A Writing Coach's Credo

As a Writing Coach and Catalyst, I use each interaction I have with you to leave you feeling supported, to instill confidence and ultimately help you accomplish your writing goals. With gentle candor and honesty and compassion, in tandem with my self-confidence and writing experience I will earn your trust and establish rapport, so that critique and suggestions are given in a positive and insightful way that will be “heartfelt”, “heard/read” and understood.

I believe, what is “understood” can be integrated more rapidly than what is “resisted” or confusing. I first and always check in to find out how YOU (all of YOU) is feeling and what pressures or deadlines you may be operating under. Acknowledgement of what is going on is key; it naturally reduces tension and creates an environment where work can be done productively and confidence can be cultivated.

I believe effective communication to be a learned skill that can be cultivated at every age.

And some people seem naturally better at certain skills, but REMEMBER, initially we all were taught spelling, basic grammar and the guidelines for effective communication (and hopefully by a kind teacher or two).

It is the years of enthusiastic practice and commitment that have made me a better writer and a more intuitive writing coach.

It is my intention to convey in a gentle and direct way to you, I see you as capable, resourceful and creative. My hope would be that this as the foundation for our dialogue alleviates some of the stress or frustration of “writer’s block” or a deadline you are up against. And if you do not consider yourself a strong writer, I would suggest with heartfelt sincerity that a strong writer resides within you and to welcome that in or welcome it back in.

And if, for example, you asserted that spelling was not your strength, I would ask what resources did you rely upon when writing and editing: A dictionary, thesaurus, an easy guide to grammar? Love Spellcheck and Celebrate its existence in Word! Bookmark your favorite online resources! And let’s agree to one last proofread or one by a trusted editor in a friend or spouse? I will always offer resources and share best practices of my own also.

The idea of a constructive critique in my mind begins with asking what does one think they have already done well and what is good? And then we add to that list what I as the writing coach see is strong and effective. And next ask what needs improving and what concerns you? With awareness, you can only become a better writer.

I believe focusing on the positives present will allow for learning to occur more easily in areas that need refinement. A confident writer, who trusts they have the basics in place, and has an editing practice to catch the last typos and grammar issues may take more risks and stretch themselves creatively—and have more fun writing in the process. There will be more natural energy to do so.

The coaching model as a means to improve writing skills will inspire more natural enthusiasm for assignments and everyday writing, I believe.

Here is the theory that I agree with entirely:

What is my idea and my choice, on my timeline, is a set of actions I will be far more committed to and follow through on consistently and with more passion and enthusiasm. I will push myself and hold myself accountable. THIS HOLDS TRUE FOR YOU AS WELL.

I am here for you to instill confidence and inspire commitment to best practices for improving writing for business or pleasure.

As the avid writer that I am, I truly look forward to supporting you and the writing you wish to do. Thank you for the opportunity to partner with you as you create great writing designed by you.

Passions and Possibilities: What's Love Got to do with IT? Everything!

Dear Sue Zeal Oliver of Passions and Possibilities:

Thank you for having me on the show today to talk of Passions, Possibilities and Love.

I had a most delicious time dialoguing with you over what felt like a virtual cup of tea.

You have a way of showcasing people that is completely honoring.

Now I realize I am doubly blessed to be co-authoring a book with you that showcases the stories of over a dozen of the 100s of Passioneers you have interviewed in the past two years. Your dedication to interviewing your passioneers week after week is inspiring. Showing up like you do alone is motivating thought.

And we all benefit from the wonderful library of dialogues you are creating and maintaining. Conversations filled with hope, inspiratiion and vibrancy (one of your favorite words for good reason!)

Oddly I felt most nervous at the end of the call??? I wonder why…No matter.

My days of radio dj’ing came flowing back to me and to imagine the message that we c-created as we dialogued might be just what someone needs to here…

Now that is what I am all about.

I’m looking forward to tuning into the podcast and archived audio file for quite frankly I remember most of wh\at I shared, but I bet a nugget or two got overlooked and isn’t playback GREAT.

http://tinyurl.com/authenticwritingprovokes

If you missed the live interview and wish to hear it, the link above will get you there.

May you gentle reader at large be blessed with having the ability to pursue your passions as the livelihood of choice.

Deborah

25 Things You Now Know About Deborah Drake, by Deborah Drake

I invite anyone reading this spontaneously written post to first enjoy reading it and then take on penning their own version of it, as an exercise in creativity, memoir and authenticity.

Kudos to a respected peer and friend, Margit Roshal Crane for her courageous list posted on January 3rd, that was for all its simplicity and directness, just that compelling.

To take inventory of ourselves and be transparent with others in writing, for me is a fine way to share ourselves courageously and perhaps inspire some courage in self-expression elsewhere.

So for that list that I can type as fast as my fingers will allow.

1. I am among the adopted children who were blessed with happy reunions, 12 years and counting. And loving that my mother is in my life and grandmother to my only daughter.

2. I behave like an only child for in some ways I am one: Being separated from my adopted sister at a young age.

3. When I was 11 years old I was so clear I wanted Scotland to be the first place I would travel to. (It was not, but I got there at 33 and traveled solo and loved it.)

4. I have honestly been keeping a journal since I was nine years old. And have all of my collection from age 11 forward.

5. At one point to maintain privacy (for I had a sneaky and disrespectful step-mother) I wrote my journal for a year in French.

6. I attended an all girls school and hated the summer uniform, that made even the slenderest person look like a mushroom.

