Freelance Writers and Writing Coaches

Writing in a journal.I have the utmost respect for freelance writers. I’ve worked as a freelancer. I sometimes still do, but, lately, I’ve been contemplating how that role intersects with my role as a writing coach.

The two often seem to be at odds with another. The freelancer needs people coming to him or her with requests for articles and blogs. The writing coach needs people coming to him or her with requests for help with something they’re writing.

Perhaps the two roles aren’t quite at odds with one another then. The freelancer helps the person who can’t write for one reason or another. Maybe that person doesn’t like to write. Maybe that person has other commitments. The coach helps the person who has made the time to write. The coach helps the person who wants to write better or who needs guidance with a writing project or business communications, whether that be a book or some work-related initiative.

The danger, though, is that either role can detract from the story that needs to be told. As a freelancer, the duty is to write the story in such a way that it seems to originate from the organization that has hired him or her. That doesn’t always happen. As a coach, the duty is to help the writer to tell his or her story and not to interfere with it. The goal is to guide and to offer suggestions that make the story better, not to override the story with one’s own desires for it. When one’s own desires override the writer’s or the organization’s, the story becomes unrecognizable. It no longer belongs to its rightful owner. It belongs to no one.