The Writer's Connection, SM
a publication of The Virtual Writing Coach SM
In This Issue:
2. Publisher's Note
3. What Does a Writing Coach Do?
4. Helpful Hints
The Writer's Connection explores the creative process of writing and the interplay between thoughts, feelings, and actions. We are an interactive community of authors and readers who share ideas to enhance our knowledge, skills, and experiences in writing fiction in any genre, but our emphasis remains mystery and suspense thrillers.
Published monthly, the Newsletter offers writing tips for authors, coaching suggestions, editing, and marketing information.
Topics are presented from the perspective of Keith Barton and represent only his ideas on producing your first manuscript, and are provided to the general public. Because we are an interactive community of writers, other viewpoints are welcomed and may be printed in future monthly newsletters with permission from Keith Barton.
2. Publisher's Note
Dear Writer's Connection Subscriber,
This month features what a writing coach does and the common traits of aspiring authors.
3. What Does a Writing Coach Do?
To answer this question, first let’s talk about what a writing coach does NOT do: we do not line edit; we are not book doctors who rewrite the manuscript; we are not ghost writers; we do not co-author books; and we do not teach writing courses (although writing coaches have taken many writing courses). In coaching various authors over the past three years the initial call is generally spent dispelling the myths of what a writing coach does and how we can help authors start, continue, or finish a project that may be suited for an article, short story, chapter, or novel.
My first client was a gentleman in his 70s who wanted to produce his family history for an upcoming family reunion in Joplin, Missouri. He had an extensive genealogy background and had done considerable research tracing back his family roots to the early 1800s. He and I talked about “filling the gaps” with a fictionalized account of what might have occurred between two factual points: kind of like connecting the dots. The book took on the flavor of a historical fiction novel that was much more entertaining than the dry, genealogical approach originally considered by this author. He self-published the book and went to a professional binder to produce a book that remains a history of his family and conversational table piece for the family coffee table.
Another client, an MD with an impeccable reputation as a gynecologist wanted to capture his four years of medical school in a descriptive novel comprised of vignettes of composite medical students encountered in his four years of medical training. The book, A Harvard Death, will be published this summer. We worked with the manuscript, finding an agent to market his book to publishers before landing a publishing contract for his first book. This client was quite motivated to complete his manuscript and had set a deadline of one year to publish his book. He painstakingly reedited the manuscript at least four times with the encouragement of his coach, friends, and colleagues. It didn’t hurt any that he also had a Masters Degree in literature and had taken writing courses twenty years after his medical training.
Another client had a monthly newsletter she wanted to produce for busy executives who spent considerable time in airport lobbies. She is a motivational speaker with a busy consulting practice and deadlines were not being met. She hired me as her coach to keep her accountable and to break down her work into weekly segments that would lead to a quality monthly newsletter.
Still other clients want to know how to pick the right agent to market their project to reputable publishing houses that are not vanity presses. Important is the ability to write a proper query letter that describes the project succinctly, the applicable market, and the author’s credentials—all in one page single-spaced. This is perhaps the toughest part of an aspiring writer’s repertoire. Most writers are verbose and do not know how to sell or pitch their book in five minutes or less.
What do aspiring authors have in common? First, they are incredibly dedicated to writing and have been voracious readers their entire lives. Second, they have experienced numerous rejection and writing critiques and have “thick skins” developed by years of receiving rejection letters and critical comments by writer colleagues. Third, they want to improve their writing and look at this art form as a continuous growth process. They are seldom satisfied with a completed manuscript, just as an actor or director is seldom content with a final cut of his or her movie. Fourth, writers are quite creative and intelligent. They are great storytellers and understand the difference between narration and action. The proverbial “show me, don’t tell me” is the basic tenet behind being a good writer. Fifth, writers are resourceful people who have led unusual lives or met life’s challenges with dignity, daring, and determination to excel or “beat the odds.”
So the next time you have an interesting story to tell, don’t be bashful. Place your butt in a chair and take finger to keyboard and weave your story as an artist would mold from clay or paint with broad brush strokes on an empty canvass. No one has the right or power to censure your creativity, circumstances, or confidence. Be brave and tell your story. Who knows? Maybe your story will resonate with thousands of readers who will be inspired, entertained, or informed.
- Take out a sheet of paper and write down five life experiences that changed the way you viewed the world. Describe a person who changed your life and the relationship that ensued as a result of his/her impact on your life.
- Create a fantasy scene that encompasses something or someone who could pass as believable.
The Writer's Connection SM is a free publication. If you want to continue to receive this Newsletter, you can SUBSCRIBE by clicking here or by sending a blank email message to firstname.lastname@example.org with the word SUBSCRIBE in the subject line.
To UNSUBSCRIBE click here or send a message to email@example.com with the word UNSUBSCRIBE in the subject line.
Be assured your name and email address are confidential. We do not sell, rent or share our mailing list with anyone.
Keith Barton, Ph.D.
(c) Copyright 2010 A. Keith Barton, Ph.D.
All rights reserved.
The Writer's Connection SM is copyrighted, but you may retransmit or distribute
it to whomever you wish as long as not a single word is changed, added, or deleted, including the contact information. However, you may not copy it to a web site.
Republication of The Writer's Connection SM in paper media is encouraged and permitted by individuals, organizations and associations, as long as the issue is reprinted in its entirety, without change, and includes the contact information.
With advance permission, we are happy to edit an issue to fit your space requirements. Republication also is encouraged under other circumstances. However, the advance permission of A. Keith Barton, Ph.D. must be obtained in the event that changes in the text are desired.
The Writer's Connection SM Mission:
The Writer's Connection SM is dedicated to helping first-time authors create their first manuscript for publication and to offer an exchange of ideas and opinions from our readers who might be interested in becoming authors.
The Writer's Connection™ is a publication of The Virtual Writing Coach and Keith Barton, Ph.D. and a registered trademark.
We would like The Writer's Connection SM to be as interactive as possible. If you have feedback, comments, topics you would like addressed, or can suggest additional resources to benefit us all, please email us at any time. Send your e-mail to
Please forward this issue to anyone you think would find The Writer's Connection SM interesting and beneficial. Your recommendation helps us keep growing, and ensures an excellent exchange of information and techniques.
You can read previous issues of The Writer's Connection SM in our archive section.
About Keith Barton, Ph.D.
Dr. Barton received his Ph.D. in 1972 from the University of Texas at Austin and has been a practicing therapist for over thirty years. He is currently enrolled in MentorCoach and is accepting new clients. He has been an adjunct professor at the University of South Carolina, consultant to Fortune 500 companies in executive development, founded and managed Texas Community Living Ventures, Inc., in 1986 for providing group home services to persons with mental retardation, and has been running a clinical practice in Northwest Houston since 1990. He writes part-time with the goal of completing one novel a year. His desire to coach others derives from his passionate interest in helping others become attuned to their creative powers of storytelling.
Dr. Barton has training in coaching, cognitive and family therapy and health psychology. He has published articles, made presentations and conducted workshops about:
Anxiety and achievement
The relationship between psychology and spirituality