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The Phases Of The Writer's Life

Nov 27, 2007
Over the course of my writing life, I have noticed that other writers and I cycle through a series of steps on our path toward maturity as a writer. When people come to me for coaching, they often do not know where they are on the path and what they need to move forward. I've identified the phases and given suggestions for the support will best serve at each phase. Of course, I have seen the powerful impact of coaching at each phase, but I have added other means of support that are valuable for the writer's journey.

Infancy You get the spark of creation. You are nervous about your inclination to write, not knowing where to get advice, information and support. Sometimes at this phase, people are afraid to even say aloud that they are a writer. Practice saying it at home, with the pets as audience, and see how it feels. Your loved ones may think you are nuts for wanting to write, but you feel more energized than you have in years. This phase also applies to writers who have taken a hiatus from writing and are coming back to honor a long-lost urge.

Best support for this phase: Hire a coach. With the support of a coach, you will be able to recognize that your emotions and challenges are common. A coach will help you harness that enthusiasm into a practice that will get you on a strong,
steady track.

Childhood You have the exuberance of twenty people when it comes to writing. You want to write everything! You try essays, short stories, poetry, op-ed letters. Your exuberance and desire to learn carries you over any hurdles. You get a lot of practice in writing.

Best support for this phase: Take classes and join groups. This is a great time to be a sponge and absorb all the learning you can. Practice in whatever genre attracts you. This will help determine where your gifts lie and how to best use them.

Teen Years Your exuberance turns to restlessness. You want to see some results - publication, pay even! You yearn to narrow your focus and choose a path that will bring your writing dreams to reality.

Best support for this phase: Hire a coach. At this phase, a coach can help remind you of your original spark and motivation for writing. With a coach's questions, you'll be able to discover what is important for you and how to focus and commit.

Adulthood The rubber hits the road. You settle into your chosen genre. This may be where you write a novel or a memoir, or really develop your poetry. This is good, and you start to take yourself seriously.

Best support for this phase: Keep learning, with classes, books, online resources. This is a great time to be in a peer group, giving and getting feedback on your work. A group facilitated by a coach is a good idea, as it will help you to deepen your writing practice.

Full Maturity You've been at it for a decade or two and now realize the magnitude of what it takes to be a writer. This is no work for lightweights. You have publications under your belt and find yourself giving advice to whippersnappers writers. You read with a greater appreciation and realize how amazing good writing really is. You have a long term plan for your career and feel the power of your commitment.

Best support for this phase: Befriend writers who are further along than you. Find a mentor. Work with a coach who can help navigate the emotional swings of success.
About the Author
Cynthia Morris of Original Impulse helps writers and visionaries make their brilliant ideas a reality. Author of Create Your Writer's Life: A Guide to Writing with Joy and Ease, and Go For It! Leading Tours for Fun and Profit, Cynthia coaches from Boulder.
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