Cynthia Morris, Writing and Creativity Coach

I’ve recently started with working with a writing coach, and that I’ve found it incredibly beneficial. Join me Fridays for a series interviews with the writing world’s best writing coaches.* My goal: to help you, dear readers, understand what a writing coach does. And who knows? Maybe you’ll decide it’s time to give yourself the gift of coaching, too!

Just joining us? Don’t forget to check out previous posts!

And now for this week’s fantabulous guest~

Meet Cynthia Morris, writer, coach, yogi, and dreamer. I had the opportunity to work with Cynthia in two separate writing workshops—one that paired writing exercises with yoga for an unforgettable experience—and her highly-recommended blogging class has been on my to-do list for longer than I care to admit. Hmm, maybe it’s time to take that leap and enjoy Cynthia’s inspiration and encouragement once again!


How can a writer decide if working with a coach would benefit them?

Anyone considering getting any kind of help should start with two questions:

  1. What am I focusing on and what do I need to achieve that?
  2. What specific help do I need?

Identifying your needs first will help you know what kind of support you need – editorial, accountability, craft and skills improvement, etc.

What sort of goals or skills do you work on with a client? What lies outside the client/coach relationship? (For example, writing craft, providing critiques, organization, motivation, goals, psychology)

I am a writer’s coach, and by that I mean I am coaching the writer, not the writing. A lot of ‘writing coaches’ are really editors, working on elements of writing craft and helping a client make their manuscript the best it can be.

I work with clients to help them find a writing practice that they can commit to over the long haul. Together, we clarify the client’s objectives and dig deep to find their intrinsic motivation This is highly personal and for each writer their motivation will be unique.

Then we work to develop a practice that works for them. What days, times, kind of focus does that person need to be able to  do their work? This seems simple but can take some time to tweak.

On an ongoing basis, we work with inner and outer obstacles to success. The confidence and daring needed to be a writer or artist is huge, and I help my clients find their strengths to keep going.

The accountability is one of the main reasons someone hires a coach. Having commitments to another person makes it easier to do the difficult work.

We also have a lot of fun. I love brainstorming with clients and helping them see new, fresh associations for what they’re working on. For instance, I work with a lot of artists who need to write or blog for their work. They don’t see what’s interesting about their work and I help them develop a ton of ideas for their blog. They love this and it shifts something in them to be able to find topics to write about much more easily.

I work with writers at all phases of the writing journey. My classes and ebooks are great for beginning writers, and people who are ready to write and publish a book hire me one-one to get there more quickly and painlessly.

Tell me about the mechanics of a coaching relationship: how often you meet, the format, etc.

Most of my clients meet with me twice per month. People who have a specific project they’re working on (a book for instance) can often do just once a month. Once is great for people who just need a partner in their process and who don’t need to process the emotional challenges a lot.

I record our client calls and send them to the clients. This is really helpful because they don’t have to worry about capturing everything during the call.

When they listen to the call, they can benefit from hearing themselves speak – they can see where they sell themselves short. They can hear my questions and use those questions to train themselves to ask good questions when they’re stuck. So many of my clients tell me that when they’re stuck, they hear my voice asking a powerful question and it helps them move forward.

I tell my clients I’m their coach all the time, not just for our sessions. They send me reports throughout the week and I am able to coach them by email to make sure they are on track with what they want to achieve.

How can a writer get the most out of a coaching relationship?

Being willing to ask for help is a big challenge for many of us. Knowing what help you need, asking for it, and showing up for the coaching both focused and open will help a client get the most out of coaching.

Also, preparing for the call ahead of time is very helpful. I have a call prep form that my clients fill out. When they do this, it helps them see how much they’ve achieved and what next steps they need help with.

Do you have a particular area of expertise, or something you bring to the client/coach relationship that other writing coaches might not?

I can’t speak for other coaches, but one of the big things I am committed to is that I do not ask my clients to do anything I have not done myself. I am in the same boat with needing to blog well, to write guest posts, to push myself to make my writing as excellent as it can be, and to risk rejection.

I’m self-publishing my novel this year so I am taking myself through a process many future clients will be doing themselves. My first-hand experience with all of these phases of the writing life contributes to my empathy and understanding of what’s involved.

But I don’t assume my clients are like me – they’ll have their own experience. But I can come from a place of understanding that others may not. I use my coaching skills to help them discover their best path and approach, without assuming that it will be like mine.

I’m also a certified coach with one of the top coaching schools in the world. (The Coaches Training Institute) At the time of writing, I have been coaching writers for 13 years. I blend my coaching skills with my writing experience to bring a unique blend of skills to my clients.

I don’t know many people who have that training and experience under their belts who are working with writers. A lot of people call themselves coaches but are more likely doing consulting or editing work.


Cynthia Morris helps writers, artists and entrepreneurs make their creative dreams a powerful reality. A speaker, certified coach and author, Cynthia leads writing and creativity workshops in person and online through her company Original Impulse. Subscribe to Impulses, Cynthia’s newsletter for creatives since 2001, at

*”Best” as defined solely and completely by my opinion, which belongs to me, and is completely influence-able by chocolate :).

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  1. says

    Great interview, Cheryl. This comes at a good time for me, having just posted a rant about those dismissing the creative output from solo work. I’m always happy to read about individuals who are helping other individuals reach their creative goals.

    • says

      Hi Patrick, glad this was well-timed for you. I appreciated your rant! Creativity is definitely something that begins with the individual voice, however much collaborative effort might nurture the initial idea.

  2. says

    Thanks, Cheryl, for hosting me on your blog! I’m always happy to help people understand the ways coaches can help writers achieve their goals.

    • says

      Hi Cynthia, and thank YOU for your thoughtful responses to the interview questions!

      I have another question for you: how do you help clients deal with “failures”, whether failure to meet goals, or failure to achieve publication, or some other area where she feels she’s missed the mark?

      • says

        Great question, Cheryl.

        Every client is different, but here’s a process I would go through with a client:

        First, allow the client to feel what she feels. To process verbally with me her disappointment.

        It’s very rare to have a situation where we are allowed to feel the grief and disappointment. We often rush to look for the bright side when we really just need the space to feel what we feel, and to be heard and seen in that process.

        Once that feels complete, then we can look at what worked, what didn’t, what’s to be learned from the failure. The fact is that failure is inherent in the creative process and we need to find what works to help us deal with those downer moments.

        We also look at specific milestones for success before we launch something so we can know whether we’ve succeeded or not. All too often, we’re vague about what we want and then it’s easy for our critic to creep in and try to delude us into thinking we’re a failure.

        More on how to work with our inner critic is in this post:

        • says

          Interesting and so true–if we don’t set concrete milestones (and look back at them!) it’s easy for our inner critics to convince us we aren’t getting anywhere. Thanks for the link, too!

  3. says

    I’m so glad you profiled Cynthia Morris! She is an awesome coach and helps her clients immensely.

  4. says

    Hi Beth, thanks so much for stopping by! Have you worked with Cynthia?

    • says

      Full disclosure – Beth is a client of mine. Together we worked on getting her book written and now she’s on the submission path. She’s a great client!