Facts and Myths: Your RTC Writing Coach

By: Mary Anna Rodabaugh in Book Writing
on August 9th, 2018

If you look up “coach” in the dictionary, you’ll find a few definitions beyond the guiding guru, teacher, and leader. First, you’ll find “a horse-drawn carriage.” Think: Oregon Trail. Next, you’ll find “a railroad car” and then a “bus, especially one equipped for longer journeys.” There are more, but looking at the top three definitions reveals something they all have in common: a coach is a vehicle. They assist in getting a person from one place to another.

An RTC book coach is similar in that we help you get from one point of your book-writing journey to another. Maybe it is from the initial inspiration behind a book to the finished product. Maybe it is taking you from a revised manuscript to an agent-ready draft. An RTC writing coach is your carriage, train, and bus on the book-writing adventure.

With that said, let’s explore a few things that an RTC writing coach is and a few things they are not!

Facts – What Your RTC Writing Coach Is

  • An Accountability Partner: Have you ever begun a writing project and then found yourself distracted by another project? This happens to even the best of writers. Or have you vowed to finish your manuscript in six months, and a year later you’re extending that deadline? When you work with an RTC coach, you are paired up with your very own accountability partner. Your writing coach will help you create a writing schedule, keep you to your deadlines, and ensure you do not get distracted by other writing projects. Typically, you and your coach will have a weekly call, which can serve as a check-in and touch-point to ground you in your project. Just like a six a.m. Soul Cycle fitness buddy, your writing coach is there to get your butt out of bed and cheer you on as you tackle your writing goals
  • An Objective Critic: If you were to ask a close friend or relative to give you feedback on your writing, you would hope they would be brutally honest with you, but sometimes it is hard to be brutally honest with those we love and care about. Enter your writing coach. They can deliver the most honest feedback on your writing. Your coach enters the project unbiased, as you will be paired with someone who doesn’t already know your favorite kind of cookies or your shoe size. Your coach will certainly get to know you better in the process, but they will be direct and objective, with the skill and intention to help your writing reach your very own brilliance level.
  • A Motivational Guide: While your writing coach will hold you to deadlines and provide you with the objective and critical feedback you deserve, they will do this with consistent support and positivity. You will be reminded why you wanted to write this book in the first place and why it needs to be written. You will be supported in a way where you never feel too stuck or too frustrated because your coach is right there with you. Your coach will celebrate your beautiful creative bursts and will talk you gently around your writing blocks. Think of your coach as your literary cheerleader.
  • A Limit Pusher: Your writing coach will always push you to write the best manuscript you possibly can. In doing so, they may challenge you to dig deeper into your narrative. Let’s say you write a story about growing up in North Carolina with your grandmother. You cover the who, what, where, when, and why. Your coach may push you to share how you felt during that time or ask about what your surroundings looked and smelled like. Your coach will encourage you to more deeply investigate your story and search for details that make it vibrant and real for your readers. And when appropriate, your coach may ask you some personal questions to help guide you past any limits you’ve set and quite possibly guide you right past your comfort zone.
  • A Guidance Counselor: When you were in school, you would visit the guidance counselor for a number of reasons. You may have made an appointment to discuss class offerings. Maybe you talked to the counselor about applying to college. Your guidance counselor was there to help you with your next steps (and to support you if you had a meltdown). Think of your book-writing coach in this same way! Your coach will help you decide the next steps for your narrative, your book, and what happens with the book even beyond reaching the finish line. They will talk you through your meltdowns and celebrate your successes. Your coach has your best interests at heart and will help you explore possibilities you never even considered.

Myths – What Your RTC Writing Coach Is Not

  • A Writing Instructor: Your coach may serve as a writing mentor, but they are not a writing instructor. You will not receive in-depth lessons on grammar, punctuation, or composition. Your work will not be edited like a teacher grading a term paper. Your coach might provide activities to help you with aspects of your writing, but you will not receive one-on-one writing instruction. It is perfectly okay to seek out a coach because you’re not sure where you stand as a writer. But keep in mind that your coach will not be spending your precious coaching hours on the fundamentals of writing.
  • A Book Publisher/Literary Agent: Your writing coach knows a lot about writing and a lot about books. Many of our coaches are published authors themselves. While your coach will support you on your journey to a finished, agent-ready product, your book coach is not a publisher or an agent. Throughout your coaching adventure, you and your coach will form a profound bond over your manuscript. Your coach may know it inside and out but still will not be able to pitch it to agents or publishers. The good news here is that RTC has a book publishing division and can offer you support to navigate that landscape with a variety of options. While your coach is not your agent, they can help you decide what route you’d like to take with your edited manuscript.
  • A Therapist: Weekly calls with your coach can be therapeutic and grounding. That is great! But it is important to note that the bulk of your coaching calls should be focused on the contents of your book. It can be easy to talk for thirty minutes about your job or your partner or something that happened that completely ruined your day. Your coach is there for you but not as a therapist. Your coach may ask questions to help you determine the best course of action for one of your characters but cannot do the same for you in your real life.
  • A Copywriter or Proofreader: Depending on the level of coaching you feel is most appropriate for your project, your coach may be helping you write a little copy here and there. RTC also offers full manuscript development services. However, your coach is not there to write the entire book for you. Instead, they will support and guide you as you write your own book, offering suggestions along the way. They will offer a little bit of editing advice, but ultimately you will want to explore comprehensive editing and proofreading options either with RTC or on your own.
  • A Best Friend: When you go on a long journey with someone, you’re bound to develop a friendship along the way. The same can be said for book coaching. However, the relationship between a book-writing coach and an author is strictly a professional one. You may find articles or interesting things in your life that you want to share with your coach because it will add something to your book. Wonderful! However, reaching out and sharing personal information on a regular basis that has nothing to do with your book project is crossing into BFF territory. That is not what your coach is there for.
Reasons You Should Explore RTC Book Coaching
RTC book coaching is an exciting experience for both author and coach. If you’re ready to go on an adventure of exploration and creativity, let an RTC book coach be your vehicle of choice.
  • You have tons of great ideas for a book but are not sure where to start.
  • You don’t want to write a book all by yourself.
  • You need someone to keep you on task and help you meet your deadlines.
  • You want objective feedback throughout the writing process.
  • You want to explore writing exercises that unleash your creativity.
  • You are curious and think it could be fun.