Daphne Gray-Grant, Publication Coach

I’ve recently started with working with a writing coach

And I’ve found it so beneficial, I wanted to share the love by introducing you, dear readers, to a broad spectrum of coaches with a broad range of expertise.

For today’s guest, please offer a warm welcome to Daphne Gray-Grant

Daph-jacket-02-HI REZI discovered Daphne on Twitter, where she tweets inspiration and information for writers as @pubcoach. She also writes a blog chock-full of writing and productivity tips. Read on as Daphne shares some of her tips for writers, as well as information about how she works with her coaching clients.

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

I think it comes down to this: You have to ask yourself whether it’s worth it to pay money to learn how to become a better, more effective writer. For some people, the immediate answer is ‘yes!’ They’ve suffered so much pain from writing, (or more usually, not writing!) they want the pain to stop. For others the answer may be no. Perhaps they have the time and discipline to read books on writing and work at teaching themselves. (Although, I have to note that this is not an easy task!) For still others – usually those who write for corporations – their boss or company may be willing to pay for the coaching, and for them the answer should be a rapid “yes!”

What sort of goals or skills do you work on with a client?

I work with corporate writers, bloggers and would-be authors of books. Every client is an individual and I’m very flexible but, generally, people want to work with me on one of the following areas:

  • How to beat writer’s block
  • How to write faster
  • How to become a better self-editor
  • How to self-publish

What lies outside the client/coach relationship? (For ex., writing craft, critiques, organization, motivation, goals, psychology)

I think motivation and psychology are so important. Some of my “tricks” appear to be quite counter-intuitive. For example, I might suggest that someone write for no more than five minutes a day – and not an instant longer! Or I might suggest that they turn off their monitor (or cover it with a towel) while they write. These tricks might sound a bit quirky, but they work.

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

I currently have three different packages:

  • A one-hour consult
  • Four one-hour consults, once a week for a month
  • A special consult for bloggers involving a one-hour meeting, a report and two weeks of email support.

All of my “meetings” are by phone or Skype. I also provide email support. Anyone who is interested can learn more on my coaching page.

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

I think it’s important to be prepared to invest the time. This means not just the time for the coaching itself but also the time before and after. BEFORE the coaching, make a list of all the issues you want to address. Send me some samples. Then, AFTER the coaching, really think about what you have learned. Work to implement the techniques I’ve suggested but recognize that it takes time to change. Writing is so similar to exercise! It takes a while to build up muscle and you need to be sure to exercise every day.

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

I’m a former journalist (I was a senior editor at a metropolitan daily) who suffered from a major case of writer’s block for more than 20 years. Like most people, I developed this in high school. I know the shame of not being able to write and I have a deep empathy for anyone else who experiences it. I also know how to fix it.

Daphne Gray-Grant is a former daily newspaper editor, a writing and editing coach, and the author of the popular book 8 1/2 Steps to Writing Faster, Better. Via her website, she offers the newsletter Power Writing. It’s weekly, brief, and free. Sign up at www.publicationcoach.com.

Don’t forget to check out previous interviews:

The hidden price of "productivity" every writer needs to know - www.cherylreif.com

You’ve probably read the same tips I have: Have a smart phone? Check Facebook while standing in line at the post office! Respond to Twitter messages while waiting for your dentist! Catch up on your news feed while sitting on the pot! For years, I thought the path to increased productivity was to squeeze in MORE–more […]


    • says

      Hi Charlotte, I know–I never realized how much coaches differ in their approaches, although it makes perfect sense. It seems like each individual brings a different skill set and different background to the relationship.

      It makes me want to work with all of you :). Or maybe just host a big wonderful party where we can all get to know each other!