7. I scored on four of five AP tests and entered college as a sophomore.

8. I was determined to be a translator and diplomat at 16 and let the nay saying college counselor rain on my parade. What I really wanted was to leave the US and live abroad.

9. I have a bucket list of places to travel with over 181 places on it that was penned a decade ago.

10. This Monterey, California transplant, misses the true sea fiercely, but can’t see moving from the lush PNW despite wishing I wasn’t so landlocked.

11. I have been squeeging my shower walls ever since a friend suggested it in 2004, saying it saved on cleaning time and reduced the mold factor. So true!

12. I must make my bed each day or at least before getting into it at night.

13. I walk six plus days a week at least 45 minutes and as much as two hours.

14. Since 2000 all I have drawn is trees that are very stylized.

15. I have been married three times and have vowed never again, but hey, who knows?

16. I once watched 11 episodes of Monarch of the Glen back to back when I had a weekend to myself.

17. Boiled red potatoes with a bit of salt is about as perfect as it gets for a snack.

18. I can’t stand pickles, dill, tarragon, sauerkraut, shredded coconut and raw onions.

19. I can think in haiku.

20. I write daily still and know it keeps me sane.

21. I’ve not gone on a shopping spree of any kind for myself since 1998, just that picky about clothes.

22. When my daughter was in kindergarten I promised her a trip to Paris that has yet to happen.

23. Once upon a time I could finger pick a guitar well.

24. I was a radio DJ in college and loved live and original Radio Theater as well.

25. I dreamed of going to McGill University in Montreal in Highschool and finally saw the campus briefly in 2008.

So, now do I go back and edit or re-order my list or let it be?

I think I will let it be and wish for myself the power to make happen this year all that I speak. For who I am is based in part on my past and depends now on my present intentions.

May 2011 begin with taking stock of what is past, briefly, before calling in what is to come next.

Clarity in Action is the theme of the year.  I imagine it is Simple and so IT is.

What’s on your list?

There is Value in Writing Your Story

Once upon a time I wanted to be an author. Fact is: this is still true. Fact is: I am.

My love of writing has been deep within me since childhood and has very humble beginnings. It all began with a Hallmark Diary.

Age nine, Christmas included the gift of a Hallmark Diary that “locked.” A pretty pink and green plaid cover, a brass lock and key and fresh blank pages to record the highlights of my days and my secrets. Naive me thought that lock made it secure (smile.)

My 10 year old daughter loves the same compact diaries with the locks (that could be torn asunder in two seconds, but that doesn’t occur to her as it didn’t occur to me at the same tender age.)

In high school, I had the memorable honor of interviewing the Editor of the Poetry Shell, AND had a poem published in the publication. The young journalist I was, was so nervous as we met at a Pacific Grove Coffee Shop for the interview.  I had no reason to be. It was fabulous and cemented my love of journalism for  I see it as all about telling a story; be it your own or that of another.

Fast forwarding to the college years, I can recall how I dreamed of being a professional writer, a published author, an important editor someday. So, as one who had to work to put myself through college, I signed up to work for the college paper–in any capacity I could.

Typesetter, Copy Camera Operator, Layout Artist, and occasional Feature Writer. It was heaven. I would do anything to keep myself in the writing game.

After college, I jumped into working for a publishing company and it was my work on the college newspaper that got me that first job of reprint coordinator, of all things. I learned how make a book by taking it apart enough to get typos corrected for future printings.

My work for a neighborhood newspaper in San Francisco also kept me sharp at interviewing people and telling their stories. Deb Drake, girl reporter, one friend lovingly nicknamed me years later. The people I interviewed fascinated me not so much because their stories were over the top, but because they were so willing to share themselves with me. I’ll always remember the sandcastle artist, the ceramic artist whose oversized coffee mugs I cherish, and the family whose son needed a bone marrow transplant and got it. Real stories of creativity and courage. We’ve all got ours as well, don’t we?

Publishing and Journalism has changed so much since the earlier days of my involvement, and now a sense of urgency we might have is easy to accommodate. And we can tell our own stories if we are inclined, willing and able.

The stories of the people and places I wrote about inspired me then and remembering them does so again. Each person has a story to share that will inspire another, I believe.

Writing one’s own story is many things.

Clarifying.

Therapeutic.

A contribution to others.

A chance to impart learned wisdom be it business acumen or personal experiences that lead to growth and awareness.

If there is a story in you that wants to told, please share it.

And if you have trouble extracting it from yourself, by yourself, there are other ways to get that story out in the world. And it begins with asking for someone to witness your telling of it.  Then watch and listen how your story touches a nerve in that listener, that friend, that peer.

I bet if you asked for their feedback on the wisdom of your experience, you’d learn they are not the only one who’d benefit from the creation of a story–that others could then help them selves to reading.

Perhaps it’s an article or an ebook or a self-published work via the many user friendly self-publishing platforms. And if you need help in producing a quality piece, I hope you have the impetus to ask for it.

For it’s never been easier to share your inner wisdom and experiences that could impact one or many.

Here is hoping that story in you wanting to be told, is.


The Manifesto

This is a blog devoted to Effective Communication and Authentic Marketing Strategies.

I believe that Authentic Communication provokes readers into action.

Self-expression is something we did as children and for as long as we were not silenced. So now we get to relearn how to write and speak like ourselves.

What stops you from saying what you really want to say? About your professional services, your business, your most important creative aspirations?

I enjoy helping those who desire to write, publish, and market themselves but resist doing so Authentically, Boldly, and Consistently. (ABC’s in my book!)

May you come to the place you look forward to sharing yourself through writing or self-expression through other mediums for pleasure and/or profit.

Blessings