Understanding What I Know

For the last few years I’ve worked as a writing coach. A coach, as I explain to all my prospective clients, is not an editor. I am not interested in fixing anyone’s book, but rather in helping them strengthen their writing and, most importantly, their relationship to writing, which is really a relationship to themselves. It’s interesting and challenging work for which I have absolutely no professional training other than having written for many years. This, coupled with an inherent interest in people’s lives and personal struggles, seems to be enough. But it took me a while to understand what a writing coach was. As with the stories I tell, I was interested in the idea before I understood the reality. I’ve never let a total lack of experience stop from me doing anything. I hung a virtual shingle on my website, and eventually someone contacted me about coaching. She wanted to know what it was I did. I said, “Let’s meet and discuss it.”

This gave me some time to see whether I could come up with an answer. I couldn’t. We met anyway, and I started talking about writing and its challenges and she listened politely. “What is it you write about?” she asked, once I ran out of things to say.

“I write about writing, mostly.”

She rolled her eyes. “Boring.”

She did not end up being my first client. She was very helpful, however. First, she taught me that I needed to figure out what a writing coach was. More importantly, she taught me that writing about writing is not boring – at least not for me. The instant she said, “Boring,” I thought, “No, it’s not,” and then, as writers often do, I thought, “Why isn’t it boring?”

I always know something before I know how or why I know it. That’s why I write and why I coach and, really, why I do anything – to understand what I know. I don’t write about writing, you see; I write about life. To me, writing is just an experience I choose to have while I’m alive. It’s the being alive part that’s really interesting to me – endlessly interesting. Anytime I do something on purpose, whether it’s writing, or coaching, or cooking, I’m living on purpose, and I immediately understand something that seemed mysterious when I lived accidentally or habitually.

What a glorious understanding that is. Glorious, that is, until I forget it, and I find myself back on the hamster wheel of getting things done, and wondering what to do next and why exactly I’m on this planet. I could have sworn I just knew why I was on this planet. How frustrating to forget, how satisfying to remember, and how endlessly interesting this cycle remains.

If you like the ideas and perspectives expressed here, feel free to contact me about individual and group coaching.


Fearless Writing: How to Create Boldly and Write With Confidence. You can find William at: williamkenower.com

Follow wdbk on Twitter