Posts Tagged ‘ coaching ’

In & Out: Full Penetration For Your Writing Pleasure

Let’s talk about penetration in sex for just a minute. Stick it–a finger, a dildo, or a penis–into a mouth, a vagina, or an anus. Move it all around. Squeeze. Pump. Find special spots. Push in deeper, harder, faster. Take it out. Put it in again. Take it out. It creates intimacy, joy, sometimes even babies. It feels so good.

The same goes for writing. Except we tend to focus on the output. Get it written. Post it. Publish it. Output. Put out. Put out again. Put out more.

For some reason, writers expect ourselves to perform a kind of sorcery we’d never expect from even the hottest, most magical sex. We expect ourselves to put out without any delicious, creative input.

So, how about some input to liven up your output? Your writing needs inspiration, information, and interaction if you really want to put out. Here are a few ideas:



    • To continue writing (output), what additional information do you need?
    • Research: Where are you going to find this information?
    • Who can answer questions for you?
    • Where can you go to inform the process?
    • When will you do the research?
    • How much information do you really need to keep writing?


    • Do you have a feedback partner?
    • Have you considered a workshop or writing group for feedback?
    • With whom do you collaborate?
    • Many writers benefit from writer’s coaching with me!
    • It’s Pride month! Come out as a writer to your friends and family this month, and watch the peer pressure push your project forward!


Mornings at the office of the Sexy Grammarian

The southeastern sky shines bright in the mornings in the SOMA district of San Francisco, so bright that I wear a sun hat to work at my desk and meet any morning clients out in a cafe.

I’m busy with new coaching clients and a new workshop series. I’m writing a lot, focused on completing the third draft of novel #1. A lesson I’ve learned before about being busy and letting creativity flow: take good care of my body. See the healthy breakfast?

About Writing

A uniquely human behavior, writing may qualify as a human right or a responsibility to some of us. We feel compelled to write and feel challenged by it at once. Most writers who come to me learned to write around age five or six. They’ve already learned to write. If I’m not teaching my writing clients how to write, what am I doing when I coach and lead workshops?

I address obstacles—what gets in the way of your writing. In my writing sessions, I tackle stuff like:

  • Isolation
  • Fear
  • Mechanics of writing
  • Self criticism
  • Time management
  • Accountability

In my writing coaching and workshop sessions we overcome these obstacles by cultivating:

  • Community
  • Time saving techniques
  • Support
  • Flow
  • Self confidence
  • Engagement
  • Inspiration

Tools I use with my writing clients include:

  • Tips and lessons
  • Sexy Grammar
  • Community support
  • Collaborative homework
  • Peer pressure
  • Time to write
  • Space to write and discuss writing process
  • Nurturing of the whole writer
  • Setting goals

Some of the writing lessons I offer might be:

  • Writing technique
  • Grammar
  • Giving feedback
  • Getting feedback
  • Harnessing inspiration
  • Story structure and theme

Day 8: Novel #1 and the value of NaNoWriMo

Today’s Word Count Goal: 17,700

Today’s Word Count So-Far: 14,179

Total Word Count Goal: 50,000


Recent controversy over the value of writing 50,000 words in 30 days (Salon’s Laura Miller wrote this mean-spirited piece, which launched several snarky posts like this one and even an LA Times piece) has me distracted and behind on my word count.

So I’m thinking about my first NaNoWriMo experience in 2008 and considering the fate of novel #1, which remains unnamed but has otherwise blossomed in satisfying and promising ways. Here’s its story:

November 2008: In twenty-something days, I wrote my first novel’s first draft. This sexy, angry story had been swimming around in my brain for almost a decade when I finally pumped it out at roughly 2,500 words a day. That first WriMo experience rocked my world–check out one wacky WriMo ’08 story here.

December 2008: I read what I’d written the previous month and found, to my horror, that my story had no story–no plot.

January 2009 to October 2009: With beginning participation in NaNoWriMo ’09 as my deadline, I revised novel #1 and handed copies of the second draft to 25 trusted readers. Revision work included several field trips and writing retreats. I braved snow, sprained my ankle twice, and took up smoking again, all in the name of a solid second draft.

December 2009 to April 2010: Receiving feedback from twenty-five people takes time–five months, but it didn’t require the courage or strong-sense-of-self I feared it would require. On the contrary, my readers said nice things about my second draft. By the end of April, I had a big list of notes about what I needed to change and a bigger list of aspects of my novel everyone loved. Most notably, readers praised my sex scenes and the strong presence of San Francisco as a character. Readers disagreed on whether my main character was likable, and agreed on one awkward criticism, which went something like this: “It’s entertaining, but it’s a little shallow, isn’t it?”

Although receiving this feedback went very well, actually doing something with it sent me lurching into a catatonic state of paralysis. How can I deepen without losing the hot sex? I needed help with a third revision.

June 20010 to October 2010: Enter Minal Hajratwala, my friend, colleague, and now, my writing coach too. Yep, coaches need coaches. And working with Minal on revising for a third draft of novel #1 not only supported my writing process but helped me to see the value of the work I do with writing coaching clients.

Working with Minal set my process free. She helped me to digest the fantastic feedback I’d gotten and then empowered me to pick and choose from that feedback. With Minal’s  support, I developed a third draft and then set it aside again, to participate in NaNoWriMo  2010.

I tell you my first novel’s story to participate in the recent discourse about the value of NaNoWriMo. For me, NaNoWriMo is a tool. It lends structure to my writing year: a month every year where I prioritize writing as much as I can every single day and a deadline for setting aside other projects to do that writing unfettered.

But you can’t build a whole house with just a hammer, and a writer needs more tools than just writing with literary abandon for thirty days every year. So far, with novel #1, I’ve needed editing tricks, feedback sessions, long walks, a coach, writing retreats, and plenty of big sheets of newsprint.

Do tell! What is the value of NaNoWriMo for you? What other tools support your process?


Watch the Sexy Grammarian participate in National Novel Writing Month for the third year in a row. I’ll post word counts and worries here daily, Tweet about it, raise funds for the Office of Letters And Light, and host Meet Me/Tweet Me open loft writing sessions all month long.

Day 3: One Percent

Today’s Word Count Goal: 8850

Today’s Word Count So-Far: 5600

Total Word Count Goal: 50,000


So many writers struggle to write because they expect every word to be precious. I’m dumbfounded by target-oriented writing coaching clients who refuse writing exercises that do not directly contribute to their very focused project goal. I’m in love with process, the acrobatics, the self torture of entertaining urges to create.

I want to show these writers another way by writing 50,000 terribly strung together words about pigeons with the purpose of getting 500 words that are good enough to tell a short, children’s picture book story about pigeons.

That’s right. I’m writing 50,000 recklessly typed words and hoping to extract 500 good ones or 1%.

How can I expect anything I write to be any good at all if everything I write will be scrutinized? Those who write only when something written is required are damned to a painful writing experience. Fill notebooks with nonsense and drivel, with no expectations about content, and amid the nonsense and noise, the self-indulgence and secrets, we find gems. And that’s when we get to feel like writers.

And that’s the spirit of NaNoWriMo. Just write. Write 50,000 words. Write them and see what happens.


Watch the Sexy Grammarian participate in National Novel Writing Month for the third year in a row. I’ll post word counts and worries here daily, Tweet about it, raise funds for the Office of Letters And Light, and host Meet Me/Tweet Me open loft writing sessions all month long.