief, Virginia provides it.
Most importantly to me, Virginia believes in the authenticity of the writer’s voice, compared to the generic, formulated style that’s promoted in some course outlines and curriculums.
Six months later, I read my work and I can’t believe it’s the same writer. ~ Richard Hensley, author SHARK MUSIC
Each author and project is different, so what works for one writer won’t work for another.
Why not schedule a no-obligation 15-minute call with me to find out?
“I can’t recommend Virginia enough to anyone looking to improve their work and in their efforts to be a published author.”
– Jenny Ackland, The Secret Son (2015) and Little Gods (2018)
Guy Hull, The Dogs that Made Australia (HarperCollins, 2018)
“Virginia is an expert editorial ‘curator’ and a godsend for a first-time author.”
– Fiona Higgins, Love in the Age of Drought, The Mothers’ Group, Wife on the Run, Fearless
Ingrid Du Vernet
Dr Carrie Hayward
– Dr Carrie Hayward, clinical psychologist
Hello and welcome. I help writers and experts develop their work to a publishable standard, find an agent, and get published.
As the traditionally published author of two books, as a structural editor, former in-house editor and literary agent, I provide fiction and nonfiction writers with the sorts of commercial and constructive feedback you'll never get from a writing class or workshop.