Friday, April 29, 2011

Writing Coach--First Meeting

So I've gone and done it. I've finally committed and hired me a writing coach. Just the concept, initially, made me bristle a bit, wondering what the heck I was doing. I'm not the kind of person who has a cheerleader, a personal life coach, anyone to give me direction. I stand a model of anti self-help.

Growing up, my mother held to a steady diet of self-help books as guidance. I'm OK, You're OK" glared at me from the bookshelf, daring me to misbehave, threatening a punishment of a self-help book geared toward figuring out my particular behavior. While she would leaf through Games People Play, I chose Siddhartha as my guide.

And while I still swear myself opposed to the vast genre of self-help, I am cautiously optimistic about what the coaching will bring my writing. I did my usual writing jitters in anticipation of meeting with The Coach. After signing a contract, my first assignment was to put together a list of goals and submit it a day prior to our meeting. At first I could not figure out the assignment, something I find typical in my responses to being assigned anything. While taking the writing workshop this past winter, I immediately repelled any of the weekly assignments, thinking how the hell am I supposed to write about that. However, after I sat with the idea for several days (or sometimes even several hours), something always emerged; I always found myself energized and pounding words.

The same thing happened with my goals. Initially I couldn't think of any that had any resonance. After quizzing Nan about my goals and discussing them with Liz, I finally felt able to sit down and write something out. Once I surrendered to the fact that I could not come up with a neat list of a, b, c, d, I created a narrative, articulating my goals. Usually procrastinator me instead got jazzed by the idea and began to attempt to figure out how to articulate goals since it's not something I usually do, at least consciously. Some that made the list:
  • Build confidence in my sense of myself as a writer
  • Understand who I am as a writer
  • Understand craft more from a writer's perspective
  • Develop a practice as a writer
  • Move many ideas into finished essays
  • Learn to embrace revision
  • Finish pieces so they are ready for publication
Beneath each goal, I had at least a paragraph of written narrative, getting more to the heart of what I meant by the statement. Finished five days early and sent it off, calling it done.

Feeling slightly nervous just prior to my meeting this morning with The Coach, I realized once I sat down and started talking about things I wanted to accomplish and why, that this is exactly what I need to help move my newfound energy in writing into a deeper practice, one that I won't ignore.

And so, not dreading my assignments, I am more than cautiously optimistic; I am completely energized.

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