writing coaching should not be filled with terror

Welcome to the ongoing saga of “Things That Make Me Nervous as Hell.” Today’s episode: volunteer writing coaching! Which begins this very evening, tonight, after two short sessions of volunteer writing coaching training, which, while a pleasant enough way to spend two hours, did not leave me feeling as if I had been especially trained to be a volunteer who coaches people on their writing, and instead left me thinking wow, I am so totally going to fail.

To refresh: What happens is that volunteer writing coaches are set up in a location somewhere in town, which is advertised with signs and flyers, and people come and say hello, volunteer writing coach! This is a writing project with which I require help! And it could be a résumé or a grant application or a letter of recommendation or a poem or an essay about the vagaries of politics, and I, sitting at the table and being approached, say “Of course! I am happy to work with you to help you accomplish your goals!” And then we come together in a happy spirit of camaraderie and collaboration, and we make it so.



It is not actually going to be hard, except it is full of unknowns–who
am I going to be talking to? What I am going to be working on? How am I
supposed to set myself up as an authority on writing who can make all
your writing dreams come true, when I barely have the authority to run
my own life and can hardly look at my own writing in any objective
sense?

I am nervous. I am nervous that I will not be able to set boundaries,
and say no, this is supposed to be your project. That I won’t know how
to deal with a client who is grumpy and doesn’t want to tell me what
they’re working on, or who hates all my suggestions. Or a client who is
super friendly and excitable like a puppy and can’t focus, or a client
who hates life or a client who hates me or a client who hates writing
and anything to do with writing and life and who blames me for the fact
that they have to write a cover letter. I am afraid of things going
terribly, horribly wrong, of being terribly, horribly awkward and weird
and caught off guard and no help at all. I am wondering what the hell
it is that I’ve gotten myself into, and why I am doing this, again.

And now that I’ve flibbertigibbeted all over the place and flapped my
hands and squawked a lot, I feel a little better about it. It is going
to be just fine! And if it is not just fine, then I will get over it,
and I’ll do better next time, and the time after that. I have a very
fancy outfit picked out, because looking polished and professional and
good is among the best ways to circumvent panic and to shore up my
confidence. I may sound like an idiot, but at least I don’t look like
one, right? And I do remember why I want to do this–despite my fears
that I will be a failure at it, and ruin someone’s budding creative
life and crush their tiny little spirit, I think I might not actually,
you know ruin someone’s life. I might actually be able to help someone.
My heart might grow three sizes this day! I just have to wait and see,
I guess.

  1 comment for “writing coaching should not be filled with terror

  1. Punchy
    August 28, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    OOH OOH! Help me with my website! I am an artist and I;m trying to set up an online portfolio and I need to write a bio but I have nothing to say!

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