Welcome! I’m Jenna Avery, and this is my new “Ask the Coach” column for Script Magazine. As a writing coach, I answer a lot of questions for writers about how to make the work of writing actually happen. I specialize in helping writers get out of their own way and back on track with what they were put here to do.
In this monthly column, I’ll be answering your questions, anonymously, about navigating the ups and downs of writing, being a writer, and living a writer’s life, specific to your unique circumstances.
After all, each writer’s circumstances are different. There are no one-size-fits all answers to every writer’s life. For instance, a single young writer just starting out is in a very different situation than a writer who’s also a mom or dad with young children, who in turn is different than a writer who’s managing a busy career or totally separate day job, who in turn is different than a writer who’s retired and perhaps dealing with empty nest syndrome or aging concerns.
Other writers might be transitioning their writing careers into a new medium, dealing with major revisions, recovering from major career setbacks or disappointments, or trying to build a brand and platform for their work.
Each of us is at our own stage of the journey, with our own specific challenges to face. We need solutions that work for us, not for someone else.
Plus, in addition to everything we deal with as writers on a regular basis, we’re also living through a relentlessly complex period in our global history right now, which further compounds and complicates the challenges we face as creators, artists, and writers.
Something to know: In addition to being a trained, certified coach, I’m a writer, just like you. I’ve wanted to be a writer since elementary school. I was steered away from that path by my parents, but found my way back when I left my hectic urban design career and started a coaching business, with the notion that I’d “finally have time to write” because I’d be in better control of my time. Funny thing. Despite scheduling full days to write, when those days rolled around, I just . . . didn’t.
So I put my coaching skillset to work. I poured myself into creating a solid writing habit that helped me write my own scripts, get hired for screenwriting assignments, write newsletters, articles, short stories, and ghostwrite a book, all while helping other writers move forward on their own writing. Along the way I began running an online writer’s accountability program, specifically designed to help writers make the work of writing actually happen. Over the years, I’ve helped hundreds of writers write, answering many questions along the way.
Now I’m going to help answer yours.
As we go forward, there’s something critically important I want you to know about my philosophy about writing: There are no failures, only information.
Here’s what that looks like: If you want to write, but you aren’t writing, we’ll look at what’s happening instead of writing. That’s information, not failure. I don’t go into this believing you’re lazy, uncommitted, or flawed in some way. My perspective is rather that what you’ve tried so far hasn’t been working. So it’s my job to help you figure out what will work.
Here’s a sampling of the kinds of topics writers often ask about, and which I’ll be ready to help you tackle in this column:
- Making time to write, especially when overly busy — or at the other extreme — retired, or even when not in the right mood
- Creating a regular, consistent writing practice
- Staying motivated to write (including during difficult times)
- Managing distractions and temptations
- Getting through writer’s blocks like perfectionism, procrastination, overwhelm, impostor syndrome, and more
- Recovering from painful writing experiences or feedback.
- Setting goals that actually work
- Navigating the ups and downs of long form writing and multiple revisions
- Managing multiple writing projects
- Making business decisions about branding, websites, and network and platform building
- Managing writing careers
- Improving writing skills and craft
- And much more (I’ve never met a writer who didn’t have questions!)
If you have questions along these lines — or any others — here’s my promise to you:
This is a judgment-free, guilt-free zone. It doesn’t matter what you have or haven’t done, so far.
What matters is what comes next. Ask me your most pressing questions, and my goal will be to help find a solution that works for you. Usually, we’ll find a combination of insights and strategies you may be overlooking or unaware of that can make all the difference. For example, often writers don’t understand the basic principle of resistance: We resist taking action on our dreams because they are so big and important to us, not because we are lazy or uncommitted. When you better understand what you’re working with, you’re more free from self-doubt and hesitancy, and better equipped to do something new, different, and successful.
If you want to be moving ahead with writing, we’ll work together to get you there.
Submit your question to be answered anonymously via my online form here or send an email directly to firstname.lastname@example.org. Look for answers to selected questions in my monthly “Ask the Coach” column on the third Thursdays of the month.
I’ll look forward to hearing from you.
Stay safe, and happy writing.
A note from the Editor:
This is a great and free opportunity to help you navigate out of writing roadblocks, fuel ideas, and write what matters to you at this moment. As Jenna notes, this is a judgmental-free, guilt-free zone, no question is the wrong question. I look forward to reading your burning questions and Jenna's expert advice. So what are you waiting for?
